SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: A New Teacher Bullied By Inept Administrators in a Bloomberg Created School

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A New Teacher Bullied By Inept Administrators in a Bloomberg Created School

The story below came across the desk of the SBSB newsroom late this afternoon. Our collective SBSB jaws dropped while reading of not only a school in disarray, but of a young teacher being tormented, and the lack of support, by the administration of this school.

We here at SBSB did find some irony that the author share, "seven years my small school has served our city." Apparently it seems to walk, talk, and quack like a school that Uncle Mike had opened so it must be.

Another bit of irony, the author shares that  she has had one formal observation and no feedback concerning her teaching. One might think that this shows that the new evaluation system and E4E's evaluation suggestions are what are needed to properly evaluate teachers. I say the opposite. That it is up to the administrators to do their jobs and to do their observations on teachers, to collaborate and share with teacher show to improve and not to use observations to play "gotcha!"

Enough of my 2 cents. Sit back and read what this poor teacher is going through.

Oh, I forgot. The principal at this school has a miniscule background in education. Background in the corporate world, a few years teaching then got administrative license. And we wonder why.........

As the Obama administration continues its push for “anti-bullying” and teacher evaluation systems in schools, I cannot help but hide my wry smile. I am an untenured teacher in a high-needs mess of a NYC school and have seen these policies in put into action. My school’s informal goal for the year was to reduce bullying, and one of the principal’s formal goals was to implement the Charlotte Danielson rubric for evaluating teachers.

How is that going? Well, students still bully, fight, drink, and we have even had a middle school student wave a gun around. As a teacher, though, I cannot blame them. They have the epitome of bullies to look up to and admire: our principal and assistant principal.

I was warned within minutes of meeting other teachers in my school, that I had to be prepared to be harassed and full of anxiety—not due to our rough population of students, but due to a bipolar,
foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, alcoholic principal, and an assistant principal best known in the NYC metro for her rage problems.

Our school has had a 20% retention rate. In the seven years my small school has served our city, approximately fifty-five teachers have left, and that is only if they finished the year. The abuse by our administrators reduced me to tears within a week of my being at the school. The assistant principal had come into my room on the third day, ripped down my bulletin boards and charts, and verbally abused me at a loud volume in front of my students. This was ended with an ominous “meet me during your next prep, I’m so mad at you, I can’t believe you.” As a teacher inching into their career, I was terrified, humiliated, and mostly confused by what had just happened. I met with the assistant principal and principal, and they verbally bullied me for the entire period. This routine became, well, routine quickly. In the course of the year, I have had them wander into my room to yell for some reason twenty-five times, been cornered into “important” meetings alone with the two of them eleven times, been verbally abused by them in front of children seventy-one times. It has become known by my population of students that they know they can act out, because, “you know we won’t get yelled at, Miss, but you will.”

It is May and I have had only one formal evaluation and absolutely no real feedback about my pedagogy, but countless hours have been spent degrading me. I have reached out to the UFT (my chapter UFT has yet to have a meeting, the representative is up for tenure, and is a pawn), but have been alternatively told that I am “making it all up” or that nothing can be done because I am untenured. This is simply unacceptable. I, and the rest of my staff, go to school with anxious knots in our stomachs daily, not wondering what the students will do or worrying if the lesson will be successful, but instead wondering what our unorganized, childish, bully administrators will push us to that day.

Nowhere is there a focus on administrators in the current Obama legislation, or in the reform agenda. These people are the ones giving me a portion of my evaluation grade, and the ones enforcing the anti-bullying legislation. I am calling for the removal of my current administrators, and ones like them, in order to ensure any policies are effective.  I do not know where to turn to get help with this, please spread my story and send ideas if you don’t want to continue to push out potentially effective educators and hurt the students in the process.

11 comments:

Pissed Off said...

That is so sad. My heart breaks for all the young teachers going through that. The school I started teaching in was not good, my AP was a tyrant, but compared to this, she was an angel.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely disgusting what's happening with this teacher. How does NYC expect to attract and keep the "best and brightest" when fledging teachers are treated this way?

Or, in reality, do the powers-that-be not really care?

Anonymous said...

To the New Teacher:

Make digital recordings of all the abuse.

Transfer them to your hard drive.

E-mail copies of the sound files to South Bronx, Mayor Bloomberg, and the media.

Make some YouTube videos where you discuss the abuse and play the recordings.

Post links to the videos all over the place.

I know you're a new teacher, but you just can't sit back and accept such abuse!

Michael Fiorillo said...

The school system always had administrators who were incompetent, vindictive, sociopathic. The difference now is that it is official DOE policy to seek out individuals such as this, most of whom have little or no teaching experience. It's utter depravity and nihilism.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That sounds like the school I left. I went through similar harassment. PS 51 in the Bronx. Principal Smith, APs Hong and Schneider. Spread the word. No one apply there unless you are prepared to be demoralized and tormented, and if you are willing to risk your entire career and reputation. Be prepared you remove your jaw from the floor at some of the insane and abusive things the admin publicly says to teachers and young children. The principal is a tyrant and his APs are cruel and incompetant. The place is an absolute nightmare. Accountability for administrators is key....and I'm not talking about test scores. Their evaluations need to be based on written accounts of their staff....not stupid surveys.

Anonymous said...

1. Tell the to stop harassing and bullying you. It is against the law.
2. Carry a tape record with you at all times, or camera phone.
3. When they come near you or into your room, turn on tape recorder/video.
4. Document, document, document, including witnesses.
5. Contact an attorney.

HR Professional

DCGMentor said...

There are too many schools that this can be. I have personally visited 3 where this is the norm.

The problem is we are not naming names. What school? Who are these felons? Every teacher in those schools should do that. Go to UFT headquarters and demand, yes demand, as a group, that something be done.

Finally listen to the other advise. Turn on that cell phone video and you tube it.

Tom Forbes said...

Here are a few names you should watch out for as you look for jobs. Mary Rice-Boothe - fired as Principal and then hired to consult new principals.
Lorraine Guitteriez - At the Diploma Plus HS in the old Brandis. Administrative Bully is her middle name.
Peter Sloman - Principal at College Academy - Has no clue
Jenny Gazettas - Needs to put away so the only one she can damage is herself. Probably the most scatter brained administrator I have ever met.
Principal at Baurch HS - Runs the school like a fascist.
AP at Murray Hill Academy - No need for a contract, I do what I want and only hired rookie teachers so they do not know how much I really do not know.

The Rebel Speducator said...

I documented documented and documented, tape recorded, videotaped and took pictures. Created my own blog and said, "Hey, look what is happening to children with disabilities and one teacher trying to help them." The union forgot my name, the lawyers couldn't help me, the harrassment followed me home even after being harassed to the point of illness AND then fired. Teachers have no civil rights. Students with disabilities have no civil rights. It's just one big mess.

Anonymous said...

Beware of Principal Michele Rawlins-Brown at P.S 287, in Brooklyn. She is bipolar, a pathological liar, verbally abusive and unorganized. This principal verbally abuses staff, parents and students.

Anonymous said...

I was pushed out of a teaching job in a high-needs middle school in Brooklyn by a passive aggressive Asst. Principal who took pleasure in crushing my spirit and making me feel incompetent. It was such a struggle as an inexperienced educator to provide a structured, positive environment in which my students could feel safe making mistakes because the school's leadership failed to do the same for me. I really cared about my students and have a lot to offer NYC youth but the stress I was internalizing as a result of my AP's cruelty was too damaging to my personal health and well-being for me to even complete the school year.