New York City: Absent Teachers Retreat – also known as ATRs

October 12, 2012


English: The Teachers Lawn outside the Staffroom

New York City’s displace teachers, better known as the ATRs, have been writing and posting bits and pieces on their degrading and debilitating experiences in the public school system. Anonymously, of course!

The acronym ATR means Absent Teacher Reserve. When teachers are excessed – through no fault of their own – they become ATRs.  The principal has the option of getting rid of expensive senior teachers who are making 100 thousand per year and replacing them with young, new, inexperienced and cheaper first and second year teachers. These senior teachers then become ATRs.

Teachers are not now needed for their experience and expertise, but for their low salaries, and short working life. In fact, teachers are the most highly educated and insultingly expendable product on the market. The principal must fit them into his budget.

This new budget phenomenon was the result of the changes made by the current city politicians who made every school principal a prince of his own principality. One of the consequences of this policy was the principals getting rid of anyone who did not fit in with the new kind of education they were disseminating – grade inflation etc. – and so the ATRs en masse were born.

I am one of those senior, experienced teachers who were excessed. The administrators had two good reasons to dump me: grades and spite.

Reason One: Every marking period I was in the principal’s office because I refused to inflate my grades, pass 90% of my students, and with high grades – in the 90s to be sure.

Reason Two: A colleague caught the administrators doing (illegal ?) things with the time cards and over time pay.  She had seniority over me and in order to get rid of her, they had to get rid of me too. So they got rid of two senior teachers, who stood up for honesty and integrity, and replaced them with … you guess! They all lived happily with their illegal conscience.

The acronym ATR became letters that I detested. I even started to detest the people – administrators and secretaries – who referred to me as such. These people knew me. I had a perfect record for twenty years. One day I was a respected and dedicated teacher. The next day I was excessed, and was treated with the utmost disrespect, abuse and harassment. Nothing I did after being excessed was right. My life: perfectly miserable!

And so, I decided to retire. I know I made them happy, which I regret. But, I am also happy and at peace with my conscience, and enjoying my new career very much.

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