Norm Scott left a comment on last night's post about the burnout I and many other teachers are feeling due to all the compliance work in schools these days:
I had written:
Meetings, meetings, meetings, PD, PD, PD, observations, observations, observations...
It just doesn't stop.
Would be nice to have some time to actually teach and grade, work with students.
Would be nice to stop running from meeting to PD, writing up four page lesson plans for every class just in case it's time for a drive-by observation, drowning in compliance work.
But nope - no time for any of that.
Only time for that constant feedback ed deform destructos like the Educators4Excellent love so much (it's not a coincidence most of them have moved on from teaching to full-time advocacy work.)
Only time for compliance work.
We are nearing the end game in the ed deform destruction of public education in New York State.
Part of the goal was to burn everybody out - children, teachers, administrators.
And we're there already.
Some of us in MORE met with a group of Brooklyn High School teachers yesterday who talked about this enormous workload. What is the answer? The time is coming for masses of teachers to just say NO since so much of this is pushing beyond the contract. Since the Unity Caucus/UFT machine has no interest in organized resistance it will take alliances of people from many schools to address this issue in a way to force them to take action.
The truth is, much of what is happening in schools these days is being pushed outside the contract.
Principals have been empowered by the DOE to break the rules, break the contract, even break the law, with little to no impunity when caught.
When teachers push back, they are the targets of retaliation, the targets of vengeance.
I have seen this with my own eyes.
It gives a person pause, knowing that if he/she pushes back against the latest insane directive from the Little Autocrat in the building, he/she will end up targeted by a vindictive administration out to destroy a person's reputation and career.
And you can be sure the UFT, busy meeting with Carmen Farina on the latest collaboration scheme between the UFT and the DOE, will not be there to help a teacher when he/she needs it most.
Again, I've seen this play out with my own eyes.
Norm writes that it will take alliances of people from many schools to address this issue in a way to force the UFT to take action.
It starts by building alliances within buildings, across departments, across age groups, across seniority demographics.
I noticed early on in my career how very good some administrations are at playing different demographics against each other within schools - this department vs. that department, this age group vs. that age group, this seniority demographic vs. that demographic.
But this divide and conquer strategy is working less these days, as almost everybody comes under the feel of the administration bludgeon.
Still, it's a difficult task to build alliances when a culture of fear is rife throughout a building.
So, here's the questions I have for you out there:
Are you now or have you already built alliances within your school across departments, age groups, seniority?
If your school is infected with a culture of fear emanating from the top, how are you dealing with that?
Finally, what suggestions do you have for dealing with a culture of fear and retribution in schools when the entity that is supposed to protect us - the UFT - has abdicated its responsibilities and obligations and will not be there to back teachers up when the chips are down?