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Saturday, November 15, 2014

On Aging Gracefully in an Era of Ed. Deform

I would like to think that teachers in their golden years could enjoy some of their best lessons ever.  They have all the knowledge and experience gained with time.  They have insights others may lack.  They can see a little further ahead on the horizon.  They have put the many roles of teacher into perspective as their canvas nears completion.

In this new era of ed. deform, have you noticed it becomes increasingly difficult to age gracefully?  Perhaps with the advantage of a double mirror, you've spied a target upon your back.  War may be waged against older teachers.  They are expensive to hire, especially if schools must individually pay their salaries from their limited budgets.  No wonder so many older NYC teachers opted to retire given the incentives of last June.  If they had waited much longer, given the battles waged against tenure, the sunset might have ridden off without them.  

Danielson provides ample ground for labeling anyone as ineffective.    Perhaps the older teacher lacks the highly-effective vigor of a twenty-year old.  Perhaps they no longer manage to stand on their feet six hours a day.  Perhaps they no longer can stay to coach activities until 7 p.m.  Perhaps they served their time doing all these activities once, but that time counts for nothing now.  It is long forgotten.  Every year you must start from scratch.

Perhaps they are not afraid to speak their mind.  Perhaps they question current educational policies.  Perhaps they are a thorn in someone's conscience.  Perhaps they remember a time before the new policies came down the line, when teachers were treated as true professionals.  In this new and exciting era of ed. deform, one can never be sure where one will be tomorrow, multiply this many times over if you have the particular fortune to land a gig as an ATR.  It may be goodbye and good riddance to your less than pliable body and spirit.  If you do get the adieu, it's pretty safe to bet there will be no golden watch for you in your golden years.  


  1. As an ATR from a shuttered school many of my friends have retired or will be soon. Many of those friends include administrators. At one time administrators helped staff and facilitated learning. They weren't fast food managers. One AP I know spent 35 years in the building and sacrificed her personal life for her career. I recently went back to the building as an ATR for a small school in the building. I met her sitting in her car crying.

  2. The premium now seems to be on administrators following orders. Scholarship only figures in for the sake of statistics. As you well know, fail here and your school may be shuttered. Let us call it false scholarship with credit-recovery schemes. With this newly placed emphasis on test-based systems of evaluation, helping kids as individuals takes a back seat to massive test prep. There are still good people who are administrators, but they are sadly stuck in a very ugly system which they depend upon for their livelihood. I am saddened, but not surprised to hear your story of the AP. Is it any wonder so many would choose to drive away from this system before they are driven away?

  3. Yes, Bloomberg changed the very core of the dynamics of teaching - interpersonal relationships. He sought to quantify what should never be quantified - the forming of a student into a well rounded individual by people who care and who are assisted by people who care. The AP I met didn't choose to retire she was humiliated and intimidated into doing so. A very deep cut into her soul. New teachers don't understand that APs should be facilitators not a gotcha squad. Just discovered your blog; excellent.

  4. Thanks for your comments and thank you.