Since December 19, 2014, I have been assigned to Murray Bergtraum High School in Manhattan. The school is in total shambles. There is a lack of trust between the teachers and the administration. As an outsider I understand why. The previous two administrations and the dumping ground policies of former Mayor Bloomberg have transformed this once great business school into a shell of its former self (The same held true for the now defuncted Norman Thomas.) The current principal is trying hard to make the school work, but the distrust that exist here as in every other school runs deep. Unfortunately, the people who suffer the most are the STUDENTS.
I was given the program of a good teacher who had enough of the abuse and left. I took over his classes right before the Christmas Break and begin teaching. The truth is the first week was difficult as I had to gain the student’s trust and respect. The way I did this was simple, I just started teaching like I always did at Manhattan Center and it worked. I refused to compromise my standards of teaching and eventually gained the respect of the students. What I found out was that Bergtraum has some really good kids who only want to learn, but they are frustrated at the policies that have basically destroyed the school.
I found out on Tuesday that as of February 1 2015 I will have a new assignment. I shared this with the students I am teaching now. I didn’t think it was fair for these good kids to find out on February 1 that I would not be their teacher. As I did at Manhattan Center I asked this group of students to grade me. (A few of the comments are in the image at the top of the page.)
I’ve spent the last four years fighting a vindictive principal (David Jimenez) who denied my students my teaching abilities because of personal reasons. I fought a system that views teachers as incompetent fools, yet I challenge any arbitator, city lawyer or politician to step into my shoe and do the job I just did in a short time, but of course that will never happened simply because it involves work. I dealt with a union who cares only about raising our dues and spending $10,000 in food for executive board meeting in which they support teachers from other parts of the nation , while neglectIng their own members.
Beside teaching a bunch of great kids at Bergtraum, the only other positive part of this is the extraordinary teachers that I’ve met that are languishing in the ATR pool because they refused to be bullied. What no one wants to admit is that the ATR pool is a pool of wealth as far as educators and maybe its time to tap the wealth.