Thursday, September 08, 2005

That's It, I have had it...BACK TO CANADA!

I haven't posted all week because I have been preparing to carry out a very difficult decision for myself. I will now tell the story of what happenned.

For those of you not up on where I have been or what I have been doing for the past year the following posts will more or less put things together over the fun and tribulations I have been having. You will find them here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Things have only gotten much worse from the ups and downs. I think New York City is nothing but a huge drama that brings you up and down.

On Monday August 29th, after a nice weekend of what I thought was my last days off before starting at a new school, things only went from not so bad to completely worse!

I walked into my school shortly before 9 A.M. and waited for the Principal to arrive in order for a group of teachers to head upstairs and start setting up our classrooms.

The Principal arrived and looked at me and said "What are you doing here?"

I replied, "I came to set up my classroom."

"There was a problem with your transfer, so I had to hire someone else for the job," the principal said. She suggested I should visit the Region 8 offices and talk to Leona Johnson who had sent the e-mail to the principal of my supposed new school that the transfer was late in going through from my previous region.

I was seething as I left the school and headed to the subway. I decided instead of going to Region 8 that I would go to the administrative head offices of recruitment because if I tried Region 8 I might kill somebody.

Why would I kill somebody? Because I have had some administrative fun with them as well. Lets take a time out from the story above to explain. I got the letter of nomination back at the end of Junish. I took it to the Region 8 offices to have myself placed into the position. With lots of experience from a recent transfer from a previous region only to be excessed because of low student enrollment, I knew how the transfer should work. However, I was told the letter of nomination was all that was needed and everything was fine.

A couple of days later I did an online search seeking to see if my application for the job had gone through or not via the Department of Education's website. The results showed there was a problem with my application. I printed off the results and took it in. They got me on the computer to do an RMS application (some sort of board computer stuff) only to find that that was already done. I then filled out a couple of other forms (which I had recognized from before because of my previous transfer). I was then told everything was decent about my application and there everything was fine and I could start at the end of August. I double checked with someone at Court Street who I had filed paperwork with, and she said everything was fine as well. I checked in a day later with the principal and she said it was fine as well because she had signed off on my transfer as well.

Now back to the story, apparently everything was not fine. Leona Johnson, of Region 8, used the excuse that the transfer had not gone through in time for me to get the job. This was according to the principal's e-mail that she received from Ms. Johnson. But apparently she did not have the kindness of calling myself to let me know. So here I was thinking I had a job in New York City for September when I did not.

I told this story to the wonderful people of the Recruitment office at the Department of Education's administrative offices. They quickly nipped this excuse in the bud by setting me up with a recruitment officer. Why did they have to set me up with a recruitment officer? Because Ms. Johnson never picks up her phone! However, the recruitment officer at Administrative Offices is persistant and talked to the receptionist at Region 8 and said to put her through to the nearest phone to Ms. Johnson.

The end deal was that Ms. Johnson would call the school and give me the Grade 7 English job that I was originally hired for. I received a note from the Recruitment officer. I was overjoyed!

However, things turned ugly again when I arrived at the school. Ms. Johnson never called the principal. I was forced to tell the principal what was going on. The principal tried calling Ms. Johnson, but again, Leona Johnson would not pick up her phone.

So back to the Administrative Offices I went. The Recruitment people managed to have the person excessed and sent me back to the school after the principal would not pick up her phone.

At the school the principal told me to wait in another room while she called the people at recruitment and the Region to figure out what was going on. After 15 minutes, the principal told me that I was no longer hired because I had an "unsatisfactory" rating from my previous school and that she could not have a teacher at her school with an unsatisfactory rating. I protested saying that wherever she got the "unsatisfactory" rating was untrue. But she said there was nothing she could do.

So I returned to recruitment who said that I had never told them of the "unsatisfactory" rating from my previous school. I protested saying that my evaluation had recommended a "discountinuance" of service from my previous school but a "continuance of probationary service." I had to bring this evaluation into the administrative offices in order to prove my point. In hindsight, I am wondering why copies of this evaluation was not at the administrative offices or the Regions offices.

So I went up the immigration lawyers office the next day (Tuesday) and picked up the evaluation form. By this time I had done some soul searching and decided that no matter what I was returning to Canada. I had been shafted and screwed by the New York City Department of Education one to many times. I had had enough. However, I was going to make sure that I did everything in my power to make my name in New York City the best it can be. So I waited two hours to have the "Unsatisfactory" changed to a "Discontinuance" which apparently allows me to still teach elsewhere if so needed.

Before leaving, I told the two people at Recruitment that I could not on my conscience recommend anybody coming down to New York City to teach for this Department of Education.

I then headed home to apartment dreading having to tell my roomate. We both cried after I told my parents what had happenned that day. It has been a tough past two weeks for me and my roomate. My roomate will be o.k. as we had achieved a lower rent on the current appartment (almost half the price of the one I was living at before).

Finally, I am looking forward to coming back to live with my parents for a short time while I take time to find full time employment. I look back at this past year in New York City as one of a bureaucratic nightmare. I talked to the immigration lawyer and he noted that at least 2o other Canadians alone from the international program had left in very similar disgust and that it had cost the New York City Department of Education dearly in lost money for processing the work visa applications alone and getting nothing in return. So to any of you considering New York City for a career, I would think again.

I'll be back in Aurora by Saturday to start again. I am looking forward to reconnecting with my friends and family again, see you around. To those in New York City who I was friends with, best of luck in the future and hopefully our paths will cross again. To the New York City Department of Education at the Administrative Recruitment Headquarters: Keep up the good work, I appreciated your energy and effort in trying to get me a new job after my first year didn't work out. To those of you at Region 8 offices of the New York City Department of Education: Get some gumption and call people if there is a problem with their jobs and not hand it off to someone else...Also learn how to do your jobs, I was basically telling you how to do a transfer in one day yet you wouldn't listen to me and I ended up doing the exact same process over two days....I do hope heads will role at Region 8 for this mess. Back to Aurora I GO!

2 comments:

  1. Welcome Home dude. May I suggest trying the Canadian educational system? That said, you may need a break. But you WILL make a Great teacher for some school board some day. Don't let one bad experience screw with your head.

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  2. My sentiments are the same as Bill's....Welcome back! On another note....Don't worry...it was your first job outside of the academic world and away from the university. Those are never the easiest..Speaking from experience that you are already aware of....It will get better. If anything you are now more aware of potential problems and will be prepared next time. Forewarned is forearmed so to speak.

    You should definitely consider the Canadian educational system. While the pay may not be so great you will make a fantastic teacher! Don't give up! Stick to your guns! The right position is there for you somewhere!

    Take care.

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