Feature stories

What a difference the UFT makes

Members who taught elsewhere share their stories

Rachel Maller
Former charter school teacher

Rachel Maller, teacher, PS 314, the Bronx

In 2012, when I accepted a position at a charter school, I signed a whole bunch of things, including a piece of paper that said, “In our school, everyone is an administrator and everyone is a custodian.” I thought it was a euphemism for “We all help each other out,” but it turned out that they took it quite literally.

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Maureen Finn
Taught out of state

Maureen Finn, teacher, PS 56, the Bronx

There, my lesson plans were due at noon on Saturday. You eat lunch with your students and go to recess with them. There were supposed to be daily preps, but they were taken away with meetings and there was nothing you could do about that.

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Seung Lee
Former charter school teacher

Seung Lee, teacher and chapter leader, PS 1, Manhattan

I have been a New York City public school teacher for 15 years, but early in my career I taught for two years at a charter school in Manhattan. At that charter school, I didn’t negotiate my employment contract. I just signed it.

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Larissa Clark
Taught out of state

Larissa Clark, teacher, Marble Hill HS for International Studies, the Bronx

Growing up in Oklahoma, you tend to only hear about unions in a negative light. So when I made a career change six years ago and became a teacher in New York City, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the UFT.

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Danny Campbell
Former charter school teacher

Danny Campbell, music teacher, PS 214, Queens

We weren’t given the time or support to attend to all the responsibilities of teaching like grading, bulletin boards and reaching out to parents. We had preps, but those were used for data meetings and things like that.

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Susan Gunderson
Former private school teacher

Susan Gunderson, speech and language pathologist, Morris Academy of Collaborativ

I worked for eight years as a speech and language pathologist in a private school in Westchester County that made up the rules as it went along.

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