Your to-do list

Especially for first-year teachers

  • If you are a new teacher without prior teaching experience, you are entitled to mentoring. The mentor should be an experienced classroom teacher, coach or lead teacher, ideally in your subject area. The mentor will provide a minimum of two periods a week of confidential, non-evaluative and nonjudgmental support. If you have not been assigned a mentor, speak with your chapter leader or UFT district representative.
  • Be sure to make a note of your file/EIS number and your employee ID number and make sure you can log in to your Employee Self-Service account.
  • You’ll also need your Employee Identification Number or your EIS number to log into the DOE’s payroll portal, where you can enroll in direct deposit, see your pay stubs and more.New York State requires every new teacher to receive school-based mentoring by an experienced teacher in your subject area so you get the support you need, ideally from the first day of school. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your chapter leader.
  • Be sure to carefully review and save the email you received from the DOE’s Department of Human Resources, which records all your current information concerning your New York City license/appointment and New York State certification. Most important, check that it is accurate. If not, be sure to follow the DOE’s instructions right away to correct any errors in the record.
  • Need a form or application? The UFT website has a wealth of useful forms — UFT, DOE and even New York State forms and applications. Go to UFT Forms to access or print forms pertaining to leaves, salary, Workers’ Comp, special education and much more.
  • Have you enrolled in the UFT Welfare Fund? The Fund provides your prescription drug, dental, optical and other benefits that supplement your New York City health plan — but this is separate from your health plan enrollment. Enroll in the Welfare Fund. Then follow the instructions for sending in the required documentation. Save receipts for any prescription drugs you purchase so you can be reimbursed once your enrollment is processed. At the same website, you have access to all benefit information including ordering an optical certificate, dental forms and lists of our participating providers.
  • New teachers who qualify for salary credit for prior teaching or related work experience can raise their wages significantly — up to 7.5 years of salary credit — bringing them to Step 8B. Newly hired teachers generally supply this information to the DOE by completing their prior work experience on their online application for employment. Once they are hired, this information is automatically sent to the DOE’s online salary step application. You will be notified by email to validate the experience you have listed on your application through the Payroll Portal. If you do not validate your application, the DOE Office of Salary Services will automatically place you on Salary Step 1A. If you never filled out the work experience section of the online application, you must fill out the online Salary Step Application within six months of your appointment date to receive any retroactive salary step pay. To complete the DOE’s online Application for Salary Step Placement, go to https://payrollportal.nycboe.net. After your application is processed, the DOE will send you a Certificate of Salary Status via email informing you of your salary step and anniversary date.

Staying connected with the union

  • It’s easy to stay on top of the latest UFT happenings. Sign up on the UFT website. Throughout the year, we send email to members about important information, including breaking news and alerts about union campaigns. You’ll also begin to receive the monthly New Teacher Bulletin by email.
  • Sign up for UFT text messages and be among the first to be notified about key information such as school closings in the event of inclement weather. Text: UFT to 30644 from your mobile phone (standard messaging and data rates apply) or sign up online.
  • Connect with the UFT on Facebook, Twitter at @UFT and Instagram at @UFTNY.

Teacher evaluation

  • In June, your principal or other evaluator should begin hold summative end-of-year conferences to review feedback from your observations. You should expect to have a conference before the last Friday that school is in session (June 21).
  • By June 28, you will receive your Measures of Teacher Practice (MOTP) Summary Form. Your evaluator may provide you with this form during your summative end-of-year conference, if all of your observations are complet. You must sign the MOTP Final Summary Form. It will be placed in your personnel file by the last day of school. 
  • Formal and informal observations should be concluded by Friday, June 2.

Certification and licensing

  • If you have fulfilled your state certification requirements or are close to doing so, remember to apply online for your professional certificate. No certificate is issued automatically! Check your TEACH online account for the documents you need to submit together with your $100 application fee (reduced to $50 if you have a college recommendation). Make copies of everything before you send it in. Mail your packet "Return Receipt Requested" to the New York State Education Department and file the receipt with the copies of your paperwork. Since it takes time to process your application, it's a good idea to complete all your requirements early and apply at least six months before your time-limited certificate expires.

Rights and benefits

  • Have you enrolled in the UFT Welfare Fund? The Fund provides your prescription drug, dental, optical and other benefits that supplement your New York City health plan — but this is separate from your health plan enrollment. Enroll with the Fund. Then follow the instructions for sending in the required documentation. Save receipts for any prescription drugs you purchase so you can be reimbursed once your enrollment is processed. At the same website, you have access to all benefit information including ordering an optical certificate, dental forms and lists of participating providers.
  • Did you recently get married, have a baby or add or drop eligible dependents? To cover new dependents, update your person information. Both the UFT and the DOE require you to submit supporting documentation (such as a marriage license) if you are adding beneficiaries. Notify the UFT Welfare Fund by filing a Change of Status Form electronically within 30 days of the event. To notify the DOE, log on to your Employee Self-Service account.

Professional development

  • LearnUFT courses for Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credit are now available in the UFT's borough offices. Browse the course listings and register. (Remember that you need to begin collecting CTLE hours only once you have earned your professional certificate.)

Miscellaneous

  • If you plan to resign from the Department of Education effective Sept. 5 (the first day of school), you must give 30 calendar days' notice by submitting a letter of resignation by Aug. 5. According to the DOE, those employees who resign without providing 30 calendar days' notice will be given a problem code in their personnel file that will flag them for review should they wish to return to teaching in the future. 
  • You should receive your program for next year by the end of the school year. You are entitled to one preparation period and a duty-free lunch period. If you teach midle or high school, you should be scheduled for no more than three consecutive teaching periods and four consecutive working assignments (e.g., including your professional period) a day. Speak to your chapter leader to file a grievance if your teaching program does not follow contractual guidelines. Grievances must be filed within two days of learning about your new program.
  • Thinking about transferring? The Open Market Transfer system on the DOE's Department of Human Resources website, which allows you to apply for a position at another school, is open until Aug. 7. Visit the Open Market Transfer page to fill out an application and search for open positions.
  • Please check with your chapter leader to see if there are any school-based options in place at your school this year. School-based options, or SBOs, allow staff the flexibility to collectively modify contractual articles or create positions not automatically allowed for in the contract. Examples of SBO modifications include changing the configuration of your school's extended time schedule and creating compensatory time positions such as dean or testing coordinator. Since SBOs sunset every year, your chapter leader should hold an SBO vote this spring. Ask your chapter leader if your school has SBOs that will be up for renewal or if new SBOs are proposed. Attend union meetings to discuss these SBOs, and find out when the vote will be held. Make sure you participate. An SBO is ratified when 55 percent of the UFT members who actually vote support it.
  • The UFT's mobile app is now available to download for Apple and Android phones. You can use UFT-Mobile to access special member-only discounts for apparel, gifts, travel and more. You will log in to the app using the same username and password you use for the UFT website. If you haven't yet registered for an account on the UFT website, sign up.
  • Do your students need help with their homework? Tell your students and their families that they can get free homework assistance by calling the UFT’s Dial-A-Teacher hotline at 212-777-3380. The hotline is open from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday when school is in session. Dial-A-Teacher staffers are licensed classroom teachers who are qualified and experienced in all subject areas. They can handle questions in 10 languages: Armenian, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese and Fukanese), English, French, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Tagalog.
  • As a teacher, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness or cancellation. There are two ways to participate: 1. If you graduated after December 2014 from a college or university in New York and you earn less than $50,000 a year, you may be eligible for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program. Apply online. 2. Under the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, if you teach full time for five consecutive academic years in a low-income school and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500. Learn more.
  • Did you know that the UFT’s Member Assistance Program provides short-term counseling at no cost to in-service UFT members by professionally trained mental health staff? MAP is confidential, professional and supportive. For more information, call MAP at 212-701-9620 or email mapinfo@uft.org; services are provided by appointment only.
  • It's a good time to think about contributing to the UFT's Committee on Political Education, or COPE. Your COPE dollars go toward lobbying state and city legislators to shape the laws, budgets and teaching and learning conditions that our members and our public schools need to succeed. You can choose to have your donation automatically deducted from your paycheck. To enroll in COPE, see your chapter leader.
  • The UFT has a number of professional committees, from academics, like the English Language Arts Council, to heritage, like the African-American Heritage Committee. Joining a committee allows teachers to meet with like-minded colleagues and to keep abreast of the latest developments in their areas of interest. Browse the list of committees and join.
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