Feature stories

April 5, 2018

What a difference the UFT makes

What difference does the UFT make? Members who taught elsewhere share their stories.

Seung Lee, former charter school teacher

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.

Rachel Maller, former charter school teacher

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.

Larissa Clark taught out of state

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.

Danny Campbell, former charter school teacher

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.

Susan Gunderson, former private school teacher

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.

Ready for takeoff

Henry Rey, a longtime licensed pilot and a teacher at Frederick Douglass Academy Preparatory School I in Manhattan, teaches students math and science through aeronautics and sparks their interest in aviation in a classroom that features four computer flight simulators.

Maureen Finn taught out of state

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.

March 1, 2018

Pride and prejudice

To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Betsy DeVos’ appointment on Feb. 7, UFT members across New York City celebrated their public schools during National Public School week Feb. 5-9. Many used the hashtag #PublicSchoolProud on social media to show off pictures of their celebrations.


Striking a chord

For her exemplary blending of science and music instruction, Salguero won the 2018 Grammy Music Educator of the Year award.

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