As educators and as union members, this fall has presented unique challenges. A phased-in reopening and the closure of schools in COVID-19 hotspots added to the challenge of navigating remote, in-person and blended learning. Outside the classroom, members are working to get out the vote for the crucial presidential election. In this issue, we highlight UFT members’ efforts on both fronts.
UFT members with the support of their union helped pull off a successful — albeit difficult — return to in-classroom instruction during a phased-in reopening that incorporated 500,000 students from every grade by Oct. 1.
District 75, 3K and pre-K students returned on Sept. 21, while elementary school and K-8 students went back on Sept. 29 and middle and high school students returned on Oct. 1. About 48% of students chose fully remote learning. After the UFT’s intervention, the mayor twice delayed and reconfigured the reopening of buildings due to safety and staffing concerns…
Bullying has no place in any child’s education. That was the inspiration behind the UFT’s creation in 2011 of the Building Respect, Acceptance and Voice through Education, or BRAVE, program to provide tools, knowledge and support in confronting bullying.
The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks were canceled this year because of COVID-19, but UFT members mobilized in spite of that to raise awareness of the disease and funds to fight it.
School psychologist Kristina Pillmeier assesses and evaluates students’ needs and how they affect their performance in the classroom and their experience in the school environment, then refers them for support services if necessary.
Chapter Leader Marquis Harrison of Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, stepped up during COVID-19 to take on new duties as a safety inspector, a counselor, an advocate and an expert on new work rules.
The coronavirus has necessitated many changes in our work world. To ensure the safety of school communities, staff and students are now being tested regularly, and recently negotiated leaves and absences related to COVID-19 are one accommodation to our new reality.
While working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, staying home is not a safe option for survivors of domestic violence. The first step when confronting domestic violence is to create a safety plan.
The Teachers’ Retirement System’s Tax-Deferred Annuity Program is an excellent way for eligible UFT members to save money for retirement to supplement their defined-benefit pension. If you’re not already enrolled, start building your nest egg now.
Looking through the lenses of education policy and labor issues, the best candidate for president is Joe Biden — someone who is focused on our dignity, pay, benefits and the workplace protections we deserve.
UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford writes that as always, it is the teachers in the classroom who are figuring out how best to serve their students in this unusual school year, with help from three hardworking union groups.
The UFT’s 50-point school safety plan remains essential for students and staff working in school buildings. The DOE agreed to the plan as a condition of reopening the schools, but we need your help to keep our workplaces safe.
Along with notebooks and pencils, students come to school carrying the weight of anxiety, fear and trauma in their lives. As we grapple with COVID-19, educators say students’ mental health should be the priority.
Google Classroom is easy for novices to use. But it’s also a highly versatile platform. Three New York City teachers share their tips and favorite tools for teaching remotely with this powerful program.
Fifth-grade literacy teacher Jamala Roper, of PS 179 in the Bronx, took on the challenge of providing a safe and welcoming literacy-rich environment that is also safe and conducive to the guidelines for blended learning.
Practicing self-care is important, especially in these unprecedented times. Achieve a sense of belonging by connecting with colleagues, establish work boundaries at home and make time for things that are important for your well-being.
Paulo Chalco, a kindergarten teacher at PS 108 in Brooklyn, has a 5-year-old son who often serves as his sounding board. “If I prepare a lesson, I put it on his table and see what he does. If he gets into the material, then I have an idea it might be a good lesson to use with my kids,” he says.
In a crisis, the only asset you have is your credibility.
— Paul Volker
This quote from the late Federal Reserve System chair has been on my mind in the midst of Campaign 2020, as we work to cure our national nightmare. When the UFT and its state and national affiliates endorse political candidates for election, what kind of credibility do these political recommendations have with our grassroots, rank-and-file members?
For citywide endorsements, the UFT assesses the candidate’s record on education, labor and human rights. The same criteria are used by our state affiliate, NYSUT, for statewide endorsements and by our national affiliate, the AFT, for presidential and congressional endorsements. In 2016, some members were disgruntled over the endorsement of Hillary Clinton, which was announced early in the presidential campaign when some candidates had not yet entered…
As part of a 12-class Si Beagle schedule put together for Westchester Section retirees, members are creating historic records of the pandemic of 2020 in the COVID Metamorphosis Class, writing memoirs of life as we are living it today.
Joseph Lukose, a school social worker in Queens for 32 years, went back to his roots in retirement. A native of India, he is now a hobby farmer in south Florida, planting and nurturing the tropical fruit trees that surrounded him in his youth.