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New York TeacherSeptember 26, 2013

Volume LV, Number 2

Cover Stories

UFT delegates vote to endorse Bill de Blasio for mayor

The UFT Delegate Assembly on Sept. 18 enthusiastically voted to endorse Bill de Blasio for mayor of New York City.

“The great challenge for the next mayor is rebuilding the school system,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who brought the executive board’s recommendation to support de Blasio to the delegates.

De Blasio took the stage immediately after the vote at UFT headquarters to thank the delegates for their support and to promise to restore respect for teachers and the work they do.

“There are some heroes in our society, and they are called teachers,” he said.

De Blasio said public school educators could personally see the need for the education policies he supports. “Members of this union understand why we need pre-K, why we need after-school programs, why we have to get away from standardized testing, why we need to bring…

Schools that haven't received Common core resources

Where is the curriculum?

Thousands of teachers began the school year without promised Common Core-aligned textbooks, anchor texts, trade texts, teacher guides or manipulative materials, forcing them to improvise last-minute lessons and units.

Sandy-ravaged Staten Island school fights co-location

More than 600 students, parents, teachers, elected officials and community members from a Staten Island shore neighborhood still recovering from Hurricane Sandy packed a Community Education Council meeting at IS 2 on Sept. 16 to slam plans to have a new district middle school share the school’s building starting next fall.

Latest News

The staff observe the demonstration.

Modeling the initial planning conference

One Queens chapter leader felt that some teachers might need a deeper understanding of the purpose and potential of the initial planning conference. She came to the principal with a proposal: How about the two of them hold a mock initial planning conference for the rest of the staff to observe?

Some evaluation tasks at hand

At this point in the school year, teachers covered by the new evaluation system have a few tasks to start or complete: consider possible artifacts to submit during the year; select an observation option and schedule an initial planning conference if these weren’t done already; and start to keep a file of documents.

China looks West for education overhaul

China is planning to overhaul its education system and may be looking at Finland — where schools consistently perform at top levels — as a model.

Minimum wage, OT for home care workers

Home care workers who care for the elderly and the disabled will now be protected by minimum wage and overtime laws.

Indiana judge smashes right-to-work law

Indiana’s right-to-work law was struck down by a judge who found the law violates a section of the state constitution that bars delivery of services “without just compensation.”

Feature Stories

Margentina Floratos, 6th- and 7th-grade social studies, Spring Creek Community S

Three teachers, one opening day

Meet the teachers Kamor Olayokun (‘Mr. O’), 3rd-grade self-contained special education, PS 78, Staten Island

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Revving up with a run. I woke up at a quarter to five. I like to do a morning run to get my day going so I’m active and prepared for the first day. The whole time I was focused on what I should expect. I think of it as a sports team — I would be the coach and they would be my players — and that’s what I thought about during my run. Read more >> Margentina Floratos, 6th- and 7th-grade social studies, Spring Creek Community School, Brooklyn

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Kamor Olayokun (‘Mr. O’), 3rd-grade self-contained special education, PS 78, Sta

All aboard for 3rd grade

Revving up with a run. I woke up at a quarter to five. I like to do a morning run to get my day going so I’m active and prepared for the first day. The whole time I was focused on what I should expect.
Monique Jackson-Dickens (‘Mrs. J-D’), 11th- and 12th-grade math, HS for Law, Adv

A big, happy reunion

First-day jitters. I started my day at 4:30 a.m. I really couldn’t sleep; I was restless and stressed, thinking about wanting to make sure my classroom was just right for my students. I’m a sixth-year teacher and tenured, and I still feel like that on the first day.

Member Spotlight

What I Do
Mary Murphy

What I do: Mary Murphy, LYFE program teacher

Mary Murphy has been a certified teacher in the Living for the Young Family through Education program for 17 years. Since last year, she’s been at Port Richmond HS in Staten Island. LYFE provides child care for teen parents enrolled in high school or the GED program and helps them learn parenting skills as well.

Around the UFT

The president visits PS 78 and PS 14, Staten Island

UFT President Michael Mulgrew paid a visit to the Stapleton section of Staten Island on the second day of school to meet educators at PS 78/PS 14, one of the UFT’s 10 new Community Learning Schools this year.

ASD Nest program workshops

Educators put their heads together to identify the early stages of problem behavior in children with autism and design strategies to keep the problem from escalating at one of the many Autism Spectrum Disorder Nest program workshops kicking off the new school year.


President's Perspective

Eval system has problems and potential

It is in a way pretty simple: If we are going to be evaluated on our teaching, then we are entitled to get what we need to teach.

Sterling Roberson

Building the CTE of the future

The UFT will, in partnership with the AFT’s Albert Shanker Institute, be co-hosting a conference that will bring together CTE educators, experts and industry partners on Oct. 10 and 11 to map out our vision for the future of career and technical education.


The co-location mess

Although he has just three months left at City Hall, Mayor Bloomberg continues to attempt to extend the reach of his failed policies into the next administration.

Bus worker cuts nixed

Michael Bloomberg may think he’s above the law, but he’s not.

Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Research shows

Close relationship key to mentoring

Mentoring programs aim to provide children with a relationship with a caring adult beyond family, teachers or other adults outside of school. When mentoring programs are based in schools, they often seek to improve students’ academic performance, usually with mentors providing tutoring or homework help. New research finds that the academic help has less effect on a child’s school performance than the quality of the relationship between the mentor and student.

Teacher to Teacher

New approaches to ELA instruction

Students who struggle in reading and writing often become disengaged with traditional instructional methods. It’s crucial, therefore, to develop instructional techniques that promote engagement and move students along the academic continuum. 

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Fun memories

I decided to start the year off with a celebration of things my kindergarten and 1st-grade ESL students did last year.

New Teacher Diaries

The beauty of teamwork

I had planned every minute of my first day back at school in September, but I hadn't factored in collaboration.

Retired Teachers News

Plenty to like about retirement

There is a dynamic among new retirees — after they hang up their school keys — of staying in touch with their work colleagues and friends and that is a good thing.