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New York TeacherOctober 4, 2018

Volume LX, Number 2

Cover Stories

Alhassan Susso emphasizes positivity and compassion in his class at Internationa

A Bronx visionary

How would you define vulnerability?

It’s a question Alhassan Susso recently posed to his new class of seniors, mostly recent immigrants, at the International Community HS in Mott Haven in the Bronx.

Their answers come rushing forth: Something that can easily break, lack of confidence, insecurity, someone who is easy to manipulate. Those responses lead to a class discussion about how vulnerable we are when we take risks, especially when we’re learning.

He reminds the class that “we’re here to help each other instead of making fun of each other.”

Susso wants his students to feel valued, to be self-aware about the choices they make every day, and to speak up without fear of being “wrong” or mocked. Covering his face with a jacket, he makes the students laugh — and uses body language to bridge any gap created by unfamiliar words — to mimic the masks people wear to hide their …

Money (generic)

Lump-sum payment of 25% due this month

Because you have a union that fights for you, eligible members are entitled to be compensated for the two 4 percent raises that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave to members of some municipal unions in 2009 and 2010 but refused to give to public school educators at the time. UFT members currently on payroll who worked for the DOE between 2009 and 2018 will receive in October a lump-sum payment of 25 percent of the amount accrued to date.

Nearly 500 members attended a Tier 4 pension clinic at UFT headquarters in Febru

UFT to offer more pension clinics

Because your pension is one of the most important benefits you have as a UFT member, the union’s Pension Department is expanding its outreach to help today’s in-service members better understand their pensions and plan for retirement.

Latest News

Letitia James celebrates with supporters after winning the Democratic primary fo

UFT pick Tish James wins primary

UFT-supported candidate Letitia “Tish” James won the Democratic nomination for state attorney general on Sept. 13, setting her up to make history as the first black woman to hold statewide office in New York should she win the general election in November.


UFT President Michael Mulgrew (center) helps the paraprofessionals celebrate the

Stepping up for labor

More than 1,200 exuberant UFT members turned out in force to show union strength and pride at the city’s Labor Day Parade. 

McDonald’s workers strike against sexual harassment

As the #MeToo movement gathers momentum, workers at McDonald’s deployed a potent tool from the labor movement to combat sexual harassment: a strike.

57 Detroit schools’ water tainted with lead, copper

The drinking water at 57 Detroit schools has tested positive for high levels of lead and copper. This means more than half of the 106 schools in Michigan’s largest school district have water unsafe for consumption. T

left: MaryJo Ginese was voted in as vice president for special education, replac

UFT has new treasurer, VP for special education

Two longtime UFT legends stepped down as officers of the union and their replacements were voted in by the Executive Board on Sept. 24. Mel Aaronson, who served as treasurer of the union since 1998, will be replaced by pension trustee Debra Penny, while Mary Jo Ginese, until recently the leader of the Supervisors of Nurses and Therapists Chapter, will take over for Carmen Alvarez, who has been the vice president for special education since 1990. 


Member Spotlight

Gloria Weiss
What I Do

What I do: Gloria Weiss, Consortium for Worker Education teacher

Gloria Weiss has worked for 20 years at the Consortium for Worker Education (CWE), the workforce development arm of the New York City Central Labor Council.

Sandra Amede
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Sandra Amede, MS 61, Brooklyn

Equilibrium has returned to MS 61, a well-respected Crown Heights school in with a strong gifted-and-talented program, after its relentless chapter leader took steps to get a bullying principal removed.

Around the UFT

Around the UFT
Tamika Abdullah, a social worker at PS/IS 184 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, reflects

West Indian Day Parade 2018

Nearly 100 UFT members and parents accompanied a UFT float Sept. 3 at the 51st West Indian Day Parade, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Rights
Mature male sitting at a desk writing

Preparation periods

Among the many meaningful rights and professional protections that your contract provides is time carved out each day for teachers to do professional work. Teachers are generally entitled to five prep periods per week. Prep periods are self-directed; teachers determine what to do during their prep periods.

Your Well-being
People in a meeting

Mental health support groups

Belonging to a support group can significantly ease your burden. when confronting personal or professional challenges. The UFT offers a number of support groups.

You Should Know

You Should Know
Dial-A-Teacher is on record pace

Dial-A-Teacher phone lines open

Tell your students: If they need homework help, the UFT’s award-winning Dial-A-Teacher service is open for business. The help line, beginning its 38th year, assists students and parents struggling with homework assignments from 4 to 7 p.m. every Monday to Thursday when school is in session.

You Should Know
Paraprofessionals from PS 335 in the Bronx, P75 in Queens and PS 75 in the Bronx

Nominate a colleague for the 2018 paraprofessional awards

Paraprofessionals are core members of every school community, and this year is the kickoff of the 50th anniversary of the UFT’s Paraprofessionals Chapter. To recognize paras and this special anniversary, UFT members are encouraged to honor a paraprofessional who has made outstanding contributions to their school, community and union. 

You Should Know
Healthcare expense - generic

City pays incentive for waiving city health benefits

Are you covered by a New York City health benefits plan but also covered by the non-city health insurance plan of your parent, spouse or domestic partner, or through other employment?

You Should Know

New ID procedures at UFT offices

A new procedure has been established for UFT members who visit UFT headquarters in Manhattan or one of the union’s borough offices.


Secure Your Future
Money, Invest, Save written on a blackboard with chalk

6 investment choices lead to peace of mind

Members of the Teachers’ Retirement System or the Board of Education Retirement System have a voluntary, supplemental savings plan, the Tax-Deferred Annuity, that can help ensure their retirement security.

Opinions

VPerspective
D15 Diversity Plan Logo

In praise of the District 15 diversity plan

How can we ensure that the middle school experience benefits and uplifts every New York City public school student, regardless of race and income level? The District 15 Diversity Plan, which the city approved on Sept. 20, is an important step toward that goal.

President's Perspective
Bubble Test

The limits of testing

New York State has begun to undo the legacy of lost instruction and parental anger brought about by the testing craze championed by the school “reform” movement. But it still has a ways to go to create a genuine culture of support for the schools and teachers that our children need.


Editorials
Puerto Rico flags

Standing with PR

The UFT and the AFT are always ready to help when disaster strikes.

Editorials
Fossil fuel

Fleeing fossil fuels

Reducing the use of fossil fuels that lead to carbon pollution is one of the most important strategies for rescuing the planet.

Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
nyc-doe-report-card

Report card alternatives

Teachers know that their students are more than just a set of grades. But the DOE’s standard single-page report card doesn’t give them the opportunity to demonstrate it. That’s why some elementary schools have turned to alternative progress reports.

Teacher to Teacher

Honing nonverbal communication skills

In my pre-K classroom, I strive to strengthen my students’ nonverbal communication skills because understanding facial expressions and gestures allows for communication to be fluid, natural and meaningful. For English language learners, these skills are just as important as listening, speaking, reading and writing English when it comes to acquiring English language skills. 

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

My students are the real champs

My students are the real champs! C- Cooperative, H- Honest, A- Accountable, M- Motivated, P- Polite! 

New Teacher Diaries
Teaching - generic

Teaching is a calling— and I was called to teach

I couldn’t sleep the night before school. As a third-year teacher and a career changer, I sometimes still can’t believe I’m a special education teacher at the same public high school my daughter once attended.

Retired Teachers News

Together we can do it. Unionism - generic

Legacy, monuments, grief

Legacy is a concept that resonates with retirees. We often reflect on our personal lives, our careers and, for many of us, the fate of our union. Today, across the country, we are struggling with an evaluation of our past in the context of where we are and where we go from here.

Monuments, grief and mourning have been in the forefront in the public forum lately as a result of the death of Sen. John McCain and the ongoing efforts in some states to remove or modify confederate statuary.

What’s it all about? We who are of a certain age are more familiar than most when it comes to losing friends, family and colleagues, and it engenders some questions:

Who should be remembered and how?

What should be remembered and why?

Winston Churchill once said that he would be remembered since he intended to write the history …