Teacher, Harlem, NY - August 7, 2016
The school is 51% special needs kids and unfortunately does not have the SPED staff it needs right now to service all of its students. However, the teachers are enormously dedicated (especially the ones who have been there more than one year), and administration tries its best to support you. The students do get away with a lot, but this is not unusual for a public school or even a charter. The school works hard to implement restorative justice, but it takes more than one year and a lot of training to see a real change.
I have worked under a lot of different administrations and this school has the best by far. They are dedicated workers and fair in their assessments of both you and the students. Fair doesn't mean nice all the time--they will call you out if you are not following protocol. But they give you multiple warnings and strategies to help you before it becomes a job security issue.
They do keep the teachers until 4, but the kids are only there until 3. This is a great way to catch up on work and prep for the next day. This way, grade team and subject team meetings can happen when kids are not around.
I have learned a lot (and still need to) about classroom management. Despite my shortcomings in that area, I feel hugely valued by my administration which is one of the best parts of working here.
The one thing I'd change (besides the behavior of the kids, which is an ongoing process and something the school is actively working on) is the culture of the staff. We aren't really the type of staff that hangs out after work or plans weekend BBQs together. I think we would show a more united front if we also socialized a few times a quarter and got to know each other more. It is just a professional environment with dedicated teachers--we socialize after work...just not with each other.