ATRs Defending Themselves with Recorders

Lies. Harassment. Bullying. Corruption. There is one tool (weapon) that can and is helping veteran and experienced ATRs fight back. Recorders.

More and more ATRs are reporting that they have audio recorded their field supervisors and principals.

“Shouldn’t you be thinking about retirement?”

“I saw no engagement in your class at all. (when recordings and documents clearly show engagement)”

“You’re an ATR and I can assign you to whatever I want!”

These are some of the clips sent to us with ATRs documenting countless more. Some want to share and others are waiting to use their clips as defense during bogus 3020-a hearings brought against them.

If you are an ATR being “counseled” through harassment and bullying, lies and violations to your rights, and you are not recording every meeting and observation…then you are crazy. Your only recourse to fight back is obviously not the UFT, but rather documenting and pushing back.

It is legal in NY and unfortunately your only weapon against a lying supervisor trying to push the agenda to get rid of veteran and experienced educators.

See one example below. Listen to how this NYCDOE Field Supervisor offers no support to the teacher who is asking them “What standard should I use?” This happens after the teacher is rated unsatisfactory for not using the right standard. Seems like the Field Supervisor did not even know. The ATR stated that even after weeks of asking, the Field Supervisor did not inform them.


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  1. Claire Scesney Lundahl

    I have been exposed to offensive remarks by a Ms. Mendez- a field supervisor. The comment was, ” Oh, you have no children, there must be a void in your life”. This is one of many comments that I have been exposed to that were gratuitous and offensive. Field supervisors are never expected to model the right approach and yet they expect perfection every time they visit- even if the ATR is seeing the students for the first time.

    • Field supervisor Stella Kotsopoulis (sp?) always tells me that somehow my carefully planned lessons she observed are deficient. When I told her, for example, that the class she just observed me teaching a month ago had had THREE different teachers since September and a recent one-month-long interval of no assigned teacher at all, just a daily shuffle of ATRs and substitutes, and therefore had lost any classroom discipline (“Do I have to write down what you wrote on the board?”), she was quick to compare me to “an ATR I just observed last week. She divided the students into groups and passed around models! It was wonderful!” Strongly implied was, “And you’re NOT!” She did the same thing for a subsequent lesson she observed me teaching, a lab. There was NOTHING wrong with that lesson whatsoever. The kids were quiet, attentive (as attentive as kids ever are during a lab), and I saw them dive into the lab activity. She claimed that only 1 student per table was actually doing work. That’s not what I saw, and even it that were true, I’d say, “Welcome to high school science labs, where we can’t even get them to COME to lab, let alone have all 4 in a group participate equally!” This woman is from an elementary school background, yet claims expertise to be able to evaluate high school lessons. She also does not have a science background, yet observes high school science lessons. She brought along a confederate field supervisor to my last observation, a retired high school principal with no science background. Together they found a perfectly good lab lesson deficient, although she wrote how well prepared and written my lesson was. The deficiency was that “the students were not fully engaged and did not demonstrate that they had learned anything.” I guess that’s why their regular teacher (who dear Stella kicked out of the classroom before the observation) informed me the next day that those kids clearly knew stuff about the lab subject that they had not known before.

      Being compared negatively to another teacher she observed is, in my opinion, highly unprofessional and downright mean spirited on her part. Is that how we are to treat students? “Johnny, I’m sorry, but your test score is lower than Sally’s; I don’t care if you were ill. I’ve graded thousands of tests, and I can tell that Sally is studying harder than you are.”

  2. Was the retired HS principal Kathy Marra? She was my supervisor it would be interesting to know because she judged my chemistry lesson as low level and she is not a chemistry teacher.

  3. Kenia I. Hussain

    I am an ATR social worker who was made to do classroom coverage. I informed the union Rep. at the building obviously asking for help. He met with the Principal came back to me and told me that the Principal had stated” Social Workers are lazy and while she’s in my building she will do what ever I ask her to. I was forced to cover classes because the union Rep. could not do anything to help me. That was unfair to the children expecting someone with teaching experience to be covering a class. I fell like we are the forgotten children of the DOE. Even when we call HR to complain about being bullied and harassed at a placement, we are basically told to suck it up. We are also told we have no say on assignments.

  4. Please keep me up to date.

  5. Stella seems to enjoy giving Us.

  6. Has anyone have information on Justin Starke, the failed administrator from the Queens HS for Information, Research and Technology?

    Is he as big of a tool as I hear?

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