Purgatory for Teachers

I most certainly won't do justice to the story, but has anyone heard of The Rubber Room, a place where New York City teachers are sent to when they are in the midst of some kind of troublesome issue at the school where they work.

It's somewhat unreal to hear about - each year, there are hundreds of teachers who are suspended from working, waiting for their "trial" on offenses ranging from excessive lateness to sex abuse. (criminal cases go through the courts, so these seem to be accusations that do not require the legal system, but will still demand a trial in the school system.

Okay, so teachers are put "on hold" in their jobs because of some reason or other...and disciplinary action sometimes takes awhile..... but they also get PAID to stay there. They show up each day and read (they formed a book club) or play chess or learn a language (one of the teachers is teaching the others)...and they get PAID-their full salary. At the taxpayers expense. They are highly encouraged to quit their jobs or retire - but these are (typically) teachers who love their jobs and want to teach. They don't want to leave the system-they want to get back in their classroom.

There's a documentary being made about it and several of the teachers have started a blog. It's just amazing. There are some insane things going on out there....

I first learned of the Rubber Rooms and the insanity of it all via This American Life with Ira Glass (plays on NPR and is the best radio show ever). If you get a chance (it's about 50 minutes), you should definitely listen to this episode (and then listen to all the others).


  1. Jo said...:

    You have a great blog. Where have you been hiding?

    I had not heard about "Purgatry for Teachers" although when I was in school, I certainly knew a few teachers who should have been sent there.

    Very interesting!


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