Written by Georgia Worrell
Original Article Posted on New York Post, February 25, 2023
A former New York City public school teacher fled the Department of Education for a charter school after being bitten by a misbehaving student three times – and getting no help from administrators.
“I saw a very dark future for myself.”
She described the two years of shockingly poor working conditions she endured at a Harlem high school for kids with special needs.
Francis, 32, said she became a city public school teacher with the goal of making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities.
“I loved my kids,” the Brooklyn-based educator said.
But at her first job teaching 12th grade at the Department of Education’s P79M Horan School in Harlem, Francis wasn’t given a curriculum to follow or classroom supplies – “so everything was on me,” she said.
She also got no support from school administrators in coping with unruly students – one of whom bit her three times, she said.
“People saw me getting injured and nobody intervened. My principal said they were sorry and that was it. And then it happened again. I didn’t have any support and it was pretty traumatic for me. I saw a trend in the building with teachers getting injured, and a lack of care or remorse for them.”
Knowing that she couldn’t last in an environment where teachers weren’t supported, Francis switched last year to teaching 11th grade AP Language and Composition at Brooklyn Laboratory High School, a charter school in DUMBO — a position she described as “a dream.”
“I have a coach now — someone who comes and observes me teach and gives me feedback,” she said. “We have two or three preps a day here, so it gives me enough time to have my lessons prepared for my students. Before, I was kind of drowning. I didn’t have a break.”
“I can see why a lot of educators have left [DOE schools]. It’s because of a [lack of] work/life balance.”