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Many have told me “Good thing you are tenured.” and also “You would never open your mouth if you weren’t tenured.” That last one is absolutely not true at all. I admit I was against tenure when I received it in 2010. I thought it got in the way of getting rid of ineffective teachers. I mean teachers who were not only poor at their job, but more importantly had no intention of improving and were able to stay in the system.

Of course now I am happy to be tenured, but make no mistake I was “loud” from the beginning. See email thread below I found a year after I started. It was sent to an AP, Denise Diacomanolis, who I asked for help. In both emails I received little to no response. The only response I received was her coming into my classroom with a clipboard. I laugh now, because I was clueless back then as to what she was trying to do. Unfortunately, most  of that class failed because they were able to do what they wanted. No worries though, she changed all their grades to passing and stated “It’s Scantek…you can’t have them fail Scantek (Before it was called STEM)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Mr. Portelos <mrportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 4:34 PM <—Year 2 of my career
Subject: Anecdotals?
To: Denise Diacomanolis <ddiacom@schools.nyc.gov>

Denise,
    I’m checking up on the anecdotals I have written up on members of 827. I have spoken to parents and no improvement have been made. I have given them 1’s and 3’s on their section sheet.
 
Please tell me if anything has happened with any cut slips or anecdotals I have written for Student A-, Student B, Student C, Student D, Student EI am looking up and writing up the infractions according to the NYCDOE Discipline code.  It isn’t fair to the students that want to learn in that class.
 
PS: Student F got a 93 in my class last report card. Is there anyway she can be in my class during tech?  Its a shame not have her since she was doing so well.
 
— 
-Mr. Portelos
S.T.E.M. Lab Teacher
IS 49 Berta Dreyfus
NO RESPONSE WHATSOEVER 

A month later I sent this. Again, no verbal or written response. Her response was to come in with a clipboard and observe me and later have a post observation meeting with the chapter leader. The prior year I received a Satisfactory observation from her.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Mr. Portelos <mrportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 2:41 PM
Subject: 827/822 7th and 8th Period Tech Block
To: Denise Diacomanolis <ddiacom@schools.nyc.gov>
Cc: Carol Obler <carolobler@gmail.com>

Denise,
      Something has to be done about the 7th and 8th period block of 827 and 822. They come and go as they please between my room and Ms. Obler’s. Parents have been called. Security has been called. Dean’s have been called. You have been called. Anecdotals and cut slips have been written and written again. Carol and I are here to teach, not baby sit. For every time there is a foreign student in my room or one of mine is out without authorization, I spend precious time on the phone calling you, security and the deans.
      We need administrative back up. We will not be doing this until the end of June. I ask for after school detention for all students found cutting from those 2 classes. I have attempted to lock my door, but I have again stand by the door as a guard instead of in the room as a teacher.
 
Today I had approximately 7 students in my class that didn’t belong including  Student D, Student E, Student F, Student G, Student H, and several more that I don’t know.
 
I ask, could you teach under those conditions?
I have a whole set of cut slips and anecdotals that I feel are going unanswered. 
— 
-Mr. Portelos
S.T.E.M. Lab Teacher
IS 49 Berta Dreyfus
Reading the email above, do you think I cared about tenure or being disciplined? The education of my students was my top priority. I even went as far as starting a grievance process because class 827 had a para and Co-teacher in all subjects written on their IEPs. In my class both para and CTT teacher were both absent. So from 3 adults needed in main subjects, we were down to one in tech and art.
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