On November 15th, I submitted some pretty standard onboarding paperwork for the NYC Teaching Collaborative program. Little did I know about the enormous headache getting ready to play out in front of my very eyes…
After over a month of practically hounding the folks at the DOE’s Office of Personnel Investigations, I was finally cleared to report back for substitute teaching. I knew this because I woke up the other morning to a barrage of automated phone calls from SubCentral trying to solicit me for a sub job. To be clear, the only investigation this was in relation to was the background investigation that every DOE employee goes through. Why they just couldn’t pull my 2020-21 background investigation from when I became a substitute teacher eludes me, but alas…
The timing couldn’t have worked out better, because I was pretty thoroughly disappointed with the DOE at that point, such that I was ready to give up on teaching altogether and turn my sights to a job in the city government or some other sector.
The greatest sting of this entire ordeal was that there wasn’t even a particularly good reason as to why my paperwork got held up and brought my sub work eligibility to a stuttering halt. The response I got from OPI basically amounted to a “We apologize for the technical glitch it the system, it has been corrected.” To add insult to injury? My mysterious OPI contact ended their terse, long-awaited reply by cautioning that the same thing might happen again.
This kind of stuff makes me wonder if I should have listened to the handful of teachers I’ve come to know over the last year who cautioned me to stay away from teaching (at least in the NYC DOE). Maybe this is my trial by fire into the appointed/licensed ranks of DOE teachers — only the stubborn steadfast will survive. I admit that I do love a good challenge. I’m no stranger to navigating crippling red tape and administrative bureaucracy. It would, however, be splendid if i could take on that red tape and bureaucracy without being out of a job for a month because the DOE couldn’t get my paperwork in order.
My teaching journey may be in its infancy, but I’m determined to make it as an educator in the NYC Department of Education.