GEM NYC
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ATR Job Fair: Many called….Few chosen

A “mandatory recruitment fair” (or was it a futility festival?) was held in the main room of the Grand Prospect Ballroom in Brooklyn on September 14. Teachers were initially directly to report at 10 o’clock in the morning. Email messages went out the day before changing the time to 1:00. Although the second floor ballroom is large, teachers weren’t permitted to enter until after one o’clock. Some didn’t get in until around 2:00. Teachers who arrived in the morning had to stand around waiting for more than three hours before going upstairs to the interview tables.

The DOE used a first floor lounge and restaurant as waiting rooms. These side rooms were stuffed far beyond their room capacity (which is listed on the ballroom’s website as 320 persons).

Teachers were advised in the email messages that no lunch would be provided. For those arriving in the afternoon there was not even water. One teacher was stopped from entering the Skylight Room where administrators were being served a range of beverages by waiters in black jackets. A handler in a monogrammed jacket told the teacher there wasn’t anything available for interviewees. Asked what his position was the man explained that he was employed by a private company (a DOE “partner”) hired to provide logistics for the job fair. Apparently these logistics didn’t include providing water for the hundreds of cattle call participants. After a standoff of several minutes a Ballroom waiter brought the teacher a glass of water from the off-limits room. Teachers typically seemed to be seeing about 3-4 vacancies in their licence area. Some fewer. Some found none.

Throwaway line: Many of the participants were dressed like they would hope to be treated: professional or at least semi-professional. However, scores of others were more in keeping with the shabby reality.

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