Peter and His Amazing RIFs


As teacher layoffs have become a frustrating norm for several of my friends, I wanted to find a way to personalize for the public the mass layoffs that affect the teaching force. Peter and I sat down for an afternoon trying to figure out a way to clearly explain the mess that has been his employment status over the past few years. The conversation took nearly four hours and spilled over dozens of post-it notes. The result is the above children’s book. Though it glosses over details and even more infuriating bureaucratic mistakes and lack of communication, the general difficulty with determining seniority (and thus ensuring a job) is pretty clear. The messy scrawl is all mine – Peter made all of the images using a program we used in our journalism intersession class. (The slideshow can be slowed down by clicking on the options once it’s launched.)


8 thoughts on “Peter and His Amazing RIFs

  1. Lanette

    That is crazy, appalling and very sad. The worst part is the fact that the district will have open spaces with subs in them while teachers they laid off are struggling to live. Most of it is a numbers game. I wonder if every time they lay him off they get to restart his advancement clock. Like him being a B2 when he should have been permanent. I appreciate Peter’s resiliency!

  2. Kevin Hodgson

    I’m glad that you (and he) could find a creative outlet for the frustration but it is still very sad … I hope he finds his footing again in the classroom.

  3. Nemesis

    like daye said, the simplicity of the story telling is something to marvel at… almost as much as i marvel about how clueless the general public is about the situation that teachers and students are being faced with… so many lives affected by stories like these (not quite told in such a digestible fashion)

    my wife’s story was one such ( story… so many friends having to bear the same indignity… all for choosing the most dignified profession in the most undignified time…

    in the struggle with solidarity to peter and all those RIF’d

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  5. ana Rodriguez

    this whole story made me cry!!! ( and i’m be sincere) Peter is one of the teachers who not only loves his job but he cares about students. He deserves to be a teacher without that stupid RIF. I wish i can do something about it :/.

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