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BookSlinger 12-03-2015 02:21 PM

School fired me for BS reasons
Hi folks! I found my way here trying to find information in regard to my (former) job. I wanted to ask the advice of others who work in the field of education. I'll be as specific as possible without being specific to the point of identifying.

My local school district hired me to be a library assistant toward the end of the summer, and then they fired me for "not being a good fit" in November. Personally, I think they handled my employment horribly. Some of the district's greatest hits during my brief employment with them include:

- Not giving me a copy of my contract (probably to keep me from knowing when they were taking advantage of me).

- Expecting me to discipline and be in charge of classes (but without training me on HOW to do this) when doing so wasn't in my job description.

- Telling me I should have just figured out how to do the parts of my job I wasn't trained on (mostly related to classroom management).

- I paid union dues, but the union did absolutely nothing to defend me even when I was being fired.

- Was left alone to run the library for days at a time because the actual librarian would have to work at other locations in the district (because the school was too cheap to hire more than one librarian).

- Had extra duties heaped on me and then was scolded when I didn't have time to do my actual job.

I've currently got some union folks at the regional level trying to get in touch with the local union people, but the local union has been ignoring the regional rep for two weeks. I think they're going to wait until it's been a month past my termination so I can't possibly file a grievance. So the union is pretty much useless to me now.

Frankly, I think it's ridiculous the way I was expected to do all these things that I not only should not have had to do as supporting staff, but that I wasn't even qualified to do. I'm wondering if there's anyone else I can contact about my situation. Would the school board be interested in this? I have no idea what to do from here and I don't want to let the district get away with treating its employees like this if I can help it.

Tawaki 12-03-2015 08:56 PM

Library/Media assistant is the absolute worse job in the district I worked in. All the responsibility for $11.50/hr. I took a noon aide job over that. I'd rather deal with the chaos of the lunchroom amd playground than that. (I'm a teacher, so herding kids is not new to me)

Media assistant is a great job if you a retired teacher/librarian and you want to still work with kids, and do work "for the good of the cause". If you are a new teacher graduate and want to get your food in the door.

What probably happened is the needed a warm body, and you looked handy. Do you have any classroom/teaching experience? The media assistant at my DD school does all day to day operations. Check ins/check outs and the teachers drop the kids off. Supervises the parent volunteers. Does all the skut work, because the Media Specialist rotates between two schools.

I know our media assistant was at the beck and call of the principal, teachers and the Media Specialist. She has to do all the decorating for the different months. Plan out the annual book fair and get it okayed by the principal and the Media Specialist.

You got screwed. The school needed a meat puppet, and the job probably doesn't pay as well as other para jobs. I bet you thought you were signing up to do the stuff the parent volunteers do; shelve books, check ins/outs, etc. A warm body is better than no body. They were never going to train you.

"Not a good fit" means you didn't do all that extra BS with a happy heart, and that is what they'll use against you. They'll also say you were in over your head and chose to stay.

What do you want? If the job means student supervision, did you have any previous background? That is why I think you got used. New teachers need around two years before they really figure out classroom management. No way are resources going to be used to train you.

This job is gone. What the school had you do is what is expected of a library assistant. Maybe the union can get you shunted into another job.

My state is an at will state. Employers can let me go because for any reason. If you are in a state with a really wimpy teachers union, they maybe riding it out for the month.

I would look else where and write this off as a learning experience.

Tawaki 12-03-2015 09:18 PM

Forgot to add...
Is there a 90 work day clause to your contract? If the school punted you before 90 days, you'll have no recourse.

BookSlinger 12-03-2015 11:12 PM

Nope, I have absolutely nothing even resembling classroom or teaching experience. Even my experience being around kids is almost nonexistent because I usually go out of my way to avoid them (and if you're wondering, I took a job at a school because I needed a job).

I think I even said during the interview that I had no prior experience working with/around children, so I was shocked when they hired me. And yeah, I assumed I'd be assisting the librarian with the time-consuming things like shelving materials, checking books in/out, etc. In essence, I was a substitute librarian on an assistant's salary. I also did at one point reach out for training on how to deal with the students within the district, and I was promised training, but the person who was supposed to help me never did. I didn't know I was supposed to be in charge of anybody until I got yelled at for not properly disciplining students.

I don't know if there's a 90-day work clause in my contract because I was never given a copy of it. I have no idea what my rights as an employee even are. My state is also an at-will state and I know they can fire me for no reason at all. I guess I was hoping to try and find a way to stick it to them for treating me like crap.

anngirl 12-04-2015 07:39 AM

I'm sorry you were put in that situation.

What you listed here seems pretty standard in all the schools I've worked at. All aides/assistants get the worst jobs overseeing students. They shouldn't have hired you in the first place if you don't want to work with students. I think your best bet is to move on and try something else. Do you really want this job back?

I've actually been in an admin position where I saw staff members who were good people that didn't not have appropriate training to do their job. While I wanted to encourage them and provide training, the reality was that we didn't have time for that. It was better for the school as a whole to let the staff member go and try to get someone more equipped for the job.

I don't think the school board would care and while it was handled poorly, they probably did not break any contract. In my area new teachers only get a probationary contract and can be let go at any time if the admin feels the job is not being performed adequately.

BookSlinger 12-07-2015 01:32 PM

The only way I would ever want this job back is if it would resemble a real library assistant job... as in one where I don't need to have authority over students and I'm simply helping. It'd be nice if I could at least get back the union dues I paid (since they did nothing to help me) and be paid back for my security clearances (which I was told I'd be repaid) that I was required to have.

Maybe they hired me specifically because I wasn't familiar with employment in a school district and they knew they could take advantage of me much more easily than someone who had previous experience in education.

I still kind of feel bad because one of my former teachers gave a glowing recommendation to these pricks and I tried my best to do my actual job and all the other nonsense that got heaped on me. Library work itself was great, but I am not cut out for working with kids. I'd say all my stress from work was a perfect 50/50 split: half of it was due to the kids, half was due to administration.

Anyway, thank you all so much for your input on this matter. I'm still kind of steamed that they can treat me (and others) like this and get away with it.

Zia 12-30-2015 07:35 AM

You said this:
"but I am not cut out for working with kids"
which leads me to think a school is not the best place for you to work. No matter the position, you will be interacting with kids. Even custodians do. Because of that and this:
"My state is also an at-will state and I know they can fire me for no reason at all,"
I say move on to something else and let this go.

Munchkins 12-30-2015 07:40 AM

So sorry this happened to you. But...if you are hired by a school, you should expect to work with students. Our library aide not only assists our librarian, but helps students and will cover the library classes as needed. I wouldnt pursue getting this job back. Maybe you can find something in a public library, or a book store. I wish you well!

Renea 12-30-2015 08:39 AM

Lessons learned?

"but I am not cut out for working with kids"
You also mentioned that you avoid children as much as you can.

Why would you question the district's judgment when they said you weren't a good fit? You admit that you're not the best fit for a para job.

Next time search for a job that matches your skills.
During your first months on the job continually check in with your boss about your performance.
If you're criticized on the job don't be defensive but work to find out how you can meet the boss's expectations.

It stinks to lose a job. Make the best of it, but use the lessons you've learned when seeking new employment. I advise you to take the lessons you learned from this experience seriously.

BookSlinger 01-01-2016 03:24 PM

I still stand by what I said about how working with kids is not something I'm good at, but I needed a job, so I had no choice but to step outside of my comfort zone. We've all had to take jobs we hate at some point, and this was one such job for me. And guys, I knew I'd be interacting with children at this job - I'm not that thick that I honestly believe I'm going to work in an elementary school and have no contact with students! :) What I meant is I didn't think I'd need to be in charge of students, that's all.

I never let on that I'm not a kid person, nor was I ever mean to the students. Maybe I should have been mean to them, I don't know. I just questioned the district's decision because... well, firstly because I was mad that they fired me, and secondly because I feel that my inability to do my job was mostly (if not entirely) the school's fault for not properly training me and/or expecting me to do things I wasn't qualified to do. There was really no constructive from administration - just "Duhh-eeeee, go figure it out yourself!" and my boss was always so busy that I probably would have had an easier time getting a hold of the president than I would have getting in touch with my boss.

Nobody gave me expectations - they just came in to tell me how useless I was six weeks into my employment and, up until that moment, I didn't know I was doing anything wrong. That's when I reached out for extra assistance, which I think the district frowned upon.


Next time search for a job that matches your skills.
Much easier said than done when you're desperate for work, unfortunately. I would never willingly choose to work around children, but I needed money, and $14 an hour sounded mighty good. There are really no lessons to be learned from my brief experience working for a school district other than it's horrible to work for a school district. But should I ever find myself having no choice but to work in one in the future, I'll know to expect the worst.

I'm certainly not fighting to get this job back, but I just really wish there's something I could have done to just inconvenience the district in some way to get back at them.

broomrider 01-01-2016 06:39 PM

You might try
to write the state and national umbrellas of your local union and request them to refund your union dues since the local did nothing to help you retain your job and was unresponsive to the district's intervention. (May not do much other than to annoy the local and serve notice that they are not doing their job--which might be a win in the revenge department.)

You can write HR and request your security clearance fees you were promised would be refunded. If there is no response in a reasonable amount of time--give it two weeks with maybe a follow-up phone call, go to the school board and ask them for the money in a public meeting. Don't go into the details of lack of support, etc.--unfortunately sounds like sour grapes and it's too late--just ask for the promised refund and show evidence (signed mail receipt) that you've presented the bill with no response. If that doesn't sound good to you, rather than standing up at a public meeting, write to the president of the school board including the signed mail receipt as ask him/her to help you get your refund.

Quite obviously you don't plan to work in the district again, but you never know who knows whom in any town and you don't want to sabotage future jobs.

spedder1 05-23-2016 09:09 AM

My district
I am retired now, but taught in a very large school district with 50+ schools. There were library paras manning the libraries. They were supervised by the librarians who are in the buildings a few times a month. The library paras read to the students, help them find books at their reading levels, check books in and out, shelve books, order books with the assistance of the librarian, etc. They follow lesson plans and check with teachers to see what is being taught so what they Re reading to the stiudents is relevant. You had a job that was integral to student success in reading, which leads to success in all areas.

It is too expensive for large districts to have librarians in every school. It would be next to impossible to find over 50 school librarians.

I cannot believe that job requirements were not discussed at your interview. Also, if you did not have a copy of your contract, you could have easily requested it from Human Resources.


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