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INFJSub INFJSub is offline
 
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I think I've been blacklisted by the Assistant Principal
Old 11-10-2017, 04:09 PM
 
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Hi All,
I've been lurking around for a few months, gaining a wealth of knowledge through the various posts I have read. So, thank you to everyone who contributes; now that I have an account,
hopefully I can do the same.

Issue at Hand:
I've come to the conclusion that the Assistant Principal at my daughter's middle school - one of the schools in the district I sub for - has it out for me. Perhaps, from the AP's perspective, she has reason to; though I know no one who would agree.

In order to fully explain my situation, I must back up a bit and share some misc. info about my daughter and her friend.

Three weeks ago, my daughter and her "boy" friend were hanging out (we live about 2.5 miles from his home). It began to rain and he decided to walk my daughter home, then walk himself home. I was unaware of this, or the fact that he didn't have an umbrella. About 10 mins after my daughter came home, we got in the car to run to the store. At this time she told me her friend was still walking and at this time it was POURING. My daughter said his mother told him something along the lines of "he was stupid for being out in the rain and no she wouldn't pick him up."It was REALLY coming down. I immediately drove the path to find where this kid was and get him out of the downpour. He jumped in the car, thankful, but upset because the rain killed (indefinitely) his cell phone.
This boy, hmmm, doesn't have the best home life. Not horrific, as in he's being beaten or lives in a filthy home; though I think there's a strong argument for some emotional abuse, as he has grown up being told he is sh*t, can't do sh*t right, and if he doesn't get it together he needs to pack his sh*t and move to his father's (who he doesn't have much of a relationship with). I could go on, but I'm sure many of you "get" the type of child this is.

A week ago, I was subbing at my daughter's middle school. She had been at his house the night prior, working on homework, during which they discussed with his mom that he might ride home with us after school. I had also mentioned this when I finally met her a few days prior, that I was subbing for the kid's LA class and could bring him home. So, at the end of the day, both kids arrived in my classroom, I gathered my items, walked to the office to turn in my badge/key and off we went. This particular afternoon I had to stop at the store to pick up a cake (my son's birthday), but before we went in, I asked her friend to text his mother, just as a reminder that he was with us. Well, he didn't have his phone and his mom has had a few new numbers recently and wasn't sure what her number was. He, in turn, got on my daughter's phone and messaged his mother on FB & IG. (Sidenote: both messages were read not long after being sent.) We had been at the store about 5 mins. when I got a call from the school, but I let it go to VM since the store was loud and figured it was about an upcoming job. Well, it wasn't about an upcoming job, it was the AP - calling because my daughter's friend's mother called the school "scared to death" about where her son was. The AP asked if I had informed the mother/had permission that I would be bringing her son home. I was truly a bit thrown off by this call to begin with and said "well, yes...he contacted his mother and let her know - on IG/FB - but was unsure of his mother's # since his phone did not work" The AP told me it was against school policy for me to take ANY child off school property in my vehicle unless I had permission. (yah, I DO know this...) I was a bit flustered/embarrassed and said "I"m sorry but I'm really surprised by her being so concerned, considering this is a mother who was FINE with her son staying gone til midnight - on Halloween - a school night." The AP replied, "Oh...wow..." in a tone that implied she "understood" that this mother was not exactly right. I got the mother's phone number, had the boy call his mom, who was VERY upset. I felt terrible for the misunderstanding, that he was now in trouble with his mother and anxious about going home. I decided to text his mom, apologizing for her scare and to let her know I would bring him home in just a few. I was greeted with a reply that said for me to keep him longer (yah) and she didn't get his FB/IG messages because she's not on either often. False. Her profile is public, she doesn't work and, well, if posting on either medium was a job she would be rich. Plus, the messages he had sent to his mother were timestamped way prior to her call to the AP.

If you've stuck with me this far, thanks. I apologize for being so wordy and/or this being such a long story.

That Friday I subbed for another teacher at the MS. This teacher is notorious for being awful, as she will be retiring after 35 years this year, but doesn't want to finish the year out teaching - she has MS. The paraprofessionals have told me multiple times how bad the students were and that they want to get a long term sub in there, so the kids can LEARN, and get their acts together.

Okay.

I was left - laughable - lesson plans on a small index card. The students were to read two lessons (lessons that were the wrong ones, as they hadn't read the first part of the chapter), write out vocab definitions and make up jeopardy questions. First period was a hot mess. Many were unruly which is not the norm for the district or grade. Prior to 2nd period, I went to the next door classroom, a teacher I had subbed for prior that taught the same subject, and I asked if what the students were saying and how they were behaving could be for real.

What had I been told? That she distributes the test - the ACTUAL test - and quizzes a day prior to the exam and provides them all answers to study by. That their homework (reading/vocab) was graded based on an honor system. Many children throughout the day informed me that they simply never did the reading or the work but got As. I also found an agenda, 3 new books, and a composition notebook in the trash. They all had names on them, so I returned them to the students during the day. I was told that the teacher throws any items left in the classroom away. Ummm..what?! After a chaotic 1st period and per the suggestion of the next door teacher, I decided that we would read the text as a class & discuss (based on what I knew, as it was the time period/subject my research is in & teacher's edition comprehension questions). 2nd through 5th period enjoyed this and many students thanked me for having a REAL class. All classes had time to finish their vocab and/or jeopardy questions too; well those who utilized class time. Then comes 6th & 7th period: AWFUL. Simply rude, disrespectful kids and not just to me, to one another. In 7th period there was a para in the room and I knew her casually because she lives in my neighborhood, though not highly regarded because she's a bit of a drama causer/snob. I was happy I had another adult in the room, as it had always been my experience that paras will crack down on the kids that are misbehaving. Well, I have NEVER felt so out numbered in my entire life. The para laughed off the kids crap behavior and when one made a comment about getting a detention (not from me) it was because he was black and the teacher who gave it to him was white! The para did confirm that the teacher threw out books, didn't hold a class, the kids did whatever and she did give out tests/quizzes and answers. This, honestly, blows my mind; I grew up surrounded by teachers (parents, in laws, grandparents) and, well, this is unheard of.
After stewing over this all evening, I decided to speak up in my AESOP feedback form about some of the issues I encountered: books being thrown out (and how these could at the very least be donated to the library!) and the unprofessional manner that the para acted - backing up her students bad behavior.

Monday rolls around and I get an email that I was "removed" from a job in Dec. on AESOP at the middle school. This particular job was for a special ed class, a job I was personally chosen for by the teacher due to my connection with the autistic girl who has never faired well with subs. I had a good rapport with this teacher, so it really threw me off. I decided to email the teacher, stating that I got an email about being removed from the job and wanted to know if I had done something wrong or incompletely the last time I was there. If I had, I would appreciate feedback to better improve my performance as a sub. She wrote me back quickly and said she did not remove me from the job and has no idea what would have happened. She said she was fwding my email to the AP, who is in charge of AESOP at the MS.

Great.

Because I had a feeling she was "involved".
I anxiously awaited a phone call or email back...but it never came.

I have subbed at the elem. or HS since.

My daughter told me that her teacher, who emailed me a couple weeks ago asking if I could sub for her this month, had a sub come in for her class. The kids asked why it wasn't going to be me...she said I wasn't available. This is false, I didn't work that day and those of you who know AESOP are aware that jobs can be assigned to specific subs.

My daughter has also told me that the AP will sometimes look at her and not in a friendly manner. In full disclosure, my daughter is a honor roll (4.0!) student, involved in Muse Machine, an introvert, artsy, lover of music - playing guitar and ukulele, kind child (have personally seen this from afar and been told by all her teachers) - so she's a good kid. If you didn't know her, some might think she's - idk - a punk (? - not sure of the right word). She has longer hair on one side and short on the other, it's currently colored blue, green, and purple, she likes to wear tasteful band tshirts and skinny jeans with converse. For those who stick kids in categories based on their appearance, it would be easy to assume she's not a "good" kid.
So it's quite possible the AP thinks this.

It's also possible my feedback from the teacher with MS didn't go over well. As my mother said, for a sub to be told (by teachers, paras, and students) and see so much - that says something.
It's possible the AP thinks I'm an irresponsible parent/employee/loose cannon because from what she knows, I "took" a child off school property w/o permission.

I have one job coming up at the MS after Thanksgiving. The thought of going back in makes me want to vomit. I'd cancel but I'm not sure that would be good considering I'd have to go through the AP.

I would love any feedback, advice, or just some words of encouragement about how it's better to do the right thing (speak out about stuff going on in classroom) even if it's not what the AP would have wanted to hear, leaving me less than popular (well, maybe tell me that if you feel that way).

Oh and thanks in advance for reading my REALLY long first post.


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Your Focus Is Where It Should Be
Old 11-10-2017, 05:58 PM
 
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You are doing exactly what you should...trying to help the kids to achieve their learning goals. Isn't that what schools should be about? Unfortunately, administrative politics take away from the true purpose of an educational institution. It leaves people like us, who often feel like the littlest fish in a very large pond, feeling stuck. And as a parent, you have more of an investment in this school than anyone else. Just keep doing what you know is right. In the end, the students will be grateful for it. They are, afterall, the future.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:00 AM
 
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Thanks for this very thorough account. I don't think that the reason a job was canceled was due to you taking home a kid and you know the kid. You could've given the office some heads-up but there are many parents that take other kids home without going through the protocol. But this is not the issue nor is it, IMO, about how your daughter looks a certain way. I'm sure that the AP is more open-minded about appearance and does not judge based on looks.

Could the probable reason why someone canceled something was when you talked to a neighbouring teacher about this teacher who is close to retirement? That may be perceived as unprofessional conduct. Maybe that next-door teacher you talked to shared what you said with the teacher that was out. Anything you had said, including the Aesop feedback, could've been used against you. Maybe that teacher or even that para had wanted you banned but may be the AP stood up for you and only had you banned for that ONE assignment? Not everything is what it seems and this can be an issue either way.

You're the one connecting the dots but what I would do is to try to clear the air especially with the AP. There is something unsettling about why a certain job is "canceled" without your knowing.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:11 AM
 
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If the teacher is "awful" and is going to be retiring anyway, I would venture a guess that administration is already well aware of what goes on in her classroom.

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I would not have left that sort of feedback. Even though I can see that your heart was in the right place, it isn't necessarily our job to critique the teachers and the paras that we work for/with. Not only that, but if the teacher and para told other teachers and paras that you are leaving negative comments, other teachers will be leery of having you in their classrooms, for fear that you may find something about them to complain about. It's a lose-lose situation.

I know it's difficult but as subs we really just have to deal with what we're given and move on. Unless it's a safety issue, I would advise against leaving negative feedback.
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Old 11-11-2017, 08:22 AM
 
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I agree with a lot of what the other posters said. Note to self don't ever put anything in writing that could come back to haunt you.
Be careful who you speak to about teachers unless you really know them and trust them. Better to vent here or friends and family outside of school.
I learned this the hard way and every once in awhile I have to remind myself when I'm tempted.
See if you can schedule a meeting with the AP to clear the air and because he is in charge of Asoep. You sound like a caring teacher and I know you would like to continue subbing at your daughters school
Good luck, hugs and keep posting here


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Old 11-11-2017, 08:21 PM
 
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Hi! Similar to you I have also been a “lurker” but your post compelled me to finally create an account.

First, I applaud you for standing up for what is right! I am not sure what you were required to sign/agree to prior to beginning your time as a sub, but I was asked to notify administration of anything that was in direct violation of the district protocol (sorry I forget the exact wording). I also know that AESOP describes the Feedback area to be a place for subs to communicate with administration...and that is exactly what you did!
Your situation reminds me of the saying “doing what is popular isn’t always right and doing what is right isn’t always popular”. But let me repeat: what you did - reporting the teacher - was right. Do not for a second doubt your actions. I realize that not all of the responders agree with this, but at the end of the day, you are advocating for those who do not have a voice or at least one that is heard. If I was an administrator, I would be happy to see subs working in my district who had the students best interest at heart.
Part of your post that stood out to me was what you said about your daughter’s appearance...it has been my experience that children ARE often judged (or pre-judged) based on their appearance. This is not so different than the “meme” that shows a very tattooed gentleman in one shot then the same man in a doctors coat in the next (tattoos covered, obviously). This “judging based on appearance” is nothing new - something I try to NOT do - but sadly, many of us fall prey. Therefore I think it is likely or possible that the AP has done the same.
Do you think the para from the day with the awful teacher exp. went rogue? I think it sounds as though she has in order to save her own butt! Her lack of respect and support of you in the classroom is unacceptable!
How long do you plan on subbing? Is this your “job” long term? Do you hope to be offered a classroom job? If so, I would suggest clearing the air with the AP. If not, keep advocating for those kids (and parents who can’t see what is occurring!) - there needs to be more subs like you in the classrooms!!
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:06 AM
 
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Since the AP is the sub coordinator, you need to conference with her about your concerns.

There are teachers in the classroom who are burned out, overwhelmed, in the wrong profession, or just biding their time until retirement. Those reasons don't make their actions right and it definitely robs the students of a good education.

There are also students in the classroom who create unteachable atmospheres that make it hard for teachers to teach. And Middle School students are rough!

The teacher's and para's behavior that you described are irresponsible! I would never go back to that school!

But because it is your daughter's school, I would definitely talk with the AP.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:45 AM
 
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I can share that the policy/rule applying to transporting kids is inviolate in our district. We live in a harsh climate and it tears me up to drive by kids waiting for a school bus when it's below zero and the wind is howling. But I understand the logic and so do the kids who will often wave and smile as I drive past.

We even had a case once where a child was truly stuck at school. Ultimately, the principal secured permission from a parent to bring the child home, but even then she used a school van instead of her personal vehicle to drive the child home.

I am friendly with a number of parents--this is a rural community. But if one of their kids needed a ride from school I would insist the parent contact the school and grant permission. The school would insist on the same. Anything different would be a violation of school policy.

I think we sometimes forget that the actions we take (no matter how well-intended) can create liability for the school and we live in a very litigious society. We don't have to like it, but we do have to understand and accept it.

So while I don't think the AP necessarily would conclude you are an "irresponsible parent/employee/loose cannon" as a result of one incident, taking a child off school property without permission was, from the school's perspective, a serious matter.

I have posted elsewhere, when we see things we don't like in a classroom, we need to remind ourselves to "chose our battles" much the way we chose our battles with students. We are not hired as auditors or enforcers, we are there to teach. How we report things that don't seem right is as important as what we choose to report. On the rare occasions I've reported something, more often than not I discovered administration was well aware and often already addressing it. It is easy to forget that we are all paddling the same boat (or should be!): admin, teachers, subs, students.

There's an old joke about the teacher who sent home a note to parents at the beginning of the school year stating that she would promise not to believe everything their child said happened at home if the parents would promise not to believe everything the child said happened at school. Just last night a teacher shared a story about a student who announced at school, "My Dad got his deer last night!" (We live in a "hunting" community.) The teacher explained that the student might not want to share that since hunting season hadn't started. The teacher didn't call the warden.

As at several other posters have suggested, it may be time for an "air clearing" conversation with the AP. It will not be an easy conversation. I don't for one-minute question the goodness and sincerity of your intentions, but as the song says, "look at life from both sides."
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