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Principals, what planet R they on?

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Principals, what planet R they on?
Old 10-09-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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Part of WenRueLau's post 'losing my cool' brought up something that is a deep mystery to me and I wonder if anyone can shed some light for me...
She was talking about a situation with a student:
"but he [the student] informed me that my job was to teach him and I'm not doing that. I ripped into him about interrupting the class and wasting the time of students who want to learn and segued into respect for himself and those around him when the principle walks in and asks who I was having trouble with. She walks over to him and talks to him quietly and walks out and never says anything else. I wonder if I will be called back."

Here's my question. What planet would a principal be on? Where do you suppose they are coming from? I would think if a sub needed intervention by admin, there would be some sort of 'touching base' between the adults later. Why would a principal be so tight lipped? Why wouldn't the principal say something, give some guidance, feed-back or SOMETHING to the sub... who is working at "his/her" school. I've had some contact with principals. I could relate some episodes here, but this post is already getting long. To me, principals seem to say as little as possible to subs, no matter what the situation. Don't tell me they are just busy. Isn't it their job to run the school? Aren't subs important to the running of schools? Why give us the silent treatment? Not being friendly is one thing, but withholding any sort of feedback or guidance seems odd to me.
I'm not venting, I really want to understand. So don't tell me you have a fab relationship with principals, that's not helpful. I want to hear some guesses about why subs get the silent treatment from principals.


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Old 10-09-2009, 02:09 PM
 
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ok here is my take - please do not take offense - it is not intended. I truly believe that most schools who have subs have teachers and administrators wanting us to perform 110% even though on many occasions we are left if not totally or partially in the dark surrounding students, class issues, school policy, etc. We are needed to perform but yet we are not really considered teachers - we are "fill ins" not staff. I know we, as good subs, involve ourselves with our students - but truthfully, I do not feel administration wants us to take that extra step. Yes, they want us to "manage" the class to the extent that everyone is on task, well behaved, getting the work completed - but I think that is the extent they intend for our involvement. I remember once a teacher told me that due to "privacy" laws, certain things could not be discussed with those who are not considered school staff.

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Old 10-09-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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like I say all the time here, most of these principals would not last in the business world. I have been in more than one building where the students had no idea who was principal.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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So you're saying they just don't know how to run a "business" - I shouldn't take it personally? I thought maybe they didn't want to "connect" in case I get in "trouble" and they'd be tainted. I must have a rich imagination! But they do act like I have cooties!
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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thor with respect to your post of having a "good relationship" with principals it is ONE reason why some of us know what's going on....I am fortunate to have that kind of relationship..when there was a student giving me H#LL..he not only pulled the kid out for the day but came to me during my lunch period to explain to me the "family situation"...now I could have taken that information and blah blahhed it everywhere but I didn't and felt very sad for a student going through all that turmoil and instability

Like catarrific stated, it's a "privacy issue"...I've been in classroom where I'm not even allowed to Know who the student is that needs help and I'm the sub for a spec. ed teacher (SHEESHH!!!)

Don't get started on the silent treatment, I've been in schools where the principal makes a rah rah speech at the beginning of the school day; says to me if I need help don't be afraid to drop the principal a line---do that and guess what---- I'm left hanging with 20-25 problem students!!!!!--found out from the other teacher; the principal was a lot of "hot air"..

to finish, there is no one answer for why principals are so tight lipped, just that there are principals like that and sad to say they're the ones running the school


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Old 10-09-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustus
I have been in more than one building where the students had no idea who was principal.
You have hit the nail on the head. It is so much better to work with a principal who actually concentrates on running his or her school, which includes interacting with staff (from teachers to substitutes to classified staff) and students.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:17 AM
 
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thor, what I mean by that is that they don't demonstrate the people or leadership skills that would have people work as loyal team. In most businesses if you don't produce you don't advance. In the military and business you are given a job and often times are not told that much how to do the job. Just get results. In the schools it is often the principals way or you go somewhere else. I have seen principals come in and tell a teacher what to put up on the walls, and trivial things like that.
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Here's an example of a GOOD principal
Old 10-10-2009, 06:24 AM
 
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Amid all of these stories about indifferent and condescending principals, I have to commend one particular principal:

Two weeks ago, I was booked to sub for a gym teacher. It was a Friday, and a lot of other schools had requested me to work that day, but I had to turn them down. I showed up at the middle school, and as soon as the payroll secretary (who doesn't assign subs) greeted me, she asked what I was doing in the school on that day (in a friendly, 'hey, you're not supposed to be here' sort of way) After looking through her schedule and speaking with the man who books subs (who was taking a weekend trip and wasn't in) it turns out the man who hired me for the day made a mistake, and I was assigned as a gym teacher for the FOLLOWING Friday. The payroll secretary apologized profusely, adding that she WISHED I was in today since I actually teach the children "as opposed to some other subs," she added. We both laughed it off, and she said she was looking forward to seeing me on Monday.

On Monday morning, as I was punching in and getting my schedule for the day, the principal walked up to me, introduced herself, and apologized for the mixup of that Friday. I was impressed!

Every time I'm at the school, the principal makes her presence known, talks with teachers and other staff, and treats substitutes the same way she treats other teachers. This principal could run a seminar on humanity!

Last edited by Kataqueens; 10-10-2009 at 06:24 AM.. Reason: grammar
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more about principals.....
Old 10-10-2009, 09:05 AM
 
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Thanks Augustus, I always appreciate your take on my posts. yeh, wouldn't it be a good goal to have a "loyal team"?
When I was a para sub, one of my first assignments lasted for about a month, off and on and I returned regularly even though it was the furthest school in the district. The principal was an affable PRESSENCE in that school. He thanked me for covering and for doing "good work". wow.... I was a para sub, which is even lower on the totum pole that a guest teacher!! That management style inspires loyalty. That is still one of my favorite schools and that principal has been gone for a couple years. I think his management style created a good atmosphere there which has lasted.
Now that I mention it, I remember another principal who was out front as I walked students out to the busses. She said an enthusiastic "thank you for coming!" I had barely made it on time that day and I commented that I'd been nervous about coming when I accepted the job so last minute and knew I would have a hard time getting there on time. She again said with warm exuberance that she was glad I came.

Contrast that with my icky feeling when I went to the office at another school, at the end of another day, to see if they had anything else I could do. The teacher I was subbing for had planning last; I had already done everything. As the secretary was suggesting I check with the first grade teachers, the principal said "you can't leave until the day is done at 3:30" - - She was standing within a foot of me, but was looking at the wall next to me, speaking in a flat tone. That wasn't the question I asked!!! She was assuming I was wanted to check out and said I should go do bus duty! I did bus duty AND a bunch of copying for one of the first grade teachers. The teacher and the secretary both thanked me. The principal acted like I was invisible, even out front during bus duty. That's more the experience I have with principals. I leave feeling invisible.

Last edited by thordau4; 10-10-2009 at 09:29 AM..
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:26 AM
 
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The principal acted like I was invisible, even out front during bus duty. That's more the experience I have with principals. I leave feeling invisible."

More times than not that is the way I feel. that is why I stay in the rooms and not the lounge, arrive and go straight to the room and then out. In the past I would try to be one of team and say hello, but too many times of having an adult walk past me in the hall like I am a poster on the wall, and then watch them warmly speak to a student, well, I got it.


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eating my words.
Old 10-15-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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Well, anytime I make a sweeping generalization, I have to eat crow. I went to an elementary school today just because I didn't want to get up so early. It wasn't one of my favorites, but there I went.
The principal was friendly as I picked up the sub folder. Then about mid-day, she came in and asked how it was going - - as if she really wanted to know. She looked right at me and was friendly.
S'pose she reads these posts?!
And, what was going on when she came in? Thank heaven, the kids were silent reading and partner reading and I was correcting papers - at the teacher's desk, but hopefully that was OK.
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I'm quickly coming to the realization...
Old 10-15-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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...that for every one of us here, our life as a sub means that we must deal with a level of ambiguity and frustration E V E R Y day of our life. We have a level of anxiety at all times: when will I work? where will I work? when will I get paid? how will the kids be? how will I handle everything today? how will I be treated by the kids and the staff? will I finally lose my cool today?

We can only wish that more principals and teachers would read this board! Perhaps our treatment would change for the better. Perhaps we would become a bit less invisible when we walk down the halls...and maybe we'd actually hear a sincere "hi, how are you today?" instead of getting that glazed over look with the cartoon bubble over their heads that reads "ohhhh....s/he's just another sub". Hey, I can dream!! <wink>
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