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Helpme111
 
 
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Need help with a subbing situation
Old 03-28-2019, 07:04 PM
 
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I don't even know where to start.

On Monday I subbed a class. The teacher had them watching movies. No book work the entire day.
I thought the day went fine. I had very little interaction with anyone. A day later I get notified I was given a 1 out of 5 star rating. I was very confused so I emailed the teacher. She didn't respond. Instead the principal did. He claimed two students claimed I had made the comment "stop flirting" and it made them uncomfortable. I don't recall ever saying this. Even if I did I don't understand why that's a reason to rate a sub 1 out of 5 knowing it's going to get them in trouble?

4 months prior the teacher right next door to her also gave me a 1 out of 5 star rating. I went and talked to her personally. I asked if there was something I did wrong. She told me "no not really.... I mean the kids mentioned there were a couple weird conversations.... I told them you were probably just really bored. I don't think she realized I could see the rating. She's smiled at me in the hallway ever since.... I'm not entirely sure what she said in her feedback. To me this was all very strange. Why would you say that things were fine if there was really a problem? Maybe she didn't want a confrontation? I would never give someone such a poor rating and not explain why. Administration never talked to me. Nobody has talked to me the entire year about inappropriate behavior.

Today the assistant superintendent called me. I guess he handles sub problems. He said he has to investigate anytime there is a 1 or 2 rating. Claimed I needed to meet with him about the negative feedback. I told him I didn't feel as if I had done anything wrong and was very confused by all of this.
He originally wanted to meet with me as soon as possible. I made room in my schedule for tomorrow. He now says he wants to meet 10 days from now so he can visit with these teachers and look into this more. He also said I've been locked out of taking new jobs until this has been discussed.

I'm not sure what to do in this situation? The fact I've been locked out of new jobs makes it seem like I'm going to get fired.... Would you quit? What would you do? I don't want it to effect my teaching license. I honestly don't feel like working at this district ever again because my reputation has already been effected, but at the same time I don't feel like I should quit or get fired for something I don't ever recall doing..... What would you do?


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Tough question...
Old 03-29-2019, 03:10 AM
 
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There are toxic environments where the best thing to do is bail out. That's not something that can be easily judged on a forum.

Personally, I would likely choose to defend my reputation. I might start with exploring what the policy and procedure is for appealing a rating and initiate that rather than sitting on the defensive and waiting to see what will happen. (I'd have done that with the first incident four months ago.)

It would be interesting (I'm not asking you to post it here) to have some additional data such as how many times you've subbed, what your average rating is, etc. I would collect that data if possible in anticipation of your meeting with the AP, then offer it to create perspective. If you are in a "he said/she said" situation you should demonstrate that these two "ones" are exceptions--"look at all the fours and fives I've received." In addition to your reputation, your credibility is at stake.

Frankly, it sounds like there's more to this story than meets the eye. Yes, I can accept the fact that the AP has to investigate a 1 or 2 rating. However, it sounds like he's deepened his investigation for some reason and while I don't think the fact you've been locked out means you'll get fired, it suggests that the "problem" is more severe than an offhand comment about "flirting."

So I'd probably approach this firmly, at least at the beginning. I would leave my feelings out of it and concentrate on facts--not an easy thing to do. In the current environment, it's easy to get into trouble without doing anything wrong. It could well be that the "system" overlooks one low rating but kicks in at the second. If the AP is skilled, he will be looking for a pattern, not an incident. I'd be a little concerned that he's apparently going to investigate both incidents.

If you have an option of subbing in other districts, you might consider doing so and email (documentation is always good) the AP explaining that you need to work and the fact that you've been locked out creates a hardship for you. Make it a statement of fact, not an implied threat or accusation. You simply want him to understand you are making a "business" decision. (Implying that you expect him to do likewise.) Remember that your demeanor and actions will impact his judgment and conclusion of the "investigation."

There's a balance to achieve that's admittedly difficult. It's tempting to cry "unfair!" but that's not really the issue. Life is unfair. I've seen kids get rid of a teacher they didn't like and a sub is even more dispensable. Remember your Shakespeare. "The lady doth protest too much." I'd try to be open to the possibility that there's something to be learned from this but I'd also expect perspective. "Help me understand..." and "How do we fix this..." become important. A little righteous indignation is appropriate, just keep it in check to demonstrate that you are in control.

If you "don't feel like working at this district ever again," I'd suggest you get exonerated then quit.
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:46 AM
 
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If I had a good amount of feedback I'd do that. I sub in several districts. One doesn't do the feedback system. That's the one I sub at the most. I've subbed over 100 days between all of the schools. I have 7 feedback. One is 5 out of 5. Two don't show the ratings. I presume they were ok as I was asked back? I have 1's from the two teachers I spoke about above. I had another teacher whom I subbed for 3 days. Each time she gave me 3 out of 5. I asked her why in person. She didn't state any problems, but I did take away alot of phones and sent two kids to the office. I presume kids weren't happy they were actually asked to do work.
Probably made her look bad. She doesn't want me subbing for her anymore.

I've been told teachers at this school started a petition to get the principal fired. He has since resigned. They got the principal prior to him fired also. There was some fallout and the superintendent was also let go with some people in the board office. It seems as if the teachers think they run the school and are above anyone else.
I presume at some point I said or did something that pissed someone off. Or maybe they know someone who dislikes me or my wife. Now they are ganging up on me. I feel as if it's not something I can win.
Either the super knows these women are bad news, or he believes I've done something improper. It's easy to make up things or spin things in a negative manner. I feel like I won't win. My question is this. If there was truely concerns about me why am I just now being contacted. I've subbed all year. Around 40 days at this school. I know another sub was fired last week. I watched them send her home. They said she had an altercation with a student. Not sure what that means. Maybe it's firing season. I feel like I was going to be rated 1 out of 5 regardless of how the day went.
Maybe the teachers are told not to rate unless it's negative.
This teacher rated me at like 9 a.m. She could have only spoken to one class by then. Even common sense says a normal teacher would have asked every class. If I thought something weird happened I would have documented everything and sent an email. To me it's very strange it was done though the feedback system.

I'm upset they are going to talk to the other teachers who have rated me poorly. I mean I would like to know more details as I was never told or explained why, but these reviews were also before Christmas break. Nobody is going to recall something correctly that long ago. Also those teachers weren't even present to begin with. So they would just be recalling hersay that's 4 plus months old. I agree the district has to protect the kids and school, but I also think things should have been discussed during the first negative feedback. I went to these teachers personally. I asked the sub cordinator. Nobody told me anything.
Seems like a game. What's the point of the feedback system when 90% of teachers don't leave any.
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Old 03-29-2019, 02:07 PM
 
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I agree with MaineSub's advice. Stick to the facts, emphasize the number of days you've subbed there with no problems, get yourself exonerated, and then leave that toxic place for good.

From the additional information you provided, the school you're describing sounds terrible. Even if you're given another chance, don't go back. I've dropped several schools and a school district in recent years for similar reasons.

I suspect this district will have a very hard time finding subs in the future if it hasn't already happened.
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:22 PM
 
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Gee, now that I’ve read your update about the teachers being instrumental in getting two Ps fired/causing a resignation, plus possibly involving the super and other board members, I’d put this toxic school in my rear view mirror.

First, I’d do as MaineSub suggested, as far as defending your reputation. I’d stick to the facts, and be as unemotional as possible, then I would not slow their search for someone who cares to continue or begin subbing there. As someone on this board is fond of saying, “vote with your feet”.


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Old 03-29-2019, 05:59 PM
 
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Yeah, I’d do as suggested and play out the appeal system but it sounds like a very toxic school. Unless you want a job in this district, I wouldn’t bother going back. It might have been the taking of the phones. I never do that because it is too big of a power struggle. Honestly this sounds like a bunch of horse sh*t. Only one district I sub in uses ratings and I stopped using it when the teachers I rated never responded to my ratings of them. It was a waste of time. I still don’t like how a teacher can give you a rating if they weren’t there. It shouldn’t matter how many kids you sent to the office if they were being disruptive. If you got through the lesson plan, that should be enough.
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:23 PM
 
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Oh, we should make them as comfortable as possible. Ask them if they need a pillow too and a mini-fan if the room gets too hot. Good grief, schools have gone way overboard in accommodating these students. No wonder there's a chronic substitute shortage.
You were doing the best you can. I hope they look at your overall record, not this one incident.
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Old 03-30-2019, 03:51 AM
 
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I would add that a harsh reality is subs are, in general, responsible for their own "feedback." Automated systems are good news/bad news. I recently received a poor evaluation because the evaluator thought "1" was good and "5" was bad. I did get it corrected.

While it's not easy to make happen, I have also requested that the principal observe me teaching. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I also teach in front of other teachers and ask them for suggestions.

Also, unless there's an abundance of subs available, most districts aren't going to be bothered conspiring to get rid of a sub. In many cases, we're a bit of a commodity, one small cog in a large wheel.

Again, being honest, the additional information you've provided suggests you're depending heavily on rumors (you "heard" the teachers got the principal fired) and assumptions ("maybe they know someone who dislikes me or my wife"). That's fine when venting on a forum but it won't resolve the situation. As others have supported, stick to the facts.
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Old 03-30-2019, 09:16 AM
 
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I have never worked for a district that has a rating system like you described. However, I have been blocked from schools and then been denied an explanation. (In my state, employers can even terminate you without cause.)

I recently signed up with a new district and asked the HR. supervisor about their criteria for blocking a sub. She admitted that sometimes a guest teacher is blocked simply because the school thinks they're "not a good fit" (you fill in the blanks). Basically, they don't have to have a good reason. Schools are like small towns and the people there are very cliquish. If someone wants you out, they just concoct a reason, and no one questions it. Sounds like that's what happened to you.

You can try to appeal to HR. But in my experience, HR is there to serve the district's interests, not yours. I'd recommend avoiding that school. Since you are employed with other districts, you have other options. Spare yourself some grief. Work where you are needed and appreciated.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 03-30-2019 at 09:38 AM..
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Old 03-30-2019, 11:01 AM
 
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You are so right! I have fallen out of favor with a school I have covered for 10 years because I seem to have done something wrong in a 1st grade for a teacher I have covered for years. No explanation, nothing. I don’t get requested anywhere near as much as I used to. Subbing is a job like no other, glad I only have to do this for a little while longer.


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Old 03-30-2019, 01:50 PM
 
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Subs are doing teachers a favor for even being there. I personally would ignore
the situation as if it never happened and work at a different district. Subbing is often for the birds. Those teachers are playing the game called gotcha. They get some kind of weird satisfaction out of tearing people down. Students can do the same thing to subs.Know your enemies. I don't sub now, but I work in an environment with a few people who get on my nerves. I was in a car accident one weekend a while back, and I had a meeting with my grade level the following Monday. One colleague of mine made a rude comment about me.and
I wanted to strangle the person. I was mad, but I did my best to hold back from saying something terrible. I try to anticipate the insults and blows from toxic people, but occasionally I will be caught off guard. A few more years to go, and
I am done working with people who upset me.
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Old 03-30-2019, 02:29 PM
 
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Tapdancesub...sometimes It's got nothing to do with us or how we do our job.

It could just be that the school decides to give the sub jobs to college students or recent graduates or a recently retired teacher from the school or someone's relative or any number of personal preferences. I know of one elementary school that has a new male principal and now seems to give preference to male subs. I've known a few teachers who only let their daughters sub for them (or vise versa). Many schools have "preferred subs" who get most of the jobs. But even if you're on the "preferred" list, you could easily be displaced by a newcomer through no fault of your own.

Substitute teachers have no guarantees of anything other than getting paid for work done.

In this work, I think it's best to have no expectations and try not to take anything personally. And I admit, that's not easy.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 03-31-2019 at 07:12 AM..
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:22 AM
 
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So any updates? Did you ever meet with the asst Super? I would have just applied to work at other districts and not even mention the toxic district during my interview. Today, there is a large sub shortage across the country and with other companies and retail jobs paying almost the same amount, it will just get worse until their toxic behavior implodes on them and they find themselves left with no subs.

Keep in mind everyone that you can now essentially rate schools also on google and yelp. Just use a fake screen name. Warn other subs of these toxic districts.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:32 AM
 
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I would like to think that when working at a great school with a good reputation of treating subs well, there is somewhat of a guarantee that they keep you. I am sure many subs on this forum do work in some schools, with a 98% certainty and comfort level they will continue to have a job there due to having a good reputation and being known as a "great sub". No job is a 100% guarantee, but at least in the districts I work in, you have to do something terrible in order to be banned. There was a sub last month who hit a student with a textbook (lightly)because they were fooling around and the sub didnt get in much trouble, just a brief reprimand.
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