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thecoast thecoast is offline
 
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thecoast
 
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Supportive Sub employer
Old 05-09-2018, 04:59 PM
 
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I work for DirectEd Educational Services. There've been 3 times when I've had some school issues where I've called in to tell them that I was not going to be able to stay at the assignment because I wasn't going to tolerate the disrespectful behavior (2x) and once because I felt like the school didn't seem to know what to do with me--it didn't seem like they were expecting me and it was just weird and chaotic. And one other time when the assistant principal sent me home for reasons she never told me and I was blocked from that school. No regrets in any of these situations. Sadness in the latter because of the students who wanted me to stay.

Each of these occasions was followed up by DirectEd with "coaching calls." Each time, DirectEd has been supportive and understanding. The most meaningful call was when I had been sent home after a third grader was absolutely disrespectful and vulgar. Yes. Third grade. Bottom line, I didn't want him in my class. It was a small class of no more than 8 or 9 kids. Meaningful rapport was established because the kids asked me why I was leaving. I told them I didn't know why (because I didn't). When I left, the employer was willing to send me to another assignment. On my way there, my heart was pounding--not fast, but hard. I was trying to figure out why I was still feeling so unsettled. I called them and told them that the traffic was very dense (Los Angeles) and that I was still feeling upset about the previous assignment, so that I decided I wasn't going to go to that other assignment.

The call was meaningful because when I was recounting to the employer rep what I experienced that day, I was re-experiencing the day physiologically and emotionally almost identically. It was very strange. But talking it out helped me realize why I felt the way I did that day. It was because the kids were genuinely wishing I had stayed with them. I hadn't even tried to be particularly nice to them. I started with my now routine brief speech about respect--I would respect them first by responding to their raised hands with "yes, sir" or "yes, miss." (Most kids seem to respond to that). And then I tell them I expect respect back by them responding to me with "yes, sir" or "no, Mr. A". Basically, asking them for us to be polite to each other. And then I dive into the lesson plan.

So it felt good to be understood by the employer's rep. The empathy was meaningful and helpful.

Today's call was about the fact that a couple of weeks ago I had two days in a row where I called saying I was going home. At one point, I told the rep who called that I had been to a closer assignment with another employer (Swing Education) and that they paid $200 (instead of DirectEd's usual $140). This was an assignment with first graders. She said she would have done the same thing. So this was a genuinely human interaction that made me put her up a notch in my view.

Has anybody else had good experiences like this with their employers?


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Tapdancesub Tapdancesub is online now
 
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:31 AM
 
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All I can say is that you are very fortunate. I can honestly say in many years of subbing I have never left an assignment for any reason, and Iíve been in some very difficult situations.
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YayaSub YayaSub is offline
 
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:24 AM
 
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Do you regularly work with an extremely challenging population? If I left an assignment because the day was difficult, I would expect it to be treated as my resignation from the district. I have VERY occasionally asked for some backup from admin when dealing with severe behaviors, but I can't imagine saying I'm leaving. How in the world do you continue to work when you bail on them so often?
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thecoast thecoast is offline
 
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I've been to war,
Old 05-11-2018, 04:14 PM
 
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so I know how stay in a fight even without a weapon. I don't know how other men here feel, but I think that the educational landscape would be very different if half the teachers were men. I think teachers would overall get more respect and would probably get better paid. I'm obviously not in it for the high pay, but cain't nobody pay me enough to put up with disrespect. Not from the employer, not from the administration, and even more certainly not from students. I think substitute teaching is the way it is because most subs are willing to put up with everything subs rightly complain about on this forum. People will treat you the way you let them. I don't let them.
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Tori58 Tori58 is offline
 
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Wow.
Old 05-12-2018, 04:36 AM
 
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That's some serious sexism right there. And much of it sounds like utter nonsense to me. You are probably correct that teaching would likely pay more if weren't historically a woman's job because, unfortunately, that is the world we still live in. But I have not noticed that male teachers get more respect from students and I haven't encountered many men who are any more assertive than I am. I don't call it "staying in the fight" to go home because a kid is disrespectful and vulgar. What did you think substitute teaching (or any teaching for that matter) would entail? Dealing with behavior is a huge part of the job.

I live in an area that is desperate for substitute teachers and I go to a couple of extremely difficult schools. I have one school where it's not unusual to have to have the school resource officer come and get a student because they are out of control. I call it "staying in the fight" to keep going back because I truly care about those kids. And, desperate as that school is for substitutes, if I bailed in the middle of the assignment I would NEVER be asked back.

I'm sorry, but I think it's ridiculous to talk about assertiveness and "staying in the fight" in the same post where you confess that you bailed on an assignment because traffic was bad and you felt anxious. I get that anxiety is a very real thing and is nothing to make fun of or blame someone for, but I don't know that substitute teaching is a good job for someone who has anxiety issues.


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thecoast thecoast is offline
 
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@Tori58, Call it what you like,
Old 05-12-2018, 04:41 PM
 
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but your reply confirms what I said. I'm not saying it ought to be that way (what you perceived as sexism), I'm just saying that it would be that way. That you agreed means I'm not off the mark, so the accusation was unnecessary and nigh unto incendiary .

BTW, I didn't say I was anxious. That's your word and it is a straw man in your response. I was upset (ticked off, sad, and disappointed), but not anxious by any stretch of the imagination. Do you always read into other people's posts?

I care for the kids and I'm certain that if I was employed at a school where I had a tough class, the administration would have to support my job as teacher and classroom manager. It is not possible to provide good instruction or safety where the administration does not support your job. The good kids suffer for that lack. But I also would not stay at a school where administration sets me up for failure.

The initial post aked if anybody has had a good interaction with supportive employers. Sorry you can't respond with anything positive in your experience. Even sorrier that you feel you have to put up with inappropriate behavior under the color of job expectation. Dysfunctionality is not OK even if it seems normal.
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thecoast, what you described....
Old 05-13-2018, 06:30 AM
 
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....feeling "unsettled", noticing that your heart is pounding, having difficulty dealing with a normal problem (heavy traffic in LA) and consequently backing out of an obligation....these are all classic symptoms of anxiety. I guess you can call it "reading into" your post if you want but I think that anyone with as much training in psychology as I have would assume that you have anxiety. If you've never discussed it with your doctor, it might not be a bad idea.

I think your post was incendiary in that you were assigning blame to substitute teachers for the fact that their jobs are difficult. You seemed to be saying that if we were all prima donnas about what kinds of jobs we would take, all sub jobs would be easier. My position is that if you can't manage a vulgar and disrespectful 3rd grader in a class of nine students you may want to examine your expectations and your approach to classroom management. I think that you may be unaware of all the various kinds of legislation that exist that make it unrealistic to expect that every kid can control his/her behavior and that every kid who is difficult will be removed from your classroom.

Other than a few inquiries about my availability for long-term sub positions, I have had NO direct interactions with the staffing agency that hired me so, no, I've never experienced a "coaching call." I would say that DirectEd must have had some issues with employee retention in the past and are working hard on that particular issues. Good for them. But if it works the way it does here, ultimately the school districts have the final say about substitute teachers and walking out on jobs is not the way to maintain a good reputation as sub.
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YayaSub YayaSub is offline
 
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:16 PM
 
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I believe integrity requires me to fulfill the commitment I made. Absolutely I would put that class on my "Never Again!" list. I'm wondering if you questioned the professionalism of leaving the school in the lurch like that. I think we have all experienced terrible classes where we couldn't wait to get the heck out of there.
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luv2teach2017 luv2teach2017 is offline
 
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Thank you Yayasub!
Old 05-14-2018, 11:14 AM
 
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I couldn't have said it better myself. Yes, integrity is important. Once you accept a commitment, it behooves you, as a mature adult and professional, to honor your commitment. If you have a bad experience at a school, you can always opt not to return.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 05-14-2018 at 04:57 PM..
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Tapdancesub Tapdancesub is online now
 
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:34 PM
 
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Yayasub, thank you for articulating my thoughts so well. I may not accept a job for certain problematic schools or classes, but I would never walk out mid day. I’ve alawys told my children to honor their commitments, and I model the same.

Walking out over a third grader? Really? I’d be removed from the district with very little chance of getting hired on anywhere else.


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thecoast thecoast is offline
 
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@Tori58, I guess
Old 05-14-2018, 11:44 PM
 
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you're entitled to your very inappropriate diagnosis by proxy, but if you've had as much training as you claim, you know you must have way more for a dx than your shallow analysis of my very abbreviated experience. You sound like some of my classmates who were in a diagnostic class where they were trying to make information fit the diagnoses instead of the other way around.

I called my employer and they okayed my departure. Why do you have a problem with that?

I realize that people who are used to being victimized may find it objectionable when other people with well-defined personal boundaries stand up for themselves. If it makes you feel better, okay--I'm the bad guy. I'm a primo uomo (since prima donna is a feminine term).

Battered women, even after treatment, often return to the dysfunctional relationships they know. I suppose "battered" substitutes do, too.

Well, I thought the original post would generate other positive experiences, but I guess it's easier to be negative and pick people apart under the color of keeping commitments and love for the kids.
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:52 PM
 
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I guess reading the original post isn't necessary for offering an opinion. The vice pricipal asked me to go (in the case of the vulgar and--i failed to mention--violent 3rd grader). Yes, really.
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thecoast thecoast is offline
 
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@YayaSub
Old 05-14-2018, 11:57 PM
 
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Integrity required me to leave. I made a promise to myself not to put up with disrespect and I'm keeping it. I won't judge you for tolerating what I will not tolerate.
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luv2teach2017 luv2teach2017 is offline
 
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:20 AM
 
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The coast: I think many of us who have subbed for a while could describe similar horror stories about things we've endured. I myself have been insulted, cussed at, had chairs thrown at me; I've been pushed, hit, threatened, lied to, falsely accused, blocked, removed from a class, misinterpreted, unfairly chewed out by rude principals, teachers, yard duty staff, aides, volunteers...you name it. I have also learned to stand up for myself and push back when needed.

But I am also learning to choose my battles and use discretion. If I don't like the way I'm treated, I simply don't have to return to that school. I can opt to talk to HR and/or file a complaint. But I realize that if I walked out or called HR every time something negative happened, I wouldn't have my job for long.

Aside from the low pay and lack of respect, substitute teaching is a difficult job for many reasons. I don't think that will ever change much. I think it's a matter of whether it's the right job for you.

If you have other, better options , then do yourself a favor and pursue them. But it's not really fair to condemn those of us who do this work just because we don't take your approach. There's a lot of valuable experience shared on this forum if you are willing to listen.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 05-16-2018 at 08:00 AM..
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thecoast thecoast is offline
 
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@luv2teach2017
Old 05-15-2018, 06:52 PM
 
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I applaud your recognition for a need to stand up for yourself when needed. We're on the same page on that.

I, too, have learned to choose my battles. The difference between you and me is simply where and how we draw the line. And since I have never stated anywhere that I have walked out "every time something negative happened," I can only wonder who you're talking about. I even stated that I've asked to be replaced 2 times at two different schools. I asked to go home a third time where it seemed like the school really didn't have a need for me and, since they would have to pay a cancellation fee, they probably opted to just keep me there and get some of their money's worth. (That's how the administration's cluelessness about what I was there for was explained to me by my employer).

I agree with you that substitute teaching is a difficult job for a multitude of reasons. I am, in fact, pursuing teaching certification thru CalState TEACH. Hope to start in the fall. As a result of my substitute teaching experience, I plan on doing everything possible for whoever may have to substitute for me to set them up for success in the class management arena of subbing. I will write really clear class management expectations in the lesson plan and give my students a consequence heads up for any disrespect. I had a teacher leave a seating chart with kids' pictures in it. Best teacher prep for a sub ever. It went a long way towards keeping kids in line. I think ALL teachers should substitute teach so they can get a very broad experience teaching and have a good grasp on how to prepare their substitutes for success. I know not all substitute teachers are equally conscientious, but at least for those who are, it will be made easier for them by me.

Lastly, I'd like to address something you ended with: "But it's not really fair to condemn those of us who do this work just because we don't take your approach. There's a lot of valuable experience shared on this forum if you are willing to listen."

It's funny how things get turned around. I have made no condemnation of anybody. I shared a positive experience with an employer and yet I was summarily condemned because of the lines I have chosen to draw, the battles I have chosen to fight. The responses have been irrelevant to the topic. I allowed myself to be drawn into the conversations precisely because of the many shared experiences of substitute educators. So who's condemning whom? And who's not listening to whom? Listening and understanding is not the same thing as agreeing. I've had interactions with substitute teachers who agree with the way I view guest teaching and with those who have not agreed. That's just life. I respect everybody's right to their opinion, even if I may not respect some of the opinions themselves.

And, as far as listening, it's a two-way street, and I have yet to feel heard in this particular conversation stream. Still waiting for a positive employer response similar to mine. Do you have any such experiences? I'd like to hear them.

Last edited by thecoast; 05-15-2018 at 06:56 PM.. Reason: grammar
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luv2teach2017 luv2teach2017 is offline
 
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positive employer response
Old 05-16-2018, 08:19 AM
 
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Yes, I recently had a good experience with one of the districts I work for. They are the first district I've seen that staffs an HR analyst in charge of guest teaching staff issues. She is easy to contact and makes herself available via email, phone, or appointment.

This district has a policy of notifying guest teachers if there's been a complaint from a school and providing a copy of the complaint. The guest teacher can then address the complaint in writing and/or in person (via HR). I recently received such a notification and was able to submit my own written account of the incident as well as meet with the HR rep to explain the situation. I felt listened to and understood. (I was told that HR is aware that many of the so-called "complaints" issued against guest teachers are petty grievances.) I also have the option of filing a formal complaint of my own, if I wish.

This district has a serious shortage of guest teachers and so they are now doing what they can to address the problem (a number of the newer HR staff have worked as guest teachers). Some districts try to increase pay a few dollars as a "quick fix." But money doesn't solve all the problems. I'd rather work for a district that I feel supports me and has my back.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 05-16-2018 at 08:58 AM..
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thecoast thecoast is offline
 
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@luv2teach2017
Old 05-16-2018, 04:05 PM
 
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I really appreciate this response. I cannot agree with you more. Money is only good if you can enjoy it, and working at a district that has your back goes a long way toward making it possible to enjoy the fruit of your labors.
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Old 05-19-2018, 06:41 AM
 
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Thecoast: Quite honestly, I'm employed to sub for 2 districts right now. One pays $25 per day more than the other. But I've opted to work for the lesser paying district because I get the classes I like and THEY TREAT ME MUCH BETTER. The better paying district schools seem to regard subs as little more than helpers to do photo copying and babysitting. Many of the teachers are condescending and controlling School staff oftentimes try to squeeze subs for every last minute of work before they're allowed to go home. I know that my preferred district has been making serious changes to be more supportive and accommodating of their guest teachers in an effort to attract and retain them. It's sure working for me. Hopefully their positive model will catch on.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 05-19-2018 at 04:21 PM..
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