This is our last week of school and students have early dismissal these last 3 days. I think I am the only teacher still teaching in my building. I get paid to teach, I love my job and I always teach until the last day. Our district allows for 2 parties a year which I allow (one in December and one at the end of the year). So I am already anticipating a missed day because we'll have a party in 2 days on the last day of school.
That being said. . . today another "teacher" (he doesn't have a classroom, he just "helps" in the office) came and said to dismiss my kids 5 minutes early. I agreed because my students take a shuttle to another campus where they catch their bus home. We routinely dismiss 5 minutes early so it wasn't a big deal.
Then that "teacher" came back into my room a while later and said I had to dismiss 15 minutes earlier. I said that wouldn't be possibly because it was already a shortened period and my students had to finish their assignments. Meanwhile all my kids are now staring and he starts raising his voice saying " You HAVE to dismiss your kids 15 minutes early because the Assistant Principal sent this message and you don't have a choice." I told him to leave my classroom and that I was not dismissing that early.
Kids settle down and in walks the AP. She stands at my door and calls across the room to me (where I am crowded by kids during a small group) that I did in fact have to dismiss them that early. I again said I couldn't and she yelled "Ms. D------, I don't get it, there are only 3 days left!" and huffed out of the classroom.
Come to find out from someone in the office that when she got back there, she and the other "teacher" started talking about me saying "can you believe she told an AP no" to ANOTHER administrator! We have multiple schools are our site so there are other administrators in the building.
I am so, so pissed off that she yelled at me in front of my students because I wouldn't let them leave 15 minutes early! One of my kids even asked if I was in trouble!
I know this is lengthy but I really had to get this off my chest. Am I wrong here? I understand a lot of teachers are just watching movies or letting kids play, but I NEVER do that and my test scores say I'm doing something right. I hate that she made me feel like I'm wrong for using my class time.
Also, I want to broach the subject to her tomorrow because I'm really upset and I cannot just ignore that she openly spoke ill of me to another administrator about not dismissing early.
I updated the outcome below, but wanted to clarify here. I wasn't upset about the 15 minutes (I mean, I was, but I never would have said no if she had simply come to me or called me and said to dismiss early). My problem was with her sending another teacher who is NOT my supervisor to my room twice with essentially the same message and then yelling across my room.
Last edited by Ms.KKD; 06-05-2013 at 04:15 PM..
but in my school you would have been considered insubordinate. While the other professional and your AP were wrong in how they delivered the message and spoke about you...you were diven a directive and you did not comply. I have to be honest also that if they haven't gotten the curriculum done by now--what would 15 min. do.
It is also the AP and P job to judge what other teachers do-not you.
I do what I am told by Administrators. They are the ones in charge whether we agree or not. I don't think you would have been asked if there was not a legitimate reason.
in walks the AP. She stands at my door and calls across the room to me (where I am crowded by kids during a small group) that I did in fact have to dismiss them that early.
I would have had those kids packed up and out in less than a minute. You would not be responsible if something happened to them as poster stated below because you were following a directive from an administrator.
1. Sounds to me like you said "no" to a random teacher/aide that has no authority, I don't see that as insubordination.
2. I'm not sure how it all played out, but I can understand that if you usually dismiss at 3:00 and they came in at 2:40 or 2:45 telling you to dismiss 15 min early that this would not be reasonable whether you are teaching content or not. I would be really annoyed if admin was making last minute changes. I plan out every minute of my day, so I can see why that wouldn't work for you.
3. What's up with dismissing early? I would never (and my admin would never) allow students to be dismissed early. If they walk out of that door 5 minutes early and get hit by a car, I would be responsible!
I'm shocked to hear I am in the wrong in this. There was no reason to dismiss early other than she wanted the busses to leave early. I was always under the assumption that if students leave school grounds before the bell rings the teacher is responsible for them? I will definitely have to look at my contract again, but I definitely thank you all for clueing me in on this.
In our district the bus schedule rules all (it's expensive, gas costs, etc...) so if I had to dismiss the kids early, to me it's not a big deal. You sound like a very good teacher, but will 15 minutes make much of a difference over the course of a year? Is it worth getting upset over? I do feel the AP should have taken you aside, though. That was not right to have your students see you reprimanded. I guess I see both sides, and that you share some responsibility too. Good luck.
I didn't read all the responses so I may be in the minority here...
Although it is tough to be disrupted and have your time disrespected, I believe that you need to listen to your P and AP at all costs (short of student safety and breaking laws of course). If our admin. gives directives, we need to follow. You really have no idea if there was a directive from the other campus to get those buses in early, if it was a bus contract issue, or if there were some type of emergency that required the students to leave early. Perhaps there was an accident or traffic between the buildings and to get the other kids out on time your buses needed to leave early. Even if there was NO valid reason except that the AP wanted to throw their weight around -- that is not your concern. You were given a management directive by a direct supervisor so I would assume that you were being insubordinate. I get that you had teaching to do, but sometimes there are things bigger then us in an organization and we need to be flexible with our teaching time. Would you have refused to go out if the fire bell rang for a fire drill (not emergency but drill)? That would also disrupt your teaching but is still necessary to follow that command, no matter how disruptive. You are in charge of your classroom but the P and AP are in charge of ALL of the classrooms - sometimes we don't know why they do the things they do since we are only concerned with our small world.
It is the end of the year and there are tons of stresses on everyone. If I were you, I would apologize to the AP. Good luck.
This is insubordination. There very much may have been a reason for an early dismissal that could have been told later. Even if it was just "we want to leave," how did you know there wasn't a legitimate reason the school was dismissing early (whether that be inclement weather or a school threat)?
You need to apologize to the AP. Don't even try to make excuses about "teaching time" etc. If I told my administrator I wasn't doing something, she would call me in after school and ask me not to return in the morning. Keep your emotions in check when speaking with AP. Don't say that you are upset with how you were treated in front of your class. Don't bring up that she was talking to another administrator, that could get your friend who told you this in trouble as well. Don't place any blame on her. It will just anger her more. Simply apologize for disobeying a directive. Tell her why you understand it was wrong (could have been a safety issue, etc), and let her know it will NEVER happen again. Hopefully, she will let it go.
ps. I agree with another poster who said that 15 minutes isn't going to make much difference. At this time of the year, the kids are done.
My jaw dropped as well when I read that you said no to the AP. I agree that is insubordination, and may have serious consequences. Consider this- if students are insubordinate to us, there are often (hopefully) serious consequences. When the teacher came in and said it was direct from the AP, I think you should have called the office to confirm it, and then done it. I would completely believe the AP and the teacher were telling another administrator can you believe she said no to the AP, I'm sure they were shocked by that. I would have been irritated to have had to dismiss 15 minutes early when I had plans for those 10 minutes. I also have always used all the time I can to teach. But, realistically, as others have said, those 10 minutes aren't a hill to die on, so to speak.
I do think you should broach the subject tomorrow- to apologize and explain that you didn't mean to be insubordinate. It's unfortunate that you were scolded in front of your students. She didn't speak ill to another admin about you not dismissing early, she spoke ill because of the insubordination. I wouldn't touch either of those topics with her, myself.
I don't think you are wrong for teaching through the last day! I do, too! It's funny though, the kids still love me! They tease me about teaching until the last day when everyone else is cleaning or having a party or whatever, but they still love it, still behave, etc. Kids from other classes still want to be in my room even on the last day when their class is watching a movie or whatever and we are still doing things. I love teaching, I can't stop, and don't! I make this clear to my kids and makes jokes "about being mean" but they get it and they don't complain because I make things fun for them and treat them with respect (other teachers at my school are constantly yelling and constantly "on" kids). I don't think you are wrong for still teaching!
However, I do think you are wrong for not dismissing early. You were told my your superior (AP) to dismiss and you didn't. I would have. If I had concerns, I would say something in private, perhaps asking why and explaining my viewpoint in a calm way. I realize the other teacher is not your superior, but when he came into your room, I would have discussed it with him in private, too. If I had my doubts I would have thanked him for the message and then asked to talk to the AP to clarify. I understand your kids had things to do, but in teaching you have to be flexible sometimes!
However, I do think your AP was wrong, too. Your AP should not have made that comment to you in front of the kids about there only being 3 days left. That sets a poor tone and gives a poor message about education and learning! She also should not have talked about you to another administrator with that "teacher" present, or others present-I'm assuming others were present or overheard since you heard about it. I understand her right to vent and her right to seek advice from another administrator, but it should be done in a private, confidential place and those not in administration should not be privy to that information.
I just have to believe that the AP had a reason for the early dismissal. While her response to you, in front of the students, was inappropriate, so was your interaction with her.
I'm not saying that you should apologize. (I wouldn't, but that is just me.) I do think that sometimes you have to understand that other people have decisions to make that can be out of your hands. 15 minutes is not that serious. It can be annoying, but it can also be let go of.
Just to speak up for those that sometimes have to do other things, like completely change classrooms and have their classroom empty by the last day, without having half days or people to cover, sometimes we have to stop teaching to do those tasks. It is not because we don't want to teach.
I'm sorry. If another teacher/office person told me that I needed to dismiss 15 min. early, I'd ask why, and if I didn't get a satisfactory answer, then I'd call the office to verify. If you were told that the AP sent a message to dismiss 15 minutes early, then you should have followed her request when she came to your room.....then you wouldn't have been yelled at. As a teacher, things come up, and we all know that we have to be flexible.
There could have been a bomb threat, an intruder on campus, or bad weather coming!
When 9/11 happened, our staff had no idea what had happened. All the teacher aides were sent into the rooms and told the professional staff to meet in the P.s office. It was not announced on the intercom and we were not given time to prepare.
This isn't about teaching up to the last day. It's about being flexible. I have a student with Apsergers an he constantly tells me follows the rules and needs to have structure. However, he has a very difficult being flexible or seeing other's point of view.
My approach when receiving a bad directive from admin is to comply under protest, with the "protest" end happening privately, after the fact. Unless a directive is illegal or explicitly immoral (and yes, I have been given illegal and immoral directives from admin), I'd comply and register my concerns later.
An example of an illegal/immoral directive was when a P told us to check students' work over their shoulders on a state standardized test and redirect them if they were leaving questions blank or staring off into space. He even suggested we check over the booklets before sealing them (explicitly against the protocols) and call students back in to finish any blank pages/questions. We were told that redirecting students and encouraging them on tests is "common sense" and that "every school does it" whatever the protocols stated. I wasn't about to risk my teaching license on the basis of our P's idea of "common sense" so I refused; fortunately, I wasn't the only one, and the P backed down. But that's an extreme example.
On the other hand, I understand your frustration. There was a serious breakdown in communication. Only in the case of a bona fide emergency should a sudden and unannounced dismissal occur. Early dismissals should be communicated well in advance with reasons being given so teachers can plan accordingly. If there was, as other posters have suggested, an emergency, there should be a clear protocol in place to communicate it. Dispatching a support teacher to say, "Okay... send the kids home now" doesn't sound to me like a serious emergency, more of a whim. Schools should not be governed on the basis of administrative whims.
When you said "no" to the AP in front of your students, I'm sure you'll agree in retrospect how that might create an unacceptable conflict of authority that could undermine your and your admin's ability to manage students. A case could be made, though, that admin created a similar conflict when it dispatched a support teacher to undermine your authority without proper communication. It sounds as though you were responding from adrenaline rather than good judgment. As hard as it is sometimes to suppress the fight/flight instinct at the point of a challenge, you have to learn to take a deep breath and restore your higher-order judgment to its rightful place, especially in the presence of students.
If your AP had a problem with your response, there was one person with whom to take up that issue: you. Nobody should be discussing an issue with a colleague in front of others without ensuring the colleague is in the room to respond. That's just bad manners and lacks any sense of collegiality.
Just remember for next time: comply under protest.
I hate to say it but I see it as insubordination too.
Guess I'm the only one but 3 days left of school.. we don't do
any teaching.. it's games, outside play, field trips, field day etc.
Kids are worn out.. I say give them a break.
But I'm glad you love your job!!
The AP was wrong in calling you out in your class and then later in the office. I would have reacted to that too.
I am however surprised that you refused such a simple request. If they have to go, they have to go.
No point crying over spilt milk here though. It is done and over. It was a lesson and it was made to give you and admin a life lesson. Hopefully they know better next year and not surprise teachers in that way. While hopefully you know to be more flexible and go with the flow as needed.
I spoke with my AP today and it was clear we were both still upset. I then spoke to my Principal who stated the AP had no reason to dismiss and that she (the Principal) was unaware that she had directed us to do so and that she would speak to the AP about that.
Also I was in touch with my union who told me that disrupting my class 3 times to tell me to dismiss early is a violation on her part. They stated that even administrators cannot disrupt the learning process (which they say she did by sending in the other teacher and then by yelling across my room) without due cause and because the Principal supported that it was without due cause, she (the AP) can actually be cited.
I am not pursuing anything with the union because I do not want her to get in trouble and also I did take to heart what most all of you stated that I should not have told her no in the first place. In the future I'll just do as I'm told and speak my Principal later.
In the end, I did tell her I was sorry for telling her no, but I also told her I did not appreciate her insinuating that because there are only "3 days left" that instructional time is not important (especially because she said that in front of students). She said she accepted my apology and said she was apologized for yelling across my room, but that next time I was to follow her orders.
took the high road.
The end of the year is always so stressful, and everyone is hanging on by his/her fingernails.
It is good that you are not moving forward with this.
Apologies given and accepted = done!
Moving forward all parties will have a better perspective on how to handle this.
Enjoy the end of your year and have a wonderful summer break!
I'm really shocked that you were so rude to the "not real teacher". They were just delivering a message. I try to respect everyone at school, from the cleaning staff to the administrators. A holier than thou attitude wouldn't fly at my school.
I find it so strange that they would decide to dismiss 15 minutes early just because. I mean, really, how can someone go into a classroom and tell the teacher to start dismissing kids? Our days are already mixed up enough at the end of the year, and no one likes being surprised. Also, the AP should've called you, come down herself, or sent an email about the dismissal.
It wasn't handled well on anyone's part: yours, the office teacher, or the AP.
And the coming in and yelling across the room would really tick me off. Next time I'd just follow through and do what the AP says. You can disagree with this person in a private meeting later on.
I have also had situations where another teacher (who thinks she's a goddess) loves to instruct and make decisions that she gives the principal the credit for giving them to her - if one questions them, it's the "Don't shoot the messager" mentially displayed.
Sometimes it's the case where she's made the decision and it hasn't nothing to do with what the administrator said or didn't say.
It's frustrating and irritating - I'd like to take a hammer to her head . . . but like a fire alarm, whether it's the real thing or just another fire drill, I have to response like it's the "real" thing when directing students out of the building.
Afterwards is when I approach the "witch" with the administrator next to me - and I question her about the directive that she declared as the administrator's directive that she gave me to follow. It fun to watch her back pedal and even try to lie that she didn't say that . . especially when two or three other co-workers had been told the same thing from her.
Thing is I never hear what the administrator says to her - I wonder - for whatever it is - it ain't working for she continues to do it. I'd think he'd pick a different person to be his messager. Better yet - why not deliver his own messages. We are in the internet/e-mail age. But even administrators do stupid things! :-)
I can't even imagine this happening. Our buses are on a schedule and usually aren't even all here 15 minutes early. If there was some urgent reason to leave early, and announcement would have been made - not randomly sending people to rooms to inform.
It is hard for me to even consider how I would react given I can't envision it happening.
I am appalled at this situation. I would NEVER argue or not comply with a directive from an administrator, even if it was sent by another teacher. Long ago I once asked "why" when given a directive and was written up. (That P had other issues as well). I had no intention of not doing what was asked, but I wanted to know why since it was so different than typical behavior for our school.
. Also I was in touch with my union who told me that disrupting my class 3 times to tell me to dismiss early is a violation on her part.
Really? They only had to disrupt your class 3 times because you refused to do it the first 2 times. I think if you pursued this you would not have success because you were insubordinate with your non compliance.
The AP does seem like she is on some power trip. I hope the P sets her straight.
The boss is the boss, period. When an administrator gives you a directive, you are obligated to follow it first, and ask questions later-if at all. To me, it is that cut and dried, because of I threw that kind of fit with my administrator, I definitely wouldn't be around to do it a second time.
The boss is the boss, period. When an administrator gives you a directive, you are obligated to follow it first, and ask questions later-if at all. To me, it is that cut and dried, because of I threw that kind of fit with my administrator, I definitely wouldn't be around to do it a second time.
Okay, I don't agree with how the OP handled this particular situation, but that comment is a bit extreme. I don't think being a teacher and being subject to administrative authority demands blind obedience to the exclusion of common sense. It's not unheard of for admins to give teachers "directives" that are designed to cover the admin and put the teacher on the hot seat. Or for admins to fudge things over and direct teachers to participate in the cover-up. There ARE legitimate circumstances when it makes sense to refuse a direct instruction from admin, i.e. if it's blatantly illegal or immoral (see my comment above about an instruction to alter the protocols of a statewide test).
Cases I have witnessed in which a teacher did the right thing by refusing an admin directive:
A) A teacher on cafeteria duty grabbed a student (Grade 10 or 11) by the arm who was seconds away from vandalizing school property. The student screamed bloody murder that the teacher had "assaulted" him, and the other teacher on duty was brought in, sat down, and browbeaten by two admins to make a statement that could possibly incriminate the teacher involved. The teacher being interrogated said, "I don't want to say anything yet. I'd feel more comfortable if there were a union rep present to advise me on how to proceed." The admins said, "No! There isn't time! This is a student safety issue. You have to tell us RIGHT NOW what happened and write it down in a statement. If you don't, we'll write you up for refusing to co-operate in an assault investigation."
The teacher politely refused and waited for the union rep to arrive. This was the right move. There was no immediate danger to anyone, and admin's intention was to use the teacher's statement as evidence against the other teacher.
B) A colleague and I witnessed a student push a female teacher to the ground and run away. Admin directed us not to call the police, and said they were "handling the matter internally." My colleague said, "Well, either you're calling the police, or we are, but the police ARE being called. We just witnessed an assault on a fellow teacher." It was clearly admin's intention to avoid the negative attention associated with police involvement and to fudge over a student assaulting a teacher, something that had happened in the past.
While I agree that in 97% of cases, it makes sense to comply with admin requests, even when we may disagree, I don't accept that teachers have an obligation to blindly follow admin directives no matter what.
You were clearly in the wrong. I'm shaking my head in disbelief at the way you handled the situation from saying no to contacting the union. You would have been written up in my school for insubordination. The "teacher" was acting on behalf of the AP. You flatly disregarded the AP's directive. How did you think your AP would react? Mine would have done the exact same thing. My P and AP give us directives through the office staff all of the time. At the time, you didn't know the AP didn't have the authority to dismiss the classes early. For all you knew, the district was trying to get the busses out earlier.
Really? They only had to disrupt your class 3 times because you refused to do it the first 2 times. I think if you pursued this you would not have success because you were insubordinate with your non compliance
If my admin came in and made any kind of request like that, I'd jump pronto. They are at the helm of keeping kids safe and you have no idea why they wanted them to leave. Even if you knew it was just for the bus, you were obligated to comply. I can't believe your union sided with you. I know mine wouldn't have.
The end of the year brings with it its own set of challenges.
It is now time to replenish the heart and soul, take wisdom from lessons learned along the way, and get the he$$ out of Dodge for some fun!
Ms. KKD and everyone, take some time to disengage and enjoy your summer.
They want teachers that teach and have a "Can Do" attitude.
The admin does not have to tell you why they are dismissing early.
This could have been a drill, bad weather expected in the next hour, busses needed for another event, or what ever they wanted. I feel sure that busses don't run early without a reason due the liability of dropping students off at home before a parent gets there.
As a mom, I would be ticked if my kids got home 15 minutes early and I didn't know about it. Many parents try to be home for their kids when they come home, many kids don't ride busses re: after school activities. Many kids don't ride busses re: parents pick them up or they drive/ walk home. Again. I would bring up with the school board as a parent that this would be unacceptable. But that has nothing to do with you, your Assistant Principal or his lackey, but a deeper issue. So maybe my response is irrelevant.
Perhaps the OP could have agreed with AP, but stated her disapproval of the request. Teachers have every RIGHT to express disagreement. I'm not saying to refuse a request...I'm saying that we are professionals and have a right to understand why a request is being made. The fact that the AP wasn't even supposed to do that in the first place is quite telling about the use of power in a school. Some administrators have their own agenda that doesn't always serve the students. Elementary teachers are reticent to speak out and advocate for what we think is best. I'm glad that they made amends. Whether it was appropriate to say "no" or not, I was thinking "you go girl!"
You should've dismissed the students earlier after being directly ordered to do so (complying with pointlessness is unfortunately part of the job), but the AP behaved like a jerk and thus would not have gotten an apology then and would never get my respect.
It's people who don't value education and try to make the last couple days playtime that make it harder on teachers and lead the students into May slacker mode. The aide or other teacher was absolutely out of line and ridiculous. I'd ignore him or her.
(Sorry, I'm reading quickly and hope I didn't get anything wrong.)
I was interested enough to reread the original post. I do NOT agree with sending some aide to tell you to dismiss the kids early. The AP should've conveyed it to you with an email or phone call. I would've treated an order from the ap directly with more respect than some random aide. Sorry, I would've.
I disagree totally with this comment: "the boss is the boss, period. When an administrator gives you a directive, you are obligated to follow it first, and ask questions later-if at all." Then again, I don't respect my administrators because they've shown problematic behaviors.
I know I'm really late to this thread but I wanted to put my two cents in. I understand why you didn't listen to the other teacher, we have had some "teachers" that think they can go around telling people what to do. You never know if its really coming from an administrator. Although, when the AP came into your room, I would have just listened to her. If she was in the wrong and your kids were not supposed to dismiss, she would have gotten in trouble for it, not you. You were just doing what you were told.
I also have to say, I totally understand that you want to teach to the last day. But is 15 minutes really that big of a deal? I'm not the teacher that plays the last week but it definitely isn't like a normal day.