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Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:06 PM

Fired today as a substitute teacher -- for doing my job correctly

Today, like a 12 year old, I was directed to the Vice Principal's office at the high school where I have primarily sub-taught.

He was nice enough. He expressed regret for having to do his job. But at the end of the day, I was fired.

What happened: I had a social studies class with 26 kids. And I did the near-impossible: they were ALL working on their classwork, independently, without talking.

I usually call out 30 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. to help them pace themselves. I looked up and saw that a previously occupied desk was empty and the backpack gone. He was there no more than two minutes before I saw he was gone. (There was 10-15 minutes left in the class.)

Protocol requires that I call the Main Office who will then call Security to find the AWOL student. Made sure I identified the right kid. I even wrote up an Incident Report.

I did everything correctly.

But I was let go because for two minutes (120 seconds), I didn't know he was gone. The schools are petrified by the prospect of liability and lawsuits. Makes no difference that the kid was not hurt, some other kid wasn't hurt when he left the classroom, or that he didn't leave the building. Two minutes. No second chance for me. It's not a transgression or violation. It's grounds for dismissal. The Vice Principal conceded that I did everything else correctly. (Ironically, if I had not reported the missing kid, I'd still be working tomorrow.)

With all the classes I've taught in the high school from Special Education to ESL to Math to Science, all at next to minimum wage, without incident and with gratitude from the regular teachers, all this work means nothing. Doesn't count.

Nobody aspires to be a substitute teacher. We are victims of circumstance. We don't pay tuition, study hard, get on the Dean's List, etc. to be substitute teachers. My compatriots were mostly retired teachers, looking for something to do and extra income.

I'm in transition right now and the money was welcome. I miss both the income lost and the recognition I garnered until today.

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Arrow 25 replies Author Time Post
Reply Fired today as a substitute teacher -- for doing my job correctly (Original post)
no_hypocrisy Nov 2016 OP
demigoddess Nov 2016 #1
PoindexterOglethorpe Nov 2016 #2
no_hypocrisy Nov 2016 #5
JonathanRackham Nov 2016 #6
Jim__ Nov 2016 #7
LisaM Nov 2016 #8
50 Shades Of Blue Nov 2016 #9
ghostsinthemachine Nov 2016 #10
LastLiberal in PalmSprings Nov 2016 #11
Ka hrnt Nov 2016 #12
sinkingfeeling Nov 2016 #13
Starry Messenger Nov 2016 #14
ErikJ Nov 2016 #15
Feeling the Bern Nov 2016 #17
elmac Nov 2016 #18
mnhtnbb Nov 2016 #19
Warpy Nov 2016 #23
no_hypocrisy Nov 2016 #24
no_hypocrisy Nov 2016 #25
Freddie Nov 2016 #27
apcalc Nov 2016 #26
vi5 Nov 2016 #28
DarthDem Nov 2016 #29
no_hypocrisy Nov 2016 #30
LineLineReply
Dec 1969 #

Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:11 PM

1. school rules are becoming ridiculous.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:11 PM

2. Does this totally end your substitute teacher career?

Is there another district you can work in?

My high school, somewhere in the southwest, was essentially an open air school. The classrooms all opened up to a corridor that was outside. Many of the classrooms had two doors, both on the same side, but one at the front and one at the back. One time there was a sub in French class. She took roll, and one of the students announced "here" when his name was called, and immediately slipped out the back door. Poor teacher never noticed, and since she didn't use the class list to call on anyone, and never counted the students again, was oblivious to the absence.

At the time I thought it was highly amusing, which it was. This was more than fifty years ago, in a very different environment. Not sure how it would have played had the sub noticed a student was missing, but I doubt she'd have been fired for it.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:25 PM

5. Love you guys.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:28 PM

6. That so totally sucks. So totally wrong.

You're probably not union but if the tenured teachers are unionized you might have a conversation with the union to let them know policy. Sooner or later your going to make a fine full time teacher.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:37 PM

7. Sorry to hear that.

Bureaucracy sucks.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:42 PM

8. I don't like how punitive our society is.

We have reverted back to being Puritans.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:49 PM

9. Unfuckingbelievable! And very very unjust.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:50 PM

10. Wow. (nt)

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 04:56 PM

11. My wife lost her Head Start job for the same reason

At the end of the school day, when all of the classes are milling around either meeting their parents or loading on buses this one girl decided she wanted to go into the back area (which is surrounded by a high concrete wall) to play. There's no warning bell on the door, like you have on your common 7-11. My wife looked around and she was gone. (There was no way she could have gotten into trouble where she was.) And even though my wife went directly to the backyard and retrieved her, she had lost track of the girl for a moment and when it was time for contract renewal, she was cut.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 05:24 PM

12. Teaching: Great Job, Terrible Career

Sorry to hear what happened. As others mentioned, if there was one word to describe the atmosphere in education these days I'd say it is "fear." Fear of losing your job, fear of being sued, fear of administration throwing you under the bus, fear of benefits getting cut, fear of going years without a raise, fear of one perfectly human mistake costing your career (and rendering your college degree to little more than a symbol of debt).

I'm from outside the field of education and teach chemistry and math (high school). That gives me a great deal more confidence with putting up with the BS. And I tell my kids that, and encourage them to NOT major in education if they want to become a teacher. Get a degree in the subject they want to teach, so their degree is more valuable if, like ~50% of all new teachers, they quit within 5 years.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 06:15 PM

13. So sorry you have to pay for a terrible administrative rule.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 06:27 PM

14. (((hugs)))

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 06:31 PM

15. Dont pay tuition?

 

what you mean?

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 06:45 PM

17. Subs are treated like crap by everyone.

 

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 06:47 PM

18. And this news from Michigan

 

Substitute teacher shortage affecting local schools


http://woodtv.com/2016/10/31/substitute-teacher-shortage-affecting-local-schools/

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Tue Nov 1, 2016, 06:57 PM

19. I have a teacher friend who retired a couple of years ago and was substituting in Fairfax County, VA

They changed the reimbursement for senior subs at the end of last academic year and she said, 'enough'. Quit.

Something is very wrong with school systems that don't recognize the value of good substitute teachers.

Sorry you got caught up in the "rules".

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Wed Nov 2, 2016, 02:43 PM

23. Fight it

Teachers routinely face the blackboard for more than two minutes at a time. If they want the school to be that much of a jail and you to be the jailer, they need to give you a ring of keys and lock the classroom doors.

Jesus.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #23)

Wed Nov 2, 2016, 04:19 PM

24. I'd love to fight it but I'd be fighting both my contractor and the school district.

Even if I won one, the other would be resistant to re-instatement.

I was a substitute teacher, not in a union, devoid of rights. And tied to at will employment where legally you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, except in the case of public policy (e.g., racism, ageism, etc.)

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 06:40 AM

25. Update: My friend and compatriot substitute teacher advised me.

"I've been dismissed from more than one school. Subs have absolutely no rights, protection or recourse. The first time something goes awry, you usually get dumped and sometimes they won't even give you a reason. Usually they just stop calling with no explanation. It is good to always work multiple districts. It keeps you working five days and if you fall out of favor with one, you still have the other. My main school I have for six years but others have come and gone. Sorry this happened to you. Apply to another school district in you area."

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #25)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 06:52 AM

27. Good advice

I'm a school district payroll admin. All of our subs work in multiple districts. We always have trouble finding subs as the pay sucks (bus drivers make a lot more), no benefits or security. The only good thing is that here in PA if you sub enough days in a given year or were already in the pension system, subs get in that. Once qualified you stay qualified no matter how little you may work in future years.
Edit: if you are hired directly by a district and not a "service"

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 06:46 AM

26. Retired teacher here..

As a rule, subbing rots. Always has. In today's world, sue happy parents, and well intended but sometimes hamstrung administrators can result in some crazy results.



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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 07:36 AM

28. Interesting to hear this....I have a story as well.

 

I am also currently a sub. I lost my job in corporate America after 20 years and decided to use my severance time to go back and get my secondary ed teaching certification. In the meantime with most of my classes at night I have been subbing in my home district which is also where my own kids go to school.

I was subbing for 2 days as a teachers aide in second grade classroom with a primary teacher and another in class support special ed teacher. The class had about 15 kids. Second graders are already easily distracted and rambunctious but most were very good. There was one who it was hard to tell where a mild learning/behavioral disability ended and just being spoiled and never being held accountable began. Over 2 days he did no work. None. Just sat there. He would constantly be yelling and making noise and banging on the table in efforts to get attention. It then elevated to poking a pencil at his face, running around the classroom swinging his arms, crawling on the ground, picking up chairs, crawling under desks. It was horribly distracting for all the kids who wanted to learn.

I have special ed training and my son has been in classes with children all across the spectrum. I am very familiar with the many different types of educational and behavioral challenges that kids have. Most of what this child was doing was knowingly acting out for attention. The few times he chose to he was absolutely fine and lucid and had no issues communicating.

I asked the teachers why they didn't just call the principal or the child study team since short of physically restraining him and dragging him out of the class nothing would get him to stop. They said they had tried many times and were told to just deal with it and that the school wouldn't believe them that it was anything they couldn't handle.

By the end of the second day when the physical risk reached it's height I marched down to the principals office myself and told him what was going on and that I was friends with many parents of children in that classroom and that I would be more than happy to share with them that their child is at physical risk because the school refuses to address the issue of what this child is doing. He came to the class and got the child himself and called his mother. I told him just what level of liability he was dealing with and that I would be more than happy to testify if someone got hurt by this child.

We talked again the next day and he thanked me, but I get the feeling that it was only because I was a parent of children in the school that he realized that he had no choice. It also somewhat insulated me from him firing me as a sub because he'd still need to deal with me as a parent.

But the point is I can relate to your story and your situation. There is so much at stake and so much at risk and administrations hands are tied.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 08:15 AM

29. That's Awful


Clearly nothing you could have done. I'm sorry to hear this and hope your fortunes turn around fast.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Original post)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 09:00 AM

30. It just got worse: a letter to me outlining why I was terminated.

All lies, defamatory statements. I've corrected the record and the lies still are presented as truth.

Four instances of sleeping in the classroom, twice in a special education class. I do NOT sleep once I'm awake, no narcolepsy, etc. How do you prove you WEREN'T ASLEEP???

I did not stand up when elementary students entered a room and did not take attendance (because the Paraprofessional offered to do it).

I had "difficulty" handing out Advanced Placement letters to a high school class (because 2-3 of the students were ABSENT that day).

I couldn't get 18 out of 36 students to do the classwork assigned and that demonstrated poor management of the class. (They weren't out of their desks, throwing stuff, outrageous. Just passive-aggressive attitudes. Ironically I reported it to the teacher so she could know what happened that day she was out.)

And in reference to my original post, "a student disappeared from your classroom and was not immediately noticed." Two minutes is pretty close to immediate.

This letter makes me look not just incompetent but deplorable, someone who should not be allowed near children of any age.

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