Handling a Sub Undermining my Authority

Discussion in 'Paraprofessionals' started by teresaglass, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Feb 13, 2013

    This happened to me in the chemistry class where I work as a para. This is a high school class. There was a substitute teacher for this period. I found some graffiti scrawled next to one of the lab sinks. This lab sink was in the back of the room. I told the sub about this and went to the Dean's Office to inform the dean of the graffiti so that he could photograph it. I told the sub that this was standard procedure for handling graffiti. When I got back, I told the sub that the dean would be in to take a picture of the graffiti. The students started talking so the sub said he was going to clean up the graffiti. I protested, telling the sub that the dean needed to take a picture of the graffiti. The sub said that this was his class and that he would run it his way. So he cleaned up the graffiti. He said this in front of the kids. I was embarassed and humliated but I did not challenge his authority and I stayed in class until the end of the period. I informed the dean that the sub had cleaned up the graffiti. My question is, did I handle this right and how can I prevent being embarassed in front of the students in the future? It was very difficult for me to come back to this class and work the next day. I felt bad having to tell the regular teacher of this class about the incident.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2013

    I think it's very weird that the sub would scrub off the graffiti even after he had been made aware that the dean would need to photograph it. I think that you should follow up with the regular teacher about this and see what they have to say. They might request that the sub not return to the classroom, since it's apparent that the sub isn't willing to follow school procedures.

    Did you notify the sub about the graffiti in private or in a way that the whole class could hear? Why would the fact that the students were talking cause the sub to decide to clean up the graffiti? I'm a little confused about that part.
     
  4. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Feb 13, 2013

    I did go up to the sub in private but the students saw me going to the deans office and knew it was about the graffiti. They talked about the graffiti. So the sub decided to get rid of it.
     
  5. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Feb 14, 2013

    My guess is the dean and the regular teacher will want the sub to no longer return. Graffiti can be anything from mild manner scribbles to gang problems that need to be reported to the police and the sub disregarding this can be dangerous to the students depending on the graffiti. It seems weird that the sub would care or want to have to clean it up himself.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    Feb 14, 2013

    My guess is that the kids talked to sub into destroying the evidence. They probably gave him a sob story about the consequences and he fell for it. He should have followed school procedure.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    Feb 14, 2013

    The dean (school) could have filed a claim to require the student to pay for destroying school property, and would have needed the picture to prove it. Now it's gone. IT could have also been the last piece of evidence needed for suspending or expelling a student, and now they can't do that. The sub was clearly wrong.
     
  8. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Feb 14, 2013

    I think you handled this well. You explained school policy and let the sub make his own poor choice. You did not respond to his immature statement that this was his class and he would run it his way.

    The sub's actions reflect only on him. You did nothing to embarrass yourself. Instead, you acted in a professional and mature manner.

    Remember that your authority comes entirely from within you. Students respond to the way you think of yourself, and how you present yourself. If you do not view this as an embarrassing situation, then they won't. You are in a prime position to influence them and guide them, and you have done this well by modelling for them how to handle interpersonal conflict. You didn't lose your cool; when the sub did, you didn't respond in kind. That is an important lesson for students to learn. Many students have not had the opportunity to observe an adult handle conflict well.
     
  9. JadedSub

    JadedSub Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2013

    The reason why...

    Subs get in trouble when students make a mess or do things that they aren't supposed to do. I once was yelled at by my sub company because I didn't clean up the classroom after the kids made a mess. I had initially made an announcement for the kids to clean up after themselves, but, the para wanted to leave the mess, so that their teacher could see how they behaved while she was absent. This was the school policy. The teacher then called the subbing company to complain. (Keep in mind that if I didn't document everything that day I could have been banned/fired due to the actions of that particular para. It is very easy for that to happen to a sub. There is no job security.) Then the subbing company called me to complain. That is why your sub cleaned up the graffiti. He/she is protecting him/herself from possible problems. Also as much as you don't like it, the sub is in charge of the class for that day. That includes you and the students.
     

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