New Policy Unfair to Subs??

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TrademarkTer, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Cohort

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    I've never subbed before, but just last month my school has a new policy with subs. It used to be that the subs would just take their lunch and free periods in the teacher workrooms, where most of the teachers do. The subs received a memo that due to confidentiality concerns, this is no longer permitted, and they should have their lunch and prep periods in the cafeteria and/or the media center. My guess is that since many of the subs are parents of students in the school, some teachers were worried in case they were discussing a student in workroom in the presence of someone who would bring that information to the parent (i.e. a friend of the parent). I don't know for sure though as it was never really explained other than "confidentiality". I personally don't love this policy as it seems exclusionary and makes the subs seem lesser. Does your district have a similar policy?
     
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  3. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    I think that's entirely appropriate. They are typically not as qualified as a teacher who has been hired and as such may not employ the same kind of discretion in a teacher break room. While I make it a point to not say anything about a student that I wouldn't say to their parent in a break room etc, it would still make me uneasy if random substitutes were walking in and out and hearing "insider" information.

    That said, we don't get a lunch break or a planning period here, so it's pretty moot point unfortunately. But if I had the luxury of sitting for 5 minutes and discussing my students with my peers, I wouldn't want "outsiders" being able to listen in.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I don't think that's fair. As a teacher, it's my responsibility to see who's around me before I start divulging personal information. Subs are guest teachers who should get to eat in the teachers' lounge.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    My guess is that something was said in the community which could be traced back to a sub who was present when something was said between teachers. FWIW, when I subbed, we had to sign the same confidentiality agreement that is required of teachers, and sharing anything about students was grounds for immediate removal from employment consideration. Some subs take that seriously, as do most teachers, but some of each group, subs and teachers, are not exceptionally good at maintaining confidentiality.

    Since this came up in the middle of the school year, I suspect a leak, and this is the school's way of trying to fix the problem. Personally, I prefer removing the sub from the rosters, which is more direct and sends a strong message.

    That seems more fair and would clean up a specific problem.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
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  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    We don't have a lounge, so that is a mom-issue for us. However, subs have the same confidentiality training that the teachers and other staff get. The parents get the same training when they volunteer to work in the building or go on field trips. Background check and confidentiality training.
     
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  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Non-Issue, not mom issue. My edit feature isn't working.
     
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  8. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

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    I don't think it's fair. Where I work, confidentiality laws wouldn't allow teachers to share information about a student with another teacher unless they were both working with that student and were discussing a situation to find better ways to support the student, so teachers shouldn't be talking openly in a staff room about students. You need to know your audience. So if teachers are talking in a staff room, they need to know who is in the room, who is related to who, etc. So I think subs are being punished for teacher error.
     
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  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Teachers shouldn't be discussing students in the "work room". If they have issues with students they need to have confidential meetings or have the conversation behind closed doors in a classroom with appropriate staff present.
     
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  10. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Cohort

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    While I generally agree with this, and even stated that I think the policy is unfair to subs, you can't say you've never vented to a colleague about a student or parent. Right or wrong, it's sometimes necessary to blow off a little steam. Better with a colleague than with the student or their parent. That said, I do agree about being careful with other people around.
     
  11. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    I often think that one of the most important parts of subbing is having a steel trap for a mouth. It's unfortunate this school must feel compelled to worry about it to that degree.

    On paper, it does sort of come across like high school cliques in the cafeteria.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Not lesser, just not privy to discourse[ between colleagues. Im imagining there was an issue that arose. I will say that in our faculty room we are quite guarded in our communications in the presence of non contracted people.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    We welcome all employees to eat in the lounge: teachers, subs, & support staff.

    There was a sub at my last site who was notorious for inappropriately interjecting in personal (non-work related) conversations. So bizarre! :eek:
     
  14. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    Feb 2, 2018

    I can see both sides of this. If the subs are (uncertified/emergency certified) parents of students, I can sort of understand the confidentiality issue of having them in the lunchroom.
    However I also understand what it's like to be a sub and have almost no interaction with adults outside of the staff lounge at lunch, and not being allowed to eat in there could be very isolating and off-putting to a sub. And teachers do need to be aware of who is around them before they start blabbing about confidential information - even if the subs are under the same confidentiality agreement. I definitely heard things as a sub that probably were questionable; but since I didn't know who the teachers were talking about, it didn't really matter to me. If you're near a parent though, and they're likely to know who you're talking about, for goodness sake.... save it till later.

    The first time I subbed I would often go days or weeks without having a meaningful interaction with another adult in a building; and the days I actually got to talk to people in the lounge were wonderful. I'd be pretty upset if someone took that away, even if the reason was understandable.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I can see both sides. On the one hand, I can see how it seems really disrespectful to subs. We already have a really hard time getting subs, and you'd think more would come back if they were making connections with full time teachers in the building. Even though I completely understand that the intent is not to say the sub is "less than," I think it would come off that way.

    On the other hand, it does seem kind of unfair to say that talk should be "policed" in the lounge. Sometimes it's good to vent to people who "get it, and often helpful suggestions are offered as well. I would say that often there is more meaningful/authentic collaboration happening in this setting than in a formal "problem solving" meeting.

    I don't know what the answer is. We have such a sub shortage that I'd probably lean towards allowing subs to eat in the lounge and trying to make it a space where work isn't discussed. Teachers that prefer to be able to talk about work/students during lunch could always eat elsewhere. My teammate and I do often eat in my classroom so we can talk more freely. Of course, if everyone did that there would be no one in the lounge for the subs to eat with!
     
  16. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Feb 3, 2018

    I agree.

    And then also require some type of confidentiality training for substitutes, if it's not there already.
     
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  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 3, 2018

    Our lounge doubles as our workroom. We have a large campus and often the only time you get to talk face to face to someone in a different department is while you're in the workroom. It is a great opportunity to have an informal discussion about a student. Or his parents. There have been a couple of times that my conversation about dealing with a problem parent was squelched because a sub walked into the workroom. Our Mommy-subs are quite involved and you just cannot trust them to keep such a conversation confidential. I cannot see this being a big enough problem to ban subs from the lounge during lunch, but I can understand the decision. I'm sure it wasn't made lightly.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Is it possible that the confidentiality concerns are less about overheard conversations and more about documents that may be present in teacher workrooms? Are those rooms ever used for sorting testing materials or something like that? Are teacher mailboxes in the workroom?
     
  19. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Feb 3, 2018

    We once had a long-term sub who overheard part of a conversation and misunderstood what she heard. Without going into details it caused a lot of difficulties and hurt feelings. It's hard sometimes to be able to find a place to have a confidential conversation without spending time walking to a classroom and being able to close the door. Ears are everywhere.
     
  20. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Cohort

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    It's a thought. Our mailboxes are in the main office though. It isn't used for sorting standardized testing materials, but occasionally a teacher will be making copies of their classroom tests so that could technically be an issue. We are in a very competitive area, and so, our tests would sell for big bucks if someone without scruples got a hold of them. Unfortunately I'm not even kidding about that. That could be part of it as well.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 4, 2018

    As a sub, I wouldn't really mind, as long as they gave us some place to store our lunches (if they need refrigeration) or some place to microwave our lunches.

    Staff lounges are usually rife with gossip anyway. Even if they're just filled with people chatting, I prefer to eat my lunch in the room I'm working in. Because our lunch periods are typically so short, I'd rather spend it actually eating, and that's hard to do when someone is trying to chat you up.
     

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