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Old 11-15-2012, 07:10 PM
CapAIM CapAIM is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 14
Substitute Teacher
Blackballed from subbing

I have a problem with a school(which I'll refer to as "School A") that I used to sub at but was banned from. The school has a bad reputation amongst substitutes and even other teachers. Many of the students have serious behavioral issues and are very volatile and occasionally violent towards each other and faculty members. A majority of the students have repeated grades more than once, so it is common to have students who are in the 7th or 8th grade who are 15, 16, or in some cases 17 years old. Since I first started subbing, I had gone to this school on a frequent basis, despite its reputation, for no reason other than its close proximity to where I live.

Getting these students to behave and complete any work that was left by the teacher was always difficult. When I have tried to stop them from misbehaving, I was yelled at, cursed at and a few times, physically threatened by students. Last year, however, things were a little different and I had some success with the 6th and 7th grade classes. occasionally I would have a few students who did in fact behave and did what they were told to do. I also started to earn the respect of a few of the students. After a strong day covering a 6th grade class, the school started to directly request me to sub. However, many of these requests were last minute ones and came when I was already booked, so I was not available to work there.

Later in the school year, I began subbing at another school located in the same building as this school(which I'll refer to as "School B") and quickly became a popular sub with the 7th graders and liked by the administration. Eventually School B started booking me for sub jobs on a weekly basis and a few of the regular teachers began to speculate that the Principal might even be considering me for a full-time teaching position. Unlike the other school in that building, I was always booked a week in advance, as opposed to 20 minutes before the start of the day.

Those hopes were stalled when I returned to the School A for the first time since I began subbing at School B. The substitute coordinator gave me vague instructions about a project the students were working on. Because of my light schedule, I was also given the same class that I was supposed to have in the afternoon. This same class has been described by at least one faculty member as the worst one in the school. A few of the students had already started acting up by throwing papers at each other. As I was dealing with one difficult student, two students started play fighting and one fell and hit his head on a desk. Despite his pleas that he was fine, I sent him to the nurse and sent another student to go with him. I tried to call the main office to report the incident but I did not receive an answer or any of the 3 other times I tried calling. Later in the period, the student returned from the nurse and seemed to be okay.

The rest of the day, the students behavior went from bad to worse. Whenever I managed to stop them from doing one thing, they would do something worse. Whenever I attempted to contact an adminstrator, the main office would send an office manager, who would yell at the students but never remove anyone from the class. Next week, I learned that the school had banned me from subbing there and that I would be suspended from subbing until a hearing with the head of the substitute teachers. During the hearing, I learned that the Principal of School A had banned me for failing to report the incident with the student who had hit his head . They also claimed that the student had gotten worse during the day and was rushed to the emergency room.

Eventually I was reinstated and allowed to sub in any school, except for School A. While school B was aware that I was suspended, I did not tell them which school the incident occured nor were they interested in knowing the details of the incident. When I was reinstated, the Principal felt comfortable enough to allow me to continue subbing there. When I returned to the school, I received a nice welcome from the students in my classes. Despite doing everything I could to avoid the faculty and students of the other school, I overheard a conversation from two teachers from the other school badmouthing me and questioning why that school would allow me sub, given the incident at their school. They also believed that my primary motivation for subbing at that school was to "stick it" to them. Despite that the rest of the day went smoothly and I did a good enough job for the Principal to request me one more time before the end of the school year.

Since, the beginning of the new school year, I have encountered many students from School B who have been clamoring for my return. But a job listing on the Sub system that I had accepted was cancelled and the school secretary has been vague on when they would need me again. I also learned that Principal of School A who had me banned was no longer at that school. I'm starting to get worried that the faculty or administration from School A spoke to the administration from School B and had me blackballed from returning to that school. I'd really like to return to that school, since I really enjoyed working with those students. Despite this incident, a number of schools continue to directly request me, including one of the top middle schools in the district.

I understand that a student was seriously injured, and I would give back all of the success I've had as a sub to have that one day back, but it seems like School A has made that a secondary issue. Why does it matter what school I sub at? Shouldn't the fact that I've been successful in other schools, even if it is in the same building, not concern them ? Having me blackballed from the other school shows that they were not happy that I turned them down when they requested me but was always available for the other school in the building.

How common is this with subbing? How can I possibly fight this unfair blackballing?
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:24 PM
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Caesar753 Caesar753 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 12,300
I don't understand why two schools are housed in the same building.

As for the main point of your concern, I'm not sure that any "blackballing" was "unfair". I mean, you did have a serious student injury happen on your watch. If the administrator believed that you were therefore unfit to be in charge of a class, then he had an ethical (and perhaps legal) obligation to share his concerns with the other administrator. Certainly, if I believed that I had information about a teacher whom I believed to be a hazard in the classroom, and if I knew that that teacher was scheduled to be placed in a classroom in another school, I would be tempted to share my concerns. This action wouldn't be based on spite or wanting to "blackball" anybody, but out of a genuine concern for the safety of the students.

I think that you have two options. 1: You could visit with someone (the secretary or the principal) at the school you want to sub at and ask them if you're still on the list. It's entirely possible that this is all just strange timing and that there hasn't been any blackballing at all. 2: You could look for subbing jobs elsewhere.

Good luck to you.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:41 AM
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kpa1b2 kpa1b2 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,235
You had a student get hurt on your watch. Yes, you did send the student to the nurse, but did you fill out an accident report? On the same day you had to call the office several times for support.

At my school, you may not be allowed back.

Honestly, if it is as bad as you say, why do you want to go back there?
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:27 AM
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pete2770 pete2770 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 496
Sadly, we live in an era where everything has to be documented.

I don't know if you did your state's sub preparation (my state has it mandatory every two years for none "teachers") or if you went through an education program. However, generally what you must always do/never do is pretty well laid out (at least in my state).

Honestly, there's not much you can do. Not properly reporting an injury is definitely within the top 3 things a teacher should never do. The sad thing is, no matter how great you are as a sub, you made a career threatening mistake. One that, at least for schools in close-proximity, will prevent you from working (as the information is spread).

You're definitely going to have to look further out for jobs. That's just a fact of life now, in my opinion.

I don't think you can rectify the situation with these two schools; I wish you the best though.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:35 AM
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schoolteacher schoolteacher is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 779
Elementary School Teacher
First I would like to offer words of support to you. Most teachers cannot imagine what it is like to work as a middle school sub in a rough school. I commend you for doing it. Without courageous people like you, middle school teachers in rough schools would be losing all of their prep time. The education of the students would suffer.

Second, the fact that "the student had gotten worse during the day and was rushed to the emergency room" is not your problem - it's the nurse's responsibility to handle that. You did what you needed to do. You sent the student to the nurse. Anything medically wrong with the student after that point is certainly not your responsibility.

You didn't report the incident to the office. That was a mistake. But in my district, it would certainly not end your subbing career.

If you are willing to work in rough middle schools, surely you should have no problem finding subbing jobs. Don't stress about losing the opportunity to work at this school. That door has closed for you, but others will open wide. Good luck.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:35 AM
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readingrules12 readingrules12 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,455
5th Grade Teacher
As far as I know, each P can decide which sub is allowed/not allowed to sub. I doubt there is anything you can do. I know P's who don't like a sub for one reason or another and don't allow them to sub ever at their schools. It is not uncommon.

I am assuming your goal is to become a teacher. If this is true, just keep subbing where you are allowed (the farther away from that school the better), and work towards getting a teaching position. Once you are hired as a teacher, this experience will be behind you. You can't undo the past, so it is best to learn from it and move on.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:40 AM
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Linguist92021 Linguist92021 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 3,508
Central Valley of California
High School English (Alt. Ed.)
Originally Posted by charlottesome View Post
b) if you do like it there, why haven't they hired you yet?
I work at a rough school where most subs won't even last a day. Those that can hack it are often hired for LTS or permanent positions.
If someone likes a school, it doesn't mean he will be hired. I wish I'd have a teaching job by now!!
Also you probably noticed, it's not easy to get hired these days because THERE ARE NO JOBS.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:14 PM
Special-t's Avatar
Special-t Special-t is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,996
SPED 9-12
Originally Posted by Caesar753 View Post
I don't understand why two schools are housed in the same building. ...
Side note: We have 3 high schools in my building and another across the courtyard. All with different principals! There are quite a few schools like this in my district.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:40 PM
jen12 jen12 is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,019
Schools don't mess around with head injuries. They'd rather be safe than sorry. I've learned through years of working with preschoolers to document every tiny bump or it might come back to bite you. At this point, all you can do is be sure to follow up if a similar incident ever happens.

I'm still always taken aback at the gossipping and snarky remarks that teachers make about each other. It's a hard job. There really should be a team environment, but unfortunately, everyone is out to make themselves look better and it often happens by trying to make someone else look bad. I'm sorry that is happening with you.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:54 PM
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catnfiddle catnfiddle is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6,356
Central Ohio
Online English Teacher
I'm sorry administration's neglect of your calls for help led to this situation. Are there any other districts in the area who would benefit from your talents? If you're getting shortchanged at one, branch out and add schools to your arsenal. You'll probably work a lot more often and may find you're happier in other districts.
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blackballed, subbing

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