Approaching a principal about a co-worker

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Loves the beach, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Feb 18, 2014

    I'm not sure how much of this to share, because I don't want to reveal my identity in any way! I'll try to share only as much as I need to.

    A co-worker is not showing up for her assigned duties. She is at school in the building, but she simply goes about the day as she pleases. Students are suffering because of her absence. She knows exactly what she needs to be doing, but she often just shows up extremely late or not at all.

    I and several of my co-workers are concerned. We've started approaching this person with comments like, "We missed you today. Is everything ok?" She seems offended when we ask and does not offer an explanation. We've tried everything we can do to let this person know they are valued and missed. So....we feel we have no choice but to approach our administration about this.

    The last time I tried this (regarding a similar situation), I was basically told that it was my responsibility to deal with it.

    Now that we have a new principal, I'm hoping that things will be different.

    1. How would you approach a principal about this? What words would you use to show that you're genuinely concerned, not just tattling?

    2. Would you go alone or take a co-worker?

    3. We just started documenting today...I wish we would have done that earlier. Should we wait until we have more documentation?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2014

    It's not your job to police this person. If its a committee or other sort of group to which you can invite your P, do that and hope s/he notices the missing colleague...or list attendees at your meeting(if that is the situation) and submit minutes to P...if this is a one on one kind of teacher student situation for which your colleague isn't present, the best you can do is ask your P to come to your room on some concern, question other than your colleague and hope that the unserviced kids are noticed...:2cents:
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 18, 2014

    This is along the lines of special duties or actual classroom work?
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    This is a tough call. I try very hard not to criticize other teachers, especially concerning anything that happens in their classroom because we rarely, if ever, see each other teach. But this is different. It's an assigned duty that you're all responsible for, and it's simply unfair! That would make me furious, and I wouldn't keep quiet.

    However, to me, it's horribly unfair to complain about someone to a superior without talking to that person first. You've tried subtlety, now I suggest you be more straight forward (but still professional, polite and open to the idea there might be a legit reason). I would say, "Mrs. X, you've missed duty x amount of times, and you haven't said why. Without knowing the reason, it's really frustrating to me. I don't like doing it either, but I'm there, everyday. What's going on?" See how she responds. Maybe there's a valid reason. If she gets snippy about it, I'd go to the department chair then up the chain of command if things don't get resolved.
     
  6. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2014

    Slight hijack because of a similar issue....

    What if the other teacher's absence is directly affect you? For instance, she is late to her class after every passing period, and you are left monitoring her class until she arrives?
     
  7. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    You'd go to these lengths just to avoid being seen as "policing" a coworker?

    Someone's not doing his/her job. If you go to the principal with the right attitude and find out that there are extenuating circumstances, the principal will surely view it as you looking out for the children. If you enter the meeting with a clear "tattling" mentality, you'll be viewed negatively no matter what. Why play all of these ridiculous games to get the situation resolved?
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Going to disagree with this. Completely.

    If MY STUDENTS are being negatively impacted by a colleague's failure to do their job properly (or at all, as the case may be), there isn't a damned good reason for it, and the problem continues after being "called out," I'm going to take this to my principal. My kids come before my colleagues.
     
  9. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2014

    Do you have a union? If so, the union rep can be the best person to speak to the teacher. Maybe I missed something but it sounds like in the past admin has said that this particular issue was not one for admin? Then can ALL the teachers walk away from it? It sounds like you are handling it really well - attempting to talk to teacher, and documneting before you go back to admin. Good luck!
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I don't think we have enough information to make a definitive decision...but no, it's not my job to police other teachers to the extent that id tattle on them...talk to them? Yes. Express my concern to them tHat there would be issues if admin or parents were aware? Definitely...but run to the P with stories? No...as said above, we do not know if there are extenuating circumstances, how the students are being impacted, what exactly the colleagues is supposed to be doing but isn't...

    Dittto above on union rep communication.
     
  11. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2014

    Making it known that someone is not completing a task that's part of their job (and is negatively impacting your ability to do yours) is "tattling?"

    It's like middle school, but with middle school teachers involved...
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2014

    I wouldn't go to admin about this issue. Like others have suggested, I might invite admin to this assigned duty and hope that they notice the other teacher's absence. I might try to talk to the other teacher directly, but truthfully I'm not sure that I'd be willing to be that confrontational at school.

    There might be a legitimate reason that this teacher is not participating in this activity. (There might not be, too....) Without having all the information, it's totally unfair to go tattling to admin. I would hope and expect that my colleagues would come to me with their concerns about me and my performance before ratting me out to admin. I think that professional courtesy goes a long way.
     
  13. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2014

    It depends on your personality. I am usually really nice with my colleagues, but I am not shy in those rare instances where a colleague takes advantage of everyone and even is willing to do things that may hurt children. If the situation is serious enough I address the teacher--always one on one, and in the nicest possible way. When this doesn't work, I try again a week or two later in a more clear and assertive tone.

    Being the most experienced teacher on staff, it isn't hard for me to approach teachers younger and less experienced. Part of it is that my principal knows me well, and is supportive of me. 20 years ago, when I was young and green, it would have been a different story. The sad fact is that principals often don't listen as well to the new teachers and this is also often true of experienced teachers.

    In other words, approach the teacher one on one...wait on admin. for now.
     
  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Feb 18, 2014

    After reading many of the replies, I'm certain that I'm in the minority here.

    The OP brought up the issue to his/her coworker. The coworker "seemed offended and did not offer an explanation."

    Here's a story that'll help everyone understand why admin needs to get involved.

    Every morning, I have front gate duty. I greet the kids as they enter campus. A few weeks ago, one of the cafeteria monitors brought an issue to my attention. The other woman who's supposed to help her watch the opposite side of the cafeteria had been talking incessantly to other adults (teachers, support staff, etc.) and not doing her part. Children were left unsupervised because she was too busy chatting.

    Anyway, I decided to observe the next morning and noticed that the allegations were 100% accurate.

    I discretely asked the cafeteria monitor to see me at the end of her shift. We spoke, I reminded her of her duties, and that was that. Problem solved.

    It's my job to know what's going on at my site (especially when it relates to children not being supervised).

    I wholeheartedly disagree with advising the OP to make up a story for the principal to come chat with the concerned teacher (coming to his/her classroom on some made-up pretense) or going to great & unnecessary lengths to let the principal know that the teacher isn't present during her AM duties by providing meeting minutes to administration. I believe that that's the passive-aggressive way of reporting the teacher.

    Be direct with your administrators. It'll save everyone time and it'll be very much appreciated.
     
  15. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2014

    I don't know what the person is not showing up for and that might make all the difference.

    Is her not showing up creating extra work for you? If so, I would say something to her directly. I would never go to my Admin to complain about my co-workers, unless they were messing with my money.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Feb 18, 2014

    :yeahthat:
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Is there any way your gate duty could be covered sometimes by another person so that you can do that job personally to find out for yourself 'what's going' on at your site?
     
  18. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    I agree that the whole "try to find an excuse for the principal to show up to duty" is passive aggressive and childish.

    If there's a legitimate reason for the person not to be doing their duty, the principal should already know about it; a professional doesn't just performing a job requirement without letting their supervisor know. If the principal knows already, no harm done. If not, the teacher who didn't inform the principal is at fault.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm in a strong union...if we have a problem with another member, we go to that person, then the union...there really isn't a need to go to administration.
    But if admin was remiss in doing their job and noticing what's going on, it doesn't hurt to provide an opportunity for them to see it themselves :2cents:...but like most decisions, one chooses what works best for their particular situation. No need to label what works in other's school climates...the OP was looking for suggestions...I'm sure she'll choose what fits for her.:thumb:
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    So, if going directly to the teacher doesn't work, you are for reporting. You just choose a different channel - the union rep.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No, the union would approach the colleague in question and 'counsel' them in terms of the problems they are causing for other union members and their students. Contact is made with the person who caused such a situation to urge them to correct the problem. It generally doesn't go further than this...
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    If it doesn't change, what happens?
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Truthfully, I don't know of any issues that remain ongoing problems. I'm fortunate to work in a place where faculty and staff support each other and are able to work out conflicts...I know that's not the situation everywhere...hence my comment that one must choose what works in their school climate and culture.
     
  24. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Our support staff allowance has been cut; therefore, my principal and I do front/back gate duty every morning.

    With 600 students and 30+ teachers, it's impossible to know what's happening in every single area of the school at all times. That's why I need people to be direct with me and let me know if there's a problem (in a non-passive agressive way...it saves everyone time when people are upfront). :thumb::2cents:
     
  25. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    If I work for a school system and an employee is not doing their job to the detriment of my school and the kids it would seem natural to bring it to the attention of those in charge of that work site. They are the ones in basic charge of that environment and have the responsibility of seeing children are safe and rules are followed. A slacker can make us all look bad and are not good for the kids. That is the bottom line. How hard would it be to let the P or AP know anonymously?
     
  26. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Have a student go to the office and say "I can't find Mrs. So-in-so. Can you help me find her?" EVERYDAY. I think someone would get the idea then. :)
     
  27. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    This could be an issue of a special education teacher not coming to class for co-teaching or to provide services. I had this issue in a major way and it was awful. I can't believe anyone would suggest I was tattling or otherwise getting involved in something outside of my business if I spoke to administration about it.
     
  28. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    This. It's exactly what my P would want.
     
  29. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Exactly! :thumb:
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that a lot depends on what the issue is. If it's an issue that impacts me directly, I would be more likely to talk to the teacher directly. If it's something else, I do think that bringing it to the attention of admin could be tattling.

    There is a teacher at my school who regularly skips out on assemblies. During assemblies, teachers are expected to supervise students in the bleachers. This teacher is never there. It doesn't impact me directly, although it surely impacts the students. Even so, I'm not saying a word to admin. If it matters to admin, they will notice.

    (I also think that school climate probably plays a big part in all this. If you have an admin that would take these sorts of complaints/whatevers seriously, then telling on your coworkers might be appropriate. If your admin doesn't value those sorts of complaints/whatevers and ends up viewing you as a problem for tattling or wasting their time, then telling on your coworkers could be a really bad move.)
     
  31. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    It's the job of the administration to enforce duties, not the union, which is essentially other teachers.

    You think it's not your place to "tattle" on a teacher to their boss, but that it's appropriate to tell your peers about the fact that the teacher isn't doing his/her job?!
     
  32. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Yes...that's it. Last year a parent threatened to sue over a similar situation in which a sped inclusion teacher was not showing up to assigned class..day after day after day.

    Sped students are failing miserably, and the presence of a co-teacher is vital. Why won't she tell us why she is not coming to class? She responds with a vague "oh..yeah...umm.." If we are sued, I don't want anyone to say, "Why did you cover up for her?"

    She assures me she will be in class, but then never tells us why she doesn't ever show up. I'm going to continue to document and try to let her know we need her to be punctual.
     
  33. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    I'm thinking about this: reporting anonymously. However, let's pretend a parent did sue. Could I be "in trouble" for not personally reporting?
     
  34. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I wouldn't want to be in your shoes if you knew that legally mandated services weren't being provided, and you never went to administration about it. When I was a SPED teacher, I would have been absolutely floored if one of my paras was not providing support, and as a classroom teacher, I would be in my administrator's office immediately once a pattern of behavior developed and talking to the teacher didn't work. The whole point of Special Education is that these children NEED more than what a general education teacher alone can provide.
     
  35. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Do you know what she is doing while she is suppose to be in your class? (not that it's your job to know) I'm just wondering how admin doesn't know what's going on. Especially if they do walk throughs.

    I'm a sped teacher doing inclusion this year for multi grade levels. I have to divide my time and don't make it in each classroom everyday. (My student's do receive the service in their IEP's) But it doesn't sound like this is what she's doing. What's in their IEPS? If you don't know maybe you could mention to admin that you need a copy of the IEP accomodation page because you are concerened they aren't getting their legal services.
     
  36. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If she doesn't have the IEPs accessible to her already, that's an even bigger legal problem.
     
  37. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Don't know(where she is throughout the day). I try my best to meet the iep' s, it it's not as effective to just have one person who is making an effort.
     
  38. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I'm agreeing with this. This teacher is breaking the law. If that isn't reportable to administration, I don't know what is.
     
  39. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    My thoughts as well. I want my butt covered...just don't want to be perceived as a snitch. However, I can't see another way out of it...if I want to cover myself...
     
  40. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Is this really what you meant?
     
  41. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Geeze...why do you think I am going to admin about this? What an assumption. This is why I rarely post on here. So now I don't care about students...because I want to cover myself in the process. Should have kept my mouth shut. Don't bother posting anything else. I'll find advice from people who don't try to pick arguments. Thank you to those of you who tried to help me without judging my heart. Won't be back to check on this thread. So tired of walking on eggshells and watching others do the same. Sigh....:|
     

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