Changes from the P

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Jul 28, 2022.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    A new year is just around the corner and a big change is being made…. P is now requiring lesson plans to be submitted every week. Haven’t done lesson planning submissions since 2017-2018! Gotta dig up my old forms….

    Also, I saw on his desk something never seen before…. An “Employee Discipline Form”. It has a list that includes Dress Code Violation….. Poor Classroom Management…. didn’t read the rest of the list….. P said test scores were poor last year and the super wasn’t happy.
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    What in tarnation does the dress code have to do with test scores. Anyway, there should be a reasonable dress code with no ridiculous restrictions (why can't a teacher wear jeans?).
     
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  4. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    Spied something else on
    Other stuff that I saw on Ps desk looked like a handout for County Employee Code of Conduct…. Says to follow guidelines in the handbook…. No using cellphones in front of students…. No contacting students via cell phone…. Dress professionally and at a higher standard than the students….

    All this and that “Employee Discipline Form” never seen before looks like admin’s gonna start keeping a paper trail….
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I mean, all of those things seem perfectly normal. I don’t know that I ever saw a discipline form, but I know that they existed because I knew a few people who were reprimanded for things, and it was official.

    Around here teacher dress code just needed a reminder because things got super lax post covid shutdown. We hadn’t been allowed to wear jeans, but suddenly people were wearing them and nobody said anything. Now they are back to no jeans.
     
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  6. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Seems pretty standard to me. I can see where it could be a bit jarring if you're not used to admin being as regimented.

    If I were feeling conspiratorial, I'd say there's one person in particular who doesn't understand dressing appropriately/proper conduct and the P is covering bases to be able to reprimand. We never had an intern dress code in college until one girl was totally clueless and showed up to the catholic grade school in a short bodycon skirt, fishnets, and had visible underwire. Then we had a dress code.

    Our dress code is pretty lax. No shorts unless you have a reason, no jeans except Fridays, no bare shoulders (tube tops/strapless/spaghetti strap), and wear reasonable shoes. That's it.
     
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  7. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Where is this?
     
  8. Aces

    Aces Devotee

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    We had the whole dress code conversations at my new school this week. Apparently the principal before me was super strict about it. I had sent out a memo with the new, more relaxed dress code and immediately got several responses.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I honestly think that even though I am not fond of having to submit lesson plans, doing so forces the teacher to actually think about whether the students are learning, and if not, come up with a well thought out plan to get them caught up so that they have the skills necessary to do well on standardized tests. Of the other things you listed, they share a common trait - teachers who don't follow the dress code and who demonstrate poor classroom management are probably not following other guidelines, either. Cell phone usage in front of students should not be tolerated, and calling students on their own cell phones is definitely not to be tolerated, since that is more personal information than a teacher should have about a minor. Students may offer their cell phone numbers to teachers because they consider them "safe", but that is a line teachers should not cross.
     
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  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I never condone abusive practices by administrators, but if they all followed the practice of documenting (along with training for change) employees who violate policies, the profession might be in a better place overall. Nothing kills perception of any profession than the small percentage of employees who are just awful, won't change, and can't be rid of.

    Also, it is standard practice that when professions crack down on policies, it means everyone is subjected to the change even if they weren't the ones violating it. Even if you never violate the policy in the past and won't in the future it still feels directed at you or as in lesson plans, it does put extra work on someone who may be doing a fantastic job regardless of the plan.
     
  11. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    I’ve seen students texting teachers and vice versa. I don’t contact students except when I send Remind messages. I always dress professionally. Polo with pants…. Every day…. Used to wear jeans but can’t fit them now. That’s a separate issue. :). I wonder if there will be more spot checks and walk-throughs with the P having copies of the Discipline Form on his clipboard and just marking things on the list…
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Case in point. Students may text teachers, but should not be able to text to a teacher's private phone, despite all involved saying "everyone does that." The students should be able to text to a teacher's school email or school voice mail account, but having the teacher's private, non-school issued number should not be allowed. Don't be sucked into the "everyone else is doing this, so why can't I" faulty reasoning. I would seek out very clear guidelines about how students and teachers are to contact each other, and instead of wondering whether or not you are in violation of some rule, you will be absolutely certain that you are protecting not only yourself, but your students. I worked with a male teacher that crossed lines, and when the investigations were over, most of his colleagues denied having any knowledge of his actions, although the chatter behind admin's back painted a very different picture. Rules and policies are there to protect staff and students. If these things are all becoming points to worry about now, then there probably are problems that have been ignored too long.

    The nice thing about being a person who follows all of the rules is that you don't have many behaviors to change.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    This is a great example of why it helps to have a dress code that is specific because if you ask me about professional dress, I wouldn’t put polo shirts on the list. That’s what my husband wore to his teaching job every day, too. Dress pants & a polo, every single day. One year they had all of us wear a school polo and khaki pants for parent conferences, and I felt like I should be working at Target or Walmart.

    I always argued to keep out ambiguous words like “appropriate” and “professional” in dress codes.
     
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  14. Aces

    Aces Devotee

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    So I’m very thankful that our district is very relaxed and basically just have the bare minimum as far as dress code guidelines go. Then passes the burden of making it more specific (as we see fit) onto the individual principals like me. The way I worded ours was essentially “School appropriate, keep it professional (will leave that up to your discretion), T-shirt Fridays on the first Friday of the month, and you can always wear your school t-shirts. Make sure you’re comfortable and can effectively do everything that your job requires.” The district clarifies what is/isn’t appropriate so obviously swearing, drugs, violence etc on a T-shirt is out. They also provide some additional clarification on what they consider appropriate, but jeans/polo perfectly acceptable. And of course having your ID badge.

    But as far as I’m concerned (and my boss), I left it intentionally open ended. Simply because for one, we’re all adults. We really shouldn’t have to spend a whole lot of time with dress code issues. And honestly if it’s going to be a major issue, then we’ll just go to formal business attire or matching polos and slacks every day.

    I personally think it comes from issues with micromanagement. I don’t believe in micromanaging. I believe in “here’s the goals, here’s the tools, do your thing and keep me informed I’ll step in if needed”. I trust my teachers, coaches, VPs, and other staff members to make these decisions without having to be strictly governed or watched. Will it come back and bite me in the butt this year? Well I certainly hope not but if it does we’ll go to plan B.
     
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  15. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    The cell phone rule seems totally appropriate to me, especially if teachers were texting students. That's just asking for trouble.

    My P sort of halfheartedly tried to put in a stricter dress code the school year that covid started (19-20). The whole thing was kind of strange, honestly. She'd been hired the year before and had explicitly stated at that time that it was "totally possible to look professional and put together in jeans." The next year, she put in our staff handbook that jeans should only be worn on Friday, BUT never one time actually mentioned it- just slipped it into the staff handbook. Being the rule follower that I am, I read the handbook and went out and bought a bunch of new clothes. Several people continued to wear jeans and to my knowledge nobody ever said anything.

    When we returned to in person schooling for 20-21, nobody said anything about dress code. It kind of felt like they were just happy we were showing up. No mention of it last year either. Last year, when I noted that pretty much everyone, including the AP, was regularly wearing jeans during the week, I went back to wearing them whenever I wanted as well.

    We have a ton of new staff for this year. Very interested to see if she ends up saying anything!
     
  16. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    If I could wear whichever type of pants I wanted with school polo shirts I'd be fine with that if I had a different shirt for every day of the week. Then I wouldn't have to worry about what to wear! Of course, if it was a rule, the school would have to keep extra school shirts on hand for emergencies (if a kid puked on you or something LOL).
     
  17. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Good on you. Outside of people who are just plain clueless, there are legitimate debates about certain items. Sleeveless clothing? Leggings or otherwise pull-on pants? Bermuda or golf shorts? Sneakers? Tops/dresses with back cut-outs? Anything hooded?
     
  18. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    All of that seems completely appropriate to me.

    In my experience, sometimes the dress code doesn't need to be spelled out, and sometimes it does. It just depends on the personnel involved.

    I too have heard "we're all adults here," but I've also worked with adults who have worn wildly inappropriate clothes for a school setting. I distinctly remember a young female guidance counselor who gave a talk during an assembly of 9th graders. She stood up to walk to the stage and she had on a super-short skirt and a really tight shirt. As she walked by my assembled class, I heard one of my boys laugh and quietly say "Dress code violation!"
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2022
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  19. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I see your point. For those who have common sense a dress code is kind of condescending. But it is needed for those who do know what appropriate clothing is for a school setting.
     
  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Forget in a school setting - I would settle for some common sense in what is or is not appropriate to even wear out of the house. I'm no prude, but what some people wear out in public makes me wonder if they are aware that other people can actually see them. I just shake my head.
     
  21. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Intentional or not, what you wear sends signals. When parents walk onto a campus they should be able to tell immediately, based on dress, the teachers from the students. My first year teaching I noticed a student on the yard kind of staring into space like he was lost. I approached from behind, “Can I help you?” The student turned around and introduced himself. He was a teacher. Of course, professional attire gets you in the door. Whether the attire is for real or fake will depend for the most part on what you do while wearing it.
     
  22. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    UPDATE:

    Looks like admin is really bearing down on students AND teachers. Last year, we had a ton of bathroom visits where students would camp out and vape…. And also take videos and post them…. A much stronger bathroom policy will limit bathroom visits by grade. And cell phones are not permitted during class time for any reason. No cell phones taken to the bathroom…. Teachers also cannot be on their cell phones. If caught, we get written up! If students are on their cell phones in class and we did not give permission, we get in trouble…. Phones are to be placed in numbered pockets…..
     
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  23. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Honestly, these changes seem logical and necessary given the problem with students vaping in the school, and the video which is being posted for the community to see. I would not be distressed about the changes to the cell phone because I have found over the years that cell phone usage continues to go up, and a lion's share of that use is not school or class endorsed or required. If the rule is that cell phones are not permitted during class time for any reason, then that means there is no reason for a teacher to turn a blind eye to the phone issue, and one can only hope that admin will back you up when you report the rule infraction. Teachers (some of them) and most of the students are going to resist the changes that have brought about the rule changes, and the best you can hope for is that admin is up to the task of saying what they mean and meaning what they say. As for teachers on phones and possibly getting in trouble, well, I have seldom heard a teacher on their phone talking about student or school issues during the course of the day (excluding those few calls too and from parents). Instead, many to most are phone calls that I would consider personal with extremely low chance of being necessary.

    It sounds as if admin got a black eye because of the videos that were seen apparently by many, and admin is being proactive this school year with rules that should be useful, if staff, in particular, back and enforce the rules with no apology to the students about the changes. Be on the side of compliance, don't let students use their phones in the classroom unless clearing it with admin before hand. This is my personal opinion, but one that I have chosen based on the phone problem competing against my attempt to instruct and teach. Phones run amok make it very hard to gain and hold their attention for an entire period; phones are, IMHO, too much of a distraction for most classrooms to use well.

    I think your admin is trying to be proactive in dealing with what sounds like a very public display of teacher's failing to be in charge. Here's wishing you a school year better than the last one.
    ;)
     
  24. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    I agree with everything that you’ve said. When I first started at my school, the cell phone policy had recently changed to being up to the individual teacher’s discretion. So, in the beginning, as a new teacher to the system, I tried the pockets at the wall approach. But, other teachers weren’t consistent and I became lax. Eventually, no one put their phones up and it became this way for years…. My main concern is that there is nothing written in the handbook for cell phone violations. They have new punishments for possession / use of vaping devices though. I’m to assume I send them to the office for noncompliance. Or if they say they don’t have their phone and I catch them using it, office referral.
     
  25. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Push for that to happen, or else put some specific consequence in your class rules. I ran into a problem when the last school I was at didn't have an academic honesty policy in the handbook. I had 3 students turn in identical work to google classroom for an opinion piece, and I knew which two cheated and who allowed the cheating. I took it to admin, who hemmed and hawed and told me to let them re-do the assignment for full credit. Since this was *just* before covid lockdown, that never happened.

    I'm "on my phone" all the time during class. We have a chat group for bathroom, hallway, and nurse where we're supposed to put in names whenever a student leaves the room. Since I travel room-to-room, I'm not setting up my computer in every classroom six times a day, thus phone use.
    I also make it clear that I have to leave my ringer on at all times because I have secondary POH for my dad. I can't reasonably put in every possible phone number for the nursing home, area hospitals, every doctor and therapist etc., and these calls could literally be life-or-death. In the rare event my phone goes off, I glance and unless it's the right area code I don't answer.
     
  26. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Good explanation of how to make any rule mean zilch. Effective rules are not about what is printed in a handbook, posted on a wall or announced in class. They are about enforcement or what you do about them. Toughest part about a rule is consistency, or in the real life of a classroom teacher, “Is it worth my time?” If a teacher doesn’t enforce a rule every time and anywhere the lesson students learn is rules don’t really mean anything. And if the cell phone rule doesn’t mean anything what will students think about other rules?

    Get this one cleared up - again, consistency. Imagine yourself sending a kid to the office, and teacher next door doesn’t. Students will think you unfair, the mean one, and line-up to be in colleague’s class.
     
  27. whizkid

    whizkid Connoisseur

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    Because they want a bigger teacher shortage.
     
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  28. whizkid

    whizkid Connoisseur

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    We have something similar to that.
     
  29. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    2nd UPDATE:

    Two weeks in and so there has been a noticeable decrease in vaping problems AND drama....Every teacher has told each class about putting phones in pockets so the students know to get up and put phones in pockets when I say, "Phones up." They all stand up and walk to the pockets! At lunchtime, I was talking to a teacher and she said the atmosphere is so much better than previous years... Hopefully this continues but I'm sensing the honeymoon phase is going to be tested because the start of the school year makes everyone conform. September and October come and things might change... There were 3 girls who got caught in the bathroom vaping.... And of course, it's the same girls who were in a lot of trouble last year..... Just can't fix the unfixable sometimes.... :( Hopefully, that's a one-off and not the start of problems all over again......
     
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  30. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    I actually agree with everything your P is doing. I’ve had to do lesson plans at every school I’ve worked at. Is it a pain? Sure. Keep in mind that it’s important to plan! You need to know what you’re teaching, how you’re going to teach it, what lessons or units you’re going to cover, etc. Not to mention any copies that need to be ready to go for the following week.

    As far as write ups, that’s pretty standard in my experience (never got one though, thank goodness). If you’re not dressing appropriately for school that’s a problem that should be documented. You’re a professional and should dress as such. You would think that would be common sense, but sometimes it’s not.

    Cell phones? IMO, a teacher should NEVER be on their cell phones during class. That’s called not monitoring your students. We actually had a teacher get in trouble last year for shopping on Amazon during class!

    Students shouldn’t be on theirs either. That’s just opening the door for all kinds of problems. Our students can bring theirs, but are expected to have them turned off and in their backpacks.

    Classroom management though? I’m torn on that one. New teachers should definitely be allowed some leeway on this. It’s takes a couple of years for most to really get it.

    If you’re a seasoned teacher that’s a different story. If you can’t manage your class after several years teaching, that again is a problem.

    It sounds like your P is trying to tighten things up at your school, which is a good thing. As long as you’re doing what you’re supposed to do you should be fine (unless they’re targeting you for whatever reason, which is not okay).
     
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  31. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    I have worked since 1985 until 2 years ago. I never was at a school that did not require lesson plans. There were differences in expectations for lesson plans. Some years, it'd take 3-5 hours a week to write lesson plans. With other principals (not as picky), I could whip them out quickly.
    The 1st school had very strict dress codes. It was almost like dressing for a school fashion show. I remember 1 teacher was sent home for wearing a low-cut dress. A counselor was written up for not dressing appropriately. They told her she dressed too casually. They advised her to wear makeup, jewelry, and dresses. Men were not allowed to have long hair or facial hair.
    My final years were in a school where jeans and sweatshirts were the norm for the majority of teachers. No one dressed up. 1 young teacher used to wear kind of sleazy clothes showing too much including her tattoos.( They were on her boobs.)
    The 1st school would write you up if you were late to duty, late to sign in, didn't turn something in on time, or if you majorly screwed up. However, it was the best of the 2 schools. They also wrote you tons of lovely notes, celebrated your successes, and supported you. They'd never disagree with you in front of a parent. They'd back you if a parent decided to be unreasonable. They gave gifts (nice ones) on holidays. They'd give you hour lunches once a week if you did what they asked you to do. Teachers and admin were polite, respected each other, and petty teacher squabbles would not have been allowed to fester. Kids did not want to get sent to the office there.
    At the more laid back school, teachers were disrespected by each other, the admin, and some parents. Some people hated each other, and you could see the death glares during staff meetings. Admin would stick up for parents and kids over the teacher. I loved the 1st school, but was ready to leave the 2nd school the second I got the chance.
    Oh! As for cell phones, they were not seen in school 1. You seldom saw anyone without 1 at school 2.
    There is something about clear and high expectations. I think it leads to a better climate as long as things are clear and fair. Also, the respect and support was valued. Things ran better in school 1, everyone was happier, and the kids got a much better education.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2022
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  32. murrayjestin

    murrayjestin Rookie

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    I don’t know that I ever saw a discipline form, but I know that they existed because I knew a few people who were reprimanded for things, and it was official.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2022

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