Concerned about meeting.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by imissjerryg, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2014

    Hi all. I have posted two threads about the teacher I work with as a paraprofessional. We have been butting heads lately and I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with her stress level, her negative attitude towards the new/changing administration, and the fact that she may or may not be returning (see links to previous threads for more info...)
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=179899
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=180702


    Anyway, it has all come to a head now and she pulled me out of the classroom today to talk to me about the fact that she can "no longer accommodate my needs" as far as scheduling is concerned. I'll give a little background on this so you guys don't have to go back and read the other threads if you don't want to. So, I am in graduate school for special education and am in my last semester of classes before student teaching. There was one class I had been postponing because the field experience of 30 hours had to be in an elementary school (I work with high school students). I told the teacher in December that I was very worried about this field and asked her if there was any possible way I could use lunch hours to do the field. I told her it would probably be around 1 1/2 hours a day, twice a week. She said this would not be a problem at all and I immediately felt relieved.
    Flash forward to what is going on now... So, the field placement was not at the closest elementary school and therefore I am gone for more like 2 hours a day, twice a week. I am in the fifth week of this field experience and the teacher at the school where I work pulled me aside today and told me she can "no longer accommodate me" and that we would have to meet with the principal to discuss further action and plans.
    Just typing this, I can feel my heart rate increasing and my anxiety going up. I feel like I want to cry (and already have multiple times today). I have already gone to the principal to talk a little bit about my situation and what is going on. I have felt so much anxiety going to work lately that it has affected my mental health and even getting to work on time. I have been late several times in the past few weeks because my anxiety is so high that I am fearful to go into work. I literally feel like puking some Sunday nights with the dread of the upcoming week. This is ONLY because of the teacher... It has nothing to do with the kids, the school, the other paras, the administration... Just the teacher is causing this high anxiety and fear. I am concerned about not only my mental health but now about my job. I am meeting with the teacher and the principal tomorrow after school. How in the world do I go about this meeting? If you read the other threads, you will have more insight into this situation. I am so nervous and I'm sick of crying and being this upset. I can't really deal with this teacher anymore and I feel as if I am being treated unfairly and in an unprofessional manner. The teacher is so negative and doesn't even seem to value my input or hard work.
    (See previous threads for more information)....

    Please, I will take whatever advice I am given. I am desperate over here.
     
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  3. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Mar 26, 2014

    :hugs: Do you work in a private or charter school? I find it weird that you can do your fieldwork placement during your paid hours. I am hoping that the principal gave you permission to do this field work during school hours and not just the classroom teacher. I personally would not be able to survive without my para for 2 hours, twice a week (well...maybe for one week but not multiple weeks). Is the teacher getting coverage from another para when you are gone? Maybe the principal could provide her with extra support for at least 1 hour when you are gone.
     
  4. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2014

    No I do not work at a private or charter school. I use lunch hours from all of my days (and I get one hour per day/five hours a week) which is four hours. So the other three days I am there, I take 20 minute lunches as opposed to my daily allotted hour lunch. I am not getting paid for hours not working. The reason I am doing this is because the teacher, who I have been told is my boss and I should do whatever it is she wants/tells me to do, said it was no problem. There are two other paras in the room as well. I think the reason this is causing problems is because, as I stated in the other threads that are posted in this thread, the teacher is rarely in the room (she is doing paperwork in the other room? meeting with people? I have no idea at this point...???). Because I am gone for these two hours twice a week, she is actually having to be in the room instructing.
     
  5. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2014

    This whole thing is just causing me stress because I think the teacher has manipulated the situation to make it look like I'm the problem when she is having major issues with her job and the administration that is taking over. I feel like I am just a scapegoat for her frustration.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Mar 26, 2014

    Does the principal know you are leaving for field hours? I would focus the meeting on making arrangements so you can complete your hours. I would not bring up my concerns with the teacher during the meeting. It sounds like you need to schedule a separate meeting with the principal to discuss the concerns you have with the teacher.
     
  7. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Mar 26, 2014

    Be prepared for her to also bring up all of the other issues she's having to deal with beyond your absences. Being late several times within a few weeks is pretty bad. I would be extremely frustrated in her position. I realize the teacher is tough to deal with, but refusing to come back to work because you're upset or being late because of a vet appointment really isn't kosher. You'll need to get the anxiety and outside issues under control before someone will give you your own classroom.

    When you meet with the principal and the teacher, you need to convince them that you won't continue to be late or leave work for emotional reasons. You can bring up your issues with the teacher, but don't be accusatory or it will just come off as defensiveness. And understand that if she's changed her mind about the field hours, her principal will most likely be in her corner, so you may need to make a choice.
     
  8. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I think it is in your best interest to also get permission from your principal as there might be a liability issue if you get in a car accident during school hours, especially if it is during a time where you are expected to be with the students. The teacher is in charge when you are in her classroom (too bad that you aren't a team) but she doesn't have power to give you permission to do fieldwork during school hours.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Mar 26, 2014

    Ok, so let's set aside the issues you have with the teacher. This meeting isn't the time to bring them up and if you do it is going to make you look bad, like you are lashing out, so I highly suggest you put that aside and focus on that later.

    So let's talk about these field hours. I understand that the quantity of time you are gone may match with your lunch hour(s), but that doesn't really matter when you are dealing with kids and their schedules. She may need you to be there from 8:00-9:00, whereas she does not from 12:00-1:00. Additionally, the teacher may have initially thought she could get by with you being gone, but has come to realize that it is not working.

    Again, what she does with her time is not really your concern right now. Bottom line-you are there to complete certain tasks, and if you are not doing that, it becomes a problem.

    Four hours a week x 5 weeks-you are almost done with your field experience, but you may have to change your plan. Perhaps it works better to leave at the end of the day. Perhaps over lunch. Perhaps it would behoove everyone involved for you to take 2 days of vacation and just finish the hours. I don't know, but I do know you better go into this meeting with an open mind and multiple solutions. The principal is likely going to side with the teacher and whatever she wants, so understand that, and don't get defensive.

    What is going to happen, is the teacher is going to bring up your behavior outside of the field experience hours. I'm sorry, but it's not acceptable to be late that many times, no matter how justified. If you were the teacher, your principal would be irate. And leaving or not coming in due to being so upset is not conducive to a good learning environment. You are going to have to get your emotions under control. I only know what you have posted here, but it seems like you are getting very worked up over something you have little to no control over. It may not be fair, it may not be what you want, but it is what it is. The principal is in charge of her and her actions, not you. And I'm sorry for being frank, but if you don't get control over yourself and learn to accept it, you may be looking for another job. And really, if this is the environment you are working in, that may not be a bad thing!
     
  10. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2014

    The teacher was supposed to have talked to her. I am told to go through my teacher for everything, even though she is technically not my boss. I'm definitely not going to bring up the concerns with the teacher. No way, not at all. I just want to get through this meeting and finish the year. I was just sort of giving some background about the other issues. Thanks!
     
  11. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2014

    HistoryVA

    Yeah I know it is pretty bad; it really sucks that two uncontrollable things came up within the same week. Really sucks. I understand that she may be extremely frustrated but I have been living with this frustration and anxiety for months now worrying about my position in regards to legality issues. It's not just that she's tough to deal with; she breaks laws. Regularly. She doesn't teach. She doesn't do lesson plans. She told me her job is to "do paperwork, not teach". She also has gen ed teachers sign off on IEP forms, stating they were at the meeting, but they were not there. She copies and pastes IEPs and these poor kids have had a "washed" year in my opinion since none of the hours on their IEPs were met since the teacher was not instructing, or at least supervising instruction. Oh and my anxiety? It is all due to these legal issues being overlooked (and I'm in grad school for SPED...), the way I am treated in the classroom by the teacher, and the fact that the teacher always needs to tell me things like "SPED is a horrible field to be getting into; hope you're ready!" or "I don't teach; I do paperwork" or "I'm not coming into work this Wednesday or next Monday and Tuesday because I'm ****** at Mrs. Blankity Blank". I don't have anxiety otherwise. I'm generally a strong person and have been told by multiple people that I'm great at what I do. My teachers from last year would give me excellent recommendations.. of course, they weren't doing a whole bunch of illegal stuff either... Trust me, I can handle my own classroom. I've pretty much been doing it ALL year. Oh and the principal? She told me to apply for said teacher's job... actually "highly recommended" me. I'm so ready to get out from under this crazy person's authority.
     
  12. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2014

    Trust me, I do not plan on bringing up our issues. That would just make me look like a childish idiot. I was just giving you guys some background on what has been going on. I totally get that the teacher probably thinks these hours just aren't working and I totally get that they may not be. I was given the OK though so this seems to be a problem of hers and not mine. She probably shouldn't have ok'ed them if she had any doubts. My tasks that I'm completing though? They are not legal. (See above post). This teacher is burnt out beyond any sort of helping. She actually told me the other day "Well, we can do (blah blah blah can't remember exactly what it is she said).. I mean, we are teaching retarded kids" Who says that?! She isn't providing hours on their IEPs. Oh and I only left one day because I was upset and that was after the teacher screamed at me in front of the kids and other paras. I'm sorry but I wouldn't take that at ANY job. It's ridiculous and unprofessional. I also never came in late because I was upset. One day I was literally bleeding all over the place (should have gotten stitches but didn't... huge scar now; oh well) and the other day I had to deal with my landlord telling me my house was for sale and I had 30 days to move after it sold (pretty abrupt and we have a lease until July...). These things, while they completely suck because I was late, were sort of uncontrollable. Oh, and I did miss one day because it was the one year anniversary of my dad's death. I also got the ok to miss this day a month in advance. I can't leave at the end of the day or at lunch because although my grad program is touted to be a program for non-traditional grad students (which I thought meant older students with full time jobs?? guess not!), this field must be completed during a literacy block, which is from 9-11 at the school in which I was placed. I can't look for another field or another school because I have too much time invested in the one I'm currently at. Oh, and another thing. The professor for this class won't let us go for less than one hour or more than three hours at a time so I can't just knock out two days. It's really too bad the teacher ok'ed me to do this and is now backing out on it in the most unprofessional way ever. I mean, she should have at least came to me before going to the principal in frustration. We could have worked something out without even getting the principal involved!
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Mar 27, 2014

    Pick a story OP. The difference in the two stories you presented in this thread lend credence to the fact that your perception is suspect.

    Maybe you should quit since your job is impacting your health and making you come to work late.

    Your best bet is to try to find an arrangement that will allow the school to find someone to cover your position while you fulfill the duties of your grad programs such as taking a week or a week and a half off of work to complete it or mornings off for a week or a week and a half.

    You sure have a lot of blame to go around and none of that seems to land on you. Bad teacher, sleeping paras, unreasonable grad program, etc. Yet you have justifications for being gone longer than agreed time, choose to deal with landlord issues when it could have been done later (believe me, I've had many situations in my life where I couldn't deal with important things until later in the day because I had to be at work), leaving when you got yelled at instead of taking a moment in the restroom and pulling yourself together, coming in late because you are upset, etc. You really need to examine this sort of thinking. It won't serve you well in the future.

    Good luck. If you do get let go, it might be for the best since you "have been late several times in the past few weeks because my anxiety is so high that I am fearful to go into work". Your words, not mine.
     
  14. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I know, I read your other threads. I am sympathetic.

    I understand that the times you have missed may have perfectly legitimate reasons. But, in total, they just add up to a lot of absences. And that is the bottom line, and what the principal is going to look at.

    I'm not entirely clear if your principal knows that you were leaving or not. If not, be prepared for her to be rather upset about this. Yes, she should be upset with the teacher, but more than likely it's going to be either both of you, or you alone. I'm sorry, this is just how it is. And how you react to that is going to say a lot about you. It's not going to look good to throw the teacher under the bus.

    I know this situation is unfair, and I'm sorry about that for you.
     
  15. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2014

    I didn't mean to say I had been late several times to work because anxiety. That was a complete typo, probably because I had just been talking about the couple of times I was late due to the other issues. I meant to say I have been not wanting to go to work several times in the past few weeks because of my anxiety of dealing with this teacher. I don't have justifications for being gone longer than the agreed upon time; I actually talked to the teacher after the first time I went and told her instead of an 1 1/2- hour and 45 minutes it would be more like 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. She said this was fine. My field experience was taken care of a long time ago.

    By the way, I have noticed your responses are extremely negative and do not help whatsoever. If you want to just nitpick, do so elsewhere. You're not making things any better or offering any good solutions.
     
  16. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Thank you for the advice. I definitely won't be throwing this teacher under the bus; I'm pretty sure she has done that herself. I am only venting on here about my issues with what has gone on and not trying to pull the "Well, she did this!" card. It's frustrating all around and I feel that at least venting to people who are in the field helps. There are only 9 weeks left in the school year so I doubt they would let me go because that will be lots of paperwork plus finding a new para since the teacher says she has to have someone there and this is where the problem lies. They will probably work with me; the principal really likes me but seems to have issues with the teacher. The teacher hates her job so much and it's rubbing off on others. Can't wait for this last 9 weeks to be over!
     
  17. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Mar 27, 2014

    How did the meeting go?
     
  18. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Mar 29, 2014

    I've read your posts here and in the other threads.

    You have no control over what she, the teacher, is doing or not doing. Spare yourself the anxiety and focus on what you can control.

    Maybe she had doubts then but then again so what? She can change her mind. She is the classroom teacher and has that prerogative.

    It is perfectly natural to be frustrated with what you cannot control. What will help you is your ability to deal with it and move through it. Focus on the positive and what you can control. What should you be spending your energy on?

    There seem to be a great many things you cannot control and are frustrated about, specifically related to the teacher. Get over it.

    Sometimes you just have to endure.


    BTW- I speak from hard experience.
     
  19. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Mar 29, 2014

    :yeahthat:
     
  20. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    So the meeting... didn't even happen! The teacher expressed concern about this, wanted to schedule a meeting, and it never happened. I still had to leave Wednesday and Friday for my field experience and the teacher didn't seem happy about it. I did make a suggestion for her though. I asked if perhaps I could use my sick hours, or just put 32 hours a week instead of my usual 35, for the first few hours on Friday and just do my field one day a week for three hours at a time. That way I will be done in four weeks and I will only be missing the first three hours of Friday, which is a really easy day because the kids run a coffee shop in the school. She didn't seem that interested in my suggestion and kind of shrugged me off. I'm not sure what is going to happen still. We are on spring break next week too so I have to wait until I get back which is April 8th. My class ends in early May. We are kind of counting down the minutes and I don't have any to spare. I wish she would have come to me earlier with this issue. I'm hoping everything goes ok. Thanks everyone who actually gave advice instead of just telling me what I did wrong. I know I'm not perfect and I know there are things I could have done differently but that's not what I'm trying to remedy here. I spent my last two days after the teacher came to me with the issue working with my students and enjoying every minute of it. I actually had a wonderful day on Friday and really had fun with the kids. I'm not going to let this bother me and ruin the time I have left with these kids because the truth is, I only have nine weeks left with these kids who have really made an impression on my life. I'm gonna miss them so much!
     
  21. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Mar 30, 2014

    In hindsight regardless of the fact that you need to ok everything with the teacher you should inform the principal of your needs and whereabouts. That way when a meeting such as this comes up your principal already knows and okayed you taking off the hours that you need.
     
  22. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Yes, from now on I will be informing my principal of everything. The only reason I didn't at the beginning is because the teacher was supposed to be speaking with her and okaying everything. I know now that I need to take matters into my own hands when it comes to things like this. Thanks for the advice.
     
  23. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Apr 1, 2014

    Do you get vacation hours? Can you use them during the times you need to leave? Or just take leave without pay?

    In some states, it is illegal to move your break times from day to day. The teacher has been very gracious to allow you to move your lunch hours so that you can get your field experience done. She's making quite the exception for you, and other paras may not view it as fair. Other paras may not get to move their hours to their liking. During your spring break, are there other schools in the area that may be in session, and you can get some hours done then?
     
  24. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Yes I do get paid sick leave and personal leave. I am totally fine with taking leave without pay to finish these last 12 hours. The other paras are fine with it too. They have actually told me that they don't understand what the problem is. No, I have to finish the field at the same school as I am working with a particular student.
     
  25. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Just from your comments, it seems your grad school is not very flexible. Have you explained your situation to them?
     
  26. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Not the current situation because we just had spring break. I have class tonight, though, so I am going to talk to my professor tonight. They are not very flexible when it comes to a lot of the field experiences. They don't really encourage their grad students to work full time but some of us have to in order to stay afloat. If I didn't work full time, I wouldn't be able to pay my bills. It's supposed to be a grad program for non-traditional students too. This has been the most trying semester I've had; thankfully, it's my last one before student teaching!
     

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