Covering for grade level team mate -- where to draw the line?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Em_Catz, May 3, 2011.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    May 3, 2011

    How often do you have to put together sub plans for your team member(s)? I believe in Karma, am a Christian and believe in the golden rule, but ENOUGH already.

    One of my grade level teammates has a lot of health issues and every few months she gets really sick and has to go to the hospital or stay home.

    She'll often be out for a week.

    This has happened five times this year and each time my team and I have to pull together sub plans for her. The first three times she had no plans, so we had to run copies and write up the schedule for the substitute.

    The fourth time, she just had a bunch of worksheets in a drawer, so we had to go through them, put in order and still write up a plan based on the sheets for the substitute and kids to follow.

    This time(5th time), she had one day's worth of sub plans that we used Friday. For Monday and Tuesday, she had NOTHING and she also has nothing for tomorrow, so we scrambled to find stuff to put out.

    This is the fifth time and half of our team is fed up and have flat out refused to help. They're like, "she has a husband. why can't she put the plans together and have him bring it to school" and "she knows she's got health issues, why doesn't she plan ahead?"

    I feel the same way and so does the other half of the team, but we're all chronic "nice girls" plus the other team member has health issues, so I guess she can relate a little.

    Plus I always am imagining if it was me. I was sick last December and ended up being out two days before the Christmas break. I only had one days worth of sub plans, so my team put together the last day for me.

    However, Mrs. "5 time offender" did not put the plans together that time i was absent.

    What do you guys think? Should I just let her hang out to dry?

    EDIT: She is having a hard time at work because the P and the VP don't seem to like her, so they're really hard on her. Sometimes she deserves it, but EVERYBODY makes mistakes and isn't doing everything 100% perfectly, so I know it's a lot of just those two ganging up on her. :(
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I would not put together plans for a teammate. I would print something if they sent it to me, I would run copies if they told me what to run, but I would not write the plans.
     
  4. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    May 3, 2011

    Why? And the thing is, isn't it being a "team player" to do it? It's like I feel torn between thinking, "I'm being taken advantage of" and "it's what I would want someone to do for me".

    But, to play the devil's advocate here, if I knew I had chronic health issues, I think I would try and plan better.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 3, 2011

    Our administration has a handbook that states that we must write our own plans. We must have emergency plans in the office if we can't come in and write them.

    I always make my copies a week in advance and have my plan book written out at least a week early. Even if I had health issues, I would type up my plans and email them to a friend to print for me or the office.
     
  6. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    I'm wondering how you would like to be treated if it were you? Personally, I think you have to just do it this time. Upon her return, I would say, "Look, I realize you can not help being sick, but the truth is that we can not be counted upon to do your plans in the future. It's not fair to your students, nor is it fair to your team. You need to plan on writing your plans 2 weeks in advance or plan on having the team ask the P and AP to supply a plan." I know that sounds unkind, but you are doing a kindness to her. If she is moved to a different team, she will be unable to function. If someone else joins the team, it will only make the rest of you look weak. If she knows the P doesn't like her, she will have sufficient motivation to get it done.
     
  7. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    May 3, 2011

    wow i didnt think of it like that. i'm pretty sure she is going to get fired (i know we shouldn't listen to gossip but even the teacher has been telling me about the rumors) so i guess i figured what the heck, she won't be here next year.

    BUT it does irritate me so i do need to stop. i just hate conrontations
     
  8. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Don't think of it as a confrontation, think of it as an intervention!:)
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    May 3, 2011

    I agree that you definitely should not continue helping write her sub plans. If she knows she has chronic health issues, and this has already happened 5 times, then she needs to plan well, and plan ahead. Period..
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Exactly, Tami! I know it can happen once in a great while, but that is what emergency sub plans are. I have one set for each quarter of the school year. If I have an emergency and need to be out more than 1 day, I can find an hour somewhere (even in the middle of the night) to write an email a plan for the next day.
     
  11. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    May 3, 2011

    I would probably be annoyed, but I would definitely have helped her get the plans together in the past. However, after the second or third time, I probably would have talked to her and let her know that she needs to have some emergency plans in order. After the gentle warning, she would be on her own. And it depends on the health issue.

    If it were something serious like cancer, I would probably suck it up because I'm sure when she is not in school, she is spending all of her time dealing with that. After the second or third time I probably would have developed a generic week plan where I could just substitute in things -- read aloud, students read to self and write a summary, letter practice, etc. Monday, write sight words, Tuesday, pyramid writing (or whatever word study first graders so), etc.

    If it were something not so serious, like she can't walk but has all of her mental faculties and is not worried about dying, I would be a little more pushy about her getting her plans together. I would give her notice that Wednesday is the last time you will get her plans together, and that she will be responsible for anything after that.

    If she does somehow make it to next year, and she still has the same health problem, you should demand that she get some emergency plans together over the summer.
     
  12. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    May 3, 2011

    On my team we have helped each other out when someone is unexpectedly out. We are a team, I also consider my teammates friends, when in a bind we look out for one another. Yes we (like most schools) are expected to have emergency sub plans, but I know a lot of teachers do not have these, I don't. When a team teacher needs help, we help. That might mean making copies and printing the emailed sub plans. It might mean, throwing together some ideas and finding copies. Whatever it takes, we do it to help one another out. I would never throw a teammate under the bus and tell the admin. "they don't have anything". For one, the first thing that admin would probably say to me is, "as a team you need to put something together then." We are a team, that is our job to back one another up.
    I understand this is a cronic situation and that would be very frustrating. If the person knows they will be out often due to health issues, I would take offense to this being put on you, but for emergency out of the blue situations, I would always step up to help.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 3, 2011

    I've put together stuff for a friend, and run it off, and she has for me.

    Then again, both of us value the friendship too much to take advantage. (And, as luck would have it, we've both had to miss a chunk of school to deal with serious health issues.)

    At this point in the year, I think I would continue to cover; the year is almost over.

    But at some point, maybe over the summer, you might fill her in to the resentment. Let her know that she needs to have some stuff Xeroxed and ready to go.
     
  14. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I would just help her out.

    I was the sole caregiver of my husband as he was dying of cancer. I never knew when I would be out. I was only at work for two to three days a week and worked like a dog to catch up on grading and get ahead in planning. I always had two weeks of plans done but the last time my husband went to the doctor, he ended up being in the hospital for three weeks, hospice for a few days, and then I had a funeral to plan and all the paperwork involved with a death. And no, I did not have an hour to make extra plans. I could not leave my husband's side and had to wait to shower until someone could sit with my husband so that meant I didn't always get one. Do I regret not putting my students above my dying husband? Nope. Not once.

    My point, long winded that it is, is that there may be circumstances that keep this teacher from putting work first. I am always that teacher who puts her class first. Except for a brief period when I had a higher priority.

    Not knowing her illness, I cannot guess about her health, but if she is in the hospital, she needs all the help she can get.
     
  15. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    May 3, 2011

    Then again, if a person has such serious health issues that they are going to be gone this much, maybe they need to take an extended leave and the school bring in a long term sub to do the work.
    Also if she is missing this much work, it can end up hurting her when it comes to being hired back for the following year (atleast where I live).
     
  16. AndreGreen

    AndreGreen Companion

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    May 4, 2011

    Yes, draw the line!
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    While it's kind of you and your teammates to cover for this other teammate, I think that it has gone way past the line of appropriate professional expectations. I believe that your teammate is taking advantage of you, knowing full well that you'll cover for her when she doesn't prepare adequate sub plans. It might be too late in the year to stop covering for her now, but if you continue to work together next year I think that your team needs to set some very clear policies about this subject and stick to them.

    It's understandable if this teammate is having very serious medical issues that are preventing her from doing her job. With that having been said, it may be appropriate for her to consider going on disability or taking some sort of leave of absence. If she can't perform her job, and it sounds like she definitely isn't performing her job, then maybe she needs to leave it, at least temporarily. That's obviously not up to you, but I wonder why admin hasn't spoken to her about her absenteeism.

    Even with severe and serious medical issues, she could at least be doing three things. First, she could prepare regular lesson plans two or three weeks in advance. If she's out, the sub can just follow her regular plans. Second, she could prepare many sub plans, knowing that she will likely be out. It would take a while, for sure, but she should be able to write five or ten days' worth of plans that can be used at any time, and then replenish them as appropriate. Third, she could kindly speak with the rest of the team ahead of time and ask for your help. It sounds like she is doing none of these things, and it's the last one that would really irk me. It's one thing to cover from time to time--we all have those unexpected situations and it's nice to have a thoughtful team who will be there to help out with those things happen. It's another thing entirely to expect the team to do all your work for you.
     
  18. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    May 4, 2011

    Everything about your post, even your name and location oddly enough, could be about someone in my dept. (except I teach high school).

    We are in the same situation - wonderful teacher who is having a lot of health issues, has missed significant time, and the admin doesn't seem to like her for some reason. She does actually try to write her own plans, but we have to print and organize everything for her, and it really falls on one teacher in the dept because she is the one that gets here early.

    even just to get everything ready that often is a pain. I can see why it is frustrating. I always make sure even if I am feeling a little bad - I make sure I have everything out on my desk.

    I don't have any advice other than I feel your pain. I feel bad for the teacher because it isn't her fault but it gets tiring after awhile. Like - if your health is interfering with you doing your job, maybe you should be on disability for awhile.
     
  19. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    I would be annoyed also, but woudl help out, and then help her when she is here at school to fill up an emergency sub folder.

    I would just wish that someone would help me if I needed it and really it is for the kids at the school.

    It is annoying though, when other people do not do their jobs.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    From what I understood from the OP is that this teacher didn't even do that much. Something tells me that if this teacher consistently had even a couple days worth of plans there wouldn't be this sort of resentment, even if the absence lasted longer than the plans. I hope I just made sense there, I'm not feeling like I'm expressing what I mean very well. It just seems to me that the resentment is coming from this teacher never having any plans. I think I might resent that too.

    For the OP: I'm wondering if you could work something out where this teacher agrees to stay in lockstep with another teacher on the team next year, so when the emergencies arise, that other teacher's plans can be easily substituted in.
     
  21. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    May 4, 2011

    If it was one time I would do it to help out a collegue. It sounds like she's taking advantage now after 5 times. I don't see health issues as an excuse since it has been happening all year and by now she should be prepared with emergency plans. Also, lesson plans are part of the job. I highly doubt anyone is getting paid extra for doing part of HER job.
     
  22. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    This sounds just like our first grade team. But this has gone on for several years, with nothing coming from admin. The poor team is So fed up, especially since there is no "proof" of illness. The team is always getting plans together, and often a sub does not show up and her class has to be split. Her poor class is short changed every year. I wouldn't do it, but our administration tells the team to get stuff together. We keep thinking this 'sick' teacher will lose her job, but she comes back each year. I don't know the answer.

    I just feel bad for the children.
     

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