How would you handle this?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Securis, May 18, 2015.

  1. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 18, 2015

    My BW returned to school in January from her shortened maternity leave. She wasn't happy about that. And while she was out for the first half of the year she had a sub that seemed to be more interested in being popular with the students and less professional. Nothing improper but substantially different than my BW's way of doing things. Compounded, if my wife needs to take a day for whatever reason, (we had our Little's 1st bday party on Saturday that she took off on Friday to prep for. ), and they always call on the same sub.

    It seems like that whatever happens while my wife is away undermines any positive relationship she may have with some students. It's not all of them but it only takes a few to really put the sting in hurtful behavior. For instance, a goodbye poster addressed to the sub was left with some notes on it about the sub being a better teacher and not liking my wife. It was 'accidentally' left for my wife to find. Today, she returned to find a stupid petition to have the sub be the teacher and my wife fired. Wow! I think it easy to say ignore it but she's been tender about her return all along.

    How does one deal with this? I suggested she speak with her P but she's decided that would be embarrassing. I'm not sure how to advise her further.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2015

    I think that she should ignore it and know that the year is almost over.

    A nearly identical situation happened in my department several years ago. The teacher brought it to the attention of administration who did nothing about it except make the teacher feel bad for feeling bad about the whole thing.
     
  4. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    May 18, 2015

    She took a day off of work to prep for a birthday party?

    I agree with Caesar.
     
  5. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 18, 2015

    Yes. You have a problem with it?
     
  6. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    May 18, 2015

    Forget about it. Teachers can't be so sensitive. My job is to teach, not be a friend.

    The teacher next door to me always has a host of students talking to her after school and in her room at lunch. Sometimes I get a little disappointed that my students don't want to chat with me like that, but now I just find the over-the-top friendliness annoying.

    I would request that the sub not return. However, I would base my reasons on professionalism, not jealousy.
     
  7. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    May 18, 2015

    I'm sorry if this comes off wrong and I mean absolutely no offense to your wife, but it doesn't sound like there's any evidence the sub is doing something wrong. It does sound like - for whatever reason - the kids just seem to prefer the sub and they want your wife to know it. It's not uncommon for kids to get attached to a sub if that's their teacher for the first half of the year. Also - kids aren't always so great about sparing feelings. I have two paras that go to lunch with my students. Every day, my kiddies squabble over who gets to sit next to one of my paras while no one ever asks to sit next to the other. I'm sure that it doesn't even occur to them that this is hurtful.

    I think it would be pretty unfair to punish the sub for the students actions and feelings by asking that she not be allowed back. I can't see why the sub should be punished for being well-liked.

    The school year is almost over. I would just ride it out. Next year, your wife will start with her class from the beginning of the year and that will be a big difference.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2015

    I agree that your wife should probably just let it go, though I know that's easier said than done. If she can, maybe she request a particular sub to step in for her when she knows she'll be out so that this 'problem' sub isn't in her classroom.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 18, 2015

    I agree. The big factor is that the sub was with the children for the first half of the year. To the students, she IS the teacher and your wife is the sub. The sub was the first person the students became attached to and little ones have a hard time breaking away. The school keeps bringing back the same sub because she knows the kids.

    Next year, your wife will begin the school year and she should have no more troubles.
     
  10. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    May 18, 2015

    I agree that she should just let it be, but I don't agree that the sub did nothing wrong.

    For one thing, whenever a student bashes another teacher, the professional thing to do is to nip that in the bud. It doesn't appear the sub did that.

    I also wonder if the students made the poster and the petition during class time. If so, that's a terrible waste of instructional time.
     
  11. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 18, 2015

    I understand the advice to ignore it. That makes the most sense because if they see you sweat, they'll pour on the heat. It really is only a few problem students that throw it in her face regularly. Still, saying to ignore it isn't the route I can take as her support. And here's why. Someone mentioned that it is easy to say and hard to do, the feelings are there and they are raw. I wouldn't insult my wife by minimizing how she feels. I agree with many of you that she should just ignore it and she does as best she can. I still have to hear about it and provide consolation. It's hard to hear and not be able to confront the problem head on.

    Someone said the sub doesn't appear to have done anything wrong. You should know she is a licensed teacher hoping to find permanent employment with the district, the high school she attended so they know her there. That judgment is based on only two complaints that undermine my wife with her students. There are more but who tells every fine detail when they're not absolutely relevant to the question. Further complaints like loosing important files after my wife's return, like not maintaining accurate grades or compiling averages in a timely manner, leaving assignments ungraded that she taught, or Misplacing materials, and taking equipment home then not returning it until after it was past being needed plus making a miserable attempt at a photo booth with the resulting complaints falling to my wife because she had just returned and was now the teacher. The subs inexperience, my wife's responsibility. Failing to provide accommodations during testing. Yet, when my wife let her P know these things, the first response was how highly regarded the sub is. After another teacher in the department corroborated some of the issues, the P's response was, "I wasn't aware." Apparently, she was let loose without any accountability. Her inexperience and inappropriate focus on maintaining popularity with the students has led to an abysmal work condition and a rocky home/work balance.

    Now we get down to the politics of the situation. The kids love her because she gets to be fun and she gets to be fun because she's not held accountable. Admin doesn't watch her and they love her because she doesn't seem to have any discipline problems. She doesn't have any discipline problems because didn't seem to have any standards. In comes my wife, to her classroom of 17 years, tender because she really would rather be at home with Little but can't. She has standards and expectations while the proverbial deck is stacked against her and there's no way of redressing the situation. She has to lump it without complaint while missing our baby then come home to offer me a floodgate of pent up emotions.

    The poster was made at the end of last school year because my wife went out early due to some difficulties with her pregnancy. So she didn't find that little surprise until she returned in December. End of the year party goodbyes I guess. The petition was made this last Friday while she was out on documented formally requested and approved personal leave so we could prepare our Little's 1st birthday party meal for 40 of our friends and family.

    I've met the young lady sub. She's not any kind of warty ogre. She's actually kind of nice in person but it's very hard to like someone who at best ineptly ran a classroom and the result is our hardship or at worst made malicious decisions to sabotage my wife's return. So everything written here is filtered through my wife's frustrations and retelling and filtered through my own frustrations making this just my rant and rave over continually being clubbed over the head with the same problems for the last six months. One would think and hope the dynamics would change in my wife's favor and they'd give it up and cut her a break. I know I need the break.
     
  12. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    May 18, 2015

    I'm sure you've heard this before: Women want their men to listen to their problems; men want to fix the problems. I don't mean to minimize how it affects you and your family, but it seems there isn't much your wife can do even though she still needs to vent. Without realizing it, you may be providing just the support she needs simply by listening and caring.
     
  13. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    May 18, 2015

    This was my thought too.
     
  14. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 18, 2015

    Not sure if this was mentioned, but what grade level does your wife teach?
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 19, 2015

    Agreed. Also true for men ranting to their wives, and wives sometimes wanting to solve issues.
     
  16. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 19, 2015

    High school, all grade levels.
     
  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 19, 2015

    That makes a difference. The kids acted inappropriately.
     
  18. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 19, 2015


    Not the one you quoted, but I'll respond.

    I don't have a problem with it - she's not at my school and it doesn't affect me personally.

    I do find it unprofessional and unnecessary. I'm sure the students can see it too. Which might explain some of their comments.
     
  19. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I tend to agree with you. But, then again, I've taken days off for things that others might find unnecessary. I don't have kids and don't know if I'd think differently about taking off to prepare for a party if I had them. In the end, I really don't think it's anyone's place to judge what another person uses a personal day for. Personal days are just that and should be able to be used for any reason.
     
  20. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    May 19, 2015

    Is it possible that your wife is giving off a "I really don't want to be here" vibe to the kids, without realizing it? That's something the students would pick up on immediately.
     
  21. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    May 19, 2015

    If she left at the end of the school year and returned in January, then she was on maternity leave for about seven months. Wow, that's longer than most leaves. I'm a working mom, too, so I understand leaving a baby home is hard. However, is that unhappy attitude coming through to her students?

    Does she know you're posting this on a public teaching site? Because someone in real life could recognize her based on your post.
     
  22. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 19, 2015

    I don't think I need to explain the rhetorical nature of my challenge. I invite you to be helpful or find something else to do.

    As far as someone recognizing the situation and connecting it back to my wife, I admit that's possible. Unlikely but possible. Does that mean I should be afraid to share how I feel about how unfair this seems. I think that's the problem to begin with. Do I have the entire story? Admittedly no. Do I need the entire story to support my wife? No.

    To the leave issue, I'm sure it changes district to district; state to state. The first portion before school let out was considered medical so her MLA didn't begin until the new school year began. She could have extended her leave without pay or benefits and still retained her position but things didn't work out that way.

    To the vibe issue, that is likely true to a degree. When I say that it's a few students, it's a mere handful relative to all her students. I also get a lot of glowing reports about how well they are doing and I get to see the results of all the effort and hard work. What I'm describing is a multitude of irritating pinpricks over the course of several months. I think that most teachers would have similar feelings in similar situations. It's not like she's a sobbing wreck who is failing at her job. Quite the opposite, she's holding up well given the extra pressure. My purpose is to support her as best I can. I'm not about casting aspersions at students, other teachers, or the district.
     
  23. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    May 19, 2015

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that it is your job to support her. I'm sure she is capable of deciding what she wants to do about the situation. All you need to do is to remind her of her many strengths and how much you love her and then back away.
     
  24. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    May 19, 2015

    I'm trying to wrap my head around all this...your wife was out prior to the end of last year, had the baby in May, out til December. Correct? Had the same sub the whole time.

    So the students are seeing this person as their teacher, as someone pointed out. They got used to that person, and when your wife came back she is kind of viewed as the sub, moreso than the regular teacher.

    I guess bottom line is…she is the regular teacher. It’s her job to buck up and run the classroom. I would have unceremoniously dumped those “petitions” in the trash and moved on. Kids are mean. They will also take the path of least resistance to what they want, which is to do as little work as possible. It’s the job of admin to figure out who is teaching the class. If they are doing it right, it will all shake out in the end. If they aren’t, I probably would have to question why I was working there.
     
  25. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 19, 2015

    Thank you all for helping me clarify my thoughts and for allowing me some ventilation. It was helpful to read the on topic perspectives.
     

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