How Would You Handle This?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by substeacher, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. substeacher

    substeacher Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2015

    A school I sub for has a rule that subs aren't supposed to let any students out of the room for any reason - even for the bathroom. I've been told that this rule is in place because students tend to wander the halls and not just go to the bathroom and straight back. I've been following this rule because it's what I was told to do.

    When I told a student she couldn't go to the bathroom and would just have to wait until the end of class, she got mad, pulled out her phone, and called her mother. The mother wanted to speak to me. What would you do under these circumstances? Talk to the parent? If you did, what would you say? Would you insist on sticking to the school rule?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2015

    I would direct the student to tell the parent to speak with admin.

    Are phones allowed during class? I might even write up the kid for calling her mom during class.

    (As an aside, this is an asinine policy and it sets kids up to do exactly what this student did. It's not your fault that the school has this rule, and I feel bad that you are expected to enforce it.)
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sep 9, 2015

    :thumb:

    Exactly what I would have said.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2015

    I would have told her to put her phone away as soon as she took it out.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 9, 2015

    It's not your fault, you were following directions. I would also not talk to a parent on the phone during class.
     
  7. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Sep 9, 2015

    Caesar753 had an excellent suggestion to direct the student to tell the parent to speak with admin. As I read the original post, I too wondered if the school even allows students and teachers to use cell phones during class time. If they aren't allowed to do so, I would have reported the girl for violating the school rule.

    If school rules don't permit students to use cell phones during class, I definitely would NOT have spoken to the parent at that moment because I believe that as the teacher, I must follow the rules myself. The only time I would use a cell phone during class is if it's an emergency situation. Even then, I would see if I can use the classroom phone first.

    In addition, talking to the parent during class about the bathroom pass issue would be a waste of valuable instructional time. If I were to be speaking to the parent at that moment, it could send other students the message that they can misbehave because they see the substitute teacher occupied on the phone.

    I would report the whole situation to admin. and continue to enforce the "no hall pass rule" as long as it is in effect.
     
  8. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Sep 9, 2015

    How strict is this rule?

    Do they permit safeties on campus to escort the student to the bathroom or nurses office in a emergency?

    If so, I would ask the student if it is an emergency. If they say yes, then call either the office, or call the direct safeties extension and tell them you need an emergency escort.

    If it is not an emergency, then the student will likely wait rather than be escorted to the bathroom.

    Very few cases are actually emergencies. They are likely asking you because you are a sub and they want a break out of class.
     
  9. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Sep 9, 2015

    You're 100% correct, oldstudent. It's unfortunate that with some students, not only do they want a break out of class but they also want to disturb another class or vandalize the school.

    Thank you for reminding me about requesting an emergency escort. There are some students who have a physician's note stating that they must leave the classroom at specific times of the day so they can take their medicine in the school nurse's office. The nurse's office would have a copy of this note on file. When I taught at middle and high schools where students weren't allowed to use the hall pass unless it was an emergency situation, I made it clear in my classroom syllabus and during the first week of school that the only exception to this rule is if the student's have a verified doctor's note on file. One of the reasons why I clarified this to students is so they don't have the misconception that I'm showing favoritism by only allowing some students to use the hall pass.

    As a new teacher, one of my concerns was how some students would make excuses to avoid doing any work in all their classes, even if that meant lying to teachers about having an emergency during class time. To address this concern, I emphasized to students that the class time and knowledge are precious and they're thus hurting themselves if they avoid doing their work and learning the day's lesson.
     
  10. substeacher

    substeacher Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2015

    Thanks, everyone. Your comments have given me many ideas to consider should this problem arise again.

    I'd guess that phones aren't allowed. I'll be clarifying that with the office tomorrow. I'm new to this school, so I'm still learning the rules.

    They're pretty strict about it. A teacher, the clerk at the office, and the dean all warned me not to let students out of the class for any reason at all. They have no escorts that I know of.

    I agree that this is why most students likely want ask to use the bathroom. In those cases, I've found they usually don't argue too much about it when I say no. In this case, though, I do believe the girl probably really had to go. Despite that, my position still was that I needed to follow school rules.
     
  11. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Sep 10, 2015

    If this girl truly was on the verge of having an accident, then I would say " rules be damned" and let her go.

    If this is a district wide policy that would cost you your job, then the girl has to stay in class.

    This is probably very unlikely. I doubt you would be reprimanded if you were led to believe it was a true emergency.

    However, if it is just this school, I would take a chance that the worst case scenario is that I am banned from this school , and would let her go.

    There have been a few times over the years where I have had to call for a safety or aide to come to the class so I could leave to avoid an accident. Urgent needs do come on unexpectedly at inopportune times.

    I can certainly sympathize with the student if it was an emergency.
     
  12. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Sep 11, 2015

    I had something very similar happen to me my first year. I was told not to let students go to the bathroom during benchmark testing. I got into an argument with a student about the bathroom. I told her the school rule was no bathroom, and have her parents call admin if there was an issue. Her mom did, admin came down on me - hard, and the rule was changed.

    Some rules are better off ignoring IMO. If I think a student is just trying to get out of class, I'll tell them to wait and don't interrupt while I'm teaching. If they interrupt again, they get a consequence for being disrespectful.
     

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