I am entitled to know why I was "not satisfactory".

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by oldstudent, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2012

    ;)I agree.
     
  2. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    Feb 18, 2012

    I have had some issues subbing for a few elementary teachers but rarely any issues with secondary teachers. I have had elementary teachers leave 4 pages of single spaced instructions. I spend the time before the students arrive reviewing all of the material and locating books, worksheets, videos and games. Sometimes I will have to Google terms that I am not familar. I'm a certified secondary teacher but will sub for most types of classes and grades. I have received feedback on Aesop from teachers that amazes me. Teachers have been critical for the slightest deviation from the lesson plans. I have had a teacher criticise me for not completing a math lesson when I first had to review their morning math problems, and then review their HW from the night before, which they did not understand. This was all scheduled for 50 minutes. The teacher commented, "The entire class period was used to go over homework from the night before. The activity was not completed." I had another teacher comment, "They did seem to be a little confused with the Literature Circle assignments."

    I have found that some teachers expect you to walk in and be able to mimic what they do. I am sometimes pulled between teaching, or staying on task and schedule. I have found myself behind schedule and assigned the remainder of an activity as HW and I'm criticised for it. The one teacher wrote, "Plans clearly stated that Adjective packet page 76 was to be the only page assigned for homework. Students reported that they were instructed to complete the packet if they were finished with page 76." Honestly, I have no idea what this teacher was referring to. All that I knew was that most of the students did not understand what adjectives are and I spent more time explaining and giving examples than was allotted in her plans. And this was all detailed in four pages of single spaced notes. Obviously these are exceptions to the rule and most teachers attitude is do what you can get done.
     
  3. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Feb 19, 2012

    Yesterday after school, I called to set up an appointment, but the secretary and I agreed that there was not a definite time that was yet available.
    We agreed it should be a day when I knew in advance that I was going to be working in their district, otherwise I would likely not be able hold the appointment. Next Thursday is possible if " their negotiations are cancelled".
    The secretary seemed very friendly, and told me that if this was something really bad, they would have called me into the office.

    I found this encouraging.
     
  4. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Feb 19, 2012

    One of the greatest challenges for subs is trying to present lessons wnen having very little time to review the plans. We are at the mercy of the school secretaries.

    I occasionally get plans that seem unrealistic to complete, so I greatly appreciate when the teachers acknowledge this and tell us to just complete what we can.

    Otherwise, I never assume that I am not expected to complete everything, so I try my hardest to get everything in.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2012

    This definitely sounds like good news. Will they let you schedule the appointment the same day as the appointment?
     
  6. ArnieM

    ArnieM Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2012

    It could just be a mixup. Anytime an employee has a loss of work, reprimanded, fired, etc. they have to be informed of the reason why by law right? Otherwise, they could be dealing with a discrimination case. If they haven't told you then maybe they are trying to come up with a reason why. Maybe it's nothing you did at all but other motives.
     
  7. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Mar 19, 2012

    I am still trying to coordinate my schedule with personnel to arrange a meeting.

    I have to be there by 3:30, so it is difficult to make an appointment without the possiblility of having to cancel. I therefore have to be certain about my availability.

    I will post the outcome afterwards, I think.

    Fortunately, this strike against me has not stifled the jobs available from this district.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 20, 2012

    I'm glad that it hasn't taken jobs away from you.
     
  9. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Mar 20, 2012

    I would never ruin a sub's career based on students telling me he/she was "creepy." Creepy could mean anything to a high school kid. Just today I had a kid tell me he was creeped out by people in wheelchairs. It would have to be something more specific than "creepy" for me to complain.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 20, 2012

    There's no need to suggest that I "ruined a sub's career". I merely reported to the main office what was reported to me. That's my responsibility as a teacher and I take it very seriously. The office can investigate or not as it sees fit.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 20, 2012

    Caesar did note that the assessment as "creepy" came from students in every class. Given that, it seems to me best not just to let the matter drop.
     
  12. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Mar 20, 2012

    Complaints are not at all equal. It depends on the nature and the extent of the complaint.

    Ceasar did everything he was supposed to do in reporting what he was told. It would have been negligent for him to ignore such reports. The welfare of the students comes first.

    If, however, a teacher commences proceedings with the intention of banning a sub from his school, or even the district, it might be overstepping ones bounds. It depends on the accusation and/or violation.

    In my case, on the surface, the punishment does not seem to fit the crime because I was never called in to discuss the matter. I received no correspondence other than an e-mail.

    Yet if one is banned from ever returning to a school, let alone a particular class, common sense tells me that a violation that is serious enough to warrant such a ban would also be serious enough to warrant a mandatory meeting with an administrator.

    Time will tell, but in my case, I suspect that being banned from the school was overkill, and could also be unethical if this goes on my permanent record and keeps me from other employment considerations.
     
  13. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Mar 20, 2012

    Wow, you're still trying to set up a date/time. Yes, keep us posted on what happens.
     
  14. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Apr 2, 2012

    I have an afternoon meeting with the Assistant Superintendent on next Monday afternoon April 9.
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 3, 2012

    Good luck! Hoping for clarity at least, reinstatement in the highest.
     
  16. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 3, 2012

    Let us know what they say.
     
  17. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2012

    Well, the moment of "truth" arrived today as I finally had the opportunity to speak with the Assistant Superintendent regarding my "not satisfactory" report and subsequent banning from a school.

    The result has me both relieved and concerned.

    She shared with me the paragraph that was written about me from the teacher who I subbed for back on January 20.

    To paraphrase, it said that I did not follow the lesson plan, and that I told the students that they did not have to do some "extra" work that was left.

    That's it! It is rather anti-climactic. Nevertheless, the AS, who was rather cordial, did say that three of these reports would result in dismissal.

    Unfortunately, I could not really defend myself because I recall no details of this particular day, except that the teacher did not leave me her teachers' addition for the Language Arts program, which I decided to borrowed from another teacher.

    I should have mentioned this point.

    I actually put an emphasis on following lesson plans as closely and as thorougly as possible, and have recieved no similar complaints in 15 years.
    I therefore suspect that the plans were likely very vague, and the teacher expected me to interpret them differently.

    But did I deviate so much from her intentions that she felt the need to write me up?

    Additionally, if the teacher did not want me to give the students an option for "extra work", once the required work is finished, then why did she say it was "extra"?

    Extra work is to be done when students finish their required work early.

    I will tell early finishers to do the the "extra" work. However, if they ask to do something else that I deem relevant and productive, I will allow it.

    Maybe she was upset because I didnt make them do it.


    At any rate, this is a concern because it means that if a teacher leaves vague or confusing plans, and they are not followed as expected, the teacher can write you up and ruin your career.

    Since we have no union protection, I think I will write the "National Substitute teachers Alliance" to see if we have any legal recourse in the event that I , or anyone else, is fired because we do not implement plans as expected.

    Unfortunately, I once wrote my local rep about a matter regarding pay, and he never responded. I think I should try writing to someone higher up the ladder.
     
  18. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 9, 2012

    It sounds like her write-up was as vague as her lesson plans. It would obviously help if you could remember details from the day, but I understand that's hard to do after so much time has passed.

    Anytime I substitute, I leave the teacher a Feedback Form of my own design. It has blocks for each class and can accommodate up to 7 different class periods, so it doesn't matter if the school uses block classes or a regular schedule - I have enough space to comment on each class individually.

    Normally, I just write a short summary of the class behavior. If the class is rowdy to the point of disruption, I will leave specific names, but usually it is just general descriptions.

    I also make sure to note any deviations I had to make from the lesson plans, due to lack of time, fire drill, etc. If there is ANY reason I cannot complete all the tasks left for a class, I note this and list the reason why the task was not accomplished. That way, I have documentation of what I did (or did not do) and why.

    I've never kept copies of the Feedback Form for myself, but after your situation, it might be a good idea for both of us (and other subs). That way, IF any other question about your performance should ever arise, you would have the Feedback Form at your disposal. Not only would this show documentation of your efforts, it would also help remind you of exactly what you did that day, which might help help you remember more details of the day you chose not to write down. Also, the Feedback Form would let the teacher know up front what you did and why, which might give a good enough explanation of why you didn't give the students the "extra" work.

    One thing we all know for certain, you can't have too much documentation.

    Sorry this happened to you, but it sounds like an anomaly in an otherwise spotless record, so hopefully it won't happen again. Thanks for keeping us informed throughout this process. We are all pulling for you!
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Apr 10, 2012

    I'm sorry this has happened to you. I also think it's ridiculous. Even if you deviated from the lesson plans, or whatever the teacher said, I really don't think it would be a big deal, enough for you to have these consequences.
     
  20. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Apr 10, 2012

    It is a good idea to do as Cerek does in the middle and high school grades. The districts usually provide these forms at this level, although I usually add my own detail in a seperate report if necessary.

    This class was 2nd grade


    I always leave detailed notes to the teacher regarding general and specific behaviors and what was accomplished in the plans.

    I do not make a copy of my own report because it is too long to copy twice and I would need to trouble the office secretary to borrow a code to make a xerox copy and then return the original back to the classroom.

    I imagine I provide more detail than most subs because I am usually the last to leave.

    It would be wise for me to make documentation of anything out of the ordinary, however.
     
  21. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 10, 2012

    I'd be concernd too because Jan 20th for you didn't seem bad at all, in fact, like any ordinary day & the fact that this teacher chose to write you up is kind of a scary thing because for that matter, you could have another day just lilke it the next day & the next & a teacher may choose to write you up...or not. But, I know exactly where you're coming from. You don't know what each teacher considers a good, thorough job or not. You know that what you're doing is right, but some are so anal apparently, such as this one seemed to be. Plus, who knows, something could be going on in her personal life & she's taking it out on you when there was no need to!

    Yes, I'd definitely try to make a copy of at least what you wrote for the end-of-the-day summary note from now on & if you always have to ask the office, I'd maybe buy one of those portable scanners & start taking it w/ me in which you scan things & can print them out at home later. In fact, it's so quick to use, you can scan the teacher's plans, then you'll have proof of how vague she was if this ever happens in the future. QVC sells this hand-held, one that you may want to invest in:

    http://www.qvc.com/Pandigital-Portable-8.5-x-14-Photo-&Document-Wand-Scanner-Search-Results.product.E167848.html?sc=E167848-SRCH&cm_sp=VIEWPOSITION-_-1-_-E167848&catentryImage=http://images-p.qvc.com/is/image/e/48/e167848.001?$uslarge$

    (If this link doesn't work, go to qvc.com & type in scanners in the SEARCH box. You'll see a long, stick-shape one for $99.95 called Pandigital Portable 8.5" x 14" Photo &Document Wand Scanner.)

    It's really somthing how you can do 15 years of great service & no one acknowledges that really, but one little bad day & boom, your ability/character is questionable. I used to sub for a good 10 yrs & there were about 3 strange days that I can recall that I wish never happened, but I know I was a good sub. Thank God I was only written up once in all the yrs I've been a sub & that was towards the beginning when I started subbing. I was never called in to the superintendent or anything for it. It's like how people tend to remember one bad review of a store or restaurant and don't pay attention much to the previous 100 other good reviews.

    Well, good luck w/ the rest of your career! How many more yrs do you plan on subbing anyway? Do you plan on ever doing anything else? I wouldn't say be wary from now on, but I'd try to be a little more careful & thorough & if you can't copy or get than scanner, jot brief notes on how the course of the day went & what you did each time & let's hope you don't have any more days like that one! :)
     
  22. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 10, 2012

    I like the idea of copying the teacher's plans as well. Hadn't thought about that. Once the day is done, the teacher can claim anything she wants. She could tell the admin she left very detailed plans and you would have no way to disprove it - unless you had a copy of the plans yourself. Since the plans are essentially a note or letter written to you, you should have every right to make a copy of them (or even keep the original - although that might be pushing it).

    It IS sad that you have to take these extra steps, but we all have to do what is necessary to protect ourselves and our jobs, especially when your job can be drastically affected at the whim of someone else.

    The portable scanner might be a bit of an investment up front, but it would be a very valuable tool to carry with you to protect against any future claims of poor work.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 10, 2012

    A small all-in-one printer is cheaper, will scan adequately, and would make it possible to print handouts on the fly.
     
  24. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Apr 10, 2012

    Instead of a portable scanner, why not take pictures with your phone? Likely a cheaper option (assuming you have a cellphone with a camera).
     
  25. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 10, 2012

    But even the smallest all-in-ones are still too bulky to carry around every day.

    That is an even better option, IF you can get a clear enough picture to read all the instructions.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I've taken detailed document pictures with the iPad (and we know how horrible their cameras are) and was able to read things fine. So I think the photo is a great idea.

    Though I have a Pandigital scanner from QVC...that thing is wonderful and easily fits in a purse if need be. :)
     
  27. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 10, 2012

    Do you keep track of your subbing gigs? Going forward, you might want to start a Google Calendar that logs the name and grade of the teacher you're covering. This is especially useful if you're subbing in multiple schools and need to double check your paychecks.

    Glad you've been heard.
     
  28. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Apr 10, 2012

    Great ideas! I'm going to start documenting with my camera. I'm so surprised that this happened to you! I have forgotten, have you subbed for this particular teacher before? I'd think "extra" work is just that- extra in case you finish early, but not mandatory.
     
  29. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Apr 10, 2012

    I was also going to suggest this, too. I've taken photos of documents with my 3GS iphone and while it's difficult to read on your phone, it's readable when I upload it onto my computer.
     
  30. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 10, 2012

    I like catnfiddle's suggestion about Google Calendar as well. I use a regular wall calendar myself, both to remind me of sub assignments I have coming up and to keep track of assignments I've already worked.

    I list the school, teacher and whether it is a full or half day. I don't generally list the class subject because I can determine that from the teacher's name.
     
  31. soldier86

    soldier86 Rookie

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    Apr 10, 2012

    After reading this post, I was just curious what are the typical requirements for a sub? Do they need a Bachelor's degree, an associates, a high school diploma, GED? Are they required to pass any standardized tests? Do they undergo background checks? Are they interviewed by the teachers/principals in the school or district? Do they undergo any training? I mean if they are held to the same professional standard as regular teachers, then why don’t they do exactly that and become a full time teacher? I remember most subs I had in high school were either A. college students or B. retired teachers. Oh we had one sub who was in his 40's and who was a pizza delivery person. He would delivery pizza to the high school parties, stop in and drink a few drinks and smoke a few smokes with the young party goers. He actually wasn't a bad guy, he just wasn't professional. That's why I'm curious as to sub teaching requirements.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The requirements to sub vary from state to state, soldier86, and may even vary from district to district within a state. To find out the requirements where you are, you need to ask locally.

    A good many subs in a good many places at the moment are fully certified teachers who simply can't find full-time jobs because imploding state and local budgets have forced layoffs and consolidations.
     
  33. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 10, 2012

    Sub requirements differ from state to state. In our district, we were required to attend a course entitled Effective Teacher Training, which basically covered all the highlights of teaching duties; creating lesson plans, teaching a lesson, some classroom management techniques, observing classes, etc. I imagine this is true for most NC districts, but don't know that for a fact. Once a person has completed this course (1 semester long), they become a "Certified Substitute Teacher".

    In GA, subs are required to attend training on how to use their attendance and homework software. I know because I applied as a substitute teacher in GA and could not be accepted the first year because the training class was already filled.

    As for why people decide to become substitutes, there are lots of different reasons. Many (like myself) DO want to become full-time teachers and subbing is a way to gain classroom experience, earn some money and get that all-important "foot-in-the-door" in the system. It can still take awhile, though. Others (like a friend of mine) are just interested in earning some extra money and see substitute teaching as an "easy" way to do this. As I said, in our district, the only requirement for subs is to complete the certification course. Several others are moms who want to earn some money, but need a job schedule that still allows them to drop off and pick up their kids from school. If they can get regular calls to the school where their children go, it is an ideal situation for them.

    Still others are retired teachers that still like to teach and be in the classroom some, but don't want to do it full-time anymore.
     
  34. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Apr 10, 2012

    Well I'm glad that you found out it was something minor. Maybe try keeping a copy of lesson plans from each day that you sub.
     
  35. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Apr 10, 2012

    To Mrs. I,

    Not being thorough has never been an issue. I have nearly always been very thorough in describing the day, including the reasons why, on some occasions, I could not complete the lesson plans.

    I also leave my phone number if the teacher has any questions.

    What I need to do is record pertinent information that is out of the norm for my own keeping.

    I always keep a calendar of where I have been each day. In fact, until recently, I still had my calendar of where I was each day in 1998.
    I therefore knew the teacher, the date, and the grade in question as soon as I got the e-mail from the district.

    This helped me mull over anything odd about this day,

    Although I would not call it odd, I was able to recall that this teacher did not leave me her teacher's text for the Language Arts program, and that a neighbor teacher offered to let me borrow his since he had finished the theme.

    I also remembered having left the school and forgetting to give this teacher his book back.

    This might be a key to the problem.

    I surmise the teacher came back the next day and noticed an unfamiliar teacher's text that I might have used for her class that did not belong to her.

    She might have taken offense at this. Maybe she resented that I overstepped the boundries of her expectations by borrowing something that helped me with her plans that she failed to provide.

    Maybe I did more than she expected and she resented this. Maybe my unexpected thoroughness damaged her ego a bit, even at a subconscioius level.

    I will never know, but it is food for thought.

    .
     
  36. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Apr 10, 2012

    I still think this whole thing is odd. There are so many horrible subs out there; I heard teachers complaining at schools, we've read complaints on the threads here, I see some of those subs at my school (not controlling kids, dressing provocatively, being an hour late all the time, showing inappropriate Youtube clips, playing inappropriate music, one even made a racist remark to a kid), and yet, this teacher will complain about some minor issues? And these complaints make it where the sub is written up, even after years of great service? I think you said 15 years, right?
    I just don't get it.
     
  37. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 11, 2012

    oldstudent, thanks for replying to me. As far as whether to use a cell phone camera or that portable scanner from QVC that I told you about, I guess if you have a good enough camera on your cell to take the whole picture & can blow it up a lot larger to actually see the written words, then yes, that's easier than the portable scanner, but I'm glad JustMe confirmed that the one from QVC is good!
     
  38. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Apr 11, 2012

    What is even more odd than being written up for this is this district's policy of firing subs once three such notices are received.

    I am sure that it is quite common for teachers to be unhappy on occasion for how their lesson plans were implemented, but one can only imagine the consequences if every single teacher were to formally file a written complaint each time they were unhappy with a sub.

    Most subs would eventually get fired, even the best ones, since you can not meet all teacher's expectations. We all present things a little differently.
     
  39. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Apr 13, 2012

    The app store has a few scanner apps for iphones. JotNot Scanner Pro is only $1.99. Scanner Pro is $6.99.
     
  40. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Apr 29, 2012

    For the first time in many years, I am going to work a little nervous every day.

    Last week, I was in a difficult 6th grade class for two days because the teacher had an accident and had been out for the previous five days with two different subs.

    I found two old lesson plans from two of those days, of which the kids said had mostly not been done.

    Furthermore, I was not allowed to teach math because it was testing week for math.

    Some sloppy looking plans arrived from an unknown source for the 2nd half of the first day only.

    Yet if this teacher is unhappy with what was covered when she returned last Wednesday, she can write us up.

    Friday, I was in a much better 6th grade class, but important details of the plan were not included. This teacher could also write me up if I did not fill in the vague spots as he expected.

    I sure wish we had a reliable way to defend ourselves.

    I am searching for a tactful way to request that the principal of the school that banned me to go into this teacher's room the next time she has a sub, to access the quality and clarity of her plans.

    If she agrees they are vague, and I include the fact that I found it advantageous on this day to seek out another teacher to browse through the theme for language arts because it was not provided, then just maybe I could eliminate the strike.

    Or maybe I should just let sleeping dogs lie.

    I strongly suspect more fault lies with the plans than myself. But I am not the one with the school or union to support me.
     

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