Need super quick advice

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Feb 14, 2014

    The only kids in our school that are bused are the special ed kids. However, the buses have been coming very late. They're supposed to be here at 3:00, but they've been coming as late as 4:00 or sometimes even later than that. The special ed teachers and paras are expected to wait with the kids until the buses come even though it is way past our contracted time. The other special ed teachers have been complaining but nothing ever gets done about it. It is annoying to stand there and wait for the bus when I could be up in my classroom getting things done or on my way home. Since it's been snowing so much, they've only gotten later and later.

    This morning, all of the sp. ed. teachers and paras made a pact. They decided to walk out at the contracted time and let the office deal with the kids. I am non-tenured and not comfortable with this, but they were adamant that we're being taken advantage of, this is the only way to get some action on this and if even one of us stays behind, it will defeat the purpose.

    So, if I walk out I risk admin being angry with me and if I don't walk out, I will definitely make my collegues angry with me. WWYD??
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd go to my administration and tell them that your schedule changed for the next two weeks, and you have to leave immediately when contract hours end to pick up your husband/boyfriend/cousin'mother from someplace. Ask your colleagues to give you a day head start (possibly volunteer off-the-record to take a duty of some type for them) so that it looks a little more legitimate for you.

    I would think you'd be okay either way... you should certainly have the right to leave when you stop getting paid if there are other adults capable of watching the children... but better safe than sorry.
     
  4. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I like that advice gr3.

    And as a parent, if my kid was showing up an hour+ late from school due to the bus, I'd be complaining right now.
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Oh, I know plenty of parents who would love that extra hour of having their kid NOT home LOL

    I agree that if you give your admin a heads up that you have to leave at your contracted time then when the rest of them "walk out" you will probably be in the clear.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Personally, I wouldn't jeopardize my job by walking out because staying there is for the safety of the children. It isn't as if you are walking out because you are being asked to do something that is unsafe. But that is me. I know others might feel differently in your situation.

    Some questions come to mind when I read your post. Exactly how did your colleagues complain and to whom? Writing has a much bigger impact than verbally. I'd be darned sure that there was written proof of this being addressed multiple times before I would go the walk-out route. It shouldn't require written proof to make something happen, but I certainly wouldn't do something that could make me lose my job without documented proof that resolution was tried multiple times.

    Contract - exactly how is your contract written? Sometimes wording makes all the difference in the world. Your contract time might end at a specific time, but your duties may be expected to go beyond the contracted times or in special circumstances. This may be one of the safety circumstances for which the contracted hours mean little.

    I also wonder why the parents aren't protesting. They may be protesting to those in charge of the bussing, but there may not be anything that can be done about it. The teachers may just not hear about their protests.

    Personally, I'd be careful about claiming to have an obligation that just came up that coincides with the walk-out. It is transparent and will actually draw more attention to your participation. While you may not get non-renewed for it, you very well may be seen differently in the eyes of the admin. It is one thing to participate in the walk-out but another to appear to be bold enough to make up a reason. It may very well be seen as lying and ruin the trust the admin has in you. That is just a different perspective.
     
  7. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Feb 14, 2014

    Woah. I can't really give advice because I am not in a union state, and I'd be fired for doing this.

    If you don't do it and everyone else does, you are setting yourself up for alienation from your co-workers.

    If I could do it, and not get fired I would.

    Is there any way you can set something up where you keep the kids with you in your classroom until the bus arrives? When the bus gets there the driver can call the office and then you can walk the kids out.

    Let us know what happens. I wish you the best.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Too late, but I am curious about your decision. I think it's complete BS and support the plan. These teachers left today when all other teachers could and when their contract states they can.
     
  9. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Feb 14, 2014

    Exactly. Also, most parents in my area are not home when their kids get home so as long as the child is in the house by 7 or 8, they are none the wiser.

    OP, I would not have walked out when I was not tenured because I knew my Admin was ... vindictive. You know your Admin better than we do and how they might act given such action on your part. Since I'm tenured now and I teach older kids, I would not wait one second for a child to get on the bus when I know the bus will be late. Talk to your Admin and let them know you can't stay after school and that you shouldn't have to.
     
  10. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I know plenty of parents would feel that way. I said I would be complaining. If every parent of every special Ed kid is fine with them getting home one hour+ late, that's a problem. Maybe they need someone willing to stay and be with them late.

    After reading atoz's reply, I have to agree with that. There better be an astronomical reason for teachers to leave students unattended. And furthermore, is it the office staff's fault the bus is late? Why saddle them with the issue?
     
  11. RadiantBerg

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    Pretty simple...

    I assume the office staff includes the principal. I am sure the principal can make a change happen with the buses if need be. This would motivate him or her to make that change.
     
  12. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    But it is afterschool and after contract hours. So teachers must wait afterschool, everyday this happens, until the situation gets fixed? Why? I understand if its once or twice a month, but not if its happening everyday.

    This is not the teachers' fault so they should not be punished.
     
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    This is a fair solution if the person is being paid to do so.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    When is your contracted end time?
     
  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    In my school, office staff's paid day goes a half hour longer than teachers, so I'd have no issue at all leaving students in their care when my contract day ended.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    The other thing that must be kept in mind is that multiple teachers and paras are waiting. So, would 1 office staff member or 1 admin be enough to keep the proper ratios for the students? Do they all have the training needed to care for the students since some special education students require special training which should also extend to those on the bus supervising.

    I'm not saying what is happening is right, but it might be illegal to leave all of the special education students requiring transportation with the office staff or 1 admin.
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I wouldn't expect there to be legal issues involved unless their IEP specifically requires certain ratios of adults to children during transportation times.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    And the long and short of it is that if waiting every day for 30 minutes after the contract day is being required of these teachers (and ESPECIALLY for paras... making them stay after hours IS a legal issue), then they either need to be paid for that or given comp time.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    You win. They are both legal issues. But until it is settled I would lean toward protecting the safety of the students. As I said, what is happening is wrong, but sometimes the better of the 2 wrongs must be selected. Student safety is paramount. If only 1 office staff member is needed to watch the students until transport, I'm not sure why the special education teachers and paras aren't just taking turns staying with all of the kids until the bus comes. Still not perfect, but the rest can get their time to complete whatever they need to get done while only 1 has to wait with all of the students. It is not as much of a burden.

    Again, not perfect, but sure beats all of them waiting for a very long time past the contracted time.
     
  20. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    That's insane! I can't believe they make you do that and I'd be sooo mad about it as a special ed teacher myself. We have school aides who do bus duty thankfully.

    I don't know what I'd do when it comes to the walking out, it sounds great but I don't know if I'd be tough enough to follow through, the peer pressure is tough though. Good luck! I'm curious to find out the end result of all of this. I hope it's in your favor!
     
  21. mr_post22

    mr_post22 Companion

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    You need to call the district transportation department at 3:10 and tell them the drivers aren't there. Do this every day. Also, ask the drivers why they are late.
     
  22. AliLand

    AliLand Rookie

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    Wow, that's a tricky one. Generally I'm in favour of supporting colleagues, you have to stick together, but what about the kids? Is someone going to be with them? Many special ed kids need familiar train teachers, what if the stan in doesn't cope well?
    Before you act, you really should give written notice of your intentions. Are you personally sure that your head is aware of the problem?
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Teachers should be filling out vouchers for the past contracted time.

    Have the teachers formalized their concerns about the bus situation? Seems to me you should bring this up via proper channels: steering committee, ask union rep to address...
     
  24. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Is this possibly mostly a weather issue? If so, possibly the problem will correct itself soon. When I look at my many years in education, the problems I have had are usually from not getting enough information. I would talk to admin., the union etc. Find out more.

    I would not make up a lie to try to get out of this. People aren't stupid, and though admin. might not prove you are lying, you will lose a lot of trust and respect with admin. Also, you will have to be really careful to cover up your lies. Life has enough stress without dealing with covering up lies to stay out of trouble.
     
  25. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Weather related or not, it is unacceptable without compensation. And even then it shouldn't be forced on anyone.
     
  26. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Thanks for the responses. It is NOT solely a weather issue. It happened all year last year and all this year - way before the snow started. Last year was my first year with this school but I'm told it's been an issue for 4 years now. The reason the buses are late is because they do another pickup at a nearby district before coming to us. If there are any delays with that (and there always are) such as the children released late, traffic, a parent not home to pick up the kid from the bus, etc. they are late. The teachers have brought this up to our principal many, many times. We have also contacted the point person at the district on this many, many times. We keep a log on the times they come and submit it weekly as a complaint. Everyone in charge swears they are doing the best they can, but nothing ever changes.

    The reason everyone stays rather than just one or two people is because we all feel obligated - and no one has told us otherwise - to our own students. However, if I have to leave on time or one of my paras does, we will leave the other in charge for that day.

    As for Friday, I was very lucky. The buses actually came - while not on time - before the end of our contracted time so no one left. But, I know this issue will come up again. I really don't know what I'm supposed to do. I absolutely will not do anything to jeopardize my job, but I don't need my colleagues upset with me, especially when I agree with them that something needs to be done.
     
  27. 123456now

    123456now Rookie

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    Well, if you've contacted the appropriate people many, many times and the problem continues, they clearly don't care. Someone needs to be an advocate for the students as well because clearly their parents aren't being their advocate.

    Since they wouldn't pay attention when you tried to do it the appropriate way through the appropriate channels, I'd place a nice little anonymous phone call to the local investigative news reporter. I bet you'd get results then.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    If this has been going on for years, why hasn't the staff that has to wait for pick up come up with a way that not everyone is impacted every day? I know it doesn't solve the problem that the bus company contracted to transport works in multiple districts and therefore can be late.

    I agree something should be done, I just don't feel a walk-out will work in your favor no matter what you choose. Your co-workers should understand your situation about not being tenured. What about the paras? In our district they aren't tenured ever? Seems to me those tenured teachers are thinking of themselves in this situation. They will use you as a pawn as easily as the district has been using all of you as pawns. Obviously they aren't thinking of the collateral damage for others involved such as non-tenured teachers and the paras that are supposed to take part to get them out of staying late.
     
  29. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Paras are non-tenured. Most of them have been working for the district for many years so perhaps that is what makes them so confident in their positions that they don't fear walking out in this situation. That is a big part of the reason I felt I couldn't speak up. I couldn't argue that I can't participate in a walk out pact because I'm non-tenured when half the people I'd be talking to are non-tenured as well.
     
  30. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You also have to remember that paras get paid pennies on the dollar compared to you. I can almost guarantee that most (if not all) of them are making the "play money" for their family, because they certainly aren't supporting a family with what they make, so if they get fired... eh, oh well.

    Paras also have a lot more legal justification for leaving, since they are specifically hourly employees, while you're a salaried employee.
     
  31. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    There are a lot of assumptions in this post.

    Our paras work for the health insurance. In this district, it's the same as what we teachers get. They also NEED their salary. It's not "play money" for them as I've never heard that any of them are rolling in their husband's money.

    The paras here would not stand for that kind of treatment. None of them would stay late. But they have a strong union.
     
  32. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Actually, none of this is true in my district/area. Paras are on a step program and can make up to $40,000 in salary and most of them do because they are there for years and years - decades in some cases. I don't want to say my salary but 40k is really not THAT much less than I make. Also, they are not hourly employees. They have contracted hours just like I have contracted hours.

    The way I look at it, if anyone should have to stay, it makes more sense for them to stay than for the teachers. They can just go home afterwards and put their feet up. I have to go back to my room most days and straighten up, create bulletin boards, set up for the next day's lessons, grade papers, conference with parents, make copies, lesson plan, etc., etc., etc.

    I'm not saying it's fair for any of us to stay, but I don't think it's more justified that I stand outside for an hour with the kids than it would be for them to do it.
     
  33. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Play money???:eek: What?:eek: You must teach in a rich area if that's how it is in your district.

    Here, most of our paras are working poor. Literally. They will be the first to tell you how hard it is to make ends meet and support their families on their pay. They cannot afford to get fired because jobs with any type of benefits are hard to come by. Most are people who could not pass the Praxis or are short college credits and cannot be full-time teachers. Many are single parents and are barely making it.

    Play money:eek::eek: ... I wonder about where some of you are lucky enough to be teaching.
     
  34. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Sorry for the misconception... I don't think I've ever personally met a para that wasn't earning the second income in their family. I assumed that was the case everywhere, but obviously I was mistaken on that :)

    Most paras in my district are moms who are returning to work after their kids go to school, and are just trying to ease themselves back into the work force. None of them actually need to work (most of them talk about how their husbands would prefer they didn't work).
     
  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I understand. Paras in my district and all of the districts surrounding mine are hourly employees. They would be gone in a second if they participated in a walk-out.

    My other question wasn't answered. If this has been going on for years, why is it that there hasn't been a rotation so that not everyone has to stand and wait with the kids every day? I don't understand why the paras AND the teachers would wait every day instead of having some back in the building making the copies or phone calls or whatever else has to be done.
     
  36. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I don't know why you put my name in there (or why the system put my name in there), but I wasn't the one that said that, and considering that I'd argue the exact opposite...
     
  37. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    Wowzers---it's getting hot in here!
     
  38. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    GoBlue, that quote was actually JerseyGirl's quote, not gr3teacher.
     
  39. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I apologize. I did not do that on purpose since I know it was the OP's quote. So my bad.
    Thank you.
     
  40. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    No one should HAVE to stay (for free) but the idea that the paras should stay because they have less responsibility than you is somewhat insulting. If it's not in someone's job description, then it is not their task to complete.

    The paras at my school often complain about this mindset from teachers.
     
  41. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Not a problem, figured it was accidental. Sorry if I sounded testy. I'm trying to write my plans for the week while simultaneously dealing with a crabby 2 year old that doesn't seem to get that she'd feel better if she would take a NAP!
     

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