Pretty Sure I got a sub fired today...

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by ChemTeachBHS, Apr 25, 2013.

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  1. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Apr 26, 2013

    Your explanation would certainly wash, if I didn't normally see such a batten-down-the-hatches mentality when it comes to all things teacher-related... where teachers do all they can to rationalize bad actions by fellow teachers. Its fairly obvious that there certainly is a "we" sort of thing among teachers... and subs are not part of that we.
     
  2. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I realize that many out-of-work teachers' next move is often subbing when they've lost their jobs, so it's unfair to say, "Well if they're so "good", why aren't they a real teacher?" We don't know what circumstances made them lose their jobs.

    I also realize that many subs who were teachers want to show that they know more than the average sub because they have that special background OR may want to get their foot in the door again to become a regular teacher again, etc.

    HOWEVER, subs don't get paid that much. My district pays $125/day, but others may pay less. Subs don't get paid enough to do these elaborate experiments & other things. They should of course do a good job, but don't go over the top because they "think" they know better. Iit could backfire on them, like it did for this sub. She should have just followed the plans.
     
  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Apr 26, 2013

    It isn't just a matter of following the plans. It is deliberately going against the coteacher who IS a teacher in the system. Add in that she was a sneak to boot.

    No sympathy. And definitely no fruit basket! lol
     
  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Apr 26, 2013

    I think you did the right thing, chem.
     
  5. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2013

    You did the right thing.

    If I were to be hired to by a temp agency to go into a factory and do a specific job, then I better do what I am hired for, or I won't have a job!
    Why should subbing be any different?
     
  6. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2013

    That is unfair to paint us all with the same brush. I do not do a single thing to rationalize the bad actions of other teachers. When Something major hits the news , I do try to keep an open mind since there are always two sides to every story. I think this way when it comes to any major news related to any profession.
    Are you a teacher?
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2013

    Speaking as a credentialed teacher who has subbed before and is subbing once again because of things beyond my control, I have to agree.

    I'm certified in Middle School Math and Middle School Science. I know all of the other middle school math teachers in my district personally because and I consider myself their peer rather than "just a sub". However, even though I have the same certification as they, I still would NOT deviate from their lesson plans if I were subbing in their classroom, unless specifically given the latitude to do so by the regular teacher. Just because I may not the material as well as they do, does NOT mean I know the lessons taught before I came in or the ones scheduled for the days after I leave. Often subs ARE just left "busy work" or "review sheets" for the kids to do, but other times, the lesson planned is part of a specific progression the teacher is following for the next test or assessment. If I change their plans, then I throw their schedule off as well.

    Speaking as a sub AND a regular classroom teacher, I agree this sub made a number of mistakes - some more critical than others.

    Ignoring the assigned lesson plan and inserting her own was simply a bad decision, especially after she had been specifically told to stay with the existing plan by the coteacher.

    Introducing her own experiment for the kids to do is an even worse decision because it likely had nothing to do with the planned lesson (and corresponding standards) at all.

    Leaving the mess from her unauthorized experiment is even worse, but the most critical mistake (IMO) was violating standard lab safety rules during the experiment just because the chemicals "were not toxic". That doesn't matter. The lab safety rules are considered "standard" for a reason and there is no justifiable excuse for ignoring them.

    I agree with those who speculate this sub might be a young grad teacher (or newly certified teacher) who wanted to show what she knew. All she ended up doing, though, was showing her LACK of knowledge and experience.

    So, yes, the OP did the right thing in reporting the actions of the sub to those in charge. Ignoring the lesson plans left is bad, but could possibly be overlooked as a one-time occurrence. Ignoring established safety rules in a science lab? That cannot be overlooked, because it created a possible liability issue for the school.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 27, 2013

    Our subs start at less than half of that. :unsure:

    I was a sub. I highly value quality subs. I've had some great ones and some doozies. Since I don't always know who I'll have, I leave plans that I expect to be followed so that when I come in the next day I know where to pick up. Additionally, I do that because I think most subs want that as indicated by the number of notes left for me thanking me for my detailed plans. A sub surprising me with a special lesson of her own means I am quite possibly a day behind when I return.
     
  9. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2013

    I'll agree with your basic premise, that full-time teachers often don't view subs as "real" teachers or, at least, certainly not as qualified as regular teachers. After all, if they were good enough to be regular teachers, then they would have a classroom of their own, wouldn't they?

    I've certainly seen posts that reflect this attitude, whether directly or indirectly, so that mentality does exist to some degree.

    However, I've also seen the same bandwagon/dogpiling on regular teachers when that teacher has done something others consider unacceptable. When that unacceptable action occurs in the classroom, I can agree with most of the criticisms offered. However, I've also seen threads on this forum where female teachers were ostracized by many members because of actions in their past (like being a former stripper or porn star. I've seen articles about teachers being fired when these PAST occupations were discovered. Not only did many members jump in and agree this person should NEVER have been a teacher, they also made numerous speculations about that persons current values and character and even went so far as to speculate what the teacher may have done with students while on field trips with them.

    So the "We" bandwagon does exist - at least to some degree - on here as well as in most of the schools where I've worked.


    As always, though, this mentality is NOT exclusive to teaching. I worked in health care for many years and I've seen the same mentality among different professions there, but most often among nurses. I have great respect for all nurses and the job they do, but I've seen many, many times that LPNs and RNs (especially) do not consider CNAs "real" nurses (even though every LPN and RN was also a CNA theirself at one time). Yes, I understand CNA's are not certified or trained to do all the things LPNs and RNs are, that is why there are different levels of certification, but I DO see the mentality that CNAs are only qualified for "grunt work" among nurses. I've even seen (firsthand) this mentality extended to the degree that an RN would leave a "mess" in the floor (usually consisting of some bodily fluid) for the CNA to come clean up because such work is now "beneath" the RN.

    I'm not saying this is true for all RNs. Most nurses (of all levels) that I have either worked with or been treated by have been exceptional people, but even among the best of them, I still see that "we" mentality you describe among many of them.
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2013

    That's true.

    Of course, there are two sides to this story as well and we've only heard one side of it, but everyone (myself included) has been quick to agree with the OP. Should we not keep our minds just as "open" in this situation as we would if it had been a regular teacher instead of a sub? Some schools use teachers from other rooms to cover classes when one is out. What if this "sub" had actually been a peer from a different room? (I know that isn't the case, but I'm just asking if our views on the consequences would have been any different if it were).
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 27, 2013

    This is exactly what I've been thinking as I've read through the thread.

    As competent and capable as many subs are, they simply are not part of my day-to-day classroom environment. They do not have the requisite knowledge about me, my classroom, my curriculum, my students, my administration, my department policies, and my directives to nix my plans and insert their own. If that is offensive to anyone, sub or otherwise, then there's not a lot I can do about that. I'm the one whose behind is on the line when it comes to accountability and student performance, so I am the one who gets to make the decisions about what happens in my classroom. I hold the same mentality when it comes to the teacher next door covering my class in my absence: Please do what I tell you to do, and do it with fidelity. I don't believe that it's asking too much.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 27, 2013

    :yeahthat:
     
  13. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Apr 27, 2013

    I have high respect for subs, especially since I was one for 10 years before becoming a teacher. I have walked into classes where the teacher had specific plans down to the minute and I have walked into classes where the teacher did not leave one single thing. Even in the case of the teacher that didn't leave material, I wouldn't have conducted an experiment.

    Now as a teacher, I know that there are very capable subs. However, when I prepare to be out for a day or a series of days, it takes me hours to make plans for a sub. So when the work is not done or something else is done it puts me behind in my weekly lessons. My daughter was ill and I was out for a week; I had very specific plans left and when I got back the next week, I had to reteach a week's worth of work. She has said to others, "I'm not doing all of this, so I don't know why they left me for this." I would have done the same thing for as the OP.
     
  14. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Apr 27, 2013

    I never said that a sub should have that latitude (to alter plans because they feel like it. Note, that is different than altering plans based on circumstance). What I was pointing out was that teachers by and large, view subs as just that: substandard, or subordinate. If they didn't, you wouldn't see everyone jumping forward to offer their own horror stories w/regard to subs. If we had a thread about rotten kids, people aren't going to offer up their own kids (i.e. actions by their kids) as examples. Why? Because they're their kids. They're your family.

    As I said, I think it's clear that subs aren't considered "part of the family".
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Apr 27, 2013

    I felt like I was part of the family. When my LTS was over, and went back to 'just' subbing mostly with the same school, the school organized a potluck 'going away party' for me on the last day, for which the P made sure she had time to attend.
    Now when I left for good, me and quite a few teachers went for a few drinks as a 'good by get together'.

    I always felt that they regarded me as a teacher. It was funny, some teachers were so bummed out that I left, they didn't seem very happy :) Instead of thinking, 'wow, good for her', one was thinking about who she's going to have as a sub when she has to be out for 1-2 weeks (she told me before I was the only one she trusted for that long time with her kids).
    Another, when I texted him the good news, said 'great.'. Not with a happy face, or with an exclamation mark, but just 'great'. I was confused, when I asked him, with other teachers around, they all started laughing, because they knew that he was just thinking about his situation :)

    I know some subs do feel like they're part of the school or part of the family. I did.
     
  16. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    Apr 27, 2013

    I shudder at the idea of going through a teacher's desk and only do so when absolutely necessary, such as looking for the specific Nurse passes that some schools in my area use. Just yesterday I had to try to find the remote for the DVD player as the player did not have a fast forward button and the students did not get to finish the movie the day before. I would never think to take anything from a teacher's desk, not even a pen or pencil. Unfortunately I could not find a remote for the DVD player and the kids were stuck wondering how the movie ends :( (I had not seen the movie, so I couldn't even summarize for them)

    As for OP, you were in the right, the sub was wrong and caused her own dilemma. My job as a sub is to do what you have left for me to the best of my ability. I will add to the lesson for clarification (if I have appropriate knowledge) or add more at the end if the students finish early (I try to carry extra quick lessons), but it is never my job to toss out what the teacher leaves and do something on my own!
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2013

    I do sometimes look through the desk for things like paperclips or staples (if they are not out in the open), but I try to avoid doing it as much as I can. I actually bring a small bag of paperclips with me to the classroom, but I don't carry extra staples.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 27, 2013

    There were plans left. If a colleague was covering for me or if I was covering for a colleague, the plans should be followed. It's not about thinking the sub is a robot, or chimp or child who must follow directions without question...it's about the regular classroom teacher being responsible for student learning...even on days when absent. What may seem like busy work to a visiting teacher may actually be important review and reinforcement. Sticking with the plan is best:2cents:...bring a read aloud, math game or critical thinking puzzle just in case you need something to fill time when students finish work...But don't veer from or try to replace what the teacher has left.
     
  19. Cerek

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    Apr 28, 2013

    I believe all of my former posts agreed with this and said basically the same thing.

    My comments to Curiouscats' remarks were designed to point out she was doing exactly what John Lee had mentioned. When an incident involves a regular teacher, we need to remember there are two sides to every story, but in this case it wasn't necessary because the sub obviously did not follow directions.

    I was pointing out that, while I also agree (as both a sub and regular teacher) that the sub was wrong not to follow the explicit directions received, there are still two sides to this story as well...and we've only heard one side of the story.

    We don't have any idea WHY the sub chose to ignore the directions she was given (and many of you just thought to yourself "It doesn't matter 'why' she ignored directions, it only matters that she DID ignore directions"). I can't help wondering if it had been another teacher from a different classroom, if the tone of the posts would have at least been a bit more sympathetic and taken the tone of "Well, the other teacher still should have followed the instructions left, but we don't the reason she didn't". That is the attitude/mentality John Lee was talking about, I believe.
     
  20. smurfette

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    In my building, at least, if a regular teacher was covering for another teacher who wrote plans to be followed, the teacher would do the professional courtesy of following those plans. We don't have that system though.

    Fortunately, the regular subs at our building who I use in the computer lab not only try to follow the plans, they CAN follow the plans. I try to write them so even a computer-illiterate person could follow them, but then try to get a tech-savvy sub. If they don't/can't follow the plans, my one class falls behind the others, and I don't see them very much.

    Most of our subs are literally part of the family, as they have students that attend the school!
     
  21. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I'm glad that you see what I'm talking about. As you say, the tone of everyone's comments may have been more sympathetic if the person in question was considered a colleague (or equal). But she's not--she's just a sub.

    If I happened to be the sub in question, and I posed this scenario to the forum here (with my reasoning), my decision would be met with similar disapproval and commentary. But if I were a veteran teacher in the same circumstance (who likewise, changed the lesson), I'm certain that the derision would turn into reasoning and understanding... and maybe even some kudos for a job well done.

    As I said, there is a definite "we" mentality in education. Teachers feel under attack, and they leap to each other's defense when others make an attack on them (e.g. are critical). And it is quite clear that subs aren't considered part of that "we". They aren't really teachers... They are more like pilot fish, hanging around.
     
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