Should I email?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by giraffe326, Jan 17, 2014.

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  1. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jan 17, 2014

    I spent the last two days in a really terrible classroom. I'm trying to debate whether or not I should email the principal.

    Here are the issues:
    • - practically no lesson plans- just a list of page numbers to teach. No sub folder or anything. Not even a schedule- not a copy, not posted in the room, nothing! No procedures, rules, routines, policies, etc... It was 2.5 handwritten pages, with at least .5 a page talking about the broken copy maching.
    • - terribly behaved kids- "I hate you!" "I hope you never come back!" "I don't have to listen to you!" and even worse comments. I've never been so disrespected.
    • - rude office staff- the circus is in town and tickets were supposed to be sent home. She called the room today asking why they weren't- I said I had no idea what she was talking about. She practically accused me of stealing them! At lunch I went down telling her that I couldn't find them and asked if they were in his mailbox (which I didn't know the location of or I would have checked the box), and sure enough, there they were. No apology.
    • - there was vomit on the floor of the classroom for over 4 hours today. A child threw up, I told the rude office staff, and she said she didn't have anyone to clean it up. It was still there when I left.

    I'm debating whether I should email the P or let it go. The art teacher came into my room telling me I should tell the P how bad they've acted for me- he has also been struggling with this group and it sounds like his pleas are not being heard.

    I took them outside and showed a history video just because I knew I was going to lose it if I didn't. I'm not that kind of sub!!

    I did post about their behavior yesterday and they were slightly better behaved today (until the last 30 minutes, anyway).

    I have already taken myself out of this school for future sub jobs. I worry that they'll report me to the sub service and I could get fired altogether- which wouldn't allow me to sub in any district. That is why I am leaning toward emailing.

    Aesop has the job ending at 3:59- yesterday I overheard someone saying I wasn't helping with dismissal like I was supposed to. I didn't know- I didn't have plans to tell me what to do! Well, today, I had had it. I walked my bus riders down at 4:00. My parent pick ups are watched by another teacher. So I left- the entire school wasn't all the way dismissed. My classroom was empty and locked and my students were walked to the bus. I literally set the key on the counter despite being glared at by the rude office staff and walked out of the building. My job said it ended at 3:59 and I had no more students. I feel like I'm in the right for doing it. I'm not one who ever swears, but I was tempted to go off while setting my key down. It literally took me over an hour to calm down- I was all worked up. I had to stop and see my 11 month old twin cousins to return back to normal. It took about 15 minutes with them before I calmed down. My eye is still twitching.

    Anyway---- do I email?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 17, 2014

    Tough one. I know you don't want to go to this school again, but is there a possibility that the P could blackball you with other schools?

    If not, by all means, email away!
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    She could from this district, but she'd have to have a reason for my employer to fire me. From talking with another teacher, it sounds like it is near impossible for them to find subs. Today, there were 10 teachers out- 3 of them still didn't have subs when the students entered the building. I was tempted to ask to switch assignments!!!!!

    Ironically, this district had a permanent opening 2 weeks ago and I applied. I'm tempted to log in and retract my application. Of course, I doubt they'll want to interview me.

    The other teachers kept telling me that it was not me- the kids are like this to everyone.
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    At least you didn't have to stay in this class as long as you did in the charter school!
     
  6. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Jan 17, 2014

    I wouldn't email the principal. Can you discuss those problems with your employer and let them notify the principal?
     
  7. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jan 17, 2014

    My employer provides subs for most of the state, as well as several other states. I'm a number to them.

    The kids' behavior is not the reason I am debating emailing. Between conversations with other teachers and the 6 pages of notes I left the teacher, it is well documented. The office staff is what really set me over the edge. Plus the teacher should not be allowed to leave plans like these! He needs a sub folder or something!!! A schedule!!! This was a scheduled absence- I took the job last week. I'd understand inadequate plans if it was an emergency, but not for a planned absence. Plus- SUB FOLDER!!!!!!
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd say it depends on your reason for emailing. If you want to email because you think that it might result in positive change at the school, then absolutely email. If you want to email because your last two days sucked, then type the email, get all your venting out, and then click delete.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    This is what I don't understand: why would you get in trouble (even more, get fired??) by letting the P know how rude the office staff was and how inadequate the teacher was in leaving plans? everything worded professionally (which I know you would) should give no reason to get fired. Unless the P is crazy.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I would say my reason would be because no one should have to deal with this. I'm more thinking of future subs. I'm done with it and I'm not returning. Ever.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I never met the P, so I don't know if she's crazy. Personally, I don't think I would get in trouble for emailing. It is actually quite the opposite- I'm more worried about what it would look like if I can't explain the situation. In hindsight, my stomping out at 4 wasn't the most mature and professional thing to do. My kids were accounted for, but I do feel guilty for that.

    Plus- the puke. Something is seriously wrong with that.
     
  12. Rebecca1122

    Rebecca1122 Comrade

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    Jan 17, 2014

    I think I would send an email to the P in the vain of trying to save future subs. You could word it in a way that is sympathetic to the principals situation with these unruly kids, but also factual about why. Difficult placement was made even more difficult by routine building/teacher procedures that should be in place but weren't. Because after all, the P is the one who can make change in that building (step one requiring sub folders and checking for them!)

    However this also prevents any judgment/misunderstanding about what occurred that might occur from the principal when the teacher returns. Because who knows how the teacher might try and spin in to prevent getting in trouble themselves. I definitely would word the email professionally and not complain-y, even thought you have every right to complain! But I think it's just a pin other piece of documentation of your end. :2cents:
     
  13. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Jan 17, 2014

    I would send it.
     
  14. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I think maybe just mention the lesson plan issue (expressed as a suggestion for sub folders) and the vomit issue. As I said, the behavior is well documented for the teacher. And I'm not really wanting to tattle on the super rude secretary about the ticket thing.
     
  15. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Jan 17, 2014

    Giraffe, speaking of email--on an unrelated note, but one you could probably sympathize with given your NC background--I just sent a long email to Pat McCrory. Wonder if it will get read. I'm still a conservative republican, but this whole new way of paying teachers, attracting teachers, etc. is outrageous.
     
  16. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    NC is a sad place for education right now. I really hope it gets fixed since there are a whole bunch of educators that I love dearly that are suffering. Did you see my other thread about a subbing policy? If not, go read it. It keeps getting worse.

    While I'm glad to not have to deal with the disaster that education is in NC, I still miss it and part of me wishes I had stayed. (At least until I landed a DECENT job up here instead of the one I had, and now subbing in terrible places. My fault- when I left this district was decent. It has obviously went down hill.)
     
  17. history

    history Companion

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    I would contact the teacher's department head and let him/her deal with it. You are giving the teacher a chance to take care of things. I have actually had department heads come to me and ask if the plans are all in order. I usually don't have to say anything as they look at the desk and the paperwork.
     
  18. RadiantBerg

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    Jan 17, 2014

    I thought you were frequently disrespected in this way at the charter. Maybe send it, but beware because "third time's a charm". I'll leave that open for (mis)interpretation.
     
  19. SallyN

    SallyN Rookie

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    Jan 18, 2014

    You should think about this carefully. Somebody has already said that it depends on the reason you e-mail. If you think your letter will help than e-mail, if you want to do it just because you are angry or disappointed - never do it.
     
  20. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    It was similar. The charter kids were actually slightly more controllable, which is amazing to me. One of the other teachers said that her former 'partner' teacher (who retired after 35 years and over 20 years of working side-by-side with her) won't come back and sub anymore. They can't get any repeat subs. The regular teachers can't even control them. The school is up to 3 full time behavior specialists. This is for a school of 500 students.

    As kids got pulled out for reading and other things, those people couldn't control them, either. One crawled under a desk to hide from the teacher. The teacher couldn't even find him. I had to point out where he went and it was a full fledged tantrum- saying mean and degrading things to/about the reading specialist.

    My charter school was within the city limits of a very economically depressed city. I knew it would be rough, but not only were the students worse than I had expected, but the school also wasn't ran well. The city has one district, while the township surrounding it has three districts. When I started subbing, I knew two of the districts were bad. One of them had a school shooting- in elementary- a few years ago. The district I subbed in for the last two days was on the opposite side of the city, and it includes portions of two towns as well. The school I was at used to be a really good and desired school. Obviously things have changed since I moved away. I'm apparently not cut out for urban education and I will cease applying for anything even remotely urban. Part of me is frustrated that I can't do this, but the other part of me knows that I am a really good, successful teacher. At my old school, I always had the best test scores in the district and I was always rated 'exceeds expectations' because my kids' growth was very high. I can teach. I can even manage a classroom, believe it or not. For whatever reason I'm not successful in an urban classroom. Or, at least an urban third grade classroom. Whatever. Lesson learned.
     
  21. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sorry to be frank, if you read the other posts, I said it was because no other substitute should deal with this. I'm not trying to get someone in trouble, but some things need to be addresses. In yet another post, I said if I email I will probably only mention the lack of plans in the form of suggesting sub folders, and the vomit issue, which is ridiculous.
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 18, 2014

    In my school we would clean the initial vomit ourselves and then report for better sanitation later.
     
  23. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Really?! I threw up three times trying to lay paper towels over it. Luckily, I know that I can't handle vomit, so I had the trashcan next to me. I've never been able to tolerate the sight of vomit- it always results in a chain reaction.
     
  24. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Instead of an email can you ask to meet with the p? I just get nervous with emails with situations like this. In my school we are not allowed to touch vomit or anything else that comes out of the body. We notify the office and they send someone up to properly clean it
     
  25. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Seriously? There's absolutely no freaking way I will ever, ever, EVER clean up vomit in the classroom. There's a lot of bodily fluids I'll clean up if needed, but vomit? Absolutely not.
     
  26. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    The principal is responsible for the performance of both the teacher and the staff member with whom you engaged. If you feel that he/she already knows about the unprofessional behavior and has chosen to ignore it (in other words, be an ineffective admininstrator), then I would let things be.

    Since you don't know the principal, I would give him/her the benefit of the doubt and assume they don't know that these behaviors are taking place; as an administrator, I would want to know about these instances. I might even phrase it in that way. "I know, as an administrator, that you have a lot of things on your plate to keep track of. I want to make you aware of a couple things that came to my attention as a substitute teacher that may be concerning to you..."
     
  27. AlexaD

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    I would e-mail. It isn't fair what happened to you and it shouldn't happen to another sub.
     
  28. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I think that teaching in an urban classroom takes a lot of practice and even a different skill set. The kids have different challenges then a "typical" suburban student.

    I've always taught an urban population and I definitely prefer the younger students. I won't go above 3rd grade. Any older and I want them in small groups.

    I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be a sub in an urban school. Not unless I was a regular there and had gotten to know both the students and the staff.

    Hats off to you for going back for a 2nd day.
     
  29. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I'm not going back there. Ever. I deleted them from my list of schools yesterday during lunch. The school is about 20 minutes away, and I never go to that area, so I won't ever be 'in the area'.
     
  30. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I'm almost to the point where I'm not a fan of third grade, which really surprises me. Even my LTS was a rough group. The P said they were by far the toughest group in the school. So 3rd grade is not agreeing with me right now- which surprises me since I LOVED my second graders!!!
    Years ago, we always played this district in sports and stuff. I never considered them urban. But as people flee the city, the suburbs are getting more urban-like.
     
  31. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I will say that I only have 2 jobs booked for next week, but I'm so glad that they are in my two favorite districts! Tuesday I have third graders in the town I grew up in. Wednesday I have first graders in the school where I was an LTS.
    While I didn't attend this particular school in my hometown, I used to sub in a lot, so I'm happy to be somewhere familiar. Subbing is hard when you are constantly going to new schools. I've only been day-to-day subbing for 9 days. I've entered 4 schools I've never been to, as well as one I only went to a workshop in while student teaching. That is 5 schools in 9 days where I didn't even know where the main office was prior to entering. It is hard to sub like that all the time!! When I subbed before, I knew all the schools. This adds a whole lot more stress to subbing, for me at least.
     
  32. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Subbing is a lot of thankless nonsense. I have a lot of respect for people that do it well.

    The folks that do it and can't read or speak English though... sigh...
     
  33. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    This surprises me. We're not supposed to touch any vomit, blood, etc... per our policy. We page the office and they send someone.
     
  34. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    I understand where you are coming from but being honest and thinking if it were me, I do not know if I would email that. Thankfully you don't have to go back!! Can you anonymously report the bad sub conditions somewhere?
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    At my school, no way! We don't touch any biohazards. We call for a custodian who comes and deals with it with special biohazard chemicals and personal protective equipment.
     
  36. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    This entire situation sounds so incredibly awful. As an administrator, however, I'd most definitely want to know about all of this: the vomit, the office staff, vague sub plans, etc.
     
  37. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    This would NEVER be allowed in our school, thank goodness! The custodial staff comes in with chemicals.

    I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, giraffe. I really think there are two types of urban schools - those with competent administration that are well run, and those with horrible administration that are a total mess. I am lucky to teach at the former type; it sounds like you have had two terrible experiences with the latter type. I don't think you should blame yourself for not being successful in these two urban schools, though. It's hard to be successful under a reign of incompetence. Everything you talked about - the vomit not getting cleaned up, the rude office staff, the teacher's lack of sub plans - points to a poorly run school. None of that would ever happen at my low income school.

    I probably would email. The thing that really bothers me the most is the vomit. They made you and the kids work in incredibly unsanitary and even unsafe conditions. That is extremely wrong, and administration should absolutely know.

    I will NEVER understand the no lesson plan thing...I am just over the top I guess in that I leave ridiculously detailed plans when I'm out. I always feel like the sub might assume I think they're stupid or something because of how explicit my plans are. But I care about my kids and want their day to be successful. I think admin should know about that too. If they are having so much trouble retaining subs, and there CLEARLY is a reason for that, they should be made aware of what that reason is!!
     
  38. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You seem like a highly active, informed, and involved administrator. Based on your posting here, I'd be shocked if any sub in your building would ever have an experience remotely like this without you already knowing.
     
  39. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I agree with your entire post!!! :thumb:

    1. If a teacher called the office and both custodians were out of the building for some odd reason, my principal or I would be the ones who'd have to clean up the vomit--not the teacher! I have never heard of a teacher in my district cleaning up vomit. The only time I helped with vomit (as a teacher) was on a field trip. A kid got motion sickness (during a long bus ride) and I held open a Ziploc for him to get sick in. Poor kid!

    2. I wrote out sub plans in a way that any adult (educated or not) could follow them! They were extremely detailed and left no room for misinterpretation!
     
  40. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Those things you described are so bad I'd assume that they can't just be happening one classroom and I don't know if emailing the P would do anything. Have you been to any other classrooms in that school? Was it any different? I would just stay out of it and stay as far away from that school as possible.
     
  41. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    According to the third grade teachers, the third grade is a really rough group and the others aren't that bad. I'm not going back to find out!
     
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