SPED Para with issues again.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by imissjerryg, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 21, 2014

    :dizzy::help:Hi there, I posted awhile back about a teacher who is never in the room and expects the paraprofessionals in the room to plan lessons, directly instruct, and monitor performance. I am still having issues with this teacher but now it is starting to get more personal I believe.

    So, I have noticed lately that she is obviously annoyed with me and does not have the same level of respect that she has for the other two paras. The other two paras have both worked at the school for longer than the teacher and they are both older than her. One is about 7 years older than her and has been working at the school for 6 years and the other one is about 20 years older than her and has been at the school for 11 years. She respects their opinions and frequently asks them what we should do to improve the classroom (UM HELLO! You could come TEACH YOUR CLASS for once!). On the other hand, she rarely talks to me about improving the classroom and doesn't seem to really listen to my opinions. For example, the last time we had a meeting, she looked pretty much exclusively at the other two paras and asked them for their opinions. She rarely looked me in the eye and any time I made a suggestion, she made a face and dismissed it immediately, unless of course one of the other paras thought it was a good idea. I am two years younger than this teacher and have only been at the school for a year. I am getting my masters in special education and it seems to me that this teacher is jealous or threatened by me for some reason. I can't think of any other reason why she would have so many issues with me.

    She has missed around 6-8 days since the middle of January too but has problems with me leaving early/coming a little late for appointments or other things. I have a field experience I have to complete for my masters program and it has to be at a different school. I told her about this in December and let her know that I would have to leave for about four hours a week in order to get my 30 hours of field done. I told her I could use my lunches from other days and that if I went over the allocated one hour break per day, I would pull hours from my paid sick time. She said this was fine. Now, every time I leave she looks at the clock and asks when I am coming back. She seems to not trust me or something and it's starting to really annoy me. She's the one who OKed the field experience in the first place and now she's acting put out by it! Not to mention, I had a horribly unlucky week a few weeks ago and was late for work two days. One day I was about 10-15 minutes late because my landlord texted me with an issue I had to deal with immediately. Three days later I was late because I sliced my finger open that morning and was bleeding everywhere. I texted her and let her know I would be late and this was a day that I leave after being there for only 45 minutes anyway (it's one of the days I leave at 8:15 for my field). I texted a few minutes later saying I would just be there after my field experience since it was close to 8am when I got my finger bandaged and the blood cleaned up. I took care of my finger, went to my field, and went to work afterwards. The teacher was obviously put out by my lateness and I stated once again that I was sorry. The teacher treated me badly all day and finally, after reprimanding me in front of the students ONCE AGAIN, I lost it and burst into tears. I told the teacher I needed to go home and I texted her when I got home, telling her I wouldn't be back for the day (there was only one hour left of the school day). She never answered me back and I said I was sorry once again for the rough week I was having. I feel like the reason I didn't go back is because I was beyond anxious of having to deal with her again. She literally makes me sick to my stomach from nervousness and uncertainty of how I'm going to be treated.

    Fast forward to the next week... The teacher stated that she needed to talk to me and that she was not ok with the fact I was late two days in one week. I told her that I was very sorry and that I had been having a rough week that week. I mean, I can't really help it that I sliced my finger open and was bleeding everywhere and I also couldn't help it that my landlord needed to talk immediately after texting me (it was about the sale of our house we are currently renting). She also said that I need to leave my "baggage" at home...
    What she doesn't know is that the BAGGAGE is HER! She has caused so much stress in my life that it's starting to become unbearable! I am basically a full time teacher without teacher pay or any of the benefits! I AM DOING HER JOB! Well, besides the paperwork but everything else I DO! She acts like she is so exhausted because she is a part time student and is "teaching" full time. Well, newsflash lady... Myself and the other paras in the room are the freaking teachers while you sit around and do "paperwork" that should have been done over the weekend or after school! It's not my problem that you procrastinate and can't get your stuff done! Or that you go out often and come in hungover and worthless! I am a FULL TIME graduate student and a full time "para" (in quotations because I definitely go above and beyond the parameters of my job).

    Well, today is the last straw. I don't know how much more I can take of this idiot. Last week I had a veterinary appointment for my cat so I didn't go in for my stupid 45 minutes of work before I left for my field experience anyway. I told the teacher I would take the time off of my timesheet and that it didn't matter if I didn't get paid for those hours that day. And today... Well, today is a day of sadness for me. A day that I told my teacher about WEEKS AGO and told her I may not be in for the entire day. My dad died a year ago today and I found out about his passing while I was WORKING AT THIS SAME SCHOOL. So, yeah. That packs a punch... being at the building a year after my dad dies. Well this morning I texted her an hour before I was supposed to be there and told her I wouldn't be coming in in the morning because I slept horribly and was rather upset about the day itself. She texted me back "I am sick and I still came in. We are going to have to revisit this issue again". Now, I am BEYOND upset and repulsed by this supposedly "compassionate" woman. I texted her back that this is not some spur of the moment illness; I explained that I gave her plenty of weeks notice that I may not be even coming in this day. I told her I was confused and was not sure what exactly needed to be revisited. Then, instead of worrying about what I was going to say or do when I got to work, I decided to to text her and tell her I would not be in at all today. I then texted the other paras and told them I wouldn't be in and why and I also called the front office and told them I wouldn't be there. Why am I not going to work? Because I'm not going to deal with this bitchy, heartless, manipulative teacher on the day my dad died. This will be the 4th day I have missed since I started working with this teacher in AUGUST. Two of the days I missed I had strep throat and had a doctor's note. I have PAID sick days for a reason. This teacher feels that she is allowed to use her days for NO REASON whatsoever (and she tells us things like this: "Oh, I'm mad at the principal and I'm really sick of dealing with her so I'm going to take the next two days off") but I can't use mine? I am starting to hate, hate, hate my job and it's only because of this wretched human being. Sorry about the long rant but I can't take it anymore!

    I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong. I cannot handle much more of this woman and her negativity. I am starting to hate everything about going to work and it's all because of her. I'm actually trying to take her job because I'm pretty sure she isn't being asked back (hmmm wonder why?). Any suggestions of how to cope until June? I'm trying really hard not to break but it's getting harder and harder with the constant manipulation and the way I am treated.[/SIZE]
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Mar 21, 2014

    I think you both have things you are doing wrong. You have lots of excuses for being late OTHER than your field work.
     
  4. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 21, 2014

    I literally had two things that happened to occur within one week. My finger was cut so badly that I probably needed a couple of stitches. The only reason I even went in that day was because of the fear and anxiety I feel calling in because of this teacher. Those are the only two things I even mentioned in this post. People are going to have doctor's appointments and other things related to simply LIVING life. Typically, there are no times outside of the school day for me to attend regular appointments. I'm not really seeing the point of your reply since there are no suggestions whatsoever. If you want to reply to tell me I'm doing things wrong, there is no point. Please, just refrain from replying in that case.
    What are your suggestions for appointments and things of that nature? To simply not go to them? The field experience was something talked about at the beginning of December so if this is something the teacher is mad about, that is on her for ok'ing it. My point is, I'm not missing multiple days and tons of time in the classroom. I'm on time and there 95% of the time AND I'm going beyond the scope of my job! Sometimes things are out of our control, though. There's nothing I can do about cutting myself and bleeding everywhere and there's nothing I can do about my field experiences and appointments. I have to meet with a doctor every other month for my prescribed medication. Sometimes, I can only get in during the day and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm not just missing days just because I don't feel like going in or I feel like sleeping. The teacher of this classroom frequently misses days, however, because she's mad at administration or she "needs a mental health day" to catch up on homework/paperwork. I am not taking these sorts of days off.[/SIZE]
     
  5. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 21, 2014

    So a2z, some suggestions would be helpful instead of you just pointing out that the two parties involved are doing something wrong. These aren't the only problems I was/am having with this teacher either. You can find my other post here to read more. http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=179899

    I really dislike when people point fingers and say what people are doing wrong without suggestions of how to improve. What's the point of even putting in your two cents worth in this case?
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Mar 21, 2014

    How would you handle this situation if you were the teacher and had you as the para? If you will be teaching this class next year, it may happen at some time in your career.

    Also, if you want the job next year, do you need a good review from the teacher?

    Could you use the time while the teacher is out of the room to refine your teaching practices for next year?

    Ultimately, you have to decide if the possibility of teaching this class next year is worth the hassle now.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Mar 21, 2014

    Advice. Get to work on time and deal with what is going on for the rest of the year. Then get out.

    I'm sorry she doesn't show you the respect you feel you deserve, but apparently, she doesn't like you and probably doesn't respect your opinion. Is it professional. NO. But I don't think you will be changing that with anything you do.

    I'm sorry you feel she isn't doing her job. You can report her, but expect it to be turned around on you and be let go. You can anonymously report her, but she will probably know it is you.
     
  8. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Mar 21, 2014

    One suggestion is to not share the reason for your absence or tardiness. In my experience in several schools, the para's supervisor is the principal, not the teacher. The para is to report absences to the office/secretary/principal. Notifying the teacher directly is just an extra courtesy. So, if you know you will be out, you can tell the teacher "I am sick and will not be in today." You are not required to disclose private medical information to anyone except your supervisor, and even then, there are limits to what information they can require from you.

    As for the meetings, I once said something that was probably too blunt: "Am I welcome to this meeting? Because last time I was invited, but was certainly not welcome." I don't recommend doing that, but if you reach the end of your rope...

    What time do you usually arrive to work? One of my paras always arrives 15 minutes early, ready to work, while the other arrives 1 to 5 minutes late EVERY day. While I'm not going to complain about her being just 5 minutes late, when she tells me she will be late due to traffic or her daughter's school having an issue, it really irritates me because technically she is late EVERY DAY! I'm doubting this is your situation, but if it is, then perhaps that can explain her behavior.

    Have you asked the teacher and the other paras for feedback on what you can do to improve? Write it down. Then write down what you're doing to improve yourself. So when she has to discuss issues with you, you can whip it out and talk about what you're doing to improve. You should also get an opportunity to talk about your frustrations.
     
  9. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    I would probably be in the classroom instructing or at least supervising instruction because I would know that it is my sole responsibility as a service provider to be providing the hours on the student's IEP. I would be in the classroom for every period besides the electives where the students go to other teachers' classrooms for instruction. I would send the paras with the students to their electives and use this time as lesson planning and doing paperwork.

    There is no way I would depend so heavily on my paras to monitor the classroom, design behavior expectations, AND plan lessons as well as instruct them. I would be scared of getting fired for not doing my job!

    I am not going to rely on this teacher at ALL for a recommendation; I will go around her and ask the principal for a recommendation and she has already said she would give me a great one too. The teacher cannot even write without blatant grammatical and spelling errors riddled in her paperwork. It's embarrassing, really.

    I don't really think it's fair to be "using" me as the teacher simply because I am in school to be a teacher. This is what I feel is happening. I am not getting paid like a teacher, even though we all know teacher pay is minimal (imagine; I'm getting HALF of this!). I get paid $13 an hour and I do not get paid holidays. I have been using this time to develop my strategies and compile a list of "what NOT to do" when teaching next year. I am just getting fed up with the disrespect and I'm sick of being anxious with knots in my stomach every time I go to work. I feel like I deserve so much more.
     
  10. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 21, 2014

     
  11. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Ah, great advice. Perhaps I am divulging too much information and it is being used against me. This is a smart tip; thanks.
    I am contracted from 7:30-3:30 with an hour break. I am an hourly employee and work 7 hours a day, 35 hours a week. They do not pay us for an extra time but I come in at 7:20 every day and not just because I want to; I have to. The teacher has me getting kids off the busses every morning at this time. I also frequently stay late (until 3:45-4:00) cleaning the classroom and organizing because otherwise it wouldn't get done (the teacher is an absolute slob with no organization). I have talked to the teacher before but she is demeaning and condescending even when attempting to give constructive criticism. I am honestly done talking to her about anything related to her opinion of what I should do. I am just going to suck it up, do my job, and hopefully take hers by the end of this all. I have documentation to back up all of the times she is out of the classroom and things that have happened that are not ethical or professional, too. Thanks for your advice!
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Mar 21, 2014

    Don't stoop to that level. It isn't in your best interest. If you want the job next year, be the better person and let it go. Being unprofessional will only show the paras, who you may be working with next year, a side of you that isn't very nice.

    All in all, it really doesn't matter what her motivation for her behavior towards you is, all that does is work you up. Do your job, get over the bitterness, and look to your next position whether it be at this school or another. Take this as an example of what not to do.
     
  13. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    You're right; I'm not going to stoop to her level. But, I won't be putting up with getting treated the way I am being treated and if that means ignoring it and being considered passive aggressive, then so be it. I'm not worried about the other paras because it seems as if their jobs are in jeopardy too. One of them falls asleep frequently, has been reported by multiple people for not doing her job, and can't even stay in one area of the school because no one really wants to deal with the situation. The other one is a coach and does his job but frequently has to leave the room and is gone for long periods of time, talking to other coaches. Plus the first para mentioned is maxed out on the salary scale so I could see them firing her and hiring an inexperienced para to replace her because of the pay.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    There is a difference between ignoring the behavior and being passive aggressive.

    Sounds like an awful place to work where you won't be supported by the administration of the paras you work with are sleeping and still employed, the teacher is never in the class, the coach/para is never in the class, etc. Why in the world would you want to work in a school that allows a room that is supposed to have 4 adults only have one para really working?
     
  15. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Because I love the kids and that's who I do it for, even if it does suck. If I was the teacher I would start from day one with a schedule for each para, detailed to the thirty minute mark. They would know exactly what was expected of them throughout the entirety of the day. They have never been provided that structure. I would have a consistent, yet flexible system put into place the first day of school complete with scheduling, behavior expectations, lesson plans, and performance/achievement goals as well as a form of progress monitoring. Nothing like this has been done before. The teachers I have seen in this classroom (I have seen two) seem lazy and ticked off. The teacher last year actually left the room for hours at a time and students would see him smoking cigarettes in his car outside. I think the current teacher had great plans for this room but slacked and got way behind lending to her current frustration and negative attitude. The school is a Title I, turnaround, inner city school that has, for the past 10-12 years, been failing due to lack of structure, administrative support, and lack of any kind of consistency. There are four schools within one building: one is the high school that is being phased out, two are new schools phasing in, and the other is an alternative placement for older students who are getting their GEDs. The program in which I work is moving from the school that is phasing out to one of the schools that is phasing in for the 2014-2015 school year. I think that the new school has a more structured administrative unit that would make sure I didn't have sleeping paras and absolutely zero resources. The current teacher burned her bridges with the administration through being inflexible, intolerant, and closed to the idea of any sort of change. A couple of weeks ago, the principal of the school that is phasing out came in with a gentleman from a non profit to observe us. Of course, the teacher was nowhere to be found. One of the other paras was doing an irrelevant math worksheet that is so beyond the capabilities of our students it's ridiculous. She has them use calculators and do multiple worksheets, one right after the other. I knew this would not look good so I jumped up and took the initiative, doing a spur of the moment lesson on using calculators (this is a life skill the kids need to know since they are moderately to severely cognitively delayed). I talked about how when you go grocery shopping, you have to know how to use a calculator to make sure you have enough money to purchase everything. Later on that week, the principal pulled me aside and said "Wow; the guy I came into the room with the other day was absolutely impressed with you. I told him you weren't even the teacher and he was stunned. He said this is the best functioning and most organized MI class he has seen in the district. Keep up the good work!" Now, if he would have come in when the teacher was in there, the results probably wouldn't have been as good. Also, the only reason the class is so well organized is because I stay after school and make sure it is neat and presentable; too much clutter and messiness is not good for kids with autism, emotional/behavioral disorders, and severe cognitive delays but the teacher never, ever cleans so I have to take that role on as well. I love my kids; this is why I do what I do and why I want this job... because the kids deserve better.
     
  16. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Oh and I know there is a difference between ignoring and passive aggressiveness. I think the teacher would see me ignoring everything as being passive aggressive. That's how off she is.
     
  17. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    Mar 21, 2014

    i would be careful. I know you want to be there for the kids, but you need to have coworkers and supervisors that will support nd help you with your job, not make more work and add more stress.

    perhaps you can find a mentor teacher that actually does their job and have them come observe your class?

    I would be actively making allies and finding like minded teachers who want to see the school change and grow for the better. You will have to find administrators who also do their job and are not drinking buddies with the slackers.

    I can see you really care for your students and are passionate about your job.

    However, you seem very negative about your coworkers and they probably can tell you think they are not doing their job. They might even think you are stuck up and feel threatened.

    especially when you have already stated you are building evidence to get one or more of them fired and be hired in their place.

    Doesn't your principal's come and observe the class or do they do QAR (quality assurance reviews) in your school?
     
  18. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    I am very negative about the teacher because she obviously isn't doing her job but is constantly criticizing the way I do mine. What teacher seriously doesn't give paras lesson plans and supervise instruction? And then, after I plan my own lessons because I have to, otherwise the kids would be sitting there all day, she criticizes how I did it? This is enough to drive anyone nuts. However, I hold all of it in while I'm at work because luckily I'm mainly dealing with the kids all day. Heck, I don't see the teacher enough for her to know I'm mad about what's going on. I know for a fact that they don't know I feel this way; I would be able to tell. The only one who has been rude to me is the teacher. I actually like the other paras in the room; they just need guidance and direction which has never been provided. And I didn't state I was gathering evidence to get them fired. I am keeping evidence for my own job security since the teacher seems to have it out for me for whatever reason. The only reason I am interested in the position is because the teacher has said over and over again that she hates the new administration and is probably not going to apply for the job. It's a mutual feeling, I believe, between the teacher and new administrators of the phasing in school. If she doesn't apply for the job or keeps acting like she doesn't want it next year, I will apply. I'm definitely not secretly trying to get anyone fired by building evidence against them. That's not the case at all.
     
  19. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Mar 22, 2014

    And yes, the principal does come observe but she lets the teacher know when she will be there so the teacher can be in the room doing an actual lesson. Actually some of the only times I have seen her teach is when she is being observed.
     

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