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Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Shane Steinmetz, Sep 23, 2006.

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  1. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2006

    A few days ago, I had a serious incident at an elementary school that has resulted in the suspension of my substitute assignments. I'm being "reviewed." I have taken the opportunity to answer the accusations and present a defense. I am glad that I have done so; had I not done so, I would have been terminated.

    Earlier this week, I substituted for a first grade class. I and an intern were in the class. The substitute left me instructions.

    The students had to complete daily oral language (English) work, math work, science work, and centers. There was one discipline problem and a problem around the end of the day with getting the students ready to go. Since we had so much work done and were well ahead the schedule -- or so I thought -- I went to go arrange some activities for free time. I was trying to ready a video for the VCR, but was having trouble getting the VCR to work. In the process of doing so, however, I forgot about the time that bus students had to prepare to leave. They actually had to leave ten to fifteen minutes before everyone else. A parent came in, brought it up, and the bus students hurriedly packed up and prepared to leave. They left, and the rest of the students left at the appropriate time.

    I stacked up the chairs, organized the worksheets, and wrote a friendly report to the full-time teacher.

    We completed a great deal of work. We finished the English, math, and science work. We did everything else that we were supposed to. I made a mistake with the dismissal time, but one of the teachers assured me that happens sometimes. It wasn't a damaging error; I believe the students were able to get to the bus.

    Today, I was assigned to substitute for a teacher that neighbored the one I had previously. I went to check in at the office. The secretary said that the assistant principal wanted to speak to me. I was nervous, but I waited until he was ready to talk to me.

    I sat down in his office. He said that the full-time teacher that I had substituted for complained that I did not follow the lesson plans, got no work done, and rearranged the room. He reminded me to follow the lesson plans that had been laid out. I told him that I followed the previous lesson plans well, so I didn't know where this information was coming from. He just reminded me again to follow the teacher's lesson plans. That was all.

    This was very damaging to my emotions. Out of the (now) six other elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school that I substituted at, this was the first time that I received negative comments related to my performance. The teachers I've spoken to in the past seem to have been fine with my performance. What's worse is that I couldn't speak to the teacher until a few hours later in the done, so all of this was to weigh heavy on my mind until then. I felt very upset and was nearly in tears. The teacher I was working with for that day was a bit more positive and said that she "used to take it to heart, too."

    So, I ran the classroom to the best of my ability. I was still in a mental daze over what just happened, but there was a co-teacher in the room with me to help me run the floor. She clarified certain items for me and ran the class with me.

    During a period of time when the class went to another teacher for an activity, I decided to speak to the full-time teacher in the room I had taught previously. Her class was also engaged in the activity, so I thought it would be a good time to talk to her.

    I introduced myself and told her that I understood she had lodged a complaint against me. She replied by saying that very little work was done and that her desk was rearranged.

    Then, it hit me -- I had rearranged all the papers and books on her desk. The desk had papers and books strewn about to the point where my own papers (as well as the lesson plan papers) seemed to get lost among them all. To help situate myself, I stacked the papers and put them in piles.

    My next comment was blunt. Although I did not intend to offend with it, it was the only answer I could have come up with in my mind.

    I told her that the desk was too messy to use. She seemed to take offense to it. She said that worksheets for the reading groups -- one of the centers -- was not complete.

    Recalling the day I taught, I remember just handing out books for the reading groups and reading them with the students. However, we did not complete any worksheets. I do not remember seeing worksheets. All I recall seeing from the lesson plans was just that she had "reading groups." I think I remember her telling me (at that meeting) that it was all on her desk, but if that was the case, I must have overlooked it. (With the way the desk was organized, I would not be surprised.)

    She then showed me one of the videotapes that she had as "filler." It was marked with a sticker and words (in smaller letters below words describing the purpose) about how to operate the VCR. I looked at the tape, saw that it was "filler," and didn't read the rest of the post-it note. Since I didn't choose to use that particular tape, I did not read the sticker again.

    She continued to tell me how she had the lesson plans clearly written and marked, and how a substitute shouldn't just walk into a teacher's room and rearrange her belongings. I told her that her desk was just too messy.

    I apologized to her, saying that I was sorry if I "crossed my boundaries." I told her that I wasn't even aware that I had, or that rearranging papers was one of them; I told her that I was just doing what I needed to do as a substitute to try to run the class for the day. I was doing what I needed in order to do my job.

    Sometime in the discussion, another teacher came into the room from a nearby room. She identified herself as an associate of the teacher's union, and ordered me to leave the classroom. She would not allow me to speak and backed up what she had to say with a threat of calling someone to escort me out if I did not leave willfully. She said that I was done for the day and needed to leave.

    I left the classroom without any further remarks. On my way out, I heard the full-time teacher say "thank you" to whoever it was that ordered me to leave.

    At the office, I asked to speak to the substitute contact. I was about to cancel the current assignment and the future one. I was told that the principal would see me shortly. Over the radio, someone was communicating with the office that there was an issue with a substitute.

    The principal was ready to see me. I went into her office, where she and the assistant principal stood.

    She began the discussion by saying, "I understand you had a problem with one of my teachers."

    I nodded my head and said "Yes, I did."

    She interrupted me before I could finish the last word and told me not to get an attitude with her. This pre-emptive defensiveness leads me to believe that she already had her mind made up about what happened and the action to take BEFORE giving me due process.

    I didn't know what she was talking about. She said that the attitude she was referring to was the way I was talking and my body language. I asked what was wrong with both.

    She went on to say that the teachers had complained that I was yelling or shouting at them. She went on to reiterate what the assistant principal told me earlier -- that the lesson plans were not done.

    I then stated my defense. I told her how we completed work and made progress. When she brought up how I said that the teacher's desk was messy, I think I replied by telling her what I told the teacher -- I just couldn't use the desk or get to the papers I needed with the current arrangement. She had the lesson plans and other relevant materials mostly on her desk. But it was mixed in with other books and papers she wasn't using right away.

    I felt severely condescended by the teachers and the principal. "Condescend" isn't a word I like to use often, either, because it can draw people away from the discussion and cause people to discuss those making the discussion. However, the teacher, union leader/union person (whoever she was), and the principal were obviously so focused on my body language and tone of voice that they would not listen to what I had to say objectively. It's entirely possible that they didn't like the fact that I was arguing with them at all. It seemed that whenever I opened my mouth and something other than "I'm sorry" or "I agree" came out, they became more and more upset.

    And yes, I was very upset. I had already been close to tears earlier, and I would be again after all this had been said and done. I was upset, and I felt that I was being mistreated.

    I told her (the principal) that I was trying to have a civil discussion, but she and the teacher were treating me as though I was using verbally abusive language. She just said that it was how I presented myself.

    I personally think that they needed to get off the presentation. To be fair, I don't think their presentation toward me was very good, either. I believe that their perception of a bad presentation on my part was because I didn't shower them with apologies and agreement. Unfortunately, I do not always tell people what they want to hear.

    One thing's for certain, though. I believe that they exaggerated that aspect of the communication. I did not shout or yell -- unless, of course, they expected me to use a whisper voice in an empty room during a one-on-one conversation.

    The principal asked, "Have you ever taught at elementary school level before?"

    I told her that I taught at six other elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school and have NEVER had the problem I was experiencing now.

    She said that I needed to go into a classroom with an open mind. I told her that I tried to have a civil discussion.

    I remember that conversation and the conversation with the teacher in bits and pieces. I know that I was greatly upset by everything that took place, so I may have forgotten or mistaken some parts of what happened in my memory. I may have written some things out of order, but I remember the very beginning and end of each communication clearly.

    I don't understand what she meant by that. I had no intention of threatening, cursing, or otherwise doing anything that would be unlawful.

    Oh, and that reminds me, the teacher -- at the table in her classroom -- said that I was being "unprofessional." Was I being unprofessional because I didn't readily agree with everything she had to say? I spoke using a room voice, was objective, and tried to understand her complaints. I was spoken down to and cut off by someone else that wasn't even a part of the discussion. I don't understand where her logic is coming from.

    The teacher and the principal said that parents had comments to say about me. The intern also had comments or something to say. The teacher said that the parents and the intern were running the classroom.

    The teacher wrote down in the lesson plans that the intern was available for help. I was trying to follow the lesson plans by reading them and getting situated to move on. The class was talkative and noisy, and there were a few different volunteers that came in. The first one that came in had a "take-charge" attitude and exercised authority over the students, which was something I perceived as normal, since she seemed to take the liberty to do it.

    Other than that, though, I wasn't told what exaclty was said by the parents or intern, and who said it. I don't even know if this factored into what was being said or the case being made against me. It might have been bits and scraps that were just placed on the side.

    The main complaint seemed to be about me yelling or shouting.

    Again, I think it's all about their perception of the discussion.

    I told the principal that if this ever came up again, I would defend my position. She said that there would not be a next time because she is the be all and end all of this situation. I was in the middle of telling her that I was referring to the county in the recurrence of this problem, but she said I was getting an attitude again and that I should leave before I say something that I regret. I told her that I wasn't going to say anything I regretted.

    However, I realized that I had already been given subtle hints to leave. She didn't say "leave" directly, but it was probably coming to that. I didn't want to risk trespassing, so I simply said, "If you've ordered me to leave, I will leave." She thanked me. I took my belongings and left.

    The substitute contact -- a secretary -- very quietly came up to me. Her eyes were practically averted. I still had my substitute badge on. I almost forgot to remove my badge. Without exchanging any further communication, I took my badge -- which fell apart as it came off -- and handed it to her. She uttered a "thank you" and walked away. I think everyone averted their eyes from me as I left.

    Who's going to support me or believe me? I think that the teachers, principals, and union staff/teacher all work together and function as a single mind, almost as a sort of clique. Getting one upset makes them all upset, and if one believed that I was being uncivil, who among them is going to disagree with each other?

    continued...
     
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  3. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2006

    So, here I am, with a frozen substitute account. I called the school system -- which seemed to be expecting me -- and spoke to professional standards. The person I spoke to said that they were told that I was yelling -- something that just doesn't go at the school system. So, already I feel that they've been prejudiced by what they've been told. In the same way, they may already have made up their mind about my guilt or innocence and even gone a step further to decide the appropriate action.

    I further converesed with the person on the phone. I told her that I disagreed with what was said and wanted to present a defense. She said "sure," and that they loved to hear the other side of the story; I think she said that's what they were there for. She said that she was going to schedule an appointment for me on Monday with one of the heads to try to get this situation sorted out. She said it was to try to get me back into working and continuing my jobs.

    I think she said that they would actually be on my side. I could have misunderstood. She said that they just investigate these matters. If the situation turns out to be favorable to me, I can continue substituting. Otherwise, they may just have me continue, but have that school omitted from the schools I can teach at. I believe that's what she said.

    She remarked that she had a son with the same name as me and...

    ... the same age.

    Hmm...

    That's odd. I've told people of my age before, but I did not specifically tell anyone higher up my age. I did not tell the principal, assistant principal, or teacher that I previously substituted for.

    My age has not been brought up yet, and has certainly not been used against me or as a part of an argument, but... it just makes me wonder -- how many people up there and at other schools have looked into my age? Granted, my birthdate was on the application, but I don't think many people go out of their way to look at the age of someone on an employment application and make room for that specific data in their mind.

    Interesting.

    Well, I hope this meeting on Monday works out.

    Even if the situation swings in my favor, though, this situation raises an important question in my mind --

    Is this how all teachers and administrative staff behave? Do they all have their own justice system and gang up on people they don't like? It seems so much like a system of cliques, and I've heard from other people that is how it is.

    I became a substitute because I care about people and their education. I signed up for every school in the region and every grade level because I wanted to teach anyone, regardless of their age. Whether you're a child, teenager, or adult, I will help you learn. It is also a good learning experience for me, as is this situation with the school system.

    Is this what I would have to face as a full-time teacher? I thought that all the complaints about the pay being poor and the troubles being fierce were all related to the students. I didn't realize the degree to which staff members could also cause unpleasant experiences for a teacher.

    Now, of course, I'm a substitute. An eighteen year-old substitute teacher, for the record. I'm about to become nineteen in November, if it helps.

    As a substitute, I can only do the best I can. I'm not a substitute that destroys the teacher's lesson plans and has the students do nothing or play fun and games all day long.

    But, I can't always get 100% of the work done, whether it's because of time, behavior issues with the classroom, or my mistakes. (I'm human like that.) I can only do the best I can, and most teachers I substitute for understand that.

    This one teacher wasn't happy with me because I didn't get worksheets done for ONE subject area and I rearranged her desk belongings. That was the bulk of what she brought up. That's it.

    Compared to the completion of three other subjects and a maintained classroom throughout the day.. what is that? She said she wasn't satisfied with my performance. Most of the teachers I've ever substituted for are just happy for what I can produce.

    That's not to say that she should be satisfied with poor work, but for that given situation, we completed the majority of the work. I don't think that grilling me over the minority of uncompleted work was fair.

    What do you think? Don't be afraid to share friendly, constructive criticism. Just don't tell me to leave the site on the threat of having someone escort me out if I don't agree or further discuss points.
     
  4. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2006

    It sounds like you missed MANY cues. I hear so much argumentative vibes from your WRITING. I can only fathom what it must have sounded like in person. I hear a lot of what you are like in ME, in that authority or any person with criticism is not any different then myself, human, use the same orafices etc... So i dont intimidate well at all. Perhaps you should have HUMBLED yourself without being DEFENSIVE, but it sounds like you missed so many cues, if the union rep came into assist the classroom teacher, perhaps you were YELLING! Perhaps you raised your voice, perhaps you were NOT professional. I dont know what to tell you- but you need to figure out from here, what is to come. What happened will NEVER be clear to you. You will reflect and reflect and reflect on that day/days but it will NEVER be clear to you.
     
  5. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    Sep 23, 2006

    I agree, your writing does come across as a bit argumentative. I will also say, that as unfair as it is, being as young as you are and telling a teacher their desk is messy may have not gone off very well with him/her. She may have thought, "Who is this young kid to tell me if my desk is a mess?" That said, a teacher does indeed need to be well prepared for their sub. I subbed for 5 years and I always hated covering for teachers who left no lesson plans, or vague ones that were hard to follow. I knew I'd be in for a rough day if the desk was in dissaray. I also don't intimidate easily. I speak my mind and don't allow someoen's "title" to tell me what to do. However, in my "old age" of 39;) I have learned to show respect to those I'd rather say go take a hike to. Bottom line, we all have to deal with the higher-ups in education. One thing you did learn in this: administration is IMHO, 100x harder to deal with than any unruley child. I became a teacher to work with children. It's the adults I have a hard time with. So, I have to work a lot on being patient and understanding sometimes. I say, from here, be professional, and tread lightly. Good luck to you.
     
  6. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

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    Sep 23, 2006

    First of all, I'd like to commend you for subbing at such a young age. In IL, you must hold a Bachelor's degree in order to sub.

    Secondly, it's best just to be humbled in such situations as mommaruthie said rather than trying to be argumentative or defensive in nature. You should've told the principal the first time that it wouldn't happen again and then have gone back to work without having approached the teacher because approaching her as you did has just caused you more problems than it's really worth.

    In the future, just say it won't happen again and move on. If, youever feel unjustly treated by the school then request NOT to go back to that school or leave the district altogether.
     
  7. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Sep 24, 2006

    I have been in situations where I was accused of behaving in a way I don't feel I did, mostly when I was your age. You know what solved the problem for me? Assuming the person telling me I was behaving wrong was, well right. If I did that in the future I would not allow myself to behave defensively. Actually you did exaclty what I would have done at your age, and it would have backfired, like it did with you. I understand totally why you reacted they way you did, it just wasn't the wisest choice. In the future always be self-depricating (sp) in such situations, so sorry, won't ever happen again, etc. Get pissed about it, ON YOUR OWN TIME! Then replay the converstation or situation in your mind and really think about what you did, and what you can do better.

    I think you will be fine at that meeting if you are apologetic and polite, just say what you have to about the lesson plans and that you were arranging the desk to help you find things better and help the students, and that you are sorry to have offended, and then leave it there. DO no get defensive.....it will backfire. There is wrong on both sides, but you cannot do anything about the other side, only your side. So do what you have to, and learn from this.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  8. squarepusher

    squarepusher Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2006

    lol dont take subbing so seriously. are you m/f? age?

    i used to do that, its so much easier to just chill back and know your gunna be there for a day. let the real teacher do the teaching caus kids a lot of time dont wanna learn from a stranger. just follow basic structue and rules, attendance, dont stress about curriculum its just too hard to pick up a new curriculum everyday and be effective =[

    i bet 100% of the reason u were reported was the rearragning on the personal belongins, i dont think a teacher expect their lesson plan to get followed 100% all the time. never argue or be defensive to another teacher or principle, if you cant say someting laughing dont say it =]
     
  9. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    Sep 24, 2006

    I understand some of the points you are making, however, you need to develop the wisdom to decide whether it is really worth the fight. Wouldn't it have all been easier to just say, "I'm sorry for the mistakes I made" and move on? Also, all teachers have messy desks at times. It comes from working on so many projects and things all at the same time. I am a very neat person, but my desk always has papers scattered across it, and I would be very upset if a sub came in and rearranged them. I know where most of the papers are and can quickly find what I need, even if it looks messy to an outsider. If the desk was really unusable, then you should have moved the things you did need to a seperate table or even a pile on the floor to keep them seperate. Moving and restacking papers was clearly out of line.

    That said, learn from your mistakes, and don't make them again.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 24, 2006

    I have a huge poster in my room..."Attitude, it's a little thing that makes a big difference". I try to remember that every time I feel angry with others (adults or students) or when I feel that I have been mistreated. You are just starting out in a difficult career. The hardest thing about teaching is not dealing with the students, it is the relationships you have with all of the adults you deal with every day.

    One of the difficult things about being a supply teacher is recognizing that you are a guest in the classroom. If there are plans to follow, follow them to the best of your ability. If you aren't able to complete activities leave a note for the teacher explaining what wasn't done and why. Don't question the validity of what a teacher has left (why did you disregard the video the teacher left, with instructions, and go to choose another?)--everything is done for a reason. The comment about the messy desk did cross the line, in my opinion. How would you feel if a guest in your home commented that it was too messy and proceeded to tidy up? My desk is notoriously messy, although I do tidy up when I know that a supply is coming...absences are not always planned, however.

    Think about the things that went well that day--you followed most of the plans and followed routines (although you should be sure whether or not those students made their buses on time). When you have the meeting, don't be defensive. Acknowledge that there was obviously a misunderstanding, and move on. Best of luck in your career!
     
  11. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Sep 24, 2006

    We have subs that are 18 from time to time, as well. Honestly, the school is hesitant to use them because of their perceived lack of experience. As a teacher I have to tell you that I would have been bothered if you had rearranged my desk. I'm a stacker and someone else would have trouble at my desk, but I know right where everything is (maybe she had the next day's stuff on her desk and had trouble finding it). If that situation arises again, just pick up the sub stuff and move it to a table until you are through. I also have a problem with subs veering from the lesson plan. If I leave a video as a filler, that's because that video ties in with what we are doing, so when they choose another, it's just kids watching a movie rather than watching something that ties with the lesson(s). Your safest bet is not to veer from that plan. When the volunteer came in and took charge, did you ask the intern if that was normal? I wouldn't get upset with a sub for that, (but I would at the volunteer and the intern). Make sure you document everything that happens throughout the day so that there is no question. When I subbed I would mark off each thing on the lesson plan as we completed it. That way I was covering myself to make sure that I did it all.
    We've had issues with subs in the past that have been told they won't be called back. We don't have a sub contact or anyone at the central office that specifically works with subs, but we have just told them that they wouldn't be contacted to sub and removed them from the list. I had one removed. She was rude to the kids (reported from kids as well as other teachers who heard), played a local rock station in class while they were working, etc. I simply told the front office that I did not want her to sub for me again. I explained everything to them. It was not the first complaint that they had received so they chose to remove her from the list.
    I know you wanted to defend yourself against what you saw as an attack, but in situations like that your best bet is to take time to regroup. Just tell the principal, "I'm sorry you feel that way. I disagree. The day didn't go like that." and leave. By staying and arguing the point, your standing lost some of it's validity. Honestly, I think that is something you get with experience. Good luck.
     
  12. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Sep 24, 2006

    random - I have been a substitute teacher for a number of years for several different school districts in my area.

    As for the teacher's messy desk - there have been many times that I have had to "clear a spot" off of the regular teacher's desk. I feel that the teachers should always be prepared for a substitute (even though that is obviously not always the case!). If they leave a mess for me, it is their own fault if it gets cleared away. I do it as carefully as I can, so that the the teacher can find things easily upon his/her return. I would NOT go to a side table! I am the teacher for the day, so I will sit at the teacher's desk. The students' perception of a substitute teacher sitting at a side table would be - that is not a "real" teacher.

    I would never go into another teacher's classroom and confront her about a complaint. That's just asking for trouble. Also, I would never argue with a principal. The principal is the "boss" and what they say is the way it is. Different principals have different philosophies and ways of dealing with issues. A substitute has to go with the flow at each school.

    I try to keep my note to the teacher going through the day. If I wait for the end of the day, I will forget what happened earlier. If I can't follow the plans, I explain that in my note. (On Thursday, I was subbing for a high school math teacher. He wanted me to go over the answers to some math problems. However, I couldn't find the teacher's manual. The students tried to help me find it. We couldn't find the manual, so we couldn't go over the answers. I wrote the whole story about this in my note to him - and I added, "Sorry!")

    If it were me - at the meeting on Monday, I would be cool, calm, and collected. I would "suck it up" and apologize about the misunderstanding. Also, I would probably ask that I be removed from the sub list for that particular school. Chalk it up to this being a learning experience for you.
     
  13. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Sep 24, 2006

    Nothing personal random, but boy am I glad subs need to hold a bachelors degree to set foot in a classroom around here. 18 is just too young in my opinion.
     
  14. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Sep 24, 2006


    I disagree. DO take subbing seriously- it may be the way you land your job. DON"T sit back and "chill"..... Put your whole heart and soul into doing your best so that you will be called back again!

    I agree with not arguing with teachers and the principal. The principal is your boss for that day. He or she will most likely always choose to defend his or her teachers.... I don't think you handled your interaction well with other colleagues, but you can learn from here on in.
     
  15. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 24, 2006

    I only have my tiny 2 cents worth to add. I agree with Glendall about the "desk." Teachers should strive to keep their work area neat as an example to students...and respect to the sub. One thought comes to mind when I see a teacher's desk in disarray ... slob. During the day when I am working, my personal desk is a mess. At the end of the day, it is all straightened up. I figure I might have to call in the next day and how would a sub know where to find things? I am proud of my room and my desk reflects that. Clean it up or expect someone else(sub) to clean it up for me.
     
  16. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    Sep 24, 2006

    GrammyTeacher: I totally agree. I am the same way. I cannot leave my classroom until my desk is neat and orderly. It helps me stay focused and organized. It's also a welcome sight first thing in the morning to see I have everything ready for a new day.
     
  17. zanke

    zanke Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2006

    I'm new to subbing and teaching, but I did work in the corporate world for a while and even wrote training modules on conflict management and conflict resolution. Here is what I would have done, taken from experiences in a corporate environment.

    If you ever approach someone about an issue that they have with you, even if you are being very nice, they will almost always see that as confrontational. The reason is is that they believe they are in the right just like you. You are confronting them even if you are laughing and making a joke out of it.

    Like others ahve said, the principal is that teachers boss and was your boss during that time. It would have been more productive to have talked with the principal about the situation. If you wouldn't have been comfortable with that, then you can talk with someone in Human Resources. They know how to handle these situations, they take classes specifically about these types of problems. Plus, if a report was made, they are probably the only ones that can correct a report.

    In my school district there is someone in HR specically assigned to the substitute program. In my training class last week he said that at any time we can make an appointment with him to go over our reviews that schools turn in about us. This way we can see areas that need improvement and also if there is something wrong with a report, he can see if there was a misunderstanding when the report was filed.

    If I ever have a problem with a school there are two people that I will talk to about it. First the district substitute clerk and also the HR rep over the substitute program.
     
  18. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    I feel that is highly unlikely. I suspect that the argument and disagreement affected their perception of what was being said.

    If you dislike what someone is telling you, it's much easier to see what they're saying as loud or rude. I think that is what happened here. Maybe I was threatening someone's pride or dignity.

    How'd you know? When I was ordered to leave the room, I actually wanted to ask why I was being treated the way I was. But, the more questions or comments I had, the more I was being rushed out.

    I don't care. If I have an argument, I'm going to make it. I am not going to humble myself before everyone around me or apologize for mistakes I did not make just to satisfy an upper authority.

    I will apologize for and admit the mistakes I actually made -- something that I did do. However, I am not going to trade in my dignity and pride to satisfy someone else -- especially when they have also made mistakes that they are not taking responsibility for.

    Thank you for your advice and wishing me the best.

    Thank you.

    Yes, I am aware of IL's requirements. I think I recall reading that is the only state in the union that requires some type of certification for substitute teachers. I could be wrong on that, though.

    Most places seem to require a high school diploma and that the teacher be 18 years of age or over to teach. Not surprisingly, there is a substitute teacher shortage. After my incident at that school, I'm just thinking in my head... "Hmmmm..."

    I didn't realize that approaching the teacher directly would have caused such a problem. I thought that since she was the one that complained, I should discuss it with her directly. If anything, I suspected that trying to talk it over with the principal would be viewed as going behind her back and actually being offensive.

    I was not anticipating what happened at all. I thought that if you tried to be civil and rational, people could work out any problem together. She immediately became defensive and rude, though.

    That just doesn't seem right to me, though. Wouldn't it have bothered you that you weren't pursuing the truth?

    I have a name on the Internet and a track record of activities at various websites, discussion boards, and other areas for the past several years. I usually use my full name when posting on a discussion board, but I decided to use a different name this time.

    I'm an eighteen year-old male.

    Why?

    It would have been easier, but it would have left me with an empty sense of injustice.

    Indeed, I am sorry for the mistakes that I did made. However, there were other parts of her complaint that needed more discussion.

    The other tables also had things strewn about them, and I don't think that making my own "teacher's desk" on the floor of a first grade class would be a very good idea.

    I think that has a very condescending tone of voice to it. The phrase "out of line" is commonly used in a situation where one person has greater authority over another person, and I thought that a teacher and substitute teacher were supposed to work together to solve problems and find the best way to make the day work.

    As I described to her, I never even knew that what I was doing was wrong. Telling me that I was "out of line" or that "you don't do that in a teacher's room" was acting with a certain aggression, as though I knew what I was doing and did what I did to be offensive on purpose. I really wasn't. Instead of politely telling me how she felt, she decided to use it as an element for a verbal argument.

    That's the truth!

    I've actually been substituting since March. I've done over 25 jobs so far. Up until now, I was receiving calls on a nearly daily basis.

    First time this has happened. But, I was always taught that no career or line of work goes without its bumps and disagreements with other people. I was expecting it, but I wasn't quite expecting the degree of conflict that happened.

    I do everything I do as a substitute to the best of my ability, and 99% of the time I leave a detailed report (divided into a general report and a specific "incident report") about what happened. I was never even aware that there were reading worksheets to complete, and I don't recall ever seeing that in the lesson plan. The teacher said that everything was right there on her desk -- but let's not go there. :)

    I didn't disregard the video. As I said, there was a sticker on it that said it was "filler" and (in smaller letters) words describing how to use the VCR. I looked over the sticker, set the tape somewhere else, and used the lesson plans to figure out how to run the class the rest of the day; the instructions weren't written on the lesson plans -- they were written on the tape identified as "filler," which I set aside.

    I decided to use another video because I reasonably believed that I could do so. Since the "filler" was optional, I figured that using something else in place of it -- an entertaining, rated "G" movie for a deserving, well-behaved class, for example -- was harmless.

    In any case, all of that never came into play because I couldn't figure out how to use the VCR. Everyone else seemed to be stumped as well -- including the neighboring teachers. When I looked over the tape cover and saw the instructions, I must have seen the word "filler" and the instructions and quickly forgot about them as I set the tape (and the sticker with all the instructions on it) aside.

    Thank you for wishing me the best of luck in my career. I'm hoping that luck isn't the main fuel of a teaching career, though.

    No, I did not.

    However, she was a lot more familiar with the classroom than I was. I wasn't yielding the entire floor to her and certainly didn't ask her to take over the class, but every little bit helps... if she's going to take the initiative to help, I'm not going to stop her.

    Somehow the full-time teacher tried to use this against me, though.

    Are you implying that people make fewer mistakes and are more intelligent because of their age? From what I've heard, older, more experienced teachers make mistakes, so I don't think that being older gives a person immunity from problems.

    Thank you for being considerate of your substitutes.

    Like I said -- I wasn't trying to straighten or tidy up that teacher's desk just to be tidy. I was doing it so that I function as a teacher with my belongings.

    I didn't know that before... but I do now!

    Thank you, everyone, for your advice. Even if I didn't respond to your individual post or speak to you directly, know that I have read everything you've had to say and seriously consider it.

    I've gotten a lot of agreement and sympathy from the other people I've spoken to that know me personally, whether it's on the Internet or off. No one here knows me personally, so I thought it would be a good chance to get unbiased thoughts about the situation and how all sides handled it. (I'm sure if my friends thought that I was "out of line" in how I behaved, they still would not have said anything! But I am expecting true and direct comments -- not things they think I want to hear.)

    Although I may not always agree with your input, I certainly appreciate the time you've taken to make it. There's no limit or "expiration date" for discussion of any issue with me, so I'll be here to continue discussing individual points if you have a response to something I've addressed towards you.

    One idea I've gotten in common from everyone I've spoken to -- whether it's people at my other job, at home, my friends, or even teachers that know me personally -- is that I should just apologize and give in. "Defensiveness" has been established as a bad quality. I don't understand why.

    Now that I think about it, the principal complained that I was being "defensive."

    It's only human nature to be defensive about something that someone was accused of. Under my circumstances -- after the way I was treated by the union person (being treated as a criminal that was trespassed) -- I think it's even more understandably so. Now that my job is being threatened because of accusations and other argumentative claims, I think it would be senseless to not be defensive. Yet, everyone seems to suggest that it's bad to be defensive, and I don't understand why.

    If you disagree with something negative that someone has said about you, shouldn't you try to defend yourself? Your character and reputation does matter. Why should you let it fall victim to someone else's demand for absolute authority?
     
  19. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Sep 24, 2006

    No, not enough to cause a problem. See I did that at your age, I tried to defend myself and it always backfired...and I got tired of being accused of being wrong all the time. So I just accepted that pursuing the truth wasn't the option. What does it matter if they agree with you about being right? Not a bit, you know the truth, and sometimes that just has to be enough.
     
  20. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Sep 24, 2006

    Random, maybe you should consider law as a profession
     
  21. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

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    No. Other states require it too, like WI.

    The only places where I've seen a high school diploma and one to be at least 18 years of age to sub are many of the Southern States. Then again, it's not like those places have really high requirements for Aides and Teachers either and that's what happens when you fail to require decent requirements for teaching. You get a bunch of people who really shouldn't be there.

    And yes, there is a shortage of Substitute Teachers. One of the districts I worked for had a very hard time filling sub positions and tends to come up short a lot. But it's not because people don't want to sub, it's because you're on call and never guaranteed work when you're on a list. I'm sure if someone could hop on board with a district and sub every single day for 10 months each and every year then I doubt there'd be the shortage there is. But since Substitutes rely on illness, emergency leave, personal days, and vacation days to work and when viruses decide to make teachers become sick and such, we have to settle for sporadic work and a shoratge.
     
  22. 2000 Man

    2000 Man New Member

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    Sep 25, 2006

    Someone else mentioned self-deprecation and I'll put it another way: "Pick your battles!"

    Were your character and reputation really on the line due to the initial complaint from the teacher? Probably not. But, by arguing and acting "defensive" with teachers and the principal, they most certainly are now.

    I tend to be at the opposite end of the spectrum; I often don't stick up for myself when I probably should. However, when someone does irk me enough that I confront them, I have strong backing from my fellow faculty and administrative staff because they know I'm not overly argumentative without good reason.
     
  23. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Sep 25, 2006

    random5 I was a sub for several years before working as a special ed . teacher the last 4 years. I had a similar situation to yours. I was subbing for an elementary teacherfor a 1/2 day and I had to wait 2 hours for the lesson plans to be faxxed in. In the meantime, I had to come up with my own activities. One of the most important parts of the plan was to go over some math tests but I did not get those until a few minutes before I was supposed to leave. When the teacher came in she asked me why I did not go over the math tests and I told her I did not get them until now. She send in an unsatisfactory report about me to the sub office inthe district. I was incensed! I simply wrote a rebuttal to the unsatisfactory notice and left it at that. I was not banned from the school only from this teacher's room. I talked to other subs in the district and getting lesson plans there on time was always a problem. Subs always got written up by that school. Any way the next time you have a dispute with a teacher write a rebuttal letter to the sub office and then move on. That is all you can do. Confronting the teacher is never a good idea. You will always lose because subs do not have much recourse and the classroom teacher always wins. Terry G.
     
  24. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 25, 2006

    I'm deaf so I get a lot of cases where I have to defend the Americans with Disabilities Act to get any services whatsoever. I used to charge in there gungho until I figured out in many cases there are better ways of approaching many situations that leave my reputation intact and help me get services for the future. Sometimes gungho "I am right" has its place. Sometimes you have to think "Is this a black and white situation?" "What are the pros and cons of choosing this course of action?"

    Currently my boss wants me to do something I don't want to do and to give up something I don't want to give up. As an aide, I recognize I am to do whatever I'm told. I want to be treated as an individual and have my feelings taken in consideration. I thought about going in and being insistent and complaining why I didn't want that situation. I've seen others do so. I kinda figured in this case the Principal wasn't gonna change her mind so it wasn't worth wasting my good name. Instead I went in with a negotiation offer, told her the reason I didn't want to was not because of the teacher or any other of the normal reasons she was hearing. It was because in my other class I was being given a center and I was able to make lesson plans etc from scratch (aides don't do that). I explained how much I learned about the students and how that helps me throughout the day. I've become a better person for it etc. I didn't gripe that I shouldn't be moved just because another aide can't freaking do her job. I told her she has to make the right decision, but that the center I had was precious to me. I asked her to consider allowing me to stay just for the center and move the rest of the morning. The tone worked wonders! You kill more flies with honey. Is that how that goes? :)

    BTW, men (no matter the age) have to be extra careful in the tone they choose and the body language they choose when addressing female staff. Men and women are different. :)
     
  25. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

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    Sep 25, 2006

    No. I know some older people who actually make more mistakes than folks my age and my cousin's age (she's 20).

    Quite honestly, Substitute Teachers command a lot of responsibility in a teacher's absence and people who are 21+ and educated are bound to handle it a lot better than folks your age who aren't considered as highly qualified in the State's eyes.

    You aren't much older than the elementary and junior high kids you sub and are the exact same age as the high schoolers you sub for. I'm not a parent, but I may have some issues with that if I were.

    I can see why you don't get calls everyday like you were prior to this incident. It says an aweful about how you handle things and what can be expected of you in the future.

    Frizzle's right, perhaps you should consider another alternative, such as law, given how arguing is what makes or breaks a lawyer.
     
  26. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 25, 2006

    Let's remember to keep our comments to this poster positive.
     
  27. souptunuts

    souptunuts Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2006

    Okay at this point I would have walked away with my tail between my legs. But this is really not an issue because he told you to just remember to follow the lesson plans and it would all be good. It would have bugged me too, especially the rearranging the room comment...but at this point, you know the truth and you should just let it go.

    OOH Bad move...real bad move. Don't talk to another teacher about the problem. Don't knock the kids, the teacher, the parents, the lesson plans, or the messy desk....NOTHING. Here is where you might say "what's wrong with telling the truth?" Well, it is the truth but it is not necessary and it is certainly not nice.




    Yikes- that was the only response you could think of? How about, oh I am so sorry I didn't mean to make it difficult for you to find things, I was just trying to make sure I hadn't missed anything so I put a few things in stacks.

    This is how I picture this going down, total snowball effect.

    teacher comes back the next day and says

    teacher-What the heck happened to my desk? Why is johnny's desk nudged this way?

    Intern- the sub did it.

    T-Really?

    I-yep it was a guy and he was like 18.

    T- How were the kids

    I - Pretty bad, Mrs Volunteer came in and read the kids the riot act.

    T- oh great, So he didn't even do this worksheet?

    I - nope

    T - you guys must have had time for the video

    I - he insisted on finding some other video and then couldn't get the vcr to work- he messed with it for 10 minutes and even had other teachers coming in here to try?

    T- Oh my gosh he didn't ask Mrs TeamLeader did he? I left the directions right on the video he was supposed to put in.

    I- yep and then Joeys mom came in and said the bus was there and none of the bus kids were ready.

    T- I'm telling Mr Principal that I don't want him in my room anymore and I guess I should tell Mrs UnionLady...come with me to her room so you can tell her what happened too.

    Then a couple days go by and then, by way of the grapevine, all the teachers in that area know a little something about what went on.

    You show up, talk to the AP, go down the hall and behind your back they are saying- thats the guy Ms teacher complained about.

    Then you go tell the new teacher (see bad move above) with whom you are teaching (lets call her teacher 2) all about what happened and how it bothers you and how you just can't believe this- which is silly cuz she already knows the other side and will stand by it. She says nice things to you because she feels she should. You feel a little better so you go to talk to teacher 1 to get the facts straight.

    teacher 2 quickly goes and tells a few other teachers " Oh my gosh, that sub guy is in there talking to Mrs teacher!" So now these teachers have an ear to door/ wall/ room and Union Person intervenes when necessary.

    I believe you were not yelling but I bet you that you were loud and kind of cutting her off and butting in, which can easily happen when a person is on the deffensive. If this was a normal conversation and no one felt threatened or weird in anyway, there wouldn't have been "an issue with a sub" comment on the radio.

    I'm not saying that you didn't try hard, I'm just saying that you made some mistakes in the wrong persons class and things snowballed and they took offense to you taking offence. Sometimes in life you just have to suck it up. You are in the business of subbing and the "school" is your customer; like it or not the customer is always right.

    One more thing, You said something like you may be able to sub for that school again if your meeting goes well. I would never because you are almost guaranteed another incident.
     
  28. squarepusher

    squarepusher Rookie

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    i disagree. first hes not 'exactly' the same age as kids he subs for. hes older unless they are adult students or flunkees. i think someone who is near to the kids age, and has been through what they have been through recently will be very effective in interaction with the students. In fact I also think extensive 'schooling' and training will actually make a teacher out of touch with students and wont be able to 'level' with them. Going to school to 'learn' to be a teacher sounds a little funny doesn't it? :) In this analogy its like comparing an 'older sibling' to parents. Kids can learn from both their parents and older siblings. Kids are very smart, I think we unlearn a lot in our society as we get older, especially our society I believe is very out of balance and I dont need to back that up.

    I dont think this guy is 'arguing' as many of you see it, as just stating what happened and actually cares about the students and his job and reputation.

    This being said I think he should spend more of him time talking to the district and voicing his opinion to people who can understand or do something, instead of us here on the internet. Maybe you can print out this thread and give it to the superintendent. If you do have a legal case then maybe you can take it there.

    Anyways, if anything this is a lesson in things not being fair =] Welcome to adulthood. But dont spend your time arguing here, argue somewhere that can actually change something in regards to your job. If not it just sounds like your whining kind of ... do something, but be respectful. It sounds like also you can learn some respect for the principle and teachers. They are much older than you and have seen a lot more, no need to be so stadoffish with your body language, these are people too and can be your friends and help.

    anyways it seems kind of pointless arguing here, and now you konw there is a lot more to 'teaching' than simply teaching, such as rules and politics, ext...

    some advice, if you want to be a teacher, then go full on ahead and continue with this ... if this is just a job, then move on to something else that you have more interest in, and you may find this solves al ot of yoru current problems ...

    respectfully to everyone here ...

    -Christian
     
  29. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Sep 26, 2006

    As a teacher in one of those southern states, I have to comment that our standards are no lower than anyone else's. I busted my tail in college to be where I am, I go to classes and work hard at keeping my standards high. That's neither here nor there, though. This post is about the sub situation, I just couldn't let this comment pass.

    First, I wouldn't like anyone "cleaning" my desk, teacher, sub, principal, parent, Santa, ...anyone. It's my desk, my space. No, I don't have stuff thrown everywhere, but I know where everything is. I think what most people are trying to point out is that old saying is true, You get more flies with honey than vinegar. I can't tell you how many times I have bitten my tongue in teaching, to keep the overall picture running smooth. Sometimes you have to do that. People are more willing to listen, often, if you are calm. That was why I suggested you come back, when you are angry/upset, you often talk in a manner you normally wouldn't. Emotions get to running high. Experience lets us all point out, in hindsight areas where we felt you could have done things different. These are not meant to be criticisms of what you did, but rather suggestions on how to handle similar situations if they should arise. Age isn't always a key issue, but sometimes the perceptions that come with it are.
    Good luck in the future.
     
  30. georgiateacher

    georgiateacher Rookie

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    It offends me to assume that everyone who teaches in the Southern States are unqualified. I worked very hard for my degree and work very hard as a teacher. Living in the south has nothing to do with teaching qualifications. I know some that have masters doctorate degrees that still should not be working with children. In my opinion the best qualification of a teacher comes from the heart.
     
  31. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Sep 26, 2006

    OUCH. I live in Arkansas and we require a bachelor's degree for our subs too. Our aides must have them too, and our teachers bust be Highly Qualified. I'd also like to say that are standards for our students and teachers are of a very high quality. I'm not trying to argue about this though. I respect you Elizabeth, and I don't want you to think that I'm trying to be mean to you.
     
  32. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Sep 26, 2006

    Now to the original post.

    For some reason I can't seem to get past the part where you went to confront the teacher.

    Why couldn't you have said something like "I had rearranged all the papers and books on your desk. The desk had papers and books that were getting mixed up. To help situate myself, I stacked the papers and put them in piles."

    That may have solved it right there.
    From the teachers' point of view (all of them involved) I would request to never have you again. Sorry, but that's the honest truth. You've got to remember that not all teachers plan for days that they're going to have a sub. Sometimes it's sudden and they have to leave in a hurry. Just go with the flow. Now if I were a teacher that had you prior to this incident and had no problems, I would be kind of "iffy" on having you again.

    You also have to remember that education is like any other profession. You have to learn how to be diplomatic. Should you have stuck up for yourself? Yes. Should you have chosen a different way to do it? Definitely.

    From your point of view, I understand a little. I've had to learn how to bite my tongue and move on. Sometimes that's all a situation takes. The situation is past you now. My advice would be to learn from your mistakes and move on. If I were you, I wouldn't want to sub in that school again anyway.
     
  33. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Sep 26, 2006

    How did your meeting go yesterday? I hope it went well. I personally would not sub at that school again.

    As for the messy desk. I would not be happy if someone rearranged my desk. That would drive me nuts! Grammy you would think I am a slob if you looked at my desk. Yet my house is spotless, along with my
    car. I just can't take time to arrange my desk neatly every day, not teaching 9 grade levels. I did try the first couple of weeks but gave up.
     
  34. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Random 5 How did the meeting go? If you want to go into teaching have you thought of taking child development and working as a TA? You could see some teachers in action and have a full time job with benefits. The training you would get would be valuable. If you do decide to take a TA job don't tell your teacher that they have a messy desk. They would get angry about that. Terry G.
     
  35. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 26, 2006

    Jaime, I am a stickler on desks because where I work, we get in trouble if our desk or work areas are messy. Believe me, I know what a struggle it is...I am constantly trying to find ways to organize my "stuff!"
     
  36. Ms_Em

    Ms_Em New Member

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    Sep 27, 2006

    Random5,

    I've been in the education system for over 18 years. I've read your post over a few times, and it does seem like you have a chip on your shoulder, are argumentative, and you are old enough to know to never rearrange a Teachers items and paperwork on their desk, and then tell the Teacher her desk was messy.

    In my opinion you must of been raising your voice to the Teacher in question, in order for another person to of heard you speaking to her and entered the room because of it.

    You do seem very immature and demanding. The way you stated in your post that you handled yourself proved to me you don't make good choices, and it seems as if you were trying to win some logic contest. Like I said earlier, you sounded as if you were very argumentative to all concerned.

    If you were this way with adults, I'd really hate to see how you would be with dealing or disciplining a child. Maybe it would be a good idea to hold off a few years on any decision for a career in teaching children.

    It seems as if you have a lot of growing up to do, maybe a job somewhere your not directly face-to-face with people for a few years would do you better than teaching.

    ~Emma
     
  37. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2006

    That is a great idea! I'll integrate that into how I handle these situations in the future.

    Writing a letter is probably a better idea because it's laid in stone and more verifiable than an oral conversation, where the situation can quickly become a matter of one word versus someone else's. (Or, one word versus a group of a lot of people...)

    Actually, I stopped receiving calls because my substitute account was frozen. My employment was suspended, pending a meeting to resolve the situation that took place.

    I don't understand what you mean when you say that it says a lot about "how you handle things." Are you saying that disciplinary action taken against a person automatically means that the person is guilty of everything he or she was accused of? That's like trying to say that someone must have been guilty of a crime because he or she was arrested. It doesn't make any sense.

    Arguing is an inherent part of any communication.

    An "argument" is a discussion where there's two or more opposing sides, and the people try to resolve the opposition or discuss why the opposing points exist. Not everyone thinks the same way, and people don't always agree. Therefore, arguments will always happen; it's a part of life. To make it out to seem like a bad quality would be tantamount to saying that a difference of opinion and viewpoint is also evil.

    Well, the worst part of it all was that the person I was substituting for that day had her room connected to the teacher that made the complaints against me.

    He shouldn't have thrown all of that at me right before I entered a first grade class.

    No, I agree that is one point where I probably shouldn't have further spread my thoughts to other people.

    On the other hand, I know that the full-time teachers and other staff aren't angels when it comes to gossip, either. That makes me feel a little less guilty.

    Well, she was starting to go into "lecture mode" and take a defensive stance. I felt pressured to make a response, and that was all I could think of in my mind. Sugar-coated or not, it's the same point.

    Even after all that, I apologized! I told her that I thought it was unfair of her to say that I "did nothing" all because I missed one subject area. I thought I maintained a consistent tone of voice (and volume), but apparently, she -- and the other teachers listening in -- were getting more worked up.

    I guess the "words to apologies" ratio was out of balance. ;) Whoops!

    Actually, I caught her interrupting me a few times around the beginning of the conversation. I got a lot more of it from her and the other staff members I spoke to between the moment I began the conversation with the teacher to the moment I left the campus. Unlike her and her colleagues, I focused more on what we were discussing rather than the person or manner in which it was being discussed -- the way an objective conversation should go.

    Also, what basis are you using for the inference that I was butting in and being loud? Since she was on the defensive (in a sense) with my few criticial comments, it's just as probable that she was the same way.

    That was just a matter of what the record was going to contain. Whether I'm not going there by order of the school or by my own choice, I'm not going back again. It's just a matter of how.

    Well, I have taught a few high school classes where the students were the same age as me and even older (19 and 20).

    The elementary school students seem to be okay with it. The middle school students seem fascinated with it and start asking me all kinds of personal questions. The high school students don't seem to care who or what is running the classroom as long as they get through the period.

    I've had tens and tens of successful substitute assignments at all levels. Some of the middle school students ask me if I like my job, and I tell them that it depends on the class I'm running. ;) But, I think that the closeness in age does mean that we can identify with each other. I think that we'll be learning some lessons together.

    In any case, my age has never altered the function of the classroom. We still get work done, discipline gets maintained, and reports get sent to the proper people. I tell the middle school and high school students that I was sitting in the same desk they're in not that long ago -- so don't try anything.

    I respect people that have acted in a manner worthy of respect, or people who I meet for the first time. You shouldn't assume that I really was "standoff-ish" with my body language just because someone older and more experienced than I am made that claim.

    On the day before the meeting when I was working at McDonald's, I saw a few teachers. One walked into the lobby and said she recognized me. I had substituted for her last school year. She said that she thought I did a great job.

    Another teacher came through the drive-thru. I told briefly told her what happened. (I could do that, since the drive-thru seems to be backed up sometimes.) She said that I "always did well as their school."

    I've known about the rules all along. I wouldn't have been able to complete as many substitute assignments as I have at all grade levels without that knowledge.

    What I know about now is the politics..

    I think that's an unreasonable expectation on the part of any teacher that feels that way.

    Most teachers that request substitutes know that the lesson plans aren't always going to be followed to the letter and that the work isn't always going to be one hundred percent complete. That's just the way it works when you ask to have a person replace you that is not familiar with the classroom or the procedures and is trying to learn all of that in under a day.

    I feel that the teacher should expect the substitute to have some autonomy; the teacher should expect the substitute to do whatever it takes to perform his or her job for the day.

    A desk was rearranged... so what? It was necessary. It was not a permanent alteration, and it certainly wasn't damage that was unrecoverable.

    Lower expectations, and be thankful that there's someone there to take your place -- that's the attitude I've seen most teachers take. It's a good policy.

    If you decide to maintain tight expectations, expect fewer substitutes. With the problem of finding substitutes in some areas, there's just not much room to get picky over such a trivial matter.

    Well, you don't have to be afraid to give me criticism. I'm not afraid of it, as long as I'm given a fair chance to respond to it and discuss the topic.

    Thank you for acknowledging that age isn't always a key issue.

    There's all kinds of stereotypes associated with age -- especially with any age that has the word "teen" in it. Part of my goal is to try my hardest to be a counterexample of those stereotypes.

    Don't be afraid to argue. Uou don't have to express respect by saying that you are giving it; you do so when you give that person an equal chance to talk to you back.

    You've got to remember that substitutes aren't familiar with the classrooms they're running, and that sometimes they are under a lot of pressure. The reason why they are absent is none of my concern. It is their responsibility to make sure that I have the tools I need to run the classroom and am given a working space and instructions that are clear and concise to let me perform my job. It doesn't help them when you decide to give them a disorganized desk to work from (without any other spot from which to work) and then expect the teacher to get all the lesson plans and worksheets for the day from that desk.

    If you really want to play around with a substitute's head, do all of the above -- and then complain about how the lesson plans were mysteriously not completed to one hundred percent.

    I can't go with the flow when the pipe's clogged.

    I understand how substitutes are employees that are supposed to meet the teacher and principal's expectations, but school's shouldn't forget the value of us. If it weren't for us, no one would be there to cover teachers' classrooms so that they could go to talk to a dying family member, get a physical with a doctor, or go on a cruise (which was what the teacher I substituted for on my last day at that school was doing).

    Schools' dependence on us doesn't give us the right to perform poorly, but in the same manner, we should have the latitude and patience we need for the job description. If teachers can't take that the room isn't going to be run exactly the way they want or be in the exact same state it was before they left, they need to reconsider calling in.
     
  38. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2006

    I can tell that your post is colored with prejudice based on my age. If you're trying to discuss a topic with someone else, you should feel free to share your thoughts. But sharing vague propaganda and destructive criticism only forms the basis for another conflict of personality. If you've been in education for over 18 years, shouldn't you already know this?

    The rooms were interconnected by other, smaller rooms. The person that came into the room was coming out of a small room right next to the room I was in. It is more likely that she was listening in on the conversation from that room.

    These are the destructive and inflammatory comments I was referring to earlier. Instead of discussing the people in the conversation, you should discuss the points being made.

    Whether you like it or not, I'm human like anyone else and do make mistakes. Although I've been alive for a little under two decades, I -- like everyone else, young or old -- learns during every moment of life. Saying that the solution to the problem is to simply leave makes no sense -- these experiences have to happen at some point. Although I make mistakes, I learn from them. You shouldn't preclude a person's future in education because of the mistakes that are bound to happen.

    On the contrary -- wouldn't being face-to-face with people be the best way to learn how to work with people and how the social environment works? How can you expect someone to improve if they don't have a chance to actually practice an activity? Practice makes perfect; people have to have the chance to make mistakes.

    Your logic suggests that age is directly related to intelligence and maturity, and it's been proven many times over that is false -- especially with the allegations and cases of misconduct against experienced teachers.

    When I first posted, I said that I wasn't expecting everyone to tell me what I wanted to hear. Indeed, I did not, and I didn't want people to tell me what I wanted to hear. But, slinging a bunch of "shock" words and phrases at someone ("immature," "need to grow up") gets us nowhere. If anything, it just furthers the gap between generations more.

    What exactly are you trying to accomplish? Perhaps you feel threatened that a very young person is challenging your logic and position. Older people have a tendency to become intimidated by a much younger person that actually argues their points in an intelligent manner. A lot of them can't handle the thought of it, so they resort to attacking the person's age and maturity.

    In any case, thank you for your comments. Despite your hasty, judgemental conclusions, I have had many successful, completed jobs teaching students of varying ages at all grade levels without fail. I think that stands for something.
     
  39. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Sep 27, 2006

    The fact that you have successfuly substituted in the past does speak for something, but so does your overly defensive attitude you have taken here. You have a lot to learn, lots. You need to just accept that you made a mistake, you don't move stuff on a teachers desk. I didn't even do that to my mentor teacher when I was student teaching, and half the stuff was mine! There are lines you don't cross, and you have to accept that. If you can't then I fear you will have trouble in any career you pursue. I do have to say I am glad that teachers in MI have to have at least 90 credit hours, and most districts require certfication, because that time in college gives experience in education that is just neccessary.

    Lets just let this entire debate end here, random5. Just let it go, we are not going to agree with you, because many of us see fault in what you did. Being overly defensive is not going to solve your problem.
     
  40. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2006

    And now, for the conclusion.

    Monday, I went to drive to the administrative complex for the meeting. I went to a very small portable designated as a conference room. There was a single man in there with papers on his desk.

    I walked in and sat down. We introduced ourselves to each other. He said, "Well, this is your meeting."

    I told him everything that happened. I told him of my conversation with the teacher, the teacher's complaints, and my conversation with the principal. I explained how I felt hurt by what was said and how I felt I was unfairly treated.

    During the conversation, I looked directly into the man's eyes. I was trying to find some indication of facial expressions or body language, but there was practically none. I think he was doing that so that I wouldn't feel intimidated and would feel free to express my thoughts.

    At the end of the conversation, he said that the complaints were that I was yelling and shouting -- that's all. I acknowledged the possibility, as people do sometimes raise their voices unknowingly or unintentionally during a heated conversation. I told him that I was certain I wasn't using an unreasonable voice volume.

    I told him of my other flaw of being late getting the students ready for bus dissmissal. He said that surprisingly, that wasn't anywhere in the complaints. He said that it was something that could have gotten me in hot water. I told him that the teacher that walked in during all of that said that it "happens all the time," and not to worry about it. They seemed to be expecting the substitutes to fall off schedule ocassionally.

    During his turn to speak, he said that the lady that ordered me to leave the room was a union steward. He said that she had no right to talk to me the way she did; she had no power or authority. He said that instead of confronting me like that, she should have voiced her concerns to the principal -- as I should have in the very beginning.

    He said that it all comes down to the fact that I am an at-will employee of the school system. He asked if I understood what that meant. I said yes and explained it.

    I asked if there was some kind of grievance procedure I could utilize against these people. He said that as an at-will employee, there was nothing I could do. If I was a contracted substitute or a teacher that was a part of a union, I would have procedures and other remedies available to me. He said that then, I could "say what I want."

    He said that because I'm an at-will substitute, the teachers at these schools have a lot more ammunition to use against me in a confrontation. He said that because all of this, arguing against them is silly. My only recourse is to remove the schools I've had problems list from my list of schools to substitute at.

    He said that he was not going to remove me from the list of substitutes. However, I will not be on the list for that school. He said that I could consider my problem solved. He will talk to the union steward about her actions.

    The man said that different schools have different climates, as I've come to realize. He said that elementary school teachers tend to be more emotional.

    On my way out, he said that maybe I'd look forward to teaching as a career. He said that there are plenty of other elementary schools with really good principals. I smiled.

    End result: favorable.

    I have already received calls for future substitute assignments and have been given substitute assignments for the future. I've got kindergarten to teach tomorrow and a 5th grade class to teach on Friday.

    On the first week of October, I have another kindergarten class.. then an English class for a middle school... and then a two-day assignment for a computer class on the second week.

    As a friend said -- chin up. :) It's time to progress. That which does not terminate you only leaves you improved!
     
  41. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2006

    I see fault in the way the experienced teachers act in the same way I see fault in how this discussion is carrying out. People are defensive for a reason, and it's not because they aren't being mistreated in some way.

    I have already acknowledged what I did wrong and have acknowledged the advice I've received. I just don't think that it's fair to receive comments that I need to "grow up" or that I'm "immature."

    It's not a matter of having other people agree with the original points that were being made. It's a matter of how people respond to them. Even if you're older and more experienced as a teacher, you should still walk into a conversation or discussion with an open mind and a civil attitude.
     
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