Summer staff retreat....sigh...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Preschool0929, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Every year, our school staff (teachers & admin) go on a staff retreat to a landmark about 3 hours away from home. We stay 3 nights. The days are spent curriculum mapping, reviewing data, creating new PBIS procedures, etc.. and the evenings are all staff bonding and team building exercises. Our principal always says that she can't technically require us to go, but that she doesn't accept any excuses not to go (bascially it's not a choice not to go)

    Last year I didn't go (I had just had a baby so I go out of it), but this year there are no excuses. I know that it's a good opportunity to work on things for the school year and get to know everyone better, but really, it's still summer and I have no desire to even think about curriculum right now :( Plus my husband just started a new job and can't take off, so I had to find a babysitter for all 3 days.

    I'm just full of complaints right now. Does anyone else have to do a staff retreat? This is on top of the 30ish hours of PD we've already done this summer (plus July 31-Aug 3 is PD week for our entire district, so I'll be training every day then, too).
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Let me guess... You aren't getting a stipend for this, are you?
     
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  4. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Well of course not :)
     
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  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    [​IMG]

    Really, this is the kind of thing that would make me not want to work for this principal. What sort of fallout would there be if you did not attend?

    Teachers at my school return to school a week early for additional training. It's really not optional for us, but you bet your bippy that we get paid, and paid well, for this additional time. Although we have a relatively weak association and not a strong union, there is no way that administrators in my district would ever attempt to force teachers into multiple days of additional training over the summer without compensation.
     
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  6. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    It was our P's first year last year and she is definitely pushing the limits on staff expectations. A lot of staff complained last year. I'm the first teacher to put in extra hours "for the kids", but even I was rolling my eyes towards the end of the year.

    And really... I'm not sure what would actually happen if someone didn't attend.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In all honesty, I may just not show up.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    As she can't require you to go, I would look very creatively for an excuse not to go. Maybe just say that you appreciate the invite, but you need to stay home for family reasons. Not RSVPing to the P will just get you into extra trouble.

    We had a P who wanted to do this to us nearly 10 years ago in AZ. She backed out at the end and didn't do it. Some Ps are extreme extroverts, don't have kids at home, and visualize this as a great, fun experience for everyone. They just don't get it.
     
  9. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Do you have a union and/or tenure protections? If so, file a grievance and/or don't go.
     
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  10. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I'm surprised more teachers haven't said they cannot attend. I would find an excuse not to.
     
  11. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    If I was a newer teacher in the district, I would probably go - but begrudgingly. If you really like the job overall and want to keep it, getting on a principal's radar for skipping something he/she is really gungho about, might not be a great idea. That said, on a personal level - I hate that stuff. Team building and staff bonding activities drive me nuts - I'd rather spend my time getting real work done (if I have to be there). My current district doesn't do the 3-night thing, but we had 8 full days of curriculum work and PD scheduled for the summer, which was a serious turn off. Especially since I try to teach summer school for the local community college, and this threw a monkey wrench into that.
     
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  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    My school does a staff retreat, but it's just one day from something like 8:30-3:00ish. It's considered one of our back to school PD days. We always go somewhere off-site and do teambuilding stuff, but it's otherwise just a typical workday - show up in the morning, go home in the afternoon. It's a regular contracted day, so we get paid for it.

    Seems to me that, in this situation, the staff needs to gang up and decide that no one will go (to send a message to the principal) or you'll just have to suck it up and go. If you're one of the only few who don't show, it's going to get you on her bad side quickly. I also think it would be fair and appropriate to discuss with her that you can't afford to spend the money on the extra childcare it requires you to secure without her providing a stipend or other compensation. Even if you can actually afford it, surely there are some people for whom this would cause a hardship.
     
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  13. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    When I taught in Catholic School, we had ONE day at the beach at a retreat. Not overnight, we carpooled and it wasn't mandatory. Beach breezes, beautiful views, lunch and great bonding. That I didn't mind.

    3 basically mandatory days, unpaid, away from your family during the summer (hello? It's your VACATION) is ridiculous. I think I'd feel a summer flu coming on.
     
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  15. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  16. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    This, along with any other contractual issues that arose, is why I never regretted paying my union dues during my 32 years of teaching. I knew there were people who would go to bat for my colleagues and me. If something came up during the summer, curriculum work, workshops, etc, that we were asked to attend, we were compensated a percentage of our yearly salary for each day. And for some of us this was a great pay check during the summer if you were up there on the pay scale.
     
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  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    So, you are expected to
    1. Pay for living expenses while you are on this retreat
    2. Pay for food on this retreat
    3. Pay a full time sitter while you are gone
    4. Get no pay
    5. Interrupt you summer

    The decision appears made for you. Send your regrets and don't look back.
     
  18. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    Whoa, you have to leave your baby for three days? No way. Just no. Say the baby is ill or something. Really, this is way too much to ask.

    I did have a friend who worked at an alternative school. They had to do a retreat similar to this. I believe all the teachers were pretty young and all attended. As soon as my friend got a better job, she quit this place with pleasure.
     
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  19. Leaborb192

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    ,
     
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  20. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I wouldn't recommend making up a lie about you or the baby being sick. I mean, that would get you out of it, sure... but, it wouldn't stop the principal from thinking poorly of you for not attending, and, more importantly, it wouldn't do anything to get you out of attending in future years. You didn't say in your posts anywhere, so I'm not sure if you are otherwise happy at this school. If you are and plan to stay, you might want to think longer term - not just for this summer. If you're planning to job search and be at a new school in future years, then I guess it wouldn't be that big of a deal to make up a lie and get out of it just this year.

    Personally, I'd either just suck it up and go, or I'd find a way to have a tough conversation with my principal. If choosing not to just suck it up and go, I'd prefer to address the problem head on and for the long haul. For one thing, I hate lying. For another, I'd want to stick up for my beliefs about what is right and wrong, and I'd also want to make sure that I'm never asked to go again in the future.
     
  21. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Are the retreat dates announced ahead of time? I honestly schedule out my summer pretty far ahead, and travel a lot to see family in different states. So most likely I would actually not be in state if not given advanced notice.

    You're in a hard spot. I would also hate to be on my admin's bad side. Our principal would probably love to do something like this, but it was mentioned once in a meeting and the idea was shot down pretty swiftly, from staff collectively. It's harder when you're the only one who voices your objection, even if others don't agree.
     
  22. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    The situation highlights the abuse districts are perfectly willing to pile upon teachers if not challenged with litigation. If the practice is district-wide, this has class action lawsuit written all over it. Even if this only affects a single school, all you need are a few teachers with backbone and a decent attorney. Ask around.

    Trolls may argue this is where you are expected to prove your dedication and worth, but no actual teacher would ever view this situation as anything but a travesty. More importantly, no court would ever view the practice as legal.
     
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  23. TeacherNY

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    I think you all need to get together and ALL say you can't go. Then it won't look bad for just one person. Can you contact the others and talk with them about it? I'm sure they don't want to go either.
     
  24. TXforever

    TXforever Companion

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    That's crazy and totally unreasonable on your P's part! It'd be one thing, albeit bad enough, if you didn't have a child to consider. But, you do, and I'm sure you're not the only one having to plan for childcare. And, you're not getting paid, but you have to be out money???!!!!

    Sorry, that's a really crappy situation to be in.
     
  25. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    This can be really hard to actually make happen though. We've had similar situations, though not as bad, and everyone chickens out when it comes to actually voicing the opinion that everyone is thinking and whispering behind closed doors.
     
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  26. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Agreed. Plus we have a staff of around 45, most of whch are people-pleasers and would never dare say they didn't want to go. What I really hate though is that we're out here in the middle of no-where wilderness doing PDs that we could have just done at school and I return to my comfy bed each night.
     
  27. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Agreed. Plus we have a staff of around 45, most of whch are people-pleasers and would never dare say they didn't want to go. What I really hate though is that we're out here in the middle of no-where wilderness doing PDs that we could have just done at school and I return to my comfy bed each night.
     
  28. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Litigation? How about just be an adult and say no?

    AVID "requires" us to go to their 3 day summer Institute every year to keep our certification, which our district wants. We asked to get paid. District said no, it is just like a free vacation (since they pay our lodging). So, all of us decided we just wouldn't go. We didn't have to sue anyone, we just didn't go.
     
  29. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I generally agree with RockGuykev. I know it is uncomfortable to say "no" to a principal, but with her asking something that she knows she can't demand, I think you are safe as long as:

    a) You decline in a polite and respectful way.
    b) Give a honest excuse, such as family reasons.

    I would be hesitant on being the ring leader to get others not to go. Your going is probably not nearly as important to the P as having this trip. If you miss, her life goes on as normal. If it gets back to her that you are a ring-leader trying to get others to not go and trying to cancel that trip, that is not a conversation you will want with her. Trust me, there is some teacher that is probably closer than you think to her, who would love to tattle on you.
     
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  30. TeacherNY

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    Heck,I wouldn't want to leave my dog for 3 days let alone a baby. I hope you figure out how to get out of this nonsense!
     
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  31. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I guess I was confused by the original post and assumed it was only a few people (like a few preschool teachers since the OP's username is Preschool). If it was a handful of people then it would be easier to all get together and say no. I didn't realize it was the whole school.
     
  32. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  33. greendream

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    See, the hard part about working at a school is that if you decline something like this, the Principal can stand up at an assembly and say, "I'm disappointed some of you didn't participate in this, since it was all for the students. We are only here because of the students, and we need to go above and beyond for the students..." etc, etc.
     
  34. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  35. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    OMG... I can't handle those emails! They make me unreasonably irritated. Just pull those people aside and talk to them rather than scolding the whole staff.

    I have a habit of (very nicely) voicing my opinion as well. Doesn't always work out so well.
     
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  36. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  37. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Are you paid for this? Sounds like a nightmare? I enjoy the company of some of my colleagues but 3 days and nights! There would need to be a shed load of booze available to get us through this.
     
  38. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Anyway, don't you have a vacation booked and paid for starting on those days?;)
     
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  39. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    That would be what I'd say.
     
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  40. TeacherNY

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    :toofunny::toofunny::toofunny::toofunny:
     
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  41. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Buildings are always infested with sycophants who betray staff without hesitation. Some are simply young & naïve. Some are stupid. Some think their actions will help them get ahead. Some are tragically desperate for attention and approval. Some need to prove their "loyalty" (oh, the irony). Some suffer an inflated sense of self and simply loathe other teachers.

    That said, an attorney's advice outweighs anything you will find here. Simply ask for a professional legal opinion. Probably easier than some parent phone calls you have to make.
     

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