Why am I being screwed over?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by PEteacher07, May 13, 2010.

  1. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    May 13, 2010

    I feel like my principal screws me over every time I need something to be done.

    We have an after school program that is essentially ran by college kids in my gym. I have wrote here many a time about this program. I think it's poorly ran but they keep it in my gym b/c the kids are loud and our cafeteria is by the office.

    In February I was having a PTA program in my gym so I wanted to after school program to be moved somewhere else so that I could get my gym ready and get a few hundred chairs set out but he didn't want to move them. In fact he would move them to another teacher's portable building before he moves them in the cafeteria. So they were in my gym and in my way while I was getting ready for 300+ ppl to show up.

    Tomorrow is my field day. I asked my principal to move them somewhere else so that I can pull out all the equipment and lay it out on the gym floor and get ready to put it where it needs to go and he said no.

    What the heck? Why is he allowing a crappy after school program dictate what I can or can not do in my own gym? It's not like I am asking for this to happen all the time. The cafeteria is a large space and can easily hold all the children in that program. They might be loud but the office staff can deal with that for a couple of days.

    I know I am just the gym teacher. Not many people value what I do. But when I need my gym, MY SPACE for something that benefits my students, why can this not be done?

    I do want to speak with my principal about this, I just don't know how b/c I am worried that out of frustration, I might say something that I will regret.

    Thoughts? :confused:
     
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  3. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    May 13, 2010

    It's annoying and self-centered. But the job market is too scary to rock the boat right now. I know that I'm not doing anything that would annoy anybody who has a job ranking higher than mine.

    Now that sounds like I'm going out of my way to annoy everyone else. Actually, I'm just counting down the days til summer vacation and some peace and quiet. You can't have too many more days to go.
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    May 14, 2010

    Perhaps the after school program is paying rent for the space.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 14, 2010

    I agree it is crappy. My school wouldn't do that. Yet I've read your other posts about the after school program and how your admin responds. I doubt complaining is going to yield any results. It sounds like, for wahtever reason, your after school program trumps your hand every time.

    If you do go up to your admin, do so gently. "I realize that the after school program needs a place to conduct their program and the place of preference is the gym. It takes time, however to set up for field day which supports 300 students and is an annual tradition that meets xyz goals. I'm nervous that by not having the space to set up beforehand that things will not be ready in time. We all know that the students deserve a smooth well-prepped field day. Plus we want to minimize any potential off task behaviors by being fully prepared."
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2010

    I think you're being reasonable on almost every count.

    But the one thing that kept jumping out at me from your post was the phrasing: "MY gym.... MY field day..."

    " they keep it in my gym... PTA program in my gym... get my gym ready ... So they were in my gym ...is my field day. ...
    what I can or can not do in my own gym? ... But when I need my gym, MY SPACE .."


    I'm not sure that the principal sees those things as yours, but instead as belonging to the school community, to be shared and worked around just like everything else.

    Go with Cut's approach, but be very careful about your phrasing.
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 14, 2010

    How many students are in the after-care program?

    The school might use the gym because of state guidelines or requirements based on the number of students. I work in the 21st Century program with my school. We have an average of 35+ kids per day - easily the largest group in our district. We met in the library most of the year, but recently had our guidelines changed (by the state) to more closely follow the guidelines of a basic after-care program. Because of that change, we could no longer meet in the library and now have to meet in the cafeteria each day. It was an aggravating change, but one we adjusted to fairly quickly.

    I don't know the state laws of Texas, but don't assume the principal is arbitrarily placing the kids in the gym just to have them away from the office. There might be a very legitimate (ie, state-mandated) reason he doesn't allow the group to meet in the cafeteria.

    Aside from that, I agree with Alice that the gym is school property rather than your personal space. I understand the other teachers consider their homeroom to be personal territory that nobody better mess with and you feel you should have that same right. It is something of a double standard, but the gym is used for public functions while most classrooms are not. Also, even though each teacher considers their classroom to be their own personal space, the P or AP can override that if they feel it serves the overall purpose of the facility.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2010

    Let's address that too.

    My homeroom is NOT "MY" classroom. It's the school's room, to be used as necessary for the school.

    So, yes, it's frequently used on weekends for everything from Debate Tournaments to giving the SATs. It's used on weeknights for meetings-- things like the seasonal meeting the coaches have with parents, to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as the rules go. When these things happen, the administration is almost always nice enough to warn us to "secure our belongings" but they don't-- and shouldn't be expected to-- ask our permission.

    Likewise, as of Monday one of the science teachers is losing "his" room. They need a space with large tables in which to lay out all the graduation stuff, and his is the most convenient to the office. He's hoping he gets the use of the Band room since it's air conditioned. Thought that, of course, would mean that the band teacher would lose the use of "his" room when there are no classes in there.

    My SAT classes were moved last week to accomodate Senior exams. My 9th period class is being moved in 2 weeks to accomodate a presentation on Breast Cancer for the Junior Girls.

    MY HOME is my personal property. My classroom is where I teach, and subject to the needs of the school community. They are not the same thing.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    May 14, 2010

    I won't be in my usual classroom the last two weeks of school. It's inconvenient, but better than floating year round!
     
  10. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    May 14, 2010

    I am sorry, but it is YOUR room, if anything happens to it, YOU'RE responsible. YOU decorate it,YOU keep it clean and YOU are in it 8-9 hours a day. It is YOUR classroom from September to June, a principal doesn't have the right to just take your office away. It's a school, but also a place of business. It is very unprofessional of your boss to take your workspace from you.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2010

    So the gym belongs to the gym teacher, the cafeteria belongs to the cafeteria ladies, the offices belong to the secretaries, and the classrooms belong to the homeroom teachers.

    What belongs to the kids? Shouldn't the big picture somehow include what's in their best interests?? Even if that poses an inconvenience to the adults in the picture?

    If something in my homeroom needs repair, I don't call Home Depot, I fill out a work order to have it fixed or replaced. And, in very short order, someone else fixes it. It's not my space. It's the space where I've been assigned to work. If I'm assigned to work elsewhere, I'll cheerfully do so (especially, but not limited to, in this economy)

    If anything happens to it, it's NOT my problem unless that "anything" was a result of negligience on my part. If I left the door open and kids got in and vandalized the computer, I would have some explaining to do. But if they broke through a locked window over a weekend, my principal would be only too happy to juggle things (possibly displacing someone else if necessary) to ensure that the education of my students continued without a hitch.

    I'm not self employed. I work for a school-- the principal is my boss and has a right to allocate and re-allocate the materials and resources he has to provide for the best interests of all the kids in the school. I am not the center of this universe; the education of the kids is the primary focus.
     
  12. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    May 14, 2010

    I totally disagree. A principal has every right (and the responsibility) to assure that the rooms are being best utilized. If that means moving people around or using rooms for other purposes, so be it. The building does not belong to the individual teachers...as employees we use the space. I find it very unprofessional to assume otherwise.
     
  13. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    May 14, 2010

    I agree Golden Poppy. That kind of entitlement attitude won't get anyone far.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2010

    I share my workspace (the school) with almost 700 students, over 50 staff, a before-and-after-school program, and the community. While I have a space that I like to call "mine", I know that, at any given time, it may be used by someone else. We are all respectful of the space that we use, but no space is sacred (including the principal's office!). My Special Ed "office" doubles as a pull-out room for small groups with an assistant, overflow space for the computer lab (which is around the corner and doesn't have enough working machines at the moment--I have 3), a quiet work area for Speech/Language support, an ESL room, a meeting room, a space for technology training, and a study hall for grade 7 and 8 students. Many of the things in my room are mine--the space is not.
     
  15. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    May 14, 2010

    One should never "marry" themselves to their classroom. You might have to leave it one day. Oh! What a nasty divorce that could be!
     
  16. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    May 14, 2010

    It's respecting people's personal space and property. If you were negligent you would be responsible. When you work in an office you have a desk/cubicle. It's yours because it is given to you to do a job.
    And the kids have desks to call their own for the school year.

    Apparently this principal is not doing his best for the interest of his students, otherwise he would put field day top priority since kids look forward to it since the first day of school.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2010

    My kids sit in a different desk every 38 minutes. The moment class ends, that desk is no longer theirs.
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    May 14, 2010

    I currently work in an office job. Sure, I have a desk, and a computer, and a phone that's "mine", as does everybody else but, the day one of the power relays into the building blew, leaving a thrid of us without power, we all got shuffled. Anybody who wasn't there that day and still had power to their computers had their space taken over by somebody who was there and had no power. The idea that your work space is "yours" just isn't true. Your workspace belongs to your employer. If they need the space for something else, they get it.

    Of course, it would have been nice to be able to prepare for field day, and I completely agree with cutnglue's approach, but anything else is unprofessional.
     
  19. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    May 14, 2010

    Of course OUR classroom spaces are not our personal property, but at the same time, asking permission of and/or accommodating requests of the people who use the space shows some respect. I know the admin has any final say on when/if MY computer lab gets used by others, and other classes are allowed to use the lab when I don't have class. I still, however, expect the common courtesy of (at the very least) a heads up that the lab is going to be used. I do agree with Cut about "cautiously" talking to the principal. Maybe he just doesn't want to bother with the hassle that would come with moving them. Taking charge and making sure the transition runs smoothly could be something that you could volunteer to do.
     
  20. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    May 14, 2010

    So sorry your principal is supporting you. At my school our principal refers to the gym as Mr. Smith's Gym, and the music room and Mrs. Smith's music room, and each teacher's room as Mrs. smith's room or Ms. Jaime Marie's room and so on. And how many of us refer to our rooms at school as mine? I think that is very common. The original poster was just venting about how frustrating it is that principal doesn't not support the lessons and activities he is doing.
     
  21. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    May 14, 2010

    I wonder just who is supporting this after school program. Is it someone who supplies funds to the school,is a friend of someone the principal is afraid to cross,does it pay a huge rental fee to the school?
    It seems to me you have been very reasonable in asking for only a few days to set up a special program. Is there somewhere else the program could be run for a few days?
     
  22. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 14, 2010



    I like that notion. As someone already suggested the after-school program probably pays for the space (not much $$$ since the agreement benefits both parties).

    There seems to be an element of tension between you and the after school program. If this is the case maybe your principal feels you are being unreasonable just because you dislike the program. I think that laying out what you need and why you need it in an understanding, matter-of-fact manner as CutnGlue suggested is probably your best chance. However, I even wonder if you are being fair. I have not read your previous posts but I will venture and do that now. Perhaps there is something in one that will change my mind. Ultimately, all school space is school space. If use of that school space benefits the kids whether it be you setting up in that space or the after school program running in that space then that is how the space should be used. When the same space needs to be used for two different purposes the benefits of each should be assessed. Then a decision should be made. This is part of what we trust principals to do.
     
  23. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 14, 2010

    I think the point of the tangent was just this. Too often people think me and mine, when they could use that same space to remember purpose instead.
     
  24. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 14, 2010

    Alright, So now I am back after reading about all of your complaints. Many of them are valid and you should go to licensing to file complaints about the after school care.

    http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/Child_Care_Standards_and_Regulations/default.asp

    I believe that is the website where you can access the different standards and see where there are violations. Ratio and bio-hazard and even cleaning information should be in there.

    (pretty sure you will not find anything against dogs in there) Personally, over the years I have seen children exposed to a variety of animals over the years in classrooms and on field trips. I think that after school programs should do this also. There are so many learning opportunities that come with animals that to neglect these is to not be as efficient of a teacher.

    In those other threads you were also heavy on the "my" language. Let's face it you are territorial with respect to the gym. I think we all are with respect to the classrooms in which we work (our classrooms). Ultimately, it falls back to whatever benefits the kids. Does the after school program benefit the kids? I am sure you are quick to say no, but is it better than latch-key kids. Desks and signs do break, accidents happen. However, the after school care program that shares the gym should be taking responsibility for these instances. However, I did not read you suggesting that you talked to the actual staff members, built any sort of relationship with them, tried to help them in anyway, or treated them with one ounce of respect that you so quickly demand for yourself.

    Don't let me sound like I am defending the program though. The program sounds alarming, very alarming. But instead of trying ameliorate the program you have essentially just tried complaining.

    I am thinking about the field days that the Phys. ed teachers at schools I have worked at over the years have set out materials. I cannot think of any school that required a whole gym to do this. I have seen many use student volunteers, parent volunteers etc. If you are going to just move the stuff out so it is ready for set-up and you are going to be present then what is the problem. Moreover, if you spoke with the college students and specifically told them that this stuff was going to be left out for "field day" activities and asked for the program to please stay away from it, they probably would.
     
  25. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    May 14, 2010

    I used the term "my field day" b/c it is ran my by me. I organize it, and I staff it. I get there early and stay late to lay things out and take them down. It's "my PTA program" b/c I wrote it, assigned speaking parts, and used class time to rehearse it.

    I call the gym "my gym" b/c it's my space. No I do not own this space and I am fully aware of that. But that is no different than a renter saying "come visit my apartment." No he/she may not own it, but they claim it as their space. I sometimes refer to the students I teach as "my kids" or "my students." They are not biologically mine, but I have been with them for over 5 years now and I have good relationships with many of them. To throw the "my" thing in my face is completely beside the point I was trying to make.

    Yes, the after school program pays to use the school as it's facility, but that doesn't mean that my principal can't be flexible on certain days that I need to use my gym for the benefit of the students. Our cafeteria is the same size and it has bathroom access and water fountain access in the same way the gym does. It was two days this year that I truly needed to use the gym and he said no. He says he is worried about them damaging the cafeteria yet isn't overly worried about the gym. Says he will call the organizations to ask about this but I know he doesn't. The gym isn't connected to the school and he is never in there. Out of sight, out of mind.

    If you have read my complaints about this program in the past you will see that they have damaged my gym and my principals have done NOTHING. I have called the supervisor and complained and when she answers the phone, she apologizes, but nothing ever changes. There have been broken tables, food and drink messes left overnight b/c they were too lazy to clean them up. One of the workers actually hung on one of the basketball rims and bent it. We have come in some days to pee soaked clothing left in the gym from when a kid had an accident after school. I have found poop smeared all over my bathroom walls. Kids were climbing on the sinks in the bathrooms and the sink was pulled away from the wall which busted a pipe. One of the workers actually brought a DOG into my gym a coupel of years ago. Some kids are allergic to dogs, some are scared or them, and they brought a dog. I often see the workers talking on their phones/texting instead of monitoring the 70+ kids they are in charge of. They are 19-20 year old college students getting paid minimum wage....

    If ANY of this was done to your classroom, you would understand my level of frustration. The program has improved in the past year in terms of sweeping the gym and keeping it semi-clean but it's a revolving door of college students. Who knows how it will be next year.

    It probably won't do me any good to say anything to my principal. Last year I went to the assistant superintendant who is a family friend and showed him the damage done. He told me that he meets with the program director a few times a year to discuss things and he had no clue that this was even happening.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me get it off my chest.
     
  26. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 14, 2010

    You definitely have legitimate complaints about the damage that has been done to the gym and the irresponsibility of the workers in the program. It's unfortunate admin hasn't taken steps to address the situation and speak with the program directors about charging for damages done to the facility if it continues.

    Having said all that, it is still the school's gymnasium to do with as they please. You're right that all teachers consider their rooms to be "their area", but that generally only applies when dealing with students, parents or outside organizations. I agree with the other members who said "This might be the area I'm given to work in, but it still belongs to the school rather than me and they can use this area for anything they see fit.

    A teacher is not the same as a renter. The renter pays for the privilege of using that space. A teacher is an employee, same as any other employee, and the employer can determine where that person's work area is and what else that area might be used for, if need be.
     
  27. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    May 15, 2010

    You have very valid complaints. I agree, I would be VERY upset to come back and find my classroom in those conditions. Yes, I used "my classroom". I understand that the room can be used for anything else, but it's not. This year, I teach in that room. Next year I won't and I am okay with that.

    Unfortunately, I also agree with Cerek. Renters pay for the space they use, and with that comes certain privilieges. In this case, the Before and After School program is the renter! However, you have observed some very serious concerns, and should report this program to the licensing office. At the very least, I don't think they would appreciate the lack of supervision and the observed texting while on the job!
     
  28. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I personally don't have a problem with the word "my." I understood what you meant. The gym,however, is considered a communal space compared to the classroom. For you, that sucks but that's life. I have had the priveledge of reading your posts before so I knew that those previous incidents were a lot to deal with and I could understand your frustration. I knew that you felt a bit powerless and unheard by adminstration and frankly you are right. They don't listen to you. Hence my suggestion about either letting it go or saying it in the manner I suggested. It doesn't seem to benefit you to say much to them. At the end of the day whether it is fair or not, your boss is who he/she is and there isn't a whole lot you can do to change that. I think your frustrations are completely valid though. My boss would have given you that respect and changed the after school location for the one day. Our gym teacher has had to give up his space a number of times but we've also had to give up our time to it (and the after school program has had to give up their time to it) a number of times as well. It is a lot of give and take and it is about fairness and respect to the purposes of how we need to use the space. That's how it should be. I don't think that's how it is going to work in your case due to your previous history. Sometimes you just have to accept reality on that one. It doesn't mean though that your frustrations aren't valid.
     
  29. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 15, 2010

    I agree completely.
     
  30. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 15, 2010

    So then does the after school program have a claim on the gym as "their space" because they do rent it? Does this trump your claim since you do not "rent it?" Just food for thought.

    You have some very valid complaints, well except the dog in my opinion. I think that the children's needs (fears and allergies) could be addressed while still providing an opportunity for the children to experience animals.

    It is unfortunate that you or your school does not have more control over the after school program. When you share space both sides need to be willing to help each other. You have years of experience, knowledge and training. Unequivocally, you are the professional and the after school staff members are-well, college kids. My suggestion is to try to build a working relationship with these students (Ideally you could serve as a mentor to them). Unfortunately this is hard if they are college kids that come and go and the program has a high turn-over rate. You could check with the local parks and rec department of your city and see if they run after school care programs and if they are any better, you can also check with church groups or non-profit agencies. If you can find a program of higher quality then you can check the possibility of getting that program in the gym instead. Most likely the YWCA has a contract with the school district though. You can talk to your superintendent friend to find out when they renew. Or on a slightly more encumber-some note, you could apply to run the after school site. It would require a whole bunch more work, but you would have more control and the kids (your kids:) ) would benefit.
     
  31. PEteacher07

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    May 15, 2010

    I believe that I have priority b/c the school is ran by the school district and they pay me a salary to teach in that gym. The after school care organizations pays some sort of money to use the school but that doesn't give them a right to do whatever they want. They actually have gone into the school and took a grade level's TV/DVD player without permission. They damaged the TV, denied they damaged it, and then complained when the teachers started storing it in their locked classroom after school so they couldn't get to it. My principal of course relented to their request and told the grade level to let them borrow it. They are an outside 3rd party and I am an employee. This mainly is an issue about how my principal won't move them to another area of the school even if it's temporarily or hold them accountable for what they have done. As far as I know, they have never been charged for any of the repairs that have had to be done.

    Unfortunately, this wasn't a dog brought in for educational purposes. It was a dog who belonged to one of the workers who decided to bring it to their job. I totally agree with introducing children to dogs. But an after school daycare worker bringing their personal animal is a bad idea. I guarantee you the parents didn't know it was happening and the workers probably don't know if there are children who are afraid or allergic to animals. If they want to do such a thing, an animal organization needs to bring a trainer and a properly trained dog. The parents should be notified in advance.
     
  32. futureteach21

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    May 16, 2010

    Just a side note- At the after school program I used to work for, we were well aware of the student's allergies. One kid was very allergic to cats, so when a cat was around we were very cautious. No one was allergic to dogs so we weren't as concerned about parents bringing in puppies to show off. I would hope that the the program in your building has enough credibility to know the kids allergies, if not, they should be shut down.
     
  33. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 16, 2010

    The school district pays you to teach in that school, not necessarily in that gym. The issue of workspace provided by the employer has already been addressed.

    The After School program pays the school to "rent" the gym in the afternoon. Are you teaching students in the gym at this time? If not, I would say their rent overrides your teaching area during that time slot.

    I DO agree admin should hold the program accountable for the damage they have caused and should not have relented on the use of the TV/DVD player or any of the numerous other issues you've mentioned. But, for whatever reason, they are not holding them accountable and it is ultimately their decision. I think it would be a good idea to provide an objective and detailed list of your concerns with an emphasis on how their destructive actions affect the school as a whole. But once that is done, the final decision rests with admin and, good or bad, you'll have to go along with it.

    Yes, this is inappropriate (and immature) behavior on the part of the worker, but unless you can show that one of the students is actually allergic to dogs or frightened by them (not just "might be"), no harm was done to the students. If the dog damaged the gym in some way, that would also be a legitimate complaint.
     
  34. bros

    bros Phenom

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    May 16, 2010

    Have you considered going to a BoE meeting and complaining?
     
  35. Tigers

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    May 16, 2010

    I'm not trying to be rude-Just poking fun at your "renter's analogy."

    I agree that the school facilities are foremost for school activities. I completely agree that if the field day requires x, then the field day should get x. However, based on your history of complaints (many of which are valid), the admin. might simply thinking you are yet again complaining. Why do we not try to problem solve. The admin said no to moving the After School Program. Can you set out the equipment in a corner of the gym? How much space do you need to set out the equipment? How much time do you need in advance to pull out the equipment? Is there any way to decrease the space or time by enlisting volunteers?

    I am not sure if you have addressed these issues. I am sure it would be easier if you had the whole gym and the after school program moved out for a couple days, But I am not sure that it is necessary. Thus it is quite possible that you asking for the program to be moved for a day is unreasonable. Your school would theoretically benefit from a quality after school program. I understand this is not what you have at your school. I agree that something should be done about the program at your school. However, if this was a quality after school program that depended on the use of the gym in order to provide the children with activities and lessons which supported learning and growth, then they should not just be moved because it would make it easier for a teacher to set-up for a school event. If it were essential for the teacher to set-up for the school event then by all means they should be moved. Unfortunately for your case, the shifting rooms of the program does not seem a necessity.
     
  36. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    May 16, 2010

    How about getting the after school program students to help out in setting stuff out.
     
  37. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 16, 2010


    Excellent suggestion.
     

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