Work place harassment?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by StarryEyedMess, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. StarryEyedMess

    StarryEyedMess Rookie

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    Oct 9, 2019

    Hi everyone,

    I was recently hospitalized, causing me to miss work unexpectedly. I did happen to have a sub one of the days because I was going to wait to go to the doctor then. I ended up In the hospital for three nights, and as proof, I showed her my intake and discharge forms as well as a PCP note instructing me to take the following week off. However, she is insinuating that I am falsifying my illness and harassing me with my field supervisor, who was appointed me me literally yesterday. (I'm an intern teacher) I never met the guy, didn't even know about him, but now he and the principal are harassing me about not having subs, lesson plans (even though I provided lesson plans for when I knew I was going to be absent) and pretty much making me out to be a horrible teacher. She even used passive aggressive quotations in a response to an email where she is demanding lesson plans for the rest of the week and I apologized to her and told her I am a little foggy and overwhelmed, but gladly obliged. She replies: well, if you're feeling "foggy and overwhelmed," don't worry about it, and I'll just do it with (another teacher). The whole experience left me feeling really uncomfortable and insulted. Does anyone think I might have a case against her? This can't be right for her to demand me to do work when I am on medical leave. Please sound off with opinions and advice!
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    How far in advance do you write your lesson plans? Many, if not most, teachers have to submit lesson plans with admin for at least two upcoming weeks, usually for a month. Calling for the sub on the day you knew you were going to be out was correct, but the first phone call you should have made once you knew you were going to be admitted should have been to HR, and then to your Principal, and also any mentoring teacher you may have. If you read between the lines, you can see that you need to reach out to absolutely anyone who may be able to help make sure that your classes are covered while you are out. Generally, anything over three days out changes everything, and may put you in a dicey position with you field supervisor, since most schools would consider you now on disability. If you want total honesty, lack of lesson plans and not managing to touch base with admin until you had intake and discharge papers to show is less than stellar. Note I didn't say whether or not you were sick, I only noted that your responsibility to the school still existed. I'm sure you had access to a phone, so using it to touch base with work would have been wise. No advice - as a teacher, I think it will be good to solve this one on your own.

    I do have to ask this one question - why are you claiming harassment? Because they asked for lesson plans that you should already have done, because they contacted your field supervisor, who should know that an intern teacher is on disability leave, or for the tone of voice when you told your principal that you don't have any lesson plans prepared (which would make me, in the least, wonder how you were planning to teach had you not become ill). You laid a lot at your principal's feet, and you are just kind of shrugging your shoulders like none of this is your fault.

    I've read your other posts and you have been miserable, seemingly, for the length of your employment. You mention in passing, other teaching. Just curious how much other teaching you have done. Also, since you mention that you must finish the internship to earn your master's, I was wondering what your bachelor's degree is in - art, or teaching? Always curious.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  4. StarryEyedMess

    StarryEyedMess Rookie

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    Hello, thank you for your input. And this is not the case. We were never told to submit lesson plans ahead of time, but I have my entire month planned out. I notified the school as soon as I got admitted, so that is not even an issue. The discharge papers only come into play when she is asking for proof that I was where I said I was...which was in the hospital. I am well aware of who to contact in case of absence, and it was not like I just disappeared. I even have my lessons organized and filed next to my desk, which I tried to guide her to when she told me to come up with new ones because they are supposedly overwhelming, only because she failed to see that she was looking at the UNIT plan.

    I want to file for harassment because of conversations that have gone on since my hospitalization and her conduct. Quite honestly, I think you jumped to a lot of conclusions in your response. She is also breaching contract agreement with me and my program. I am not on a disability leave. I am on sick leave, which we are entitled 10 days of, and I think it's quite a legitimate reason. I didn't even know this field supervisor before this because he got changed over night. Thank you for making me out to be irresponsible when that is far from the case.

    I have a BA in French language and literature, but I've many years of work experiences outside of public schools in relation to education.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    In every district that I have taught it, after three days missed consecutively, you are on disability until you are cleared by a doctor to return. That's in NJ, and the same in VA, where my son teaches. Having 10 sick days does not mean you get to use them consecutively without anyone at the school following up on whether or not you should be cleared to return to work.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    If you are an intern, wouldn't you think that the school who is going to give you a degree based on successful completion of your internship is going to have someone checking up on you?
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Why aren't copies of your lesson plans sent to the principal? I know mine are, mostly to prevent what happened here. Had you sent a copy of your lesson plans to the principal, the entire exchange with your principal would have been different. Have you taught before this?
     
  8. StarryEyedMess

    StarryEyedMess Rookie

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    I think you are still missing the point of what is going on. I understand that it is not a free pass but I did do everything that I was supposed to on my end. And of course my field supervisor would check on me! That's their job. But the fact of the matter is I don't know this person. I've never met this person and this is our first meeting? Him accusing me of faking my illness? I am in California and our district does not have the same policy as what you mentioned. I'm not really sure where our conversation is going. I don't need a stranger to reprimand me and tell me what I should be doing when I am already doing it. I am on here for advice and help from other teachers.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I am hoping that someone, preferably admin, from California, to let us know if you can use 10 consecutive sick days (all that you are given for a year) without it being considered disability. Maybe @YoungTeacherGuy can help me to understand.
     
  10. StarryEyedMess

    StarryEyedMess Rookie

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    Because we were never asked or told to? I'm new at this school and district. We have a principal SOMETIMES. Believe me, I would have loved to do that had it been communicated to me. And like I said before, I've never been in a public school setting as a teacher of record.
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    You are working on a master's to teach. During all of that schooling, didn't anyone every mention a few details like making sure your supervisor and admin have copies of your lesson plans? I'm not being sarcastic when I say that I would be asking for some tuition reimbursement if I had come this far and no one had taught me some of the common basics of education
     
  12. StarryEyedMess

    StarryEyedMess Rookie

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    No. We were only told to give our supervisors lesson plans for when we are being observed. And I don't disagree with you. I think it was an overpriced program that focused so much on social justice crap that we did not learn practical practices such as what you mentioned.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I missed 9 days with flu and pneumonia last year, one year I missed 5 weeks after a surgery, and another year I missed 43 days with a severe allergic reaction. None of those cases was considered disability. I had sick days to cover them all.
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Here, you can miss three days "on your word" that you were sick. After that, a doctor has to provide clearance for you to return to work, and that doesn't matter whether the state is paying you disability, or you had accrued sick days. Does it sound better if I say you were on sick leave?
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I’ve never been asked to provide a doctor’s note for any absence. (27 years) Our employee handbook does state that we can be asked to provide an excuse from a doctor/hospital, but I don’t know how often they request it.
     
  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I do agree that someone should have access to your plans in case of an emergency. Typically I know ahead of time I will be out, and I cases of illness I will still type up plans and email them to my teammates. My partner teacher has the same lessons, so she could get plans to a sub. However, she has her own stuff to do without doing mine. Just in case, we are asked to have three days of emergency plans that could be done anytime.

    Being overly prepared is always better than unprepared.

    Naturally, it could be different if we were there to see it, but from the description given, I’m not seeing “harassment”.
     
  17. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    This isn’t about lesson plans or harassment. It’s about who gets their way. You have concerns about being picked on while the principal is concerned about the staff which she is charged with managing. The “Yes I did” … “No, you didn’t” are a break down in communication.

    Have you set up a meeting to discuss your concerns with those involved? A lot of this is based on assumption and indirect information. There could be reasons (or not) you are not privy that may make your concerns more light than heat. The principal could be on another page, thinking she is doing right, based on bits of information. In any event, you will never know for sure until you learn first-hand.
     
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  18. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    No idea or advice here, but I just want to throw in that I’ve only ever had to turn in lesson plans at one of the four schools where I’ve worked. It was a miserable charter school with a very high turnover rate. At every other school where I’ve worked, I’ve done lesson plans for myself and myself only. I handwrite them in a lesson plan book, and it’s only the basics that will help me keep myself in track. Of course, an administrator could ask to see them at any time, but no one ever has. They don’t have time to look at them, and they trust me to be a professional who is prepared to do my job. When I have a sub, I do type up very detailed sub plans. I also have an emergency sub folder with plans on file in the office should I ever be in a situation where I am unable to put sub plans together. To this day, I have never needed them. I know many schools do require regular lesson plan submissions, although I’ve usually known them to be weekly rather than monthly. However, I have not experienced it being as commonplace as it’s sounding here. To my knowledge, at my schools, it’s typically required only of teachers on an improvement plan. If the OP is at a school where they are not required, I can totally understand why they wouldn’t be on file with the principal. My principal would be very confused if I started sending her lesson plans, because she doesn’t want or have time to look them. It would also be difficult to share them since I do them with paper/pencil.
     
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  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    So lucky, indeed. Maybe it is where I'm at, although my son is in a different state, and has the same requirement. We have them for the month, submitted to our supervisor or principal, on file for exactly OP's kind of situation. We also have emergency lesson plans, in case our replacement can't actually teach the regular lesson plans (think subs). I teach HS, as does my son, so that may be a factor? My admin starts every year by showing us examples and then telling us they need to be on her desk for each month. In my previous school, they went to my department head, who shared with the principal. Not so bad unless they decide to change the format they want them in, but we can count on them wanting them.

    I would think, however, that by MS, an intern teacher would need to have lesson plans submitted to admin as part of the interning process, since there doesn't seem to be a mentor teacher at the school involved. OP is still a first year teacher who should be under someone's guidance, IMHO, especially since OP had no clue who the field supervisor was, nor had OP had contact with said field supervisor. Maybe things are different in California?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  20. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I think it’s more of a school culture/administrator preference as opposed to a state or regional thing. One of my three schools that didn’t require them was in Chicago. The other two in St. Louis. The one that did require them was also in St. Louis, and I know that others in the area also require them. As you’ve said, I’ve just been fortunate to be in schools where that was not part of the culture.
     
  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Adding that even new teachers in my St. Louis districts weren’t/aren’t required to submit lesson plans. Mentors were/are assigned, however, and new teacher PD was/is provided. Lesson plans just weren’t/aren’t part of the requirements. My understanding has always been that this is true Pre-K through 12 in these districts.
     
  22. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    My situation is moot considering I’m not teaching in America but this is my two cents worth. I’ve never had to submit lesson plans prior to teaching. In our school we have a unit of work that tells teachers what is supposed to be taught week by week but it’s not a lesson by lesson plan. When a teacher calls in sick usually the other teachers write a lesson plan for the teacher who is out for the day (if the teacher is unable to do it himself/herself). If it’s an extended period of time then a contract teacher (long term sub) is hired. In Australia, all sub teachers have to be qualified and certified teachers, so when they sub, they are expected to be able to make something of a lesson plan or come up with a lesson on the fly if there is nothing provided and be able to handle behaviour and classroom management. I think this is not the case in America, hence the need for some jurisdictions to require teachers to submit lesson plans prior, in case a teacher is unexpectedly out for the day? I could be totally off base here.
    Apart for situations when a teacher is unexpectedly out, what is the purpose of submitting lesson plans to the P? Does the P really read every lesson plan for every teacher and provide feedback? I’m curious.
     
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  23. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    That is not a basic of education. I've taught at two schools where I had to turn in lesson plans, but the majority of my career at schools where lesson plans were not required, except for during observations. We are required to have 3 days worth of emergency plans available.

    We can use sick days, but after five consecutive days out a doctor's note is needed. It's pretty common for people to, right before they retire, work only one day a week in order to use up accumulated days that are over the amount the district will buy back. We get 10 sick and 2 personal days each year.
     
  24. JesusIsMyTeach

    JesusIsMyTeach Rookie

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    Do you have a union? I don't know if interns are in the union. This isn't right for her at to all. Go to her boss (superintendent) and print your emails from her. Show them. Save all emails and texts. Do not talk to her over the phone. Use email or text so that you have a paper trail.

    Get a free consultation from a lawyer. You might be able to get out of your contract due to this.
     
  25. JesusIsMyTeach

    JesusIsMyTeach Rookie

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    I am in California and in our teacher prep, we are taught how to teach reading, etc. Not what to do when we are in need of a sub. :) Besides those common basics should be stated when one is hired at the district. At different districts I have taught at, they make new employees aware of what to do if we are out. I want the teacher prep to teach me things of the classroom. That's what I'm paying them for. It's the district's responsibility to ensure that I know what their procedures are.
     
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  26. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have always taught in schools where plans have to be turned in at least a week in advance. Most schools just checked off that the plans were submitted, and that was that.

    I had a P once who took plans to the nth degree. She required that all teachers on each grade level were to be teaching the same thing at the exact same time and she would bring plans with her (that she had marked up endlessly) to each classroom to make sure her wishes were being followed. When it was brought to her attention that I taught ESE and another teacher taught gifted and how we were to be expected to teach in lockstep, she softened her stance a little. We then had to teach the same concept but could do it differently.
     
  27. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I have never taught at a school where I had to submit lesson plans as part of the norm. Lesson plans submission was for temporary situations. However, my understanding at all my schools was that the teacher's job was to teach and that the principal going over every teacher's daily lesson plan was repetitive and detracted from other duties.

    I get dizzy just thinking about it. Ugh. That seems a task that would need an entirely separate full-time job.
     
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  28. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    What's an "intern teacher"?. Wouldn't an intern work under someone?
     
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  29. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    At my last two schools, yes, the Principal read every one of them. Go figure. Considering that many teachers in the higher grades may be teaching a variety of classes, it doesn't seem odd to me that they would want to see the lesson plans to make sure that the teachers are in sync with the curriculum guides, especially in the subjects that have state mandated standardized tests. In NJ, that would include ELA, Math, and Biology in HS, and ELA, Math, and Science in MS. Passing the HS tests can determine whether or not they graduate.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  30. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Kentucky had teacher interns until recently. They are teachers who have graduated with a probationary certificate. They have their own classroom, but they are assigned to a mentor who works closely with them. They are observed by the mentor, the building administrator, and a university supervisor. It was basically a step between student teaching and being completely on your own.
     
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  31. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    I am green w/ jealousy..:) I have never worked in a school that did not expect lesson plans done weekly!We used to call LP's "The Great American Novel." At 1 school, we had admin who divided them up and wrote detailed comments weekly.
    As for absences, the district I am in now says you need a note from a dr if you miss more than 3 days. Overall, I am seldom absent, but I have had a few yrs where I had to be out for 2 wks in a row. Never did anyone ever ask me for a note though.
    Back to OP. I do not think they are even allowed to call you when you are on medical leave. Definitely check that out with your union. When you are on medical leave, they can't make you do lesson plans either here. ( We do have to have 2 weeks worth of emergency sub plans though.)
     
  32. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I have been in 3 different schools under 4 different principals and have never had to turn in lesson plans. Under the previous three principals it was never mentioned and my current P has said that she doesn't see how any P would have time to read through every teacher's lesson plans. It does seem like a giant waste of time (for the P) to me and I'm surprised this is the practice anywhere. It makes more sense to me to only require this as part of some sort of improvement plan if there are legitimate issues- not as a blanket thing for everyone. Teachers are professionals who shouldn't be micromanaged.

    We are required to have 3 days of emergency sub plans available. I did use mine once when there was a death in my family and I went back to my home state. In that case, I emailed my P that there was a family emergency and said I'd be out for the week. I sent plans for the rest of the week to my teammates, who helped me with printing things out. The P took care of putting in the absences for me as we are only allowed to put in 4 consecutive days ourselves.

    I've definitely never heard of someone being "on disability" for being out longer than 3 days. That seems pretty ridiculous to me. You do have to provide some sort of doctor's note for longer than 4 days in my district (or get approval if it's not for illness), but the OP has that.

    OP, while I would say based on what you wrote your P doesn't sound like a very kind person, no, I don't think you really have any recourse here. My advice would be to apologize about any miscommunication and ask for advice about what you need to do differently next time. "Fighting" with the P is only going to make things worse for you.
     
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  33. MntnHiker

    MntnHiker Rookie

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    I've never had to submit lesson plans to an admin, and I have had 5 different principals in the last 12 years at my school. I write up lesson plans for myself and that's it, and it's really just short notes on what I'll be doing each day.

    If I am out and have a sub, I email more detailed lesson plans to our school secretary who is in charge of hiring subs. She prints them and gives them to the sub. In a situation where I had to be out for awhile (a week during my father-in-law's death), I did that and also had another teacher in my dept help me out by running copies, etc. to help out my sub.
     
  34. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I think that not having to submit lesson plans sounds wonderful, I do. Yet, I do see the advantage of admin having copies of the lesson plans specifically for situations like the one that OP found herself in. I wish that I could say that LP's were "optional", but that hasn't been my experience here. Obviously the requirements to submit LP's vary by states and districts, but since I have only taught in NJ, I can only speak to what I know based on my career in NJ, and the experience of my son in VA. I would think, however, that an intern teacher might be more like a student teacher, and I remember my son writing extensive LP's as a student teacher. Since OP stated that she had written the plans, imagine how much smoother things would have gone if the admin had them. No misunderstandings about whether or not they existed.
     
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  35. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I see your point, but I also think that having to submit plans to someone else means having to write more extensive plans. Most experienced teachers I know (who don’t have to submit the plans to anyone) only write just enough to make sense to themselves and keep them on track. Someone else reading the plans likely wouldn’t know what to do just by looking at the plans because not enough details are given. Of course I write more when I know my audience is a sub, but when it’s just me, I don’t see the need to write elaborate details. It would become burdensome and disenchanting if I were required to write more than is necessary for myself on a daily basis.

    Sure, student teachers do write detailed and elaborate plans because they are learning the thought process behind them. I don’t really know what an “intern teacher” is, but if they are a full time certified teacher who is simply lacking in experience, I still don’t think they should have to write elaborate plans. Instead, having a mentor and/or instructional coach who checks in with them seems reasonable. Having to write elaborate plans as a new teacher can quickly lead to burnout and disillusionment - speaking from experience my first year teaching at my miserable charter school.
     
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  36. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    As a student teacher, I did write lesson plans to a detailed degree. And I would say that's important for a student teacher to do.

    But now I also write notes to myself that could not be relied upon for others. I do keep emergency plans of greater detail, and that's good advice and a great deal simpler than daily plans anticipating the same emergency.
     
  37. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Early on I subbed (ages ago it seems) and I saw lesson plans like you described, and I knew that they were the norm. I was pulled away from teaching for a period due to family needs, and when I came back and went AR, lesson plans (at the MS and HS level) had become required submissions to supervisors and admin. I suspect that laws in this state, which can include state officials "visiting" your school, checking for lesson plans plus every thing else under the sun have a lot to do with how things have changed. Schools, at least the ones I've worked at, live somewhat in fear of these inspections. You don't want to get on the state's radar, or that is what admin has said. I came back to a top rated public HS and that was where I discovered how things had changed. When I went to a private SPED school, no change, and there admin was adamant about having plans, a full month at a shot, which were filed for potential state visits, but not marked on or overly commented on. You know what? The state came. All of the stored lesson plans, countless binders of curriculum guides, and so much more, were where they needed to be, and so much more, and the school passed with flying colors. So just know that I have seen a change in my state, and then my son got a job in VA, and low and behold, he has to submit lesson plans to admin too. I don't know if they are every 2 weeks or by the month - I only know that he is relieved each time they are submitted. I miss the simple hand scrawled notes on a binder.
     
  38. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 12, 2019

    In my state, districts must have curriculum that aligns to state standards on file. Individual teacher lesson plans are not something that is required. My guess is that it is assumed that the school admin oversees the individual lesson planning, the district oversees the buildings, and the state oversees the districts.
     

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