Post # 1
- Wedding: January 2022 - City, State
I am a teacher who has 14 years experience in another state teaching high school. I moved out of state and took a job where I live currently teaching kindegarten through 2nd grade. I have two assistants. The former teacher was removed from the classroom last year before I even applied for my position due to suspicion of physical child abuse against a student (it couldn’t be 100% proven so they gave her a desk job at the district office while they investigate). I came into the classroom and told my assistants right away that even though I was the teacher I feel they are the real experts because they have worked with these kids for a long time and I need them to help me to do the best that I can (including to tell me if they feel I need to change the way I do things).
To make a long story short, instead of speaking with me about things she is unhappy about, one if my assistants has been going to administration and telling them a bunch of half-truths and fictitious information about my class since the beginning of the year. She was evidently very close to the last teacher, and is taking her removal out on me because I don’t do things the way she did. This is going to affect my career to the point that I am in danger of losing my job because of what this woman is saying.
I have decided to get the union involved because I can no longer trust this woman or administration….do you think this is the right thing to do? What would you do?
What brought everything to a head was that we found out that she has been denying the students food as punishment (which is basically illegal) and when she was confronted withthe fact it is illegal she said she didn’t care and wasn’t going to stop because we are rewarding the kids for bad behavior by giving them the food they want (which part of illegal did she not understand? Evidently, the last teacher, her friend, did this all the time). After she yelled at me in front of the kids(in front of adult witnesses I might add) I told her several times I will not lose my license (and risk being charged with child abuse) because she refuses to follow the law, so again she ran up to the office and gave her two weeks notice (blaming everything on me of course) and told admin a bunch of fiction about me.
She confided in my other assistant what she told administration which is how I found out what was said. My other assistant told her that she is not telling the truth and that she doesn’t see things the way the disgruntled assistant does. She feels I don’t value her and don’t treat them as part of a team when I got out of my way to make them feel like my equals, make up slack when there are things I need done that they don’t have the time to do, buy then lunches, gift cards, free tickets to our local theme park (comp tickets through my kids who work there), buy them anything they want for the classroom, etc. The assistants are expected in at 7:30 amd and leave at 3PM. I am usually at work by 7:20 (not expected till 7:45) and stay til 5 or 6 nightly to do what needs to be done for the next day.
There’s a lot more to the story , but I am going to leave it at this for now…
So, any advice for me?
Post # 2
I would go to the administration NOW and tell them your side of the story. And document everything, if you can. Logs of when she does things that are against the rules. Recording audio on your phone if that’s allowed. Anything you can get that is irrefutable proof that her actions are the ones that are incorrect.
Hopefully, if your administration is good, they’ll see right through her. It sounds like she’s being blatantly dishonest about your actions and anyone who is good at sorting out conflicts will be able to see that.
(I should add that I don’t work in a school, so the rules might be different in education. Feel free to take what helps and ignore what doesn’t!)
Post # 3
Have your administrators observed you? Have you told them about your concerns? Has your other assistant told them that the other lady fabricated things about you? The administrators can’t fire you unless they go through a certain process. We actually had a teacher let go at our school a few weeks ago — she had been on probation since September and they met with her MANY times to help her improve her teaching as well as observed her multiple times, but nothing improved. Once they jumped through all of the hoops and realized that she was not a team player and was blaming everyone else for her problems (including one of our principals and other teachers), they let her go.
I would get to the end of the year and start looking for new jobs. It isn’t worth this much drama.
Post # 4
Great points. Documentation is definitely key!
Post # 5
Why are you sweating this if you have adult witnesses to that incident, she has given her notice and your other assistant disagrees with her?
I would inform your union rep simply for the fact that it is always a good idea for them to know what is going on.
Post # 6
Likel a dumb question but can you request a new assistant and have her replaced?
Post # 7
I agree that you should document everything- by e-mail so that the dates are confirmed- even if it is to your own account. And speak to both your union and management. This sounds horrible!
Post # 8
- Wedding: November 2009 - New York, NY
Give your account of events to administrators and yes, your union needs to know.
Post # 9
If she’s given her notice, then honestly, they don’t have a lot of reason to put stock in her complaints. By quitting, she’s already solved their problem. PPs gave good advice on documentation and getting your other, supportive assistant involved. I guess I don’t know the full story, but I don’t see how you’re going to get in trouble for NOT denying children food?
Post # 10
DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT.
Now that you have the union involved, follow all their recommendations and advice to a T. It sounds like a frustrating and potentially escalating situation, but if you have the support of your union, then you just have to ride the wave.
Post # 11
- Wedding: January 2022 - City, State
Thanks all for the advice Bees. I felt really badly going to the union, but it’s a case of she is unhappy so she’s ruining my career instead of just asking to be transferred. There’s more to the story than I’ve said because I wanted to keep this as short as I could. Administration has never come to talk to me about this so I don;tknow if they believe her or not, ut I’ll let the union take care of it now.
I told the union that all I am asking for is that either she or I be transferred to another class. I don’t want her to be fired, though I think she probably should be. It finally all makes seinse to me as to how I could be a great teacher where I came from (in fact, if I want to go back to my old state, my old school will save a job for me when one becomes avaiable).
Things were rough in the beginning of my time there because it’s not easy to go from teaching high school to kindergarten-second (you have to be way more organized to teach the littles), and through no help from administration or that particular aide, I have everything going pretty well now.
I teach emotionally disturbed children, so it’s not like people are lining up for my job anyway…lol. In the beginning, the kids didn’t trust me (because of the other teacher’s abuse) , but now we love each other, the kids are learning, and they love coming to school. We have very few behavioral problems, but her nose is out of joint because I actually teach and don’t spend all day doing arts and crafts (like the last teacher did – plus the last teacher gave all of the kids answers to the tests they took – i REFUSE to do that and my kids are thriving). She actually told my other aide that is one reason why she doesn’t likeme. Oh well….
Post # 12
This woman has no business being in the career that she’s in. If I were you I wouldn’t feel bad if she got fired. By just shuffling her around the kids are the ones who will suffer. The well being of the kids should be everyone’s first priority, especially given how vulnerable this group of children is. Don’t be a pushover – stand up for yourself and those kids!
Post # 13
If administration asks to speak with you, take a union rep with you to the meeting. I know in my state and district, we have the right to have union representation at any meeting we want.
Post # 14
Could you imagine if the parents found out their kids were being denied food as “punishment?” You potentially have a scandal on your hands. I would speak loudly out against her just for that fact. Distance yourself from this woman.
Post # 15
I would talk to the administration. For all you know she is being investigated along with the ex teacher. Whilst it is your right to have a union representative and I am all for unions, sometimes going in guns blazing without attempting to talk to the head of the school unfortunately gets you the reputation of being a trouble maker which while unfair can be just as damaging to your career.
When you say witholding food do you mean lunch/scheduled meal or do you mean a treat (like for good behaviour)? If it is a lunch etc then you need to report that asap. By not reporting it you are leaving yourself open in a legal sense. That is definitely something you should discuss with the union.