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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Teaching Post

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend that is having a hard time.   I have to say that I am feeling very badly for her and her situation.  I am also shocked and appalled at her treatment. 

My friend has moved for temporary contracts.  The contract she is currently under is for three weeks, until the end of the year.  She started on the 4th, teaching in a middle school.  Now, I am not a middle school teacher and don't understand all the ins and outs of that world, but I do have a little understanding of professionalism and courtesy. 

She is covering a leave only until the end of the year.  She did not "take" someone else's job, but she has come into a very uncomfortable situation.  Few people have talked to her at all, one demanding if she's parked in the "wrong" spot, no one has been friendly or welcoming.  In fact they sound downright hostile!  She received access to the grade book of the teacher on leave 4 days after she started and discovered that many students were failing.  Not by a little, by a lot.  The teacher on leave does not accept late work and instead issues zeros.  Late work has come in and when my friend contacted the other teacher, she refused to mark it.  My friend has no real proof that students have been contacted about their possible failings, and the Department Head told her that it is her (my friend's) responsibility to deal with it.  No help offered only told that she'd be "in big trouble" if it's not dealt with by Monday!  How is this collegial?  My friend has met these students only 2 or 3 times and her options are not good ones.  She's had her credentials questioned, left to solve problems that she did not create and has little to no real direction from the AO's.  I have no background information on the reasons why all this is happening, but I am so disappointed that my friend is stuck in a situation that is not only stressful, but seemingly hostile and unfair.   The teacher on leave took all of her course materials with her, emptied her desk (even took the stapler it seems), and has been less than communicative in this whole situation.  I would like to think there are underlying reasons for this, and my friend has just walked into a bad situation blindly, but what a shame.

In this day and age, teachers are under enough stresses from outside our work environment, especially after this year with all the contract issues and job action.  I would like to think that we wouldn't turn on our own people, but support and help when needed.  Teachers need to stick together, build each other up and HELP each other.  The end of the year is rough and it's in the rough times that we need to be there for each other.  I hope the next couple of weeks go a little better and she can get a handle on the situation. 

What advice would you give your friend?

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