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War

by captain on August 31st, 2011

It appears things here are unravelling.  Not just for me but for all of us.  This place is turning ugly.  Not that it was ever pretty, but I foresee things here could end up like that sketch on SNL where the teleprompter broke…only not funny.

Two sides have emerged here.  Teachers and Admin.  It’s very clear to the teachers we’re not on the same page as them, and from what we’ve heard from others, they see themselves as a distinct side as well.  I used to like going in the office here.  I considered the administrators we had here (only one is really an administrator by dgree) actually friends.  No longer.  I’m pretty convinced that I wasn’t ever in their circle of trust.

It feels a lot like everything we say can and will be used against us in the future.  It feels like if we try to work with them, it will be thrown back at us with a devious twist.  I feel like the people that reside in those two offices do NOT have my back nor any of my colleagues backs if things were to go down.  It feels bad.  It’s not how any orgnanization should operate.    

Start checking the rearview….if there’s a bus, we’re getting thrown under it.

I’m kind of angry at myself personally.  I feel like I should’ve seen it coming.  To start the documentation of this whole battle I’m going to give you, ideally what the situation here should/could be, and what it is…and then we’ll proceed with details of the battles as the year progresses

I think in any situation a TEAM is vital to the success of the organization.  A team means that the leaders aren’t better or worse than their teammates, their goal is to provide direction, focus, and bring out the best in the people who they have on their team…no matter what circumstances. 

I’m lucky that I’m able to have a life away from this place and be a part of a true team environment.  I’ve got an organization/business that I helped to start.  The team started as two of us, and has grown to almost 10 people.   It would be really easy for me to boss people around, throw some authority on people.  I have more experience than the rest of my teammates, and I have a higher level of skills than they do, because I’ve been at it longer.  If I put myself in that position…I’d lose their trust, respect, and ultimately the performance I depend on. 

Granted they don’t always do things the way I  would, and sometimes they make mistakes…but I think part of what GOOD leadership is is taking people where they are that day, or that situation and finding out a way to get the most out of what they can give, and then backing them should anyone question them.  In return, they’ll give me more and hopefully things progress.

It’s that simple.  If I got a complaint about a instructor I worked with, my first goal is to talk to the instructor get their side of things, and the back that.  I can empathize with the complainer and if my employee is a good teammate they’ll do what it takes to help remedy the situation and make it better.

The situation HERE for me, and a lot of other people I work with is that, shock….we’re not making enough money right now to live off of.  The cost of living has gone up a lot, and we’re not keeping up with the COLA.   While I was able to work one job and be fine 4 years ago…it was getting close…int the last 6 years I would estimate the cost of living has risen at LEAST 15%-20%  for me.  My check has gone up 4% (maybe) If you add in health insurance rate increases and other union due increases….that 4% is virtually wiped out. 

I had to get another job.  H-A-D to.  I’m lucky that I have options to do so.  Other teachers I know are on public assistance because they have too many kids, and no wife working to help out.   I know teachers who ran out of money during the summer just trying to live…and they make more than ME here. 

It’s F”ing ridiculous.

I have to work on weekends…which means sometimes I have to take a day or two off work.  I understand it’s not an ideal situation for any one.  I always leave good plans and plenty of assignments for the students though.  It’s not an issue.  in the years I’ve been in education, I’ve never seen a change in this type of kids production from when I’m here to when a sub is here…it’s pretty paltry effort regardless of who is in the driver’s chair. 

I get 10 personal days a year to take off.  I use them ALL.  I would use them ALL regardless of whether I had to go work or not.  When I pass that time…it costs me pay.  I still need to take a few days however, and in my book it’s worth losing $100 for a sub payment to make $1000 working on the weekend.  It’s a sacrifice that makes sense.

Granted it’s not ideal.  Iwish I could make enough money HERE where my weekends were free to relax and recover…as it stands now, I’m gone 95% of the month working.  Not fun. 

I”m lucky that my 2nd job pays well, and being that it’s also education related, I’m able to apply my profession there.  it’s in the private sector which means, not only do I get paid WAY better for a day of work…I also get treated like a human being…..which is SO NICE.

Now, here’s where the war has begun.  One of my Admin’ came in and said someone had complained last year about me missing too much time.  I missed 11 days last year…one over the limit.  I had built up 5 comp days over the course of the year filling in for colleagues when they missed a period…or working my lunch to supervise when the principal was off campus.    I felt like I HELPED out to offset my inconveniences.

Now, I know it wasn’t one of our teachers who complained.  Me missing 11 days doesn’t effect them in the slightest.  One it gives them comp time…which is a good thing…secondly at least 3 of the 7 other teachers missed more time than I did.   Funny, but the admin who told me I had a complaint filed against me actually missed more time off campus than I did.  He has to be places at least 2 days a week, which means he’s not here…add that time up it’s WAY more time away than me. 

When I asked my fellow teachers if they thought anyone had complained…they chuckled and welcomed me to the club of people who had been flat out lied to by the admin.  It seems that when they have an issue with you, they just make up random complaints “filed by other teachers” so that they can

a) let you know you’re in trouble

b) start dissention between the ranks, while still looking like the good guy.

The second one pisses me off the most.  The whole tone of the ‘meeting’ we had was that “I’m just trying to get your back…beacause someone complained on you…and I totally understand your situation…but some OTHERS are pissed at you.”

Basically he wants me to think he’s doing me a favor…and I should be wary of my coworkers…

If he had appraoched me and said, “Hey I get it, and if you’re comfortable with the hits on your paycheck to help get bills paid…then i’m going to let you go ahead, but let’s figure out a way to maximize your time here and try to see if we can work your class schedule to minimize the effects.”

I tried, in summer to have them schedule me a 5th or 6th period prep so I could leave early and not miss as much instructional time…did I get it?  NOPE.

Now I thought at one time I had a friend in the office that worked as the VP/counselor type.   I should’ve seen the changes coming…because it appears that it’s just another person driving the bus, ready to roll over me. 

I figured they would understand where I was, and at least get my back in this situation and go to bat for me.  I’d have done it for them.   It seems from what I hear, that they were right there complaining.  I guess if you have the office right next to the outhouse, you’ll start to smell like it at some point. 

I shoud’ve seen the hint when the VP took all of us teachers and excluded us from soical media posts.  Not that that really MATTERS…but if we were ‘friends’ they’d have left something like that in tact.  When asked about it the response was “I’m keeping work and social life seperate”  What I get out of it is that…you’re not my friend, and not worthy of knowing anything about me.

I can play that game too.

I tried to play nice and let them all know WELL in advance (up to 5 months ahead of time) the days I wasn’t going to be here, I always set up the BEST subs for my classes to minimize distractions. I even cancelled a work weekend that would’ve paid me minimum $1000 but probably more when all was said and done to try and work with them.   Then they find something else to complain about.   

 It got me nothing but thrown under the bus.   I’ll play the game too.  From now on.  I’m not giving out my schedule.  I’m not finding substitutes  (it’s not my job anyway…it is not one of my duties).  I used to go visit in the office a lot…I haven’t been in there in 3 weeks.

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