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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 41,821

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Fired today as a substitute teacher -- for doing my job correctly

Today, like a 12 year old, I was directed to the Vice Principal's office at the high school where I have primarily sub-taught.

He was nice enough. He expressed regret for having to do his job. But at the end of the day, I was fired.

What happened: I had a social studies class with 26 kids. And I did the near-impossible: they were ALL working on their classwork, independently, without talking.

I usually call out 30 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. to help them pace themselves. I looked up and saw that a previously occupied desk was empty and the backpack gone. He was there no more than two minutes before I saw he was gone. (There was 10-15 minutes left in the class.)

Protocol requires that I call the Main Office who will then call Security to find the AWOL student. Made sure I identified the right kid. I even wrote up an Incident Report.

I did everything correctly.

But I was let go because for two minutes (120 seconds), I didn't know he was gone. The schools are petrified by the prospect of liability and lawsuits. Makes no difference that the kid was not hurt, some other kid wasn't hurt when he left the classroom, or that he didn't leave the building. Two minutes. No second chance for me. It's not a transgression or violation. It's grounds for dismissal. The Vice Principal conceded that I did everything else correctly. (Ironically, if I had not reported the missing kid, I'd still be working tomorrow.)

With all the classes I've taught in the high school from Special Education to ESL to Math to Science, all at next to minimum wage, without incident and with gratitude from the regular teachers, all this work means nothing. Doesn't count.

Nobody aspires to be a substitute teacher. We are victims of circumstance. We don't pay tuition, study hard, get on the Dean's List, etc. to be substitute teachers. My compatriots were mostly retired teachers, looking for something to do and extra income.

I'm in transition right now and the money was welcome. I miss both the income lost and the recognition I garnered until today.
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