Friday, January 20, 2006

In School Suspension

I don't think it's legal. None of the other teachers at my school seem to care, they're just giving up their time. If it happened at a secondary school, the teacher giving up her conference period would get paid.

My principal seems to think that since she called it voluntary that means it is voluntary.

The other day the school office manager made a beeline for me. "We have a student in the ISS room, and one of the coaches told me that they think that it's your turn."
She and my friend the kindergarten teacher could tell from my face that I wasn't happy. I thought I should have left to go get lunch. But I went, because I'm good at saying no.

It's not a tough duty, that's not what I'm saying. It's easy, but on the Texas Education Agency website, it says that:

Each classroom teacher is entitled to at least 450 minutes within each 2-week period for instructional preparation, including parent-teacher conferences, evaluating students’ work, and planning. The planning and preparation period may not be less than 45 minutes within the instructional day. During the planning and preparation period, a classroom teacher may not be required to participate in any other activity.

and further down:

Each classroom teacher or full-time librarian is entitled to at least a 30 minute lunch period free from all duties and responsibilities connected with the instruction and supervision of students. A classroom teacher or school librarian who is otherwise entitled to a duty free lunch may be required to supervise students during lunch because of personnel shortage, extreme economic conditions, or an unavoidable or unforeseen circumstance for ONE day in any school week.

So I'm supposed to give up my conference period and my lunch, and then on the off chance that someone might be in the ISS room, I'm supposed to go to it and check.

This system works so well that the other day a first grader sat in the room during the school day with SEVEN different adults and not one of them thought to allow him to get his lunch. He didn't eat. His parents were furious.

My problem here is that if I say I'm not taking a turn, then the other willing people will think that I'm the bad teacher who doesn't care about the kids. This attitude pervades elementary schools.

The principal says that she thinks that the old practice of having the kid stay with the principal all day works too much like a reward. I suspect that she's just tired of having these kids around her all the time. Of course the coaches, my nemeses, have not complained other than to say 75 minutes seems unfair compared to the classroom teacher's 55.

I guess I'm not supposed to complain that she's taking away all my breaks and my lunch time too.


sxKitten said...

They gave a 6-year-old a day-long detention?!? What did he do, mug a classmate at gunpoint?

The lack of break time sucks, too.

Janet said...

I'm torn on this. Here's the thing: I am giving up my lunch anyhow bc there IS no in school suspension where I work and yet my students need some sort of punishment. But without any behavior plan in place from adminstration, a teacher's hands remain tied.:(

Kate said...

The six year old in question has lots of problems, which don't exist according to his parents who never discipline him or his siblings. Thus he has a really hard time when someone expects him to comply. I don't know the specifics of his misbehavior, so I don't actually know if he needed it. No one would ask me anyway.

On the legality of the issue, I went to my team leader today to ask her to talk to the principal about it, and she failed to hear me and will only check into the scheduling. I'm so tired of being treated like a child just because I work with them.

EdWonk said...

The Texas' code of regualtions said, "During the planning and preparation period, a classroom teacher may not be required to participate in any other activity."

The problem is the word "may." If they really wanted teachers to have this time available, the word "shall" would have been used.

We have this problem in California's "Imperial" Valley as well.