Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Substitute Teacher Orientation

This morning I attended the Jordan School District substitute teacher orientation. Running over two hours (put 125 or so teachers in a room, and they'll ask a lot of questions), we covered everything from blood borne pathogens to pay rates to expectations to how one could choose to be informed of a job: Instead of waiting for a phone call as early as 5:30 a.m., I can choose if and when the school district would call me. Even better, I can search and view for subbing gigs online, which is great, since I don't want to carry my phone around waiting for a phone call. Using the online system (Aesop), I can also choose which schools I do or do not want to work at, which is helpful insofar I do not want to work at elementary schools.

Throughout this orientation, though, there were two things that were difficult to understand. Students are disallowed from sharing medication, which I actually do understand, but apparently "medication" also includes aspirin. If students are found to be handing aspirin over to another student, the students are then considered guilty of selling or pushing drugs. While I certainly don't condone students using dangerous drugs or even sharing prescription medication, not being able to give a classmate some aspirin because she has a monstrous headache seems a bit farfetched.

One particular question had been raised in past years, and was brought up by the woman running the orientation: What happens if one were no longer able to logon to Aesop? This, then, would be an indication that one's services would no longer be required. Apparently one can be terminated without warning, and without reason. I'm familiar with many states utilizing At-Will employment, but I find it disconcerting that I would not be given a reason for termination. (At least being told that there was no reason, as opposed to a reason, would help; otherwise, I'm left wondering what I did terribly wrong, remaining ignorant, and not being able to correct the behavior.) Additionally, my file is apparently so confidential that even I can't see what's in my own file. I don't have much experience in this, but it strikes me as worrisome that I can't have access to something that directly pertains to my career, and that could help or harm me.


  1. The deal with sharing aspirin or other over the counter medications is because if something happens to the student that takes the drugs given to them and has a reaction of some kind, then the student that gave them the medicine could be held liable. It is the same for teachers, I cannot give any student tylenol for a headache because I don't know their medical history. Yes, of course, most of the time it's probably not an issue, but there is that ONE time that something went wrong and now it is mandated that nobody share any kind of drugs.
    As for the issue of being terminated without knowing what went wrong, I would venture to say unless you did something really, really bad, it isn't going to happen. That only happens when we have subs that don't do their job - they talk on their cell phone all class period, don't follow the teacher's directions and do something that is completely inappropriate like showing a movie without permission, etc. Most of the time, subs will get a warning if they are doing something that a particular school deems inappropriate. Our subs get three chances before they are not allowed to sub on our campus any more. If you're a good sub - you maintain control of the class, do what the teacher asks, etc. then you'll get to a point where teachers will ask for you and you can schedule gigs in advance. Until then, you'll have to check AESOP often to get the jobs.
    You'd be surprised at the subs I've dealt with that cannot follow instructions, run a powerpoint presentation, or figure out how to work a DVD player.

  2. Ok, true, I hadn't considered that Tylenol (or the equivalent) could cause a reaction; this would obviously be a rather crummy thing to happen. I still maintain that labeling that action as pushing drugs is a bit harsh, though. Yikes.

    I would absolutely believe that subs are not always capable of following instruction - I think this applies to a good segment of the population. The lack-of-tech-fu bothers me a lot, as well; some things seem so inherently necessary to know.