Wedding Woes

Dust off that resume. There's a teacher shortage, so GTFO.

Dear Prudence,

I’m a full-time specialist teacher. My principal has hired a part-time teacher to do my job for a specific grade. She is his friend since college, 20 years or so. I trained her, but she does not hold certification to sub in a classroom if needed; her classification is paraprofessional, a teacher’s aide.

My problem is that he treats her like she is senior like me. She has zero initiative and no sense of responsibility. Other homeroom teachers do the lion’s share of her group project work and as soon as the coast is clear, she slips out and hides away. My principal shields her from work, and she has a strong sense of independence and entitlement. My principal makes me go through him to assign her tasks, even though she is technically an aide and we work in the same room. He has told her that their friendship is first priority and that he doesn’t want her to feel overworked.

As for her workload, she keeps it as light as possible. She initiates nothing. He never asks her to do any adjunct work, and he puts her on the clock with zero structure or accountability—basically, at certain times of the year she even gets paid to come in and “plan” rather than actually see students or help other teachers. He has given her much more paid free time than certificated teachers are given by our contracts.

Recently, I underwent surgery, and she didn’t tell me that the last day we worked together she had tested positive for COVID. She waited until administrative notifications from the district started coming to my inbox to tell me, days after my surgery. She argued that she told me that her husband was positive (… I was supposed to assume she was positive too, even though she stated that she tested negative?). I’m sick of her doing so little but being accorded the authority and independence of a veteran teacher, and I’m furious she said nothing about testing positive when we work so closely and she knew I was going into surgery.

In short, she acts like a child: never a team player, she has to be carried by others, assumes little to no responsibility, and is a shirker—but she’s the boss’s buddy, and neither of them will be going anywhere. I feel so deflated from this pattern that I want to retaliate by doing less and less outside of my classroom responsibilities; if he doesn’t ask her, then I don’t want him ask me to do additional work. But I anticipate he will push back and assign me other jobs if I decline my current responsibilities that served the school. What to do?

— Principal’s Pet

Re: Dust off that resume. There's a teacher shortage, so GTFO.

  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    This reminds me of DefConn's SpEd teacher that left halfway through this school year.    I've had nothing but good interactions with DefConn's principal, but I've definitely soured on him after hearing stuff from her (we've been friendly for years) about how he is as a manager/leader.  My younger sister is a teacher and has a nightmare principal as well.

    Teachers are being treated like shit and they're desperately needed. I know that school boards and superintendents are feeling it and then passing the pressure down to principals and other school admin, but it's out of control. 

    It may not be much different somewhere else, but it's worth trying.  Also, agreed on talking to a union rep if you are part of one. 
  • ei34ei34 member
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ditto above.  Union rep for yourself LW and anonymous tip to the school board that there's a teacher (or I guess aide?) working outside of their certification area.  Depends on the district but I know in mine, parents would come to the next board meeting demanding explanation from the principal.
    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited May 12
    @banana468, I am also wondering about a union and if this is a complaint that could be filed.  Probably not so much because she is shirker, but if she is getting more paid time off than contracted, f/t people.  Or if she is doing work that a teacher's aide shouldn't be.  But it sounds like the problem is more not doing work!

    If the LW doesn't want to leave her job, even though it's not a great solution, she could change her POV about it.  For example, assume this person won't do anything and then it's a "bonus" when they do.  But with the caveat that the LW won't have extra work, which it sounds like is the whole problem in the education industry.

    I'm hoping @ei34 chimes in.  Oops!  My wish is granted, lol.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Team "Dust off the Resume and go where you're appreciated!"
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