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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reasonable Assurance…

In an effort to make obvious my displeasure with current school district procedures, I composed the following letter of complaint yesterday:

(The names have been altered or omitted to preserve anonymity)
Dear Mr. Superintendent and/or Mr. HR Director

My name is Mr. Homework and I’ve been employed as a “Certificated Substitute Teacher” working in Your School District these last six years.

Each year, following school closure for the summer, the school district has sent me the usual letter of “Notification of Reasonable Assurance” letting me know that I have “reasonable assurance of returning to work” in the same capacity next year as an “Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teacher”.

When I contacted the district office at the close of the previous school year, I asked if there were any changes I should know about for the coming year. I was told everything was the same. As a result I sent in my yearly renewal for the district required state credential document.

The reason for this communication is to express my dismay and disappointment in the unfair discrimination in access to this year’s substituting assignments list.

I did know that numerous teachers had been let go at the end of the previous year and many (all?) had been added to the available substitute rolls. I have no complaint.

I assumed that they would be listed as higher priority in the callout list for new assignments. I have no complaint.

What I DO have an issue with is being entirely locked out of the automated assignment system without being told. (…I had to call the office to find out why the system “wasn’t working” when I logged in.)

Yet…even that might have been acceptable if the teachers I had worked for previously still had the ability to ask for me by name. I had to hear 2nd hand that pre-arranged assignments are longer allowed.

This is a big change from previous years and should have been disclosed long before the first day of the new school year. The letter of “reasonable assurance” should have been a “maybe but not likely” letter.

For an organization that purports to teach the values of equality, non-discrimination and fairness, I find that actions speak louder than words and the absence of words (not being told before hand) speaks even louder.

Knowing what I do now, I probably would have not renewed my credential this year. But since I have, I believe a $57 fee reimbursement from the district would not be unreasonable.

Failing that, how about letting each of us 2nd tier substitutes have immediate access to the assignment system to work at least one subbing assignment so we can recoup the cost of our credential renewal before locking us out for the rest of the year. I don’t think that would be an unreasonable corrective course of action.

I would appreciate a timely reply to this correspondence.

Sincerely disappointed,
---Mr. Homework
I didn’t immediately send it. I thought I’d wait a day then re-read it to see if I wanted to make any last minute changes after I had time to contemplate the matter further.

Last night I got class assignment requests for Wednesday and Thursday and a 5:30am call this morning to work today. It seems things have changed since last week.

What a waste of a good temper tantrum….


Veronica Chase said...

I completely agree with your letter. The way they handled things just seems... sneaky. I'm glad you have assignments pouring in now!

Greg S. said...

One of the hardest things about being a sub is that fact that no matter how much you work for a district you will always be an outsider. By the way, I absolutely love smart find express. It has almost completely eliminated the early morning phone calls. I regularly check the site and usually have a job lined up before I go to bed at night. When ever I am assigned a job it emails me with the particulars so I don't need to worry about writing anything down.

Liz said...

I have a feeling that you won't see that large a drop in assignments. As soon as they get the kinks worked out of the system, you probably won't see that big a change at all.

Sladed said...

No prearranged assignments? That can't make the regular teachers that like having you in their classrooms happy either.