And that, as Jerry said so well, is the cold hard truth of education.
Welcome to teaching outside of the core curriculum. Most contracts will
have a sentence that says something to the effect of "other duties as
needed". In other words, they could force you to coach cheerleading or make
you travel across the district. One year, I had to teach an hour of Health
to high school seniors who had to have it to graduate (no pressure there).
You only have a couple of choices. First, you need to examine your contract
thoroughly. If you think something is fishy, contact a union rep. Even if
you are not a member of a union (and you should be!) they should be willing
to help you on the chance that you would join them later.
The second thing you need to do is plan on how you are going to get out of
that gig next year. You can look for a new job or lobby parents and
administration to try to help change your situation. I worked with a Drama
teacher who told parents and administrators the there would not be a middle
school musical the following year if she were still travelling to the high
school every day. And, you can probably guess, that she didn't have to
teach high school the next year. You have to make yourself invaluable to
the place you want to stay.
I'm starting my 22nd year of teaching next year and have had some crappy
situations tossed to me in my career. You have to try to make the best of
it and dig down deep to cope.
The last bit of advice I'm going to give (and I try not to give advice too
often) is to NOT blame the students! It is not their fault that you got a
raw deal. I have also seen many teachers take their personal and/or
professional problems out on kids. The best way to fight back is to be the
best teacher you can given the circumstances.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jerry Vilenski" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2008 9:15 AM
Subject: Re:[teacherartexchange] reassignment
> Unfortunately, tenured or not, most teachers don't have a lot of recourse
> when it comes to being reassigned. Administrations generally have a lot
> of latitude when it comes to assigning teaching duties. The only
> restrictions are if the contract has a "qualified AND certified" clause,
> which means you must be certified in the given discipline as well as
> possess certain qualifications, which are spelled out in the contract
> language. This prevents art teachers from becoming, overnight, music
> teachers, for instance. The other restriction is the actual workload you
> are asked to perform, which, by contract, should be restricted as to the
> number of sections and how large each section is. A good contract will
> treat all faculty equally in this regard, so you should not end up
> teaching more hours or sections than the person down the hall. Having
> said that, not all contracts have specific language that protects those
> who teach in specialty areas. Your first
> instinct about being dumped on is probably the correct one. The longer
> you are in education, the more you learn that art teachers in particular
> are often "used" for planning time or convenience, rather than "utilized"
> for what they bring to the educational experience. Get on your
> negotiating team! If you don't take an active interest in your own
> survival, no one else will.
> To unsubscribe go to