Greetings. I have a situation in the workplace that I would like some input on. I know how I feel, and I am curious to know how readers would feel if they were in the same situation.
Workplace: Preschool. Been there for eight years and worked as both a primary teacher and support staff with toddlers (12 months)-school age. We enroll at 6 weeks and go upto 12 years old.
My background: Nearly twenty years in the field of early childhood education working with infants-school age, including special needs. Degree in education, with twenty five credits in psychology and sociology. Membership in three professional organizations, endless hours of continuing education (my state requires x amount of hours per year for lead teachers; college students are an exception), CPR/AED/FA certified. According to my state, I am also center director qualified and assistant director qualified. One may say I've given my life to this field and I love what I do, which is work with children and families. I have a saying that goes like this: "if I didn't get marker on my hands, paint and dirt under my fingernails, and I'm not the least bit tired at the end of my day, children didn't learn, which means I didn't do my job".
And now I am wondering how much longer I want my current job.
The situation: Our administrative team: one administrator (she does scheduling, payroll, etc) and three directors (my school is governed as one big center broke down into three smaller centers each with their own license and director), plus an administrative assistant and two secretaries. The admin team (not including assistant and secretaries) get together frequently to develop policies and plans, which we, as a staff, are expected to follow within our classroom. This includes the "behavior plan", issued to children who are demonstrating disrespectful, unsafe or aggressive behaviors. This plan clearly states the level of admin involvement, and if a child is acting out in a way that we feel is unsafe, etc. we are told to call admin to deal with the issues.
I have a child on this plan in my two year old class for aggressive and unsafe behaviors. He has been on this plan since January at eighteen months old, and the behavior has gotten worse since he turned two in July. A month or so ago, my director told us that she would try to not come in our classroom so much because her son is in our class and she doesn't want to disrupt his day. Sometimes he has meltdowns when she leaves. I understand her reasoning for that. She did say that the other director would be in to help if we needed it.
We need it, and that director refuses to help. Actually, we are told to work with this child 1-1 when he has an outburst, and for the other teacher to work with the other group of children. Some days there are upto eleven other children in the class, depending on the day. I am burned out by this situation, as this child is clearly a problem that M and D are working on. The behavior is getting worse, and other children are copying this child, and we are calling admin for help. They know he is on behavior plan, and within two years, I have seen my director send other children home for the day who demonstrated similar behaviors. But this child can do the following and nobody can help us:
Tuesday: we asked him to put his trucks away so we could serve breakfast, as he was playing with them at the table. We gave him multiple choices to do so, and he refused to listen, so we took them away. He got mad, threw his yogurt on the table, looked at me as he poured his cup of milk on the table, threw the cup, two chairs, two buckets of toys and tipped over the wooden fridge in dramatic play. We called admin. Their response?
Me: ____ is having a hard day already. I described to my director what happened.
Director: Did you call _____ ?(the director who is supposed to help, but refuses to help)
Me: Is she here? I didn't know that. And there is no point in calling her because she refuses to help anyone.
Director: I understand. One of you will have to work with him 1-1 and the other teacher serve breakfast, because you have to do that.
Later, same thing happened. We were getting ready to go outside and this child pushed another child, and tipped the fridge over. In front of a parent. I called my director again, and let her know what happened. Her response:
" 'Well you will have to shadow him all day to prevent his behavior from reaching this point' ".
But he's on a behavior plan, and you are supposed to be involved. Or should I say _____ is supposed to get him, as you told us that a month ago.
____ is also pregnant, and from what my co-teacher said the other day, she won't come into our room to help because it's out of control. And I will say it is, partly because of one child's behavior and fact the nobody is doing anything to help us.
Administration's observation: As a result, my director called me into a meeting last week Thursday at 5p to tell me that as of tomorrow (11/21) I'll be support staff. They believe that I do not understand typical two year old development and this class doesn't fit me. Then it changed to they know I'm a great teacher who can work with any age group. Finally, it turned to they feel I'm burned out and my light of passion is dimming, and to further avoid burnout, they feel a move to support is the best option for me. My co teacher wasn't even asked her opinion, there was no transition with the new teacher. Nothing. Just make a teacher switch and problem solved.
How I feel: I'm not happy. I blame admin for not being there, and feel like if they were more supportive, things would be different. Our room is so out of control that we need three teachers, yet they will not provide us an extra teacher, and they are blowing off this child's behavior plan they implemented for him. I feel like they are misinterpreting the situation, are being judgmental and treating me like crap. I've been in that classroom for two years, and during those two years, I have seen admin jump faster for behavior issues (I had them two years ago with that group) to now ignoring myself and other teachers with issues in their classrooms. This child's behavior concerns me. What if he tips the shelf over while there are children next to it during center time or has a tantrum during center time and does it? What if he throws a chair and hits a child in the face? Or hurts a child on the playground? What if a child gets hurt and the room is at a one teacher ratio and this child hurts someone else by throwing toys, chairs? He is impulsive and unpredictable and the fact that we need to shadow him to prevent this behavior from getting to a certain point is ridiculous. We don't know what he is going to do or his reaction, and administration knows the situation needs their attention, but can't help us for whatever reason.
Thanks for listening.