{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How do you legally handle having your plan time taken for the 4th week in a row? Each day each week,, an announcement comes on saying it has been canceled and we have to keep our students. Union is not doing anything. We have such a shortage of teachers, our special, electives, encore, whatever you may call it have been put into classrooms because we are so short staffed. How can I legally fight for my time without union backing?", "post_id": "6154937246d364002b6edc94", "reply_count": 40, "vote_count": 7, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers" }

How do you legally handle having your plan time taken for the 4th week in a row? Each day each week,, an announcement comes on saying it has been canceled and we have to keep our students. Union is not doing anything. We have such a shortage of teachers, our special, electives, encore, whatever you may call it have been put into classrooms because we are so short staffed. How can I legally fight for my time without union backing?

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Is there a possibility to split the class to join the other classes in the same grade? Or to create a rotating schedule of who provides coverage so that everyone gets planning every other day instead of putting it all on the enhancement team to be substitutes? ie- Enhancement teachers and each grade level have one person that is in charge of covering the unattended class during their planning. Then a music teacher covers during their planning, a 6th grade teacher during their planning, 7th, 8th, etc... so that different people are taking turns. That's what we used to do so then I might miss one of my planning periods, but would definitely get planning the next day.

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There were COVID Funds. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. Could this be used to hire more enrichment teachers and Substitute Teacher Incentive Plan (STIP) Subs?

I would speak to admin. Be direct with your problem but stay profession and kind. do not wait until you are breaking down. Also, come in with a list of ideas to give teacher planning time. (Double up classes, split the class without a sub into all the other grade level rooms, whatwvwe idea might lead to a great idea.. if that does not work go to the union.. file a grievance. There is support.

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Is this your prep 50 minute period that is being taken away because the specials/enrichment teacher has to cover a class? The prep period is in your contract. You need your planning and preparation time. You could be paid for the missed prep but that doesn’t help you. Also it creates a problem for you because you weren’t prepared to have students in your class at that time. Students that need structure may act out. Students that are on the autism spectrum may be uncomfortable with the abrupt change in schedule. The teachers at your school will need to have a unified front and present this to the union leadership. Why hasn’t the union helped? Is this a larger problem in the district? If so your school board needs to be made aware of this issue.

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Saw your other replies. I agree with what everyone else is saying: def. look at your contract and politely raise hell if they’re in breach. Their staffing problems (likely due to choices in how to handle coming back to school) are not YOUR problem. It’s disgusting how much we’ve allowed teacher “unions” in Missouri (my districts is technically an association) to be gutted. THIS is what happens. Sorry you’re having to deal with all this 😞

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Does your system have a built in grievance/redress department? Do you have tenure? The first step is to log the complaint, and not just within the system. I would avail myself of any social media that seems reasonable, local and otherwise. Are there other teachers with whom you might band together? Are there parents in the community who might be supportive? Local politicians, or local politician wannabes that might be willing to listen or help out somewhere? Also; can you simply refuse, and let them take it up with the Board of Education. The burden it’s on them to prove you were neglecting your duty somehow. And you have another advantage; threaten to quit. They are apparently short staffed enough that that may carry some weight. Good luck   

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Just some questions for clarification… what gets canceled each day? Are you saying you have kids in your room that are supposed to leave at the bell and then it’s your plan period, but they tell you that you have to keep the kids in your room and entertain them for a period instead of plan? If not, can you try to explain the situation a little better? I’m not trying to be a jerk, I just want to understand before I reply.

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In our district, if you miss so many planning periods, I think 4, we can send in a form to our service center and get paid for the planning time missed. We get the extra pay because we have to use our own time to make up for the missed planning time. Of course it is a flat hourly rate for everyone, but at least we have this policy in place.

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Each morning they make an announcement that our students do not have their music, p.e., art, and library, which is general ed. plan time. Those music, etc. Teachers are getting pulled into the general Ed classroom, giving no one in the building a plan period. This has been the 4th week in a row it is happened, everyday.

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I know that in our state we are required by LAW to provide the related and fine arts (exploratories) to students. One of my mentors would vehemently make that point when teachers would regularly hold students out of our classes. Check your state's law/mandate regarding that.

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We file grievance stating that gives options to get personnel to cover or pay an overtime amount OR give paid time off for lost planning time. It is legal document and then you could sue for unpaid wages.

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That's what I was going to say.

Districts don’t give a crap about your needs.

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They can take it away but have to pay you for it. Ours is $15. Wow. It really depends on the contract. They vary by district. In ours they have to give a duty free lunch but it could be 3:00-3:30. Which would suck. So we try to work with the admin and they return the favor usually. It's just really tough because of no subs.

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I am an instructional coach. Often my colleagues and I are pulled to sub. On those days I leave the minute I am contractually allowed. Normally I am stay after for 1 to 1 1/2 hours…not on those days. If they pull me from my job, I do nothing extra.

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They should pay you extra for that time. Our union made it clear that the school is required to pay for this.

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I feel more sorry for the UA teacher that is now not teaching their own curriculum in their own classroom and probably lost their planning time too!!!

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I would say both are equally big deals. Not good situations for either teacher or the kids.

Contact your Field representative at the Union you belong to and ask to start the grievance process.

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Are you allowed to strike? Unfortunately, our state made it illegal after the big walk- out about 50 years ago. Your union should be working with you and advocating for your rights. What you described violates your contract. It is not YOUR fault there are not enough teachers or subs. It’s up to your district leaders to fix the problem! Maybe non-load bearing personnel ( literacy coach, etc. ) could step in instead of specials teachers … I am in a support position in general education classrooms and have been pulled to sub at least once or twice a week since school started. Last week I had enough. I very tactfully said I could not do it anymore. I’m getting close to retirement and could very well leave after this year. I really like what I’m doing now (not self-contained SPED) so maybe I’ll stay longer—- unless this nonsense keeps up…

Striking while a contract is in effect would violate labor laws. Filing a grievance is the legal remedy if one feels a contract is being violated.

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Texas has no union.

I’m so sorry. That is terrifying. California is light years from perfect, but I am so thankful we have a strong teacher’s union. If we didn’t have unions, I would not work in education… or I’d move somewhere that did.

Are you being compensated for giving up plan time? Is plan time specified in your contract? Depending on the answers to those questions, you could file a grievance if the district is in violation of your contract. Then the Union would have to back you up.

If we didn’t get our planning time, we were allowed to time sheet it. Talk to your principal about it.

After skimming a few of the other replies...we haven't really been dealing with a staffing shortage this year, but we sure were last year. Almost every day, if not every day, the principal supervised classes kids in the cafeteria working on their Chromebooks due to not having enough subs. Of course, we were doing video lessons last year and so every teacher had lessons already posted for the kids to work on while they were sitting in the cafeteria... Still, it's an idea.

Law makers. This is why Texas doesn’t have unions, they are politically motivated.

That is not true. MNEA has members in all political parties, and we fight for all our members. Our state president and vice president have shown up at local board meetings to support us.

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