Work to the Rule

The stakes just got higher. Union leadership has decided that between now and spring break (March 31) that we should be working to the rule. Essentially, we should work only our contractual day (7:30 am to 2:45 pm). The idea is to show the district and the community how much extra time we actually spend outside of our day doing our jobs. As a school we have a different situation then the rest of the district. Our WASC review is during that time. There are after school meetings for various groups and individuals, in addition to two whole staff meetings. We are not getting paid for this time. If we don’t go, it could hurt our evaluation, however, by not going we could show our dedication to our cause and make a very strong statement.

I am also having a personal dilemma. I just assigned another essay in my AP World classes. I do almost all of my grading at home. Do I not grade it? I usually use my prep period to figure out my lesson plans for the next day, write quizzes, communicate with parents, and do any other smaller tasks. If I do grade these essays (and the next set), I am essentially undermining myself. If I don’t, I am hurting my students’ chances of passing the AP exam.

We have already started debating the effectiveness of working to the rule. If a strike is imminent (which it is) shouldn’t we be at 100+% before it occurs to show our professionalism and to make an even greater impact when do actually leave the classroom? It seems like the public relations aspect could swing either way. Parents and students might appreciate our dedication more if they realize how much we do outside of the contracted day. OR they might side with the district because we are withdrawing our services, while we are still being paid.

Teaching Advanced Placement classes also puts a new perspective on all of this. These students and these parents care. My students are stressed that I may be on strike in the weeks before the AP exam (as am I).

Time to make some big decisions. I wish the district would stop this ideological battle and treat me fairly. I want to do my job. I want to spend extra time teaching my students. But, I will stand up for my self. I will take a stand. I demand respect because I have earned it – don’t believe me, look around at my web site.

Is anybody who matters listening?

4 thoughts on “Work to the Rule”

  1. This is certainly less than ideal — but maybe you could have the students grade each others essays. I’ve heard peer editing can really work. And at this point they should have the process/format down. If they don’t (and hey some of my kids don’t) it’s getting a little late.

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  2. Thats a tough one. If it were me, since You grade them “away from school” anyhow, I would go ahead and grade them at home, as you said you normally do.

    As for “teach to the rule”, does your contract have a clause along the lines of “and other duties as directed by your principal” ? IF so, then perhaps it would be necessary to attend the WASC meetings. Except for that, I would be gone at 2:46.

    Will your district coaches follow this request from the union ? What will you do about teachers who refuse to stop their overt after hours school activities ?

    Good luck and Keep us posted.

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  3. I went through about 3 weeks of work to the rule last spring. Couple of things– even though it is past now, you should have not gone to the meeting(s) if they were outside your contractual minimum. Also, you shouldn’t receive a negative review as a result of your particpation in collective bargaining. If something like that were to appear on your evalatuation, you should talk to your union rep and seriously consider filing an ULP.

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  4. Thank you for the thoughtful missive. We are entering a tenuous time in our district and “Work to the Rule” may be coming soon. Our AP teachers are really taking a hit from the administration. I am sorry that I have nothing notable to add at this time, I’m on a fact finding mission.

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