October 31, 2023 at 3:53 pm

‘Little did I know I was talking with my principal’s supervisor.’ A New Teacher Turns The Tables On A Principal Who Wanted Them Fired

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: AITA/Reddit,Unsplash/@thisisengineering

What is it with managers trying to screw their employees over these days?

You’d think that bosses would want their workers to thrive and do well, but you know how people can be…

We see it a lot on Reddit and here’s another story for you to chew on.

It concerns a young teacher who was excited to get her career started…but she admitted that there were red flags she should have noticed.

My principal tried to get me fired so I got her fired from the district.

“I was in my mid 20s, fresh out of grad school and ready to start my teaching career. I got a job at a title one elementary school near my home teaching art. And I was super excited that I could walk to work!

However, I was so far into la la land that I didn’t notice any of the warning signs…

And then the warning signs started to appear…

Warning sign number 1: It was a week before school started and I had called and email the school office staff and my principal to ask about getting my keys and badge so I can start seeing what i needed to do to get ready for the school year. No response and no answer from either.

So I call the district office and asked when and where I could pick up my keys and badge. Two days before school starts I get an email from my admin that I should have been more patient and not have contacted the main office about my keys and badge.

I finally got everything and was able to get into my room and was horrified with how much I had to get done. (Apparently they had used my room as storage so it was loaded with tables and desks stacked on top on each other, 8 filing cabinets, and well over 100 chairs stacked all around the room.

I managed to clean out the space with help from my awesome custodian(shout out to all custodians who are the secret backbones in helping teachers get ready for the school year). Hurdle number one finished!

Then more trouble popped up when school actually began.

Warning sign number 2: It’s now the day of classes starting. And I haven’t been informed of what the schedules are. As in, which days I see certain classes and when. So I email my principal, again, asking what the schedule looks like and if there is a digital document that I can print out. I get an email back a few minutes later telling me to “Stop pressuring and bullying her”???

I replied, sorry if I was making her feel that way, but it would be nice to know what classes I had and when.

This leads to warning sign number 3: It’s 8:10am, not 10 minutes after school started, and I finally get my schedule…only to find out that I have two classes, AT THE SAME TIME! note my school isn’t huge, but we still had 14 classes serving Kinder-6th grades So I was having at least 46 kids in one classroom by myself! Moreover, I had 7 45 minute periods a day and saw every class everyday of the week, with only a “30 minute lunch”(my lunch was when I was on lunch duty)

I asked my principal if there was any way we could adjust the schedule, so I had time to plan and get the classroom ready for the next class and wouldn’t loose instruction time getting things ready as the new class was coming in. I got yelled at by her with a class waiting outside saying “It was my first year teaching and I didn’t know what I needed and needed to just deal with it.”

But she didn’t feel like it was in her best interest to do that.

Well I decided not to “just deal with it” and I read the teacher’s contract for the district. Come to find out we had a section about classroom size. It stipulated that if you had a class over 30 students you get to have an Educational Assistant to help you with the class.

I brought this up with my principal after a month and a half of struggling and was…you guessed it denied and told there was no money in the budget and I would have to make do without it or quit.

Mind you, I am stubborn and determined to make things work with what little I have. But things were rough, in order to prep and plan everything for the next day, make meaningful grades, keep up with referrals, and keep in contact with families.

I was having to be at the school from 6am(when the morning custodian arrived) til 9pm(when the night janitor was leaving) on week days, and then also use my weekend time to continue to plan and grade.

When I came time for my first teacher evaluation, I was dreading it. However I got all satisfactory mark from my principal. I was shocked, little did I know this was a plan she had all along.

So she decided to talk to her union higher-ups

A few more weeks go pass and I’ve had it, I talk with our union about the double classes and say its not sustainable and a classroom my size can’t safely fit more than 30 students, let alone 46 students. And they said they would handle it…and a other few weeks go by and nothing.

It’s not the week of Thanksgiving and conferences are over and I get to not worry about anything for two days. So I decided to go to a potluck dinner with some old friends of mine. So here is the best part, and maybe the part that saved my career and even maybe my sanity.

I was talking with one of an old acquaintance and his new husband about what teaching job I landed, and how the school year was going. I let it slip that even though my students were amazing and had such creative minds, it’s frustrating to me that I don’t have the time to give to them, that they deserve and with two classes at once it’s hard to get around to everyone in the class in just 45 minutes.

But she was in for a surprise because she was about to meet someone who would turn the tide.

I noticed the husband raise his eyebrow, and ask me what school I worked at. So I told him. What harm could it do?

Ladies and Gentlemen, and everyone in between. Little did I know I was talking with my principal’s supervisor. I found out the next Monday when my admin stormed into my room at 8:05am to scream and yell at me. Threatening to fire me, and make sure I never work in education again! I was shocked and confused at the time.

However later that week at our staff meeting we talk about a change in the schedule and how only on class would be in my class at a time for an hour now, and I would only see them twice a week instead of all 5 days! It was magical. The kids were happier, I was calmed, was able to help each individual student if they needed it, and was able to plan enough throughout the day so I could leave at 4pm!!

But things didn’t go well, even after that.

Sad to say, my happiness didn’t last forever. I noticed my principal stalking my room, and coming in non-stop to observe me. It was awkward. I also, had a few of my very extroverted students come in quite and unable to focuson work, but when I asked them if everything was okay they would burst into tears and say “I don’t want you to go!”

Being confused, my response was always, “Oh student name I jave absolutely no intentions of going anywhere, you are all the best students a teacher could ever ask for!” Which would cheer them up for a while but then they would come in next week upset again.

It all clicked when the day before we left for Christmas break, my principal came into my room with one of her minions (who was out building union representative) to tell me I was being put on a Teacher Support Plan. This plan was to evaluate whether or not my contact, with the district, would be up for renewal at the end of the school year.

It was a bummer, to say the least…so it was revenge time.

She formulated a plan.

I was shocked, and my union rep just snickered and walk away giggling with our admin. I felt sick, and unable to feel any emotion. It wasn’t until I got home and read when this plan detailed was I seeing red. I had hit my breaking point.

This is when I started to formulate a plan of revenge.

Some things to note, our principal liked to come into school, when ever they felt like. She would be there anywhere from 7:45am (our actual contract hours) to as late as 9:30am(she once showed up at noon without telling anyone). I also knew that she had kept renewaling a certain after-school care contractor that wasn’t free to families, but they got money from district to offer it for free. I also knew that this person running and after-school care, was dating and living with our principal!.

So during winter break my acquaintance and his husband called and asked if they I free to get drinks over the holidays. I love a good cocktail and I needed some hard liquor.

Now things were really about to take a turn.

When we met up I wanted to talk about anything other than school stuff, I just wanted to keep my mind off of school drama. But the new husband brought up if things were better after he had talked about the double classes. That was when I found out that he was her boss.

I asked: “What do you mean you talked to my principal? How do you know her”

New Husband “Oh, you didn’t know? I’m the supervising administrator for that cohort of schools.”

She was pretty shocked and she decided to spill her guts.

My jaw dropped, and I started to hyperventilate.

The husband was startled and asked what was wrong. So I told him, I told him everything. How she yelled and threatened to get me fired, how she put me on this support plan and how she just kept observing my class without notifying me.

His face went from a concerned look, to surprised pickachu face, to red with anger.

He told me, “I really always had a bad vibe from her, and always wondered why there were always so many new teachers at that school every year, what else can you tell me about what’s going on?”

I hesitated tell him everything, but my acquaintance told me not to worry, he has see this look before, and that we were on my side. So I told him everything I knew. They both just sat there awestruck, unable to speak about what they were hearing.

And then it was time to get back to school after the break.

Anyway after break is over, I am dreading coming back in to my class, but I don’t want to miss seeing my students. So I push on. I am walking in the hall to my mail box and I see a few if my students that had cried and told me they didn’t want me to leave. They ran up and gave me the biggest longest hug ever, saying “You’re here! You’re here!”

Me: “Of course I’m here, I wouldn’t leave the best students ever! Now would I?”

Students: “But principal said you were going to leave us because you didn’t want to be here, and we should give you trouble before you left.”

Me(trying to hold my rage): “Oh maybe she talking about how I was leaving for visit family over the break? No need to worry, I’m still here.”

This principal was pretty awful, to say the least.

Yes y’all this wretched woman tried to purposely make kids misbehave in my class to write me up for not having good rapport with my students! I was beyond livid!

So next time I have class with that student, I ask them if they could make a comic book of the conversation they had with my principal when she told them I was leaving. And make an ending he wanted. Phase 1 started.

Phase 2, I contacted my bosses boss and told him per my contract, I wanted another admin to accompany my principal’s Teacher Support Observations. And I wanted it to be him. He said absolutely! But not to tell my principal just yet.

But the principal was about to get hers!

The first day of my observation comes, and she walks in with out a notebook, or anything to take any sort of notes. Looking proud of herself like she is about to get away with firing me. She is shocked and confused when he boss walks in with a laptop and sits next to her and starts typing notes about what how I’m doing.

She stumbles around and comes to ask me for a note pad to take notes, and I tell her “I don’t have an extra note pad, but I so have some poster paper (we were making movie poster of a movie we would star in to go with out comic books). And that I hope you can be better prepared next observation as to not disrupt my class and take time away from their institutional time.” He boss just smirked.

Phase 3, I was now calling my new best friend (her bosses boss) when ever she was late getting to school and he would do a random stop by if he was close.

And things didn’t look too rosy for this “wretched woman.”

So he was able to document that she was not showing up to work on time and not submitted the paper work to have it be taken out of her leave minutes. Over all we get he at least 2 times a week for a solid month, I think he even asked someone from HR to come to our school to see for herself at 9am and she still wasn’t even there!!!

Now time for Phase 4, which was my favorite one. Getting the parents on board. I first started talking to parent that seemed to always be late picking up their students, I would chat about it and they said it was hard to get there on time and they often had to leave early.

And when I told them about our after care they would tell me that it costed to much for them. However, I would inform them that since we are a Title 1 school, that after-school care was free and paid for by the district and gave her a nifty flyer I made up with the website to fill out the forms and which ones to fill out.

Things started to pick up speed.

This made word spread around to parents paying the contractors directly that it was supposed to be free. And boy was that a fun PTA meeting to go to. I also made sure the principal knew it was me that informed the parents about that free after-school care program.

After this there were countless investigations at our school. With head administration from the central office stopping by our school, auditors, and our union finally got involved and tried to play the heros/victims of this incident.

But the principal still didn’t see the light of day…yet.

The Outcome: The second half of the year was very chill, my new best friend made sure that my Teacher Support Plan was taken off my teaching record, and my principal was not allowed to do my second term evaluations, nor was she allowed to do any informal observations. The after-school care contractor was fired and taken over by one recommended by the district, And my students were making amazing strides in their posters and comics.

At the end of the year when we were getting our assignments(jobs) for next year, my principal made one last attempt to get me to leave and told me “our budget doesn’t have the funds for an art teacher next year and that I might want to see employment else where.

So she put her in her place.

I laughed in her face and said “Nice try, my position is paid for by a state bond and isn’t effected by your budget fron the district. If there isn’t anything else, I’ll be leaving now” and walked out I could hear her slam her desk and swear up a storm as I closed the door.

At the end of the year I had my one student share his comic book about how the principal told him to “give me trouble in class,” at our school’s talent show leaving the already ****** off parents more angry that an adult would tell a child to act in such a way. I even think she had a shoe thrown at her when she ran on stage to stop him from finishing his comic.

And the principal finally had to face the music.

To the surprise of no one, the last day of school she announced on the intercoms after students had left that she would be resigning from our school to move to a different position where she was “needed” and that she would miss “almost all of us.”

I came to find out after stalking her on linkedin two years later that she had to get a job out of the district an hour drive away to get another admin job, but only stayed for a year, and then had to step down to teaching English at a different school in another district the next year!

And for those of you wondering how my students comic booked ended, well. “The art hero rallied the students against the anger principal to make her see the errors of her ways, but the angry principal could not become happy, so she left and the power of happiness filled the school once again.”

Let’s see what people had to say about this.

One person shared what it was like to work in an “underperforming” school.

Source: AITA/Reddit

Another individual had some doubts about this story…

Source: AITA/Reddit

This Reddit user is not buying this story at all.

Source: AITA/Reddit

And another reader had a hard time believing it, too.

Source: AITA/Reddit

And one person couldn’t figure out why it took this person so long to figure out what was going on…

Source: AITA/Reddit

That, my friends, is called turning the tables.

And it was done expertly! Bravo!