March 26, 2024 at 5:35 pm

High School Disciplined Teacher’s Aide For Following School Policy, So She Gets Her Union On The Line And Roasts The Administration

by Ryan McCarthy

Source: Reddit/AITA/Pexels

It’s hard not to feel bad for teachers nowadays. I don’t know if I would have the mental fortitude to deal with the demon spawn known as “Ipad kids” for 8 hours a day.

And even if the current generation were angels all day, there just flat-out isn’t enough teachers to handle the amount of kids in school!

But somehow according to parents, the teachers are always the ones at fault, even when their snot-goblins are on Def-Con 3!

But according to this user, teachers are not just under fire from parents, but even from their own administration!

Even when she followed school policy to the letter, she and her colleagues were  still chewed out by the principal, so she decided to turn the tables and get her union involved!

Check it out!


I used to work in a school as a support educator in a high school scenario and I got to know a lot of my students quite well.

They all very much looked forward to me being in their classrooms, which was a nice warm and fuzzy feeling because it meant I was doing my job and I was doing it well.

One day mid week, the school was severely short staffed and the powers that be were having to step in and cover classrooms themselves due to the catastrophic staff shortage.

But OP technically wasn’t a “fully qualified teacher.”

As an education support employee I was not allowed to be in a classroom on my own with any students because I was ‘not a fully qualified teacher.’

In the event I got to a classroom and there was no teacher present, I was not allowed to unlock the classroom and let the students in.

This was in order to keep them safe and together and to ensure we did not disrupt the classrooms around the area.

This made my due diligence in performing my child protection duties very difficult in circumstance like this.

I had a duty of care to the students but I also had to adhere to the policy of not being alone in a classroom with students without a ‘fully qualified teacher present.’

And this caused a problem when OP got to her classroom only to find there was no other teacher scheduled to be there.

I arrived to a class where the powers that be forgot to roster on a sub-teacher.

Knowing the policies of the school and still within the realm of my duty of care to the students, I spoke to the senior class about what had happened.

I asked them to please be respectful of the classrooms around us and if they could work with me while I found out who would be coming to essentially babysit ‘us all’ was the way I put it.

The students were awesome and just sat down, got their current work out from other classes, grouped together and got to it.

I rang the contact line I was instructed to ring if this ever did happen and they said they would send someone straight up.

I went and notified the teachers either side of us what was happening so they knew we weren’t just a bunch of unruly delinquents hanging out where we shouldn’t be.

But after ten minutes, there was still no teacher in sight.

We waited 10 mins and no one turned up. I rang again, I was told the same thing and we waited patiently and quietly again. One of the teachers came out to see what was happening.

I informed them no one had turned up and I had contacted the office a second time and that the office had advised they were ‘sending someone straight up.’

The teacher did the ol ‘tsk tsk’ at me, returned to their classroom and shut the door to block us out.
The lesson time was 40 minutes long, by this point we were 25 mins into the lesson period.

And soon the school’s principal had joined the mix.

The principal normally does the rounds throughout the high school a couple times a week before the lunch time let out.

He found us all working quietly and efficiently outside this classroom. He came up and started blasting the students as to why they weren’t in class.

I quickly stepped in and said ‘Hi sir, you must be our replacement teacher! I have rung the office twice and no one has been sent up to take the lesson.’

Now the principal was widely known to be on the downhill ride into retirement, so for him to have to do this was a real inconvenience to him.

He begrudgingly unlocked the classroom door let us all in and proceeded to ‘babysit us’ into the lunch break.

But the principal was not very happy with his new role as “babysitter.”

Once everyone was released to lunch, I was asked to accompany him to his office to ‘have a word,’ my line manager was summoned and I coped a nice big ton of ‘talking to for my actions.’

I was confused as to why I was getting reamed for the way I handled things because I followed the conflicting policies to the letter.

I then asked for clarification and brought up all the written instructions and policies of the school to get the Principal to explain to me where I had gone wrong.

He couldn’t fault what I had done, but because I had been there to instigate that he take the responsibility as the only ‘qualified teacher in the vicinity’, he had a beef with me about that.

And with the principal throwing a fit, OP made sure to get his exact instructions for future situations like this in writing.

I requested that the principal and my line manager send me an email with the attached policies highlighting what I should do in the future and I would ensure it never happened again.

They both seemed happy with that, sent me what I had already pulled up for clarification but this time their names were attached to it.

My principal included a step-by-step layout of what was expected of me, even though I did exactly that to the letter anyway but this time I had it in writing.

I printed it off laminated it and carried it with me at all times plus saved the email ‘just in case.’

The other support workers learnt through the gossip channel what I had gone through, and I advised that they also ask for what I had in writing so they knew and couldn’t be screwed.

And with the staff shortage remaining an issue, OP got a chance to exercise her malicious compliance!

Over the coming weeks the staff shortage was still an issue and my scenario occurred to 4 of my other support staff friends over various classes and on various days.

Each time one of them experienced no teacher turning up, they followed the step-by-step protocol set out by the principal to the letter. The final instruction on his email was:

“If you get to the 20 minute mark of a lesson and no one has turned up even though you have contacted staff support, please send me an email immediately to document the occurrence.

That way we can monitor how often this happens and then follow up with a phone call to inform me you are on your own so I can come and help or find someone to help.”

The Principal was called out to 9 different lessons in the space of 3 days to take classes that sub-teachers had not been supplied to.

And through some serious mental gymnastics on the Principal’s part, it was the support staff being blamed for the issue!

On the Friday of that week all support staff were dragged in for a meeting during break…. I knew what was coming so I came with laminated copies of the emails I originally asked for.

I also had my employment agreement, fair work documents, child protection laws and training documents and laws surrounding lunch breaks.

We all got absolutely blasted for the amount of times we had contacted the principal in the past week for help with classrooms not covered by ‘full qualified teachers.’

Of course the principals management team was not under fire for their blunders as this all came from their mismanagement and not doing their jobs properly.

We all just sat there and took it and then we were asked if we had anything to say for ourselves.

And OP, did in fact, have something to say for herself. And so did her union!

I stood up phoned the support line for employees with the union rep and got someone on loud speaker.

I knew the conversation would be recorded at the unions end and I authorised it to be recorded as I wanted the whole glorious thing captured so no recourse could happen to any of us.

I explained what the situation was and invited the Principal to chime in at any time to provide his facts on the matter.

I provided the proof of the principals email and my employment contract which was the same for all people in my position that stated hours to work and therefore breaks to be had.

I provided the child protection laws and policies of the school, and stated we had complied with them and exercised our due diligence in the spirit of managing situations on the fly.

But that wasn’t all.

I provided the child protection training documents we are forced to do at the start of every single year.

These are mandatory and we cannot work in a classroom without having completed it (even though once its done most staff ignore it).

I also said that we had progressed 38 minutes into our 40 minute break.

We would now all be required to take that break or be paid overtime at double the rates as it had been ‘so many hours since out last break’ which invites additional penalty rates.

The union asked the principal to make a statement which he did and then we ended the call.

The principal and upper management of the school had to pick their jaws up off the floor.

The principal, upper management of the school and my manager were all left absolutely stunned.

We had managed to single-handedly get on record that the school was remiss in child protection, upper management were not doing their jobs in rostering staff on to cover classes.

We recorded staff abuse for following all policies and procedures to the letter and to top it all off the school had to give us all our lunch breaks in the afternoon.

These breaks ended up being the rest of the day because the meeting went well over break time, so in good faith we all got to leave early on the Friday afternoon.

Not only that, we got paid for it along with our overtime rates and we all went on strike the following Wednesday.

We all knew no exams were on Wednesday and our absence would not affect our students, it was just to send a message to management that this whole thing was on their heads.

And their strike only highlighted the “qualified teacher” problem that started the whole thing.

Our absence was felt, but since we were not supposed to look after students without a ‘fully qualified teacher’ around they ended up having multiple classes with no supervision.

This caused more management to be exposed for not doing their jobs.

The following school term, management got shuffled around and relocated to try get things back on track….

If you don’t home educate your kids, I suggest you do! This is a more common occurrence than most people think.

The union rep was really just the cherry on top of this MC sundae! Don’t blame the support staff for your own scheduling incompetence!

Reddit sympathized with OP’s plight, saying it sounded like just another one of the many issues the education system is facing right now!

Source: Reddit/AITA

This teacher echoed their concerns, saying there just aren’t enough teachers for the number of kids!

Source: Reddit/AITA

And while this user commended OP for sticking up for herself, he had doubts for if homeschooling was the answer.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And this teacher said not all admin is cut from the same cloth, and hers is actually extremely helpful.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Finally, this user just couldn’t get over the audacity of the principal blaming OP and her colleagues for his mistake!

Source: Reddit/AITA

And people wonder why no one wants to be a teacher anymore!

If you liked that story, check out this post about an oblivious CEO who tells a web developer to “act his wage”… and it results in 30% of the workforce being laid off.