Dear Ask a Teacher,
Our school has a baseball game coming up next weekend, and all school staff are being "strongly encouraged" to go. I'm the art teacher, and my students have to present at an art show the night before, so I really don't want to attend the game. It'll be a late night and I'll already be dragging through my classes, plus to stay and watch a game that I find boring? I realize that our baseball team is new, and the principal is trying to encourage school spirit, but I'm a bit annoyed that the art show didn't get much notice from the staff. My students worked just as hard!
I told an assistant principal that I didn't think I'd be able to attend, and he heavily implied that the administration will be taking note of who's there and who isn't, and that I’d better be there. What should I do? I don’t want to attend this stupid game!
Stuck in Stanton and Stewing
Stay home. No one cares.
Look, I get that you feel pressured and tense over it. You probably think your job is on the line, but it's not. If you’re a good teacher who generally doesn’t butt heads with the administration, you have nothing to worry about. And even if you do, to get rid of a teacher over something like this would have to require documentation, warnings and the like.
Administrators, particularly in public schools, usually don’t have much management experience. They think heavily implied threats will work, because making overt threats would be illegal, and they don’t know how to back those threats up. That’s why you have to blithely look past it. “Encouraged” doesn’t mean “required,” and that’s the defense you should use if they want to call you on it. If it’s required, then that “requires” certain language. You just took it at face value.
So skip the game. You’re playing a game here with them already, am I right? Stay home and read our next post in the A to Z blog challenge.
Ms. Michaels, who doesn’t get paid enough to put up with the crap that administration shovels but needs an excuse to drink