Dear Barbara ...
I've created the Dear Barbara column as a way for subs to get answers to questions about any subbing topic or suggestions that may help you solve a specific problem in substitute teaching.

If you'd like to submit a question, please click here and be sure to include your name and home town. Answers to the best questions will be published here.

I Was Humiliated by Another Teacher

Dear Barbara,

I have your book but this incident yesterday is not addressed. I was subbing math in High School and I had to take the kids from Math down to the Computer lab.

Last time I subbed, they went in there kind of noisy and this one teacher had a meltdown and yelled at them and me. This time, I decided to lead them down, front of line. Unfortunately, a student wrote a nasty remark about this teacher (she follows my class in this room) on the board and I didn't see it as I was in the front of the line. Well, this teacher calls me down to her class and in front of her students yells and screams at me about the derogatory remark on the board. She tells me I am an awful example since I don't discipline the kids right.

I was so upset that I cancelled my assignment to go back there today. I picked up something else in another district.

I am great at math and the kids love having someone that knows their stuff. I am professional, nice and friendly. This woman is a scowlpuss and nasty. Probably why someone wrote this stuff. What should I do? Should I write a letter to HR? Will they listen? Will they care? Should I drop it and not go back there?


Dear Tim,

Teacher X acted in an extremely unprofessional and inappropriate manner. I suspect that Teacher X is having a hard time controlling her own students, and she is taking out her frustration on you.

If you enjoy subbing in that school, Teacher X should not keep you from your work. You are a valued addition to the faculty. Good Math subs are hard to find! The students and the administration need you!

I would not put your complaint in writing just yet. Here's what I would do:

1. I would go the the Principal or the Assistant Principal, and ask for a moment of his/her time. I would relate the situation. State that you like the school and want to continue subbing there, but you feel uncomfortable now. The administration needs to be aware of Teacher X's hostility. They will take the lead on what needs to done (written complaint, or verbal warning).

2. If you have the courage, ask to speak to Teacher X privately, and tell her that you felt hurt and embarrassed by her actions. Say that you are professional enough to express your thoughts in private, unlike her very unprofessional public display of anger.

Do not let this incident keep you away from your professional goals!

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