Monday, May 14, 2012

Work Refusal - Day One

So I did it. Today I refused to work in my classroom due to it being an unsafe work environment. Knowing support was on its way in the form of the co-chairs of the Health and Safety Committee I walked into the principal's office and told him what I was doing...or not doing in this case.

After a meeting several hours long a list of eight recommendations were made to help try and resolve the situation. It remains to be seen if and when any changes will  be implemented and until then I am on a stress leave starting tomorrow.

I prefer to solve my own problems but there are times when you have to admit that the problem is bigger than you are. It feels a bit like failure but I know deep down that isn't true. There are many contributing factors to my toxic classroom and there is no ONE solution.

I'm glad I've taken the first steps towards resolution - that does lighten my step to some extent already. No one questioned my reasons for refusing work - they all offered support and possible solutions. Some may help, some may not, but at least we're moving forward as a group instead of me suffering on my own. There is definitely "strength in numbers."

I will keep you updated and hope to be able to turn out a few more lighthearted posts soon, with perhaps a serving of sarcasm on the side. In addition I've been advised to walk, read, garden and rest. Sound advice indeed.

On a more lighthearted note look what Carla made for me!!!
I find my new mug rug absolutely delightful! And it contains an embroidered quote from Herman Melville:
"It is not down in any map; true places never are!" A wonderful tribute to my bike riding ways! This special mug rug will be tucked into a box headed for PEI in only 45 more days!!

24 comments:

  1. Jane @The maple Syrup MobMay 14, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    You did it!
    HUGS.
    Jane x

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  2. I just want to say this is the opposite of failure.  It takes a strong person to stand-up and do the right thing in the face of opposition and you did this.  You are a success!  It isn't always easy to be strong, but it is always right.

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  3. We've encountered a problem "bigger than us" also, and we also went on refusal.  I emailed you the story.  I think you are totally doing the right thing to stand up for what you need and for what is right.  You have to advocate for yourself in this situation.  It does not matter if it's from the perspective of student/parent or teacher/staff - when it becomes unsafe or unacceptable, take action.  I hope your stress leave is totally rejuvenating and that the situation resolves in the best manner for you.

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  4. I am so glad you are getting the help you deserve.  I hope it somehow works out for the better!!!!

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  5. Good for you Jane! It will get better!

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  6. ME TOO! Thanks Judy!

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  7. Positive thinking...that's the ticket!!

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  8. Taking the first step is the hardest part.

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  9. Thanks Jane - can always use a hug!

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  10. Thank you, your comment really helps. It's all in one's perspective and thank you for giving me yours :)

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  11. Let the others figure it out! Rest and relax like the Dr said.

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  12. hope it works out soon for you Jane - I've never heard of 'refusal to work' is that a canadian thing? well I guess I've heard the term ' in general' LOL but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do - maybe the formality will help the school make the changes - documented reasons why they're hiring more help, etc. I know just from your blog the type person you are and if you're refusing to wrok there's a darned good reason for it!

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  13. I am sorry you are experiencing this problem at work.   I have two neighbor boys that are severely autistic and one can be quite violent.  It is scary and you need to be on your guard.

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  14. You're absolutely right - you must always be alert. It is always preferable to prevent the violence from happening in the first place which means being aware of the early signs of agitation.

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  15. The right to refuse work in an unsafe and/or violent environment is the right of every Canadian and is tied into my union contract and the Health and Safety Commission. I've known of a few occurrences in schools but not a lot. Most of us stay silent which is silly really.

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  16. It's hard to relax but I'll try!

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  17. Wow-I'm so impressed with your assertiveness in this situation. It sucks that this is happening to a teacher who is so dedicated and caring. I hope that taking a stand effects real change so your students can learn in a safe environment, and you can work in a place that doesn't put you at risk! You should be proud of yourself for doing this very difficult thing. I hope you're able to relax in the mean time!

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  18. Hugs
    Hope things all work out. It sounds like a really tough situation.

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  19. I think we tend to stay silent about a lot of things and 'dont' rock the boat' because we're afraid for our jobs or don't want to look bad. you're definitely in a bad spot. I remember when Iw as taking martial arts a whole bunch of years ago(LOL) one of the black belts taught 'special education' as it's called her which is basically anyone wh o doesn't fit the mold in a regular classroom (though they're pretty lenient with 'regular' and try to put everyone in a regular class..) anyways she hated it but didn't really have much of a choice - layoff or switch to special ed and that basically meant the ones prone to violence who weren't learning classroom material for their age or those who just couldn't keep up. she mentioned being threatened a few times and was glad she had martial arts training for self defence. I didn't realize how bad it was until you mentioned it. And I kKNOW you have infinite patience with your guys so if it's too much fo ryou there's no way anyone else could handle it!
    hugs and hope it all works out (btw my kitchen is now clean!!) I'm so proud of it I keep looking over and smiling :-) so now to keep it up then work on another area -started picking stuff up in the bedroom where I sleep (master still dont' do anything but exercise in since my parents always slept there when they were down) but bit by bit I can do this!

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  20. good on you Jane!  rest up, dream about PEI and recharge your batteries

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  21. Thanks Louise, i sort of feel like I'm "on strike!" I finally got their attention anyways!

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  22. Yay - I'm so happy you got your kitchen done! Tomorrow's supposed to be cooler and rainy so maybe, just maybe, I might get some cleaning done. I have oodles of paperwork related to my leave to fill out, they don't want me to have TOO much time on my hands lol!

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  23. Thanks for your support! I'm not usually that assertive so I've really stepped outside of my comfort zone but something had to be done.

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Thank you for your comment - it means a lot to me that you read my post and are leaving a comment - you just made my day!