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Working for free



Senior Member
Our union asked up to keep track of how many hours we spent this summer working (mostly it is for CCCS but at my site people are doing it for moving too) and JUST for packing my room up & JUST MY TIME, I have spent 16 hours working for free. That doesn't count the other people who have helped me. Today, I had 2 friends for a couple hours then another friend & her 2 kids for a few hours! The other times, I have had just 1 person helping but still. That's A LOT of hours to pack up a classroom (and I didn't do it my normal "good" way due to the boxes I was provided and due to the late notice!).

Considering i was told the day before the last day of school vs. EVERYONE else was told mid-March and it was an involuntary move to a grade I've never done where there currently is now no teacher on my team (we interviewed so as of now it looks as if I am going to get literally a brand new teacher because those were our only 2 "picks") and I don't get paid for this- now I walk into my "new" room and there's literally STUFF everywhere but she's done. Her "front" table where she works is tiny, her desk is tiny and all her bookshelves already are filled with "5th grade stuff" that I don't think she ever used! I was _____. So now that I finished my old room, the custodians will be moving all my stuff over, and I get to start figuring out how to make room for all my stuff on top of all the other stuff! And I get to unpack and try to organize my "new" room. Oh and again did I mention doing this ALL FOR FREE????

I made her meet with me, the Union and HR & her reason for moving me to 5th from 3rd? "You like the students to do more independent work & in 5th they are more independent" and then the kicker "You didn't always get along with your team members so this will give you a fresh start". I didn't get a long with the TITLE 1 teacher 1 time and SHE blew it out of proportion & SHE left the school, blaming me even though EVERY teacher at school & EVERY Title one teacher in the DISTRICT knew she was leaving because of the P (one of my friends is a Title 1 teacher at another site & said that this teacher made it clear how much she hated the P, she blabbed all the time at the title 1 meetings!) She just used me as a scapegoat!

IT IS SO UNFAIR! I worked REALLY hard to get along with my teammates & overall we did work well together & I was a damn good 3rd grade teacher & she knew that! UGH.


Senior Member
That is so frustrating and infuriating. I feel your pain. Ugh.

How nice that you were able to get some friends to help. It is truly incredible the time we all spend doing things for our jobs which we do not get paid for. Add in all the extra $ we spend buying things.

Sadly, it looks like this is the position you're been dealt. You will have to try to make the most of it (hard, I know). Maybe having a brand-new teacher will turn into a positive. The excitement and dedication he/she could bring may help make this turn of events good for you. You never know. In the long run, feeling resentment will only hurt you.

I always tell my children--you have to make the most of any given situation. Yes, feel anger, disrespected, and even cheated. But you need to move on. Yesterday, I'm sure, only added to it because of all the extra work you need to do, but you do need to look at your situation as a new challenge which you can conquer. Be the better, stronger person. The best revenge is to succeed.

When school starts, put on a brave, smiling face and "have at it". You already know the P will be keeping close tabs. So go in with renewed vigor and show everyone you are an amazing person who will hurdle over this bump and rise to the occasion.



Senior Member
If I read this correctly, the old teacher is done. She won't be back. so take what isn't yours (or district property) and file it in the dumpster. Don't look at it or you will be tempted to keep it.
Involuntary transfers are hard. I believe everything happens for a reason though. Go in with the attitude that "This will be the best year yet" and you may surprise yourself. Take charge! Don't let others dictate your happiness and success.


Senior Member
I am sorry about your involuntary move. Try to make the best of it. You bring up a good point that a new teacher spoke to me about at the end of the year. Most teachers will go in before school officially starts to set up their rooms. I usually do a day but some teachers spend a lot of time getting ready. She asked why do we go in if we are not paid? I told her that is just what we do. There are also a few teachers changing rooms at the request of P so grade levels are next to one another. These teachers will not get paid and they were asked to pack up their rooms, just like you. I have had to move rooms and/or grades also and it is not fun. I always liked to think my room will be clean and organized. As for the items left, I would just tell the custodians to throw it out. If we were paid for all the hours we work over the summer, it would be a nice amount!


Senior Member

If I wanted, I could start the morning of the first day of school. I don't want to do that. I like to spend a few days over the summer refreshing my classroom and my brain for the upcoming year.

If I had to move classrooms, that would be a different story. I have helped many teachers move and schlep stuff to other buildings over the years. Janitors are always quick to help with moving heavy items, but there are so many "little things" that really add up and take a lot of time. Plus, if the teacher whom you inherited the room from left a bunch of crap :mad: that doubles or triples the time spent.


Senior Member
I'm sorry you've been moved against your will :( That stinks. You have had such a rough time in the school and it's got to be so exhausting! I feel for you, having had to change rooms 3 times in 4 years, and each time having to move all my stuff AND almost all my furniture (vastly different grade levels had been in the new room) largely on my own (custodian moved nothing- not part of her contract??? we were able to get some kids to help with moving on the last day of school for one of the moves). I hope things look better from here on out!


Senior Member
I've said it before...

A thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters could probably do a better job of staffing and planning from a district perspective.

Sorry for your situation. Last-minute switches (of classrooms, grades, schools) are so poorly considered one wonders how those who make the big bucks sleep at night. The real kicker is when they cite "numbers" as a reason for a last-minute switch, yet the numbers are exactly the same as they were back in February or March. They're big in our district on turning straight grades into splits on the last day of the school year. It's happened to my wife more than once: "The District won't approve a class of 22, so we need to split grades." Why does this need to be decided five minutes before the last bell on the last day of classes?

The dumbest one I ever heard was a friend of ours who was made to switch schools and grades involuntarily on the last day. She spent the first week of July moving her stuff into her garage and the last two weeks of August moving into her new classroom. Her P came to her (I'm not joking) TWO DAYS before the start of the September term and told her, "Oops. We just realized that with Mr. Jones retiring, we now have no male teachers on staff, and that creates legal difficulties. We need at least one male teacher. Since you're the last one in, unfortunately, you're going to have to switch places with a Mr. Green at X school. Sorry about that; he's not too happy about it either." TWO DAYS before the new term. Based on a retirement that had been planned and announced well in advance. Nobody got around to noticing there were no males on staff until the last possible moment.

I'm telling you... monkeys... typewriters.


Full Member
I have been there

I work for a district that is big on senority and since I have "only" been teaching for 10 years I am on the bottom of the list at my school. I started in 3rd, then went to 5th the next yr only to be told one month after school started that I would do 6th. Then this yr. the P gave me K and made a last minute switch to 4th. I hate moving books and boxes around especially going from the first floor to the second! My students help, the custodian does a little but the majority is me. I understand the unfairness of the level of physical work we must do when changing rooms. So I have learned to keep only the most necessary items at school. My personal items are kept in my "garage office." When I am ready to start a new unit I bring my files and items from home and I bring things back throughout the yr. It easier for the end of the yr in case (sigh... :( )I have to move again (shaking my head).


Senior Member
Could be worse

I know...My sister has had to move frequently but my whole point was she had told EVERYONE in mid-March. Then told the rest of us, if we hadn't heard we were "assured" we were staying. I hadn't heard so I was "assured" I was staying in 3rd. The last time i was moved (just grade level, the P took pity on me because I "had so much stuff" & let me stay in my room) I was notified 2 months in advance & had the kids start packing in advance etc. It's the fact that I wasn't notified until the day before school and there was NO reason for the change. It was clearly out of spite on her part. She didn't have any real reason to do it- she admitted it when I asked for our meeting. If there was ANY rationale or ANY "real" legitimate reason fine but just to add one more spiteful thing...This is the group I had 2 years ago in 3rd- super low & MAJOR behavior issues, I'll work with a BRAND new teacher in brand new level that I have NEVER taught with a brand new teacher who hasn't even been hired yet, when she (the P) already thinks I am an "awful" teacher, when we are learning new standards, giving me no notice etc. etc. (I could go on but you get the idea). THAT'S my point. At least everyone else has had since March to start packing/adjusting to their change. Plus, she knows I have health issues and am going to Drs. often so that just makes it even worse!
Anyway, thanks for the support, I know I will be asking tons of questions once I have the room taken care of and can kind of breathe!


Senior Member
Moving too

I found out 2 weeks after school ended that I was being moved. Several teachers were also told. I've been going in several days a week for an hour or tw packing and moving. I am taking everything home and only moving 2 boxes to my "new" room.

Our janitors won't move anything for you. We have to do it all ourselves.


Senior Member
I spent probably over a hundred hours last summer working for free! I think of it as a way to make my life during the school year easier. Plus, I like to take my time when I am putting together my room or planning and I like the ease of being able to do it over the summer! :) But I do see that some of this should be paid time...we should get like a "flex" spending situation where you get X amount of hours to work over the summer (paid) and you use it how you want to.