In Ontario, there are many things a school cannot legally ask you to do as an Occasional Teacher, due to our collective agreement. They may ask you for a favour – to which you can say yes or no, depending on how much you like the school – but they cannot require it of you – no matter how many intimidation tactics they use or sad puppy dog eyes!
- You do not have to do the very first yard duty from 8:25 – 8:40 am – they are to arrange for someone else to do it so you have time to look over the day plans (and use the bathroom!).
- You do not have to do any classes or yard duty outside of the teacher’s regular schedule. If the teacher has written in extra yard duty (or three) or teaching another teacher’s class over her prep, you do not have to do that.
- Field trips. If you arrive in your heels and they ask you to go on an outdoor education field trip, you can say no. Even if you are in running shoes, it’s still ok to say no.
- You do not have to stay in a class where you feel you are in danger. If you feel threatened and think you are in danger, you can let the principal know that you will stay in the school, teach another class, but you will not stay in that class. If nobody comes to your room, you can take the whole class down to the main office so that there is at least another adult witnessing what is happening until someone else comes to take the class.
- Report Cards. It is amazing how many OTs have told me they have gone to a school where they had done an LTO or where they knew a class well and the principal asked them to do report cards!! You are definitely not getting paid for that! That’s one of the main reasons I am an OT – no report cards!!
If you are asked to do these things, feel free to say no politely. If they insist, let them know that you will be calling your union to get help. Call the union right away and ask for their advice. Often if the teacher has written something extra into her schedule, I just don’t do it or don’t go. If they come looking for me, I let them know that I don’t have to do that according to the collective agreement. Schools that ask favours too often are ones I avoid. Of course, if I know the school and they ask for a favour, I say yes as often as I can because I want to have a good relationship with the school. Especially if I like their teachers bake delicious cookies each week for treats day!