Wednesday, March 23, 2022

AITA: Blog Edition

AITA is an acronym for "Am I the A**hole?", a community on Reddit. The premise is someone posts about something they did, and the community responds as to whether or not the person is the jerk in the situation. (A brief explanation is here. You can find the community here.) 

I don't actually have a profile over on Reddit. I'm only familiar with the subreddit via Twitter, where I try to avoid the various postings as they are guaranteed to make me mad. But something happened last week at work that would be a perfect situation to post. So, I'm going to talk about it here. 

Last week we got a "new" student. Jayden had been with the class in September, but hadn't been to school since due to health issues (read: got Covid and ended up in the hospital). He would be returning with a trach, and that meant that he would need a one-to-one aide that was trained in dealing with such devices. 

On the prior Friday, we had a meeting to "train" us (the school's staff) as to how to deal with having an oxygen tank on campus as well as what we needed to know about Jayden's trach (which is capped, so he can breathe normally--I'd link to a definition, but I can't find a simple one online). 

At the meeting, the question was asked: what do we do when Jayden's one-to-one takes her lunch break? We were told she wouldn't get a lunch break as Jayden and she would only be there for under five hours. 

On Monday, Jayden arrived. And all was as well as could be expected. 

The district nurse then asked me who would be relieving Jayden's one-to-one aide when she takes her lunch break. Lunch break? We were told Jayden would only be at school five hours. Well, of course, he would be there for the full day starting next week. (That would be the week you're reading this as I post about my previous week on the blog.) 

Somehow, the responsibility fell to me.

And I don't want to do it.

The district nurse explained that nothing should go wrong. But just in case, I would need to be trained in replacing the cap for Jayden's trach if it were to fall off while the one-to-one was on her lunch. 

And... The idea of touching Jayden's trach... *shudders* 

It just wigs me out

(The instructional aides in the class refused first.)

I went to the principal. She's looking for a different solution. But it might be that the other teachers at the school would be responsible. Which, with the school already having lost two teachers this school year, is more on their already heaping plates. 

So, now I feel guilty. Should I suck it up and try to do it? Even though the idea wigs me out? 

I don't want to. I'd rather walk away from this gig and let someone else take it over (ideally someone who wouldn't be wigged out at this). That's what I should do, right? I should walk away? 

Does refusing to do this make me the a**hole? 

27 comments:

  1. I understand completely. You’re a teacher, not a nurse, and you didn’t train for this. If you are having such a visceral reaction to having to do this task, you won’t be any good at it. You won’t be doing the student any favors if you’re wigging out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's my thinking. Get someone who's okay with it. I'm not as wigged out with the trach as I thought I'd be, but I'm really glad I'm not constantly wiping up his drool. (The nurse does that.)

      Delete
  2. Here is my question prior to making a judgement. Is dealing with such medical devices part of your job description and do you have the proper training?

    Regardless of your answer, I don't think you are an asshole. You are substitute teacher, not a nurse. However, if it is in your job description I'd say suck it up for the remainder of the school year, but inform them you are not comfortable with is and would not like to deal with it next year.

    If it is not in your job description, or if you do not have a job description I'd stick to my guns and say, you are not comfortable with such a responsibility. That you are a substitute teacher, not a nurse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dealing with medical devices is not part of my job description. And I am definitely not trained. (They were planning on "training" me, but that was going to consist of about 15 minutes and me signing a form.)

      As for the remainder of this school year, I can leave this class at any point. I'm a sub, so all I have to do is call the sub caller and have her replace me. And that's still an option.

      Delete
    2. Then you have options. See how it goes. It is good for the students to have a consistent teacher, but don't let it adversely affect your mental health.

      Delete
    3. For now I'm sticking around. We'll see how things go.

      Delete
  3. I can't believe the things teachers are asked to do. Like Songbird said, you're a teacher not a nurse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, that's kind of how the job goes sometimes. Generally the aides do things like toileting, which is something I'm not expected nor trained to do.

      Delete
  4. Agree with all the answers above. You are not a trained nurse and should not be expected to do this, frankly...having been in the medical field for 22 years no one on staff should be expected to do this except for the nurse. Why is he there when he needs care that's beyond the scope of the school? What changed that he was there longer than 5 hours and the lunch thing? Sorry you had this dumped on you, it's not appropriate. If I were the mother of this child, I would not want a non-medical professional dealing with something like this for my son and or daughter. Sorry to hear this child had such a bad time of it with Covid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His parent wants him at school. Some of it is to get him out of the house, I'm sure. I suppose the parent wanted him out longer and the shorter day was just to get him acclimated.

      Delete
  5. I don’t think of a-holes feeling guilty, so you’re not one, Liz. I’m with Bathwater about not doing it, if it doesn’t say so in your job description. When I was younger, I would’ve done it without question. Being more my own person, today, I would probably say see ya and feel bad about it for awhile. Human nature.

    ReplyDelete
  6. NTA. You're not an aide or a medical professional. You're a teacher. There's nothing wrong with having this as a boundary.

    Wow I slipped into reddit mode way too easily.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Right from the third paragraph when we're told about Jayden, my thought was "poor Jayden," which I continued to think while readying your entire post. Poor Jayden.

    As for your dilemma, isn't there a school nurse? I know you mentioned a district nurse, but surely there's a nurse or two on campus. That would be their job, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. School nurse... *laughs*. What's a school nurse? We have a *district* nurse, and many campuses have a health aide that's in charge of first aid and such. But our campus is so small... (Considering our population, we should totally have a school nurse.) But no, we don't even have a dedicated health aide on campus.

      Delete
    2. This is shocking. I feel bad for you.

      Delete
    3. They've been cutting funding to education since I was in school. This shouldn't be surprising.

      Delete
  8. NTA. It's a lot of responsibility for any teacher, especially on top of everything else for which they're responsible. 'Nothing should go wrong' doesn't mean nothing will go wrong.

    That said, as a former teacher, when things like that happened in my school, I did my best to suck it up and deal with it, for the kid's sake. But I never had to deal with a trach.

    I hope a different solution was found—one that works for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The district has put you in a badddd position. So many rules broken for which the district is responsible. Liability. I am so sorry the school put you in that position. There should be a nurse.

    God bless you, Liz! I really respect you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There should be a nurse. There is not a nurse. There isn't even a health aide that is on campus.

      Delete
  10. You haven't taken this job because you are trained and wanting to work in a school that services students with heavy needs. You're a sub who has stepped in to take a role when they needed someone, anyone. You are perfectly in your right to have a line in the sand as to what you are, or aren't, prepared to do as part of that role. As you are a teacher, not a nurse, I don't think your line in the sand is unsurprising. I hope the principal can come up with another solution.

    I also feel so sorry for the student. On top of what must already be high needs, covid does this.

    ReplyDelete
  11. NTA. Echoing your other commenters, you didn't sign up for this. You are a teacher, not a trained nurse. Teachers are already expected to take on so many roles; maybe they think what's one more? 15 minutes of training??????? You are not abandoning students if you ask to be replaced - please, don't let them guilt you into staying, if leaving is your decision. And they wonder why teachers are striking. (I, too, am thinking about Jayden - I wonder if he had been on a ventilator. He deserves skilled assistance with his post COVID needs.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe he had been on a ventilator. It sounds like they're going to take the trach out in a month or so. Things have been going okay this week. (The big issue is not Jayden related.)

      Delete
  12. Good gravy. Are they paying you extra? This district needs to re-evaluate how they deal with a student like Jayden and how they support their teachers, especially those who sub the classes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not extra over the long term pay. Long term pay is a nice bump over day to day pay.

      Delete
  13. I don't know much about bureaucracy in school dist. But it sound like it should of been taken care of before he even came.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

    ReplyDelete
  14. You are not an a-hole and must do what makes you comfortable. We are human and you are fine to not accept this. This was wrong of the higher ups to simply throw this on to a teacher. If anyone judges you, then they should look at themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The nurse seemed to think it was no big deal. But she's a nurse and used to that sort of thing.

      Delete

I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.