Monday, October 21, 2013

Building Keys

Keys are a huge problem for subs.  The rules for acquiring keys vary tremendously from school to school and from district to district.  The procedure lately in most of the schools I have been in is to NOT issue the sub a key, but rather to get someone to unlock and re-lock the door, then put a magnet over the the door jam, so that the door remains openable, but the magnet can be quickly removed in case of a lock-down. 

These procedures leave subs in difficult positions.  At the high school I was at last week, I was a floater and had to keep my things in one of the two departmental offices.  Since I couldn't lock this door when I left, I had to wear my purse with me all day, as I went from classroom to classroom.  In addition, many times when I left the office, someone (yes, I suspect a student or two) would steal the magnet from the door jam, leaving the room locked.  I would then have to either call the office or get a teacher with a key to open the door for me.  It was VERY annoying and rather demeaning.

Some schools also lock the teachers' bathrooms.  I don't mind using the students' bathrooms, but the kids are sometime uncomfortable seeing a teacher there.  They feel as though I am spying on them.

And, today, I was in a mobile classroom.  I am not sure why nearly all of these VERY NEW schools weren't built large enough to hold all the students at the school, but every single one of them has a few mobile classrooms.  At any rate, I WAS given a key, because, in order to get into the school for specials, the bathroom, and the office, you have to use a clicker key.  Confident that this was sufficient, I used the key (to the mobile classroom) and the clicker card all day just fine.  Then, as I was leaving, I tried to get back into the school to check out - only the clicker card no longer worked.  I tried several times, until one of the secretaries took pity on me and came to open the door.  Evidently the clicker card stops working at 2:30 - the very minute school gets out.  I am not sure what a sub is to do to get back into the school after that time, unless the secretary happens to notice.  (And I wasn't told of this fact beforehand, so I could anticipate the problem.)  I am never ready to leave the moment the students leave, so this would always be a problem for me.

The schools and school districts may trust us with the children, but they don't trust us with working keys.  Yes, I understand that some subs may forget to turn in keys and it is incredibly expensive to re-key a building and issue new keys, but there are solutions to that.  One school had me trade my car keys for a room key.  I am not entirely comfortable with that, but I think schools that have me sign out keys to be returned at the end of the day don't have as much of a problem.  Annoying.

1 comment:

  1. And it happened, again. The school AP unlocked the door and showed me how to put a magnet in the door so it wouldn't lock when students went in and out. Only, it was one 4th grade student's job to close the classroom door when they left for recess, lunch, and specials. Not knowing that I didn't have a key, he removed the magnet when we went to recess. The teacher next door's key didn't open the room I was in, so she had to call down to the office for me and the kids and I had to wait outside the room, until someone arrived to unlock the door.

    Annoying, again. They give me a tag that I have to return at the end of the day, which says "Substitute Teacher". Why can't they give me a key, too?