Now that the disaster at my substitute teaching job, alluded to last week, has been "resolved," I'm going to rant about it. I got an "URGENT!" email on the 16th from Kelly Education's incident manager Ana Gradillas saying that Mountain Crest High School of Hyrum, Utah, where I worked on the 15th, had reported an "incident." Of course for perfectly obvious reasons this email mentioned nothing whatsoever about what the alleged incident actually was. Instead, I had to email Ana at a different email address to schedule a time to talk to her about it on the phone so she could then email me a link to write a statement about the things I already told her on the phone and she could then "resolve" the alleged incident. All of these steps are necessary for perfectly obvious reasons. I talked to her and wrote the statement the following Monday. On Tuesday, nothing happened. On Wednesday, nothing happened. Thursday afternoon, by a staggering coincidence, she finished up resolving the "URGENT!" incident right when I called her to find out what the hell was taking so long. And of course during this whole time I was locked out of the scheduling system and couldn't work. The assignments I had already scheduled were canceled. And I experienced a great deal of stress and more insomnia than normal. And also this whole thing happened while I was already dealing with a spurt of loneliness and existential dread over the possibility that there's no afterlife, so you know, I didn't need it.
One might understand, then, why I was even more upset to learn that Mountain Crest High School's allegations are pure unadulterated bullshit. Mountain Crest High School claimed that when I showed up there, multiple times, and got the sub folder from the office, I was "unresponsive" and didn't answer questions. This is a lie. On every occasion, I have communicated everything that needs to be communicated and I have not ignored any questions. From the way I heard it secondhand, this lie sounded like discrimination against me for being quiet and awkward and forgetting to make eye contact with the office staff - in other words, for being autistic. And of course I just have to sit here and take it like always because it's not big enough to justify the effort of filing a complaint, especially when I live in a Republican state that doesn't care. But it sure annoys me. Stuff like this will never let me forget that the society I live in was not built for people like me and has no desire to coexist with people like me. It increases my empathy for women and people of color and LGBTQ people who are also marginalized, and it makes me want to make the world better for them, but then my efforts in that regard are equally ineffective because nobody seems to pay the slightest attention to me.
Mountain Crest High School also claimed that I "had trouble following the lesson plan." This is a lie. I did literally everything asked of me in the lesson plan for the one actual class I had (in addition to two study halls). But for the first ten minutes of class the students were supposed to be doing an assignment in their books, and after I told them twice and the teacher's aide also told them, only three of them even opened their books. And it turns out that the ones who didn't even open their books later had the gall to complain that I hadn't explained what to do. The instructions were right there on the page of their books to which I told them to go and were also being projected on the classroom wall. The assignment explained itself. The lesson plan didn't tell me I needed to give additional explanation. Not one person indicated at any point that they needed additional explanation. I have been in countless middle and high school classes where, following the lesson plan, I told them to do something in their books or on Canvas and most students went and did it with no trouble because they knew how to read. But somehow it's my fault that these students straight-up refused to do what I told them. I also told them, following the lesson plan, that it would be graded the next day, so I had the crazy idea that they were old enough to know better and face the consequences of their choices. Silly me.
Mountain Crest High School also claimed that I didn't leave a note for the teacher. This is a lie. As I do whenever space permits, I wrote my note on the lesson plan and left the lesson plan in the middle of the desk. It was not hidden. The teacher would literally have to be blind to not find it. Ana Gradillas only alluded to this part of the allegations during our second phone call, when she suggested that in the future I leave a note for the teacher, at which point I interrupted and exploded a little.
Yeah, I made no attempt to hide my anger on that phone call. The first time I was just confused and trying to not get fired, but after a few more days to process it I moved on to resentment. Mostly toward Mountain Crest High School for the false accusations, but also toward Kelly Education for not having any systems in place to prevent its employees from false accusations or to compensate them for loss of income caused by false accusations. My refutation of the false accusations made no difference to anything at all. I'm just an employee stuck in a job available to anyone eighteen years old with a high school diploma. I have no rights. Only the schools have rights. They can say whatever they want with no consequences and I just have to deal with it. Ana was very patient with my anger and very understanding and she kept saying she understood my frustration, but of course her empathy won't pay my rent, which of course is going up significantly while wages aren't. Maybe now I'll get fired for writing this post, but whatever, my life isn't worth much if I can't be honest about things that aren't okay. At least I removed most of the swear words before publication.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.