(I work in a continuation school as a teaching assistant. Continuation schools are those which teach children from grades 1 through 12 who have been expelled from their district for bad behavior, drugs, weapons on campus, etc. For safety reasons, two adults are required to be in the classrooms at all times, hence the need for an assistant. Since at this point I’m only a substitute, my job entails filling in for other assistants who’ve called out sick. They never tell me what class I’ll be filling in on, just send me to the classroom — otherwise we could have avoided this entire scenario. After arriving in my classroom for the day, I see it’s a high school math class. I inwardly groan. I am HORRIBLE at math and I know I won’t be of any use to this teacher whatsoever.)
Me: Good morning! I’m your sub assistant for the day. But you should know: I am absolutely terrible at math. Really, really bad at it. I’m not going to be able to do much more than keep an eye out for troublemakers for you.
Teacher: That’s fine. Just use the seating chart under your desk mat so you know who everyone is.
(I go to the desk, search for the seating chart, but there isn’t one present.)
Me: Hm. Looks like there’s not a chart here. Do you have another I can use, or do you know where your regular TA keeps his?
Teacher: *ignores me, goes about her morning routine*
Me: All right, well.. I’ll just be over here if you need me.
(She continues to ignore me until class starts. Despite my earlier warning of being terrible at math, she expects me to get up and help the kids with their classwork, even though they’re in the middle of a subject I know nothing about, and I cannot offer assistance because I don’t know her teaching methods. I have to repeat several times that my math skills are non-existent and that the only thing I’d be good for is catching behavioral issues or correcting tests IF I had an answer key and didn’t have to check any work. I also repeat several times before lunch that no, there is NOT a seating chart anywhere in or around my desk, and could she please either print me a new one or help me find the original. I finally resort to drawing a rough chart on a sheet of lined paper and making notes like, ‘The kid who sits here threw his pencil at the kid who sits over here.’ By the time lunch rolls around, she is positively livid. She goes to the receptionist who sent me to fill the position and tells her how I’m the worst TA ever, and to never send me to her class again! And this despite nothing but glowing reviews from every other teacher I’ve filled in for at the facility. At the end of the day…)
Receptionist: I don’t think we’ll put you back in [math teacher’s] class again.
Me: Good. I told her up front I’m absolutely the worst at math and she spent the whole day pissed off at ME for being unable to help her. I don’t choose where I’m assigned!
Receptionist: That’s my fault. I’ll try and let you know what class you’ll be headed to next time.
(She didn’t, though. The next class I had to fill in for was a physical education class… which I showed up to in my professional/dress skirt and flats. At least the PE teacher understood the “No, they didn’t tell me I’d be filling in for PE today” I gave him when I arrived!)