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Old 06-30-2011, 08:07 PM
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Default Substitute Trouble

Okay everyone, I need your opinions. My question is: Is it me or the sub based on this post? What can I do?

I'm an assistant at a family home daycare. We have 10-12 kids, sometimes more during the school year. It's just me and the owner working all day (One of us leaves in the afternoon after kids go to sleep, but other than that, there's usually two of us). When the owner needs off she has a sub come in to help. Or if I'm off for some reason, she comes in to help the owner. Now here's the problem. I feel like the sub doesn't help. She'll sit around and talk to individual kids, while all the others are all over the place. So while I'm in the kitchen trying to fix lunch, for example, she'll be in the other room supposedly watching the kids (which is usually what I do while the owner fixes lunch). The whole time the kids are running wild, creating a huge mess, and breaking just about every rule I've set in place (like no one is allowed to stand or sit on the tables, an obvious rule, right?) But the sub pays no attention and is too busy being their buddy or best friend it seems.

So while she sits around and doesn't move, I'm running around trying to get lunch, watch the kids...you can imagine the routine with that many kids. BUT, here's the biggest problem for me, when the owner is here, this lady is on top of things, being best buddies with the kids, cleaning, taking them potty, moving around keeping busy, etc etc etc. Just the best helper ever. As soon as the owner leaves, well it's the mess I just told you about. the kids all LOVE the sub to pieces, ask when she'll be back, always laughing and having a ball with her, gets really excited when they hear she's coming, etc. I think it's because she acts like the perfect best friend, gives them all kinds of attention (that I can't give because I'm so busy trying to do everything she isn't, plus my own responsibilities!), she winds them up and gets them hyper, all that. She never gets after them, doesn't make them do anything they don't want to ("oh, you don't want to go outside? Ok, we'll stay inside". She lets them create a HUGE mess and never asks them to clean up, and even if she does "suggest" it to them, she doesn't enforce it).

So I have to be the bad guy the WHOLE time she's there. "No, johnny, we DO have to go outside." (it's actually in the state laws that we have to play outside daily, except in bad weather, and we've TOLD her this). "It IS time to clean up. No johnny, you can't get more toys out right now, it's time to clean up the ones you were already playing with." So anyway, when the owner is there with her (which hardly EVER happens since I don't have to take time off very often at all), the sub is really good, according to the owner. Just takes charge and gets everything done that needs done. Really good with the kids, the kids all just love her so much, on and on. Just sings her praises. So why isn't she this good when it's me and her? Why doesn't she get up and do anything when she's supposed to be helping ME? I've tried talking to the owner about it because it's at the point where I have a less stressful day if I just take on all the kids alone without her help (as long as it's within ratio).

I've let the owner know my concerns, how stressed I am when she's here because I'm trying to do everything while she winds the kids up, but she just doesn't see it. She's the type of person, I guess, who if she doesn't actually see it herself, she doesn't believe it happens. She doesn't come right out and tell me she doesn't believe me, but I can tell she doesn't, since all she does is tell me how good she is. And she gets this look on her face like she's not very happy with me when I don't get so excited that the sub will be coming to help me on x day. It's like she thinks I should get as excited as the kids. And then the other day, she said, "I wish you got along better with her." It's not that I don't get along with her. She's a really sweet lady, really friendly, etc. Outside of daycare, I'd probably love her, but as a helper, it just doesn't work. She gets overwhelmed if she's left with three or four 2 yr olds for a few minutes so I can get some preschool done with the older ones. The 2 yr olds are just having free play so it's not like she has to do much more than sit and watch. That's all she does anyway, so what difference is it if I'm right there, or in the next room (no door to seperate the rooms btw, so when she needs something she interrupts preschool or circle time or whatever to ask, or if she has to use the bathroom she interrupts so I can watch her group while she goes and then takes forever before coming back in).

So do you all think I need to get over it and accept it since the owner likes her and continue just tring to do everything on my own when the owner can't work, or what? Talking to the owner doesn't get me anywhere. Reminding the kids, in front of the sub, what the rules are (so the sub can hear), doesn't get anywhere. Coming right out and asking the sub to do something doesn't work either (For example, one time I asked her if she could have the kids clean up while I got the plates fixed, she looked mad, but told them to clean up, and then asked me, "is that good enough?" in this tone like she was mad about having to do it. I seriously don't have time to ask the sub everytime something needs done, and besides, If she can see what needs done when the owner is there, why can't she when I'm there?
Sorry so long. Advice please

Last edited by SilverSabre25; 06-30-2011 at 10:30 PM. Reason: Just splitting this into paragraphs for easier reading :)
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:30 PM
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Hunni Bee Hunni Bee is offline
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Sounds like the owner just doesn't want to be bothered. As long as there's enough warm bodies there to keep you guys in ratio...she doesn't really care what goes on during the day, plus she knows you'll pick up the slack.

I work in a center, and my director is really helpful and will take care of problems like that. But she wasn't always that way. She was more like yours, didn't really concern herself with the mundane problems of the workers, just as long as the children weren't getting hurt, the parents weren't complaining, and people showed up to work, she was fine.

What I had to do was keep bringing it up, and document. Document specific instances where things didn't go right because she didn't do her part. Discreetly photograph the room after she let the kids trash it. Let the director know that you agree she's great with the kids, but she doesn't pull her weight.

Now if she's only there maybe one out of ten days...I would just rearrange the schedule on those days....maybe make her take them outside while you fix lunch,etc. Make it as easy as possible on yourself.

But if she's there two or more days week, then I would just keep pushing...I know it makes you feel like a tattletale...but why should you do all the work and she plays with one or two kids all day?
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:25 PM
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Do you think maybe the director gives her more "direction"? I had an assistant for a while that would only respond to direct instruction and I had to let her go because it doesn't work for me, but because you can't fire her could you start setting her up with 5-6 kids (her half) and give them an activity to do? Or chat with her and let her know that you will be doing x and expect her to do x.

I have also noticed with my current assistant that the kids just don't mind her as well as they do me. She has to say something twice to my once. Maybe since she isn't there as often as you are the kids are taking advantage and she doesn't know how to handle it.
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:37 AM
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I like the ideas of the PP. Other than that, you just have to accept the situation as is and decide if that is something you can deal with. Every place is always looking for workers with experience so you shouldn't have any problem finding a new job if it comes to that.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:11 AM
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There are always people that slack when the boss is away. The key is to get them caught.

If the boss lady is super friendly with this woman then it's time to look for other employment as it will zap your energy.

Best wishes.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:28 PM
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I only have to work with the substitute once in awhile. Just when the owner takes off. For now anyway, but usually once she's had the sub come in one time, she finds other reasons why she needs her to come in pretty often. Hunni Bee, I have left the sub outside with the kids while I fix lunch (but only because I thought it'd be easier on her watching them outside than inside and I can't have the sub do lunch or we'd be eating lunch at PM snack time lol she's just so SLOW). But no sooner than I came in, she comes in with all the kids, saying that they wanted to come in, too. And another time one child wasn't behaving so she brought EVERYone in instead of just having him sit in a time-out outside. Each time there's another excuse. Jessrlee, I try giving her specific things to do, and that's when she gets irritated with me (I guess thinking I shouldn't be telling her what to do, and really, I do feel pretty akward doing it), and even when I do, she interrupts everything I'm doing every few minutes needing something, or having to use the rest room, or has a question...and somehow I end up watching both groups again.
Oh, and Hunni Bee, thanks for the idea of photgraphing the room after she's let the kids trash it. I've certainly told the owner about it, but she always waves it off and says that's just how she is, she's not the neastest person, but that's okay. So I guess the owner doesn't care about the messes... But it drives me absolutely nuts, especially when everything is lost and the kids can't find much to play with. That's when their behavior problems start (because they're bored).
So since she is pretty friendly with the owner, although she only works once in awhile, there's not much I can do except watch all the kids on my own when possible (and hope we don't have the extra kid that puts me over ratio legally requiring me to have her help).
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