Whether we’re teaching first grade in Florida or middle school in Maine, there’s one phrase slipped into all of our contracts: “Other duties as assigned.”
While it may seem innocuous to new teachers, longtime teachers know this intentionally vague phrase is a loophole for almost anything, from performing unpaid labor outside of contract hours to acting as human shields.
We asked teachers for the strangest things they’ve been expected to do on the clock. Here are some wild “other duties as assigned” you may have never considered.
“Take a one-hour training class so that we can have permission to use Lysol wipes in our classrooms.”
“Take daily photographs of dead mice and roaches to prove to administrators that they are, in fact, *there* in order to get help with the issue.”
“A parent asked me to unpack and pack their second grade child’s backpack every day. … Nope!”
“As the music teacher, I get asked to whip up songs and performances on a whim.”
“That takes time, people!”
“Direct three-way traffic daily after school for high school students and parents without assistance, even after asking for cones several times.”
“Clear dog poo from the cross-country running course …”
“… dry a child’s hair with a hair dryer after swimming, erect a tent at sports day to prevent a child from being in the sun too long …”
“Tell a parent when their child has a BM every day!”
“Fund (and throw) a pizza party and buy $10 Christmas gifts for each of my students because it was a ‘tradition’ other teachers had started.”
“Check a whole class of students for lice. Myself.”
“Decorate my room more because a parent said it wasn’t decorated enough.”
“Buy a classroom lizard to ‘help my child behave.’ Umm, no.”
“Break up fart fights.”
“Search my classroom for suspicious-looking devices after one of my students called in a bomb threat.”
I’m a little disturbed by how many similar versions of that last one we heard—surely in 2022 teachers can opt out of being bomb dogs?
What is the wildest thing you’ve been expected to do as a teacher? Let us know in the comments!
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