Annoyed with Lack of Support

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by dc1346, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. dc1346

    dc1346

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    I'm the chef instructor of a rural high school Culinary Arts program. I work for the Clark County School District in Nevada.

    When I transferred to my current school in 2015, my kitchen had 6 work stations but only 5 stations were fully operational because one of the stoves was broken.Our office manager told me not to worry and she promptly submitted a work request to district maintenance.

    Two years passed and nothing happened. At the start of the 2017-2018 school year, another stove broke down. With 1/3rd of my workstations down, the remaining stations were overcrowded.

    The office manager told me not to worry and she promptly submitted another work request to district maintenance.

    Insofar as the district hadn't done anything about the first stove, I wasn't expecting anything to happen. Since I've always believed that it's better to be proactive, I went to Home Depot and bought a new stove out of pocket. I donated the stove to my Culinary Arts program and took it off on my taxes as a charitable contribution.

    Due to on-going district budget cuts, my department chair was in-formed last March that he would be laid off at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. As one of his last official acts, he expended the rest of his budget and bought Culinary Arts a new stove.

    I started the 2018-2019 school year with high hopes. For the first time ever, I had six operational work stations. Sadly, last week the washing machine died. When I asked the custodial staff about using the washing machine in the gym, I found out that this machine had died last year and had not yet been replaced ... so now I'm having to take dirty sanitizer rags and aprons home to wash, dry, fold, and return.

    The office manager told me not to worry because guess what ... shes submitted a work request to district maintenance.

    (sigh)

    What ticks me off about this experience is that the district is supposed to provide me with 'core equipment." I need working stoves, refrigerators, freezers, mixers, microwaves, washing machines, and dryers in order for me to do my job.

    This thing about having had to wait for 2 years for a replacement stove that never arrived is pure unadulterated crap. The same can be said for the broken washing machine.

    How am I supposed to do my job if I don't have the basic equipment needed for me to do my job?

    It doesn't make me any happier to know that the Las Vegas Review Journal did an expose on the spending and waste practices of my district. In 2017 they broke a story about how one of our furniture warehouses was caught throwing BRAND NEW FURNITURE in dumpsters to make room for new incoming furniture that the district apparently spent millions of dollars on.

    The district has wasted money replacing new furniture with newer furniture but it couldn't be bothered to replace either of my broken stoves? Lord knows when the washing machine will be replaced. (sigh)

    The district operations director was here last Friday and he came into the Culinary Arts kitchen with the head custodian while i had students at their work stations. The director began berating the head custodian for having removed the broken washing machine. He claimed that this was a violation of district maintenance policy. The broken machine was supposed to have remain hooked up until someone from district maintenance could come out to verify that it was actually broken. (Eye roll)

    Since I hated the idea of this guy berating the custodian in front of my class, I stepped in to point out that the broken washing machine was filled with stagnant water that wouldn't drain. The washing machine had been removed from the kitchen to avoid violating the county health code.

    The director gave me a glance and then ignored me ... harping again on the fact that the broken washing machine had been removed without authorization. The head custodian was directed to put the machine back and to reconnect everything. He was told that someone from district maintenance would then come out to verify that it wasn't working.

    It is now Tuesday. The washing machine is still missing from Culinary Arts. The head custodian has told me that it doesn't matter where the director tells him to put it. It'll still be broken.

    He's right.

    David
     
  2. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Sounds like a good letter to send to the editor of your local newspaper. :)
     
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  3. Iceman

    Iceman

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    I've just retired last summer from 30+ years of being an educator. I don't at all mean to be a wiseass with my comment ... but in education you have to live on and with three(3) simple words ... "DEAL WITH IT".
     
  4. halb

    halb

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    It's like that in most school districts- corruption, mismanagement, waste and taxpayers screaming about what they have to pay in taxes.

    If the football team needed new uniforms they would have them next day. I commend your dedication but if it were me I would get the hell out.
     
  5. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    In my experience, nothing changes if nothing changes... I would have been an agent for change. I would have fixed the stove and taught the students some non-curriculum lessons at the same time.
     
  6. dc1346

    dc1346

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    So with "30+ years of being an educator" you knowingly chose to throw THIS COMMENT in my face. Knowing my overall level of frustration, you chose to be a total ass while claiming that being an ass was unintentional? Are you an idiot or did 30 years in education totally lobotomize your compassion and common sense?

    It's precisely this attitude from district managements across the country that has led to the growing red for ed movement.

    I shouldn't have to buy my own stove. The year before last, I shouldn't have had to buy mixers or countertop fryers. Over the course of my 12 year career in Culinary Arts I have also purchased mechanical food scales, a baker's rack, a bus cart, tablecloths, specialty food items not found in area supermarkets, sanitizer buckets, plastic portion cups, meat mallets, rolling pins, measuring spoons, a class set of aprons, class sets of hair restraints, and a case of date/label stickers. With the possible exception of the specialty food items, most of these should have been purchased by the district.

    At some point, educators in each state have banded together to say, 'ENOUGH!" Last year teachers in Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and West Virginia went on strike. It would not surprise me if teachers in Nevada were to follow this year.

    Despite the fact that the state legislature has infused my district with several million additional dollars, our schools continue to
    suffer budget cuts each year. Each round of budget cuts results in the loss of teachers and aides and the shuttering of various elective programs or extracurricular activities. Each year we have to do more with less.

    It doesn't help that we're getting reamed by our health insurance. Several teachers at my school, myself included, have been targeted by collection agencies because our insurance provider hasn't paid our medical bills. If nothing else, this is a contract violation because health insurance was supposed to have been a benefit, not a liability.

    As things stand now, most teachers have begun deferring medical visits because none of them want to be billed for the full amount of treatment should the insurance provider fail to pay their medical bills.
     
  7. Iceman

    Iceman

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    OK ... I'm sorry Mr.Blowhard ... that the reality of life took a bypass when it got to you. Budgets in education are very short-lived. They get cut if the wind blows. Everyone with an educational background and any experience knows that. Every good teacher breathing has had to buy needed supplies for their classroom. Just because you may be some sorta chef it doesn't mean that you are any kind of educator.

    If you've only got 3 stoves ... you only have 3 groups working with stoves. You break up your lessons so that each group can do something that they are equipped to do. You set up learning stations. EVERYONE doesn't have to be doing the same thing at the same time. What kitchen has every cook working on the same thing at the same time? Are there not stations in a kitchen? Does every station in a kitchen need all the exact same equipment?

    BOO-HOO!




    "We work in kitchens ... It ain'te rocket surgery.".
     
  8. dc1346

    dc1346

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    You don't know anything about my qualifications. I hold dual certification as both an elementary and a secondary teacher. I also hold three college degrees including degrees in Education and Culinary Arts as well as a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction.

    So while I may be "some sorta chef" you're clearly not an educator despite your claim of 30+ years. If you were actually "some sorta" teacher you would know that what we teach is defined by the state instructional standards. You would also know that lessons are limited by the length of the instructional period.

    While your suggestion of teaching different subjects at different stations might work with a block schedule, it doesn't work in a 54 minute period. By the time you take attendance, introduce the lesson, and have students set up their stations, don hair restraints, and wash their hands while also setting aside time to clean the stations towards the end of class, you're down to 30-35 minutes of hands-on production time if you're lucky.

    Teaching different lessons within a class would require additional instruction which would further cut down on student production time.

    I don't think you're any kind of teacher. I think you're a troll hiding behind the anonymity of the internet while making provocative statements to cause mayhem and upset. I personally don't see how anyone could get their jollies by behaving this way. What kind of person talks smack about a total stranger just to provoke a reaction?

    I'm really quite sorry for you.
     
  9. dc1346

    dc1346

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    I thought about that but this would have put me in violation of district policy. Only maintenance personnel are allowed to do maintenance work.

    A couple of years ago, the CTE (Career and Technical Education) office gave me a brand new two door commercial quality refrigerator. It sat unused on the school's loading dock for a year because it took that long for district maintenance to send over an electrician. Although I would have gladly paid for a local electrician to set up the refrigerator, the maintenance union has a sweet contract with the district. No one is allowed to outsource maintenance work ... so everyone in the district is part of their captive market.

    At another school within the same district, I once had to shut the kitchen down due to a roach infestation. An administrator ordered me to reopen the kitchen. When I told him that I couldn't do this, he told me that on his authority as a CCSD administrator I had his permission to ignore the county health code. When I complained that this was an illegal order, he told me to SHUT UP and GO DO YOUR JOB.

    I did my job by self-reporting my kitchen to the county health inspector.

    The health inspector came out the next day and closed the kitchen down. The administrator was not happy but a work order for pest control was finally generated for district maintenance.

    When the inspector came back a week later and found nothing done, the school was cited and fined. The roaches were subsequently dealt with but having become a persona non grata with the administrator, I subsequently transferred to another school.
     
  10. dc1346

    dc1346

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    Thank you.

    The thing is that I really like my students and I like my school. The problem I'm having with equipment is at the district level and not a problem that can be handled at the building level by my school administration.

    To be candid, my salary is about as high as the average income for an executive chef but the hours I work are far less than any chef in the food service industry.

    I typically work a 50 hour week. My evenings and weekends are my own. I have a week off for Thanksgiving, two weeks for Christmas, a week for Spring Break, and two months of paid leave for the summer. No one in the food service industry has a vacation schedule like this.

    I don't have to work swing shifts or double shifts. I don't have to deal with no call/no shows. My food costs are limited to staying within my allocated budget. I don't have to deal with meals being returned or customer care issues.

    Don't get me wrong ... teaching can be stressful but the type of stress we have in the class is different from the stress of being on the line when you're in the weeds and there are multiple tickets in the window. I don't particularly miss being in a restaurant kitchen.
     
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  11. dc1346

    dc1346

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    I'd have to think about that. It's one thing for me to grouse about this on-line. It'd be another thing to make this local. I work in a low income area and some parents are already peeved at how much teachers make. I don't think the negative publicity would be well received by the higher ups in the district office ... not that there's too much they could do since we still have our First Amendment rights ... but even so, sometimes you have to pick the battles you fight. Alienating the district office won't help me get the equipment I need.

    With this being said, I appreciate having had the opportunity to vent even if an internet troll has tried to stir the proverbial pot.
     
  12. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Damn, I should have known. I spent a large part of my career working for independents because I was never any good at following policies written by corporate pencil pushers.

    One corporate place I worked, the maintenance department was slow and incompetent on their good days. When they would finally get around to attempting to fix a piece of equipment, it took forever because they would just start replacing parts which they of course had to order. Sooner or later, they would discover the faulty part. Drive me nuckin futs!!!.

    I applaud you for buying a stove for your kids and the program. I watched my mother exhibit similar behavior for years. She was a teacher in a poor school that was overlooked by the district budget grand poobahs. She spent her paycheck buying needed supplies that the school board just couldn't seem to come up with. Same old same old.
     
  13. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear

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    That's the fightin' spirit!
     
  14. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I used to be an independent, now I am back working for a big bureaucracy. I've found that the Serenity prayer is vital every day. There are numerous situations that irritate and frustrate me every day. When I think about how I would like to see them resolved, I am very frustrated that they are not handled in the efficient, expedient manner I think they should be. So I adopt what I call the general employee's attitude. I arrive at work, do my job, and go home. I have mentioned the problems I see and brought them to the attention of the right department along with a potential solution. They may get fixed, they may not. They may get fixed right away and they may get fixed some time in the future. So be it.
    As an independent, I can observe, analyze and correct problems immediately. As the employee of a bureaucracy, I have to accept that I am not in complete control and need to rely on others to complete some tasks. There is nothing I can do about that. I still care all the time but I worry very little anymore.
     
  15. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Like what @cheflayne said, "nothing changes if nothing changes."

    You have two choices here, my friend. Make the change you want happen or change your surroundings. Its that simple.

    I spent 40+ years in this business and anything good that ever happened to me in this business happened because I made it happen.

    I'm not saying that you should become a caped crusader or go all "Lean on Me" over a couple of kitchen appliances. But, if you are not able to effectively function as a teacher due to deficiencies beyond your control, perhaps its time to practice the fine art of detachment and start polishing up that resume?

    Just a suggestion.

    Best of luck to you. :)
     
    GoodEnoughGear likes this.
  16. dc1346

    dc1346

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    My building admin went to bat for me with district maintenance. To be candid, the director of district maintenance was peeved that the head custodian of my school removed the broken washing machine from my class because he said this was a violation of district policy. Since he was yelling at the custodian at the time IN FRONT OF MY STUDENTS, I stepped in to point out that leaving a washing machine filled with stagnant water in the kitchen was also a violation of the county health code. The director ignored me and continued yelling at the custodian ... so I reported the incident to building admin.

    The principal had a chat with the officious director of maintenance who initially threatened to blame the fact that the washing machine was broken on the head custodian who allegedly "broke" the machine while moving it out of the kitchen in violation of district policy. If this had happened, the district would have been off the hook for replacing the washing machine. As it was, the director grudgingly admitted that the machine was broken before it was removed. He then asked for a work order to request a replacement.

    Since the principal was aware that prior work orders for replacement stoves had been ignored by the district office, she brought this to the director's attention. The director reluctantly agreed to expedite replacement ... which means that I'll probably get a replacement unit within a year.

    Sadly nothing in my district moves quickly at the district level. In the meanwhile, the athletic department has a brand new commercial quality washing machine that I now have access to.