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I work at two schools and long story short I won’t have my job next year because they are giving it to someone with more seniority.

Before it was known that I am not coming back next year, one of the principals at my schools wants me to do an inventory of the stuff in my room and see what is needed and not needed with a district employer who oversees these things.

My question is: since I’m not coming back next year, do I need to do this inventory thing? Wouldn’t it be best to have the teacher next year do this to see what they want to use in the classroom? What’s the best way to handle this situation?

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    So you won't have your job on both schools next year? – DarkCygnus Jun 5 '18 at 18:26
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    Yes, I won’t be at both schools next year- it is one job at two sites. – Michael Jun 5 '18 at 18:28
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    You certainly don’t want to be blamed if anything is ‘missing’ next fall. It is like counting your cash drawer at the end of your shift - you close the job out and document what is there. – Jon Custer Jun 6 '18 at 0:11
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    By inventory, do you mean that you need to itemize everything in your classroom, or just that you need to make a list of what's needed? – 1006a Jun 6 '18 at 2:09
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    @1006a Yea, I think a clarification is needed. In my locale inventory check is meant to see what is physically present vs the books, i.e. what is missing, not what is needed. OP might not only need to do it, but to do it carefully. – luk32 Jun 6 '18 at 9:20
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do I need to do this inventory thing

Effectively, yes. Your manager has asked you to do a job, so you do it. You don't say "I'm not coming back next year so I'm not going to do it". That's just unprofessional.

The other option would be to start a discussion with your principal:

Hey principal, as I'm not coming back next year, I think it would make more sense for my replacement to do the inventory. I'm happy to do it if you want me to, but I don't want to throw out anything my replacement might want. What do you think?

Note here that you're not saying you're not going to do it - very much the opposite - but you are explaining why you think it might be a good idea for someone else to do it.

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    I think this would be a better answer if the argument against doing it was "What are they gonna do, fire me?" However, in this case the argument against appears to be "Its wasteful, because its being done to support a specific teacher who will not be here." If the school buys 40 protractors, and then the next teacher doesn't need to teach with protractors, that's protractor$ * 40 the school has just wasted. – T.E.D. Jun 5 '18 at 22:06
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    @T.E.D. That's why he says "I think it would make for sense for my replacement to do the inventory". Because it would be wasteful for him to do it himself. Either way, he leaves it up to his manager to decide, so that he doesn't appear to be shirking his duties. If he still doesn't want to do it, then it basically comes down to "What are they gonna do, fire me?" – Reinstate Monica Jun 6 '18 at 6:07
  • You're not saying it, but it's still obvious you don't want to do it. On the other hand, what are they gonna do – DonQuiKong Jun 6 '18 at 13:37
  • Never hurts to voice your concerns in a positive manner. – RandomUs1r Jun 6 '18 at 20:35
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since I’m not coming back year, do I need to do this inventory thing? Wouldn’t it be best to have the teacher next year do this to see what they want to use in the classroom? What’s the best way to handle this situation?

The best way to handle this would be to comply to a direct request done by the principal and carry out the inventory.

Perhaps it would be best for the future teacher(s) to do it, but that call is up to this principal. If they want to proceed this way, and perhaps end up doing it again when the new teachers arrive then that would be their problem, and only when/if that happens.

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I would recommend that you do still complete the inventory check because not doing it might leave a negative impression of you when you leave. If a future employer were to call in for a reference and you had decided to leave without performing the request, the principal might remember and speak negatively of you for being unprofessional.

You could also ask the principal for clarification on what you should, and also bring up the fact that you feel it would be better for the new teacher to complete the inventory.

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do I need to do this inventory thing?

Yes you should account for the inventory of what is currently present.

Your boss also asked for a list of needs. Submit this list with a written and verbal explanation that it is what you would add but clearly note that your successor might have different wants and needs.

Wouldn’t it be best to have the teacher next year do this to see what they want to use in the classroom?

Yes it would be best. It may not be practical though. Depending on when the next teacher starts, there may not be time for them to take an inventory and requisition new supplies. It is not optimal for them to start with a full set of supplies to your standard but it better than being completely short.

The teacher next year will need supplies and may have their own needs. If they can see what the previous teacher did they may be inspired to reuse supplies or borrow a lesson plan that they hadn't thought of. If the next teacher does need something specific their job is made simpler since they can reference the inventory list instead of doing their own inventory.

What’s the best way to handle this situation?

Do the inventory quickly and accurately. Submit your list with a clear remark that its yours and the next teacher may be different.

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Ask the Principal

Not us!

First of all, don't just go ahead and do it if you have doubts the principal may not be aware of.

Explain to him/her that since you won't be back next year, you don't know what will be needed by the next teacher and ask if it would be better if they do it when they arrive.

The principal may have forgotten they gave you the task (or it's not foremost on their mind), OTOH it may be irrelevant who is there next year and the principal needs to know the current inventory.

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As an employee, you have a legal contract with your employer. This contract contains a job description in which relevant duties are outlined. Beyond the duties outlined in the contract, there may be duties that an employer reasonable expects you to carry out. If a duty is neither in the contract, nor reasonably understood to be part of one's employment, then you are under no obligation to fulfill that duty. You may choose to, or you may choose not to.

It is important to point this out, because you may feel obligated to comply, even when no such obligation exists. This is because besides a legal contract, you also have an emotional contract with your employer. It is good to remember that the emotional contract is not on paper, and may thus suddenly be worthless. Your employer may variously choose to abide by it, or not. For example, even the most devoted employee may be replaced with someone cheaper, more senior, or otherwise beneficial to the employer.

That said, choosing not to fulfill a duty that you are not legally obligated to fulfill may have repercussions. Given that you're already fired, these repercussions are minimal: pressure to comply (i.e. conflict), and possibly a bad reference. Though the latter may be further minimized by the fact that you're being let go. Perhaps you should not expect a good reference even if you do perform the inventory duty.

Without knowing all the details, it is impossible to say whether the request to do the inventory is reasonably understood to part of your job. And if not, only you can decide whether refusing is worth bearing possible repercussions. If you do want to refuse, the best way to frame the refusal has already been pointed out: argue that it would make more sense for the next person to carry out the task. Any believable reason will suffice.

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