Being compared to the teacher you've replaced

Discussion in 'General Education' started by linswin23, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Hi all,

    So I have a new position this year. I teach high school English in a really small school, so I teach grades 9-12. I feel as if this year has been going really well and my students and I seem to have good rapport. My P is happy with me, and overall I'm happy with my new position. Sometimes I overhear comments from certain students about the former teacher that I replaced. It's never been anything negative towards me. Usually it's been kids saying negative things about the former teacher. I usually ignore the comments or change the subject. Today I'm pretty sure I heard, "I would have rather had (former teacher's name) than (my name)." My students were doing group work on their computers when my student said this.

    This kind of took me as a surprise, as the student who said this wasn't even here last year, so she never even had the former teacher! I don't know if she meant for me to hear it? Who knows.

    I know I shouldn't let this bother me. I'm not here to be friends with my students, but I thought it was weird. Thoughts?
     
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  3. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    Jan 10, 2017

    I teach kids much younger than you (5th grade) but I would not read anything into that. I feel like kids oftentimes say things they don't really mean. Last year (my first year teaching) I had a girl in my class who would regularly give her old 4th grade teacher a big hug every morning, and then walk into my room and make comments like "I want to be in Mrs. G's class again", or "I just want Mrs. G back!" I honestly thought this girl hated me, and I had no idea why.

    On the last day of school, she gave me a page long letter she had handwritten, explaining I was the best, most wonderful teacher she had ever had and she didn't know what she was going to do without me in middle school. She said she wished she could stay in my class forever (sound familiar?)

    I definitely wouldn't worry about it!
     
    futureteacher13 and Backroads like this.
  4. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Don't take it personally. If you gave a harder assignment on a certain subject, the students act out by saying they'd rather have Mrs. so and so (who gave the easier assignment). If you had a more interesting activity one day they'll say they were glad to have you instead of Mrs. so and so who might have had boring activities. As long as you're doing what you're supposed to be doing then don't worry about it.
     
  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Habitué

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Exactly, all last year my kids (3rd graders) would say, "Last year our teacher..." and I stopped them and said, "Am I your teacher from last year?" Most kids just want the fun, easy teacher, and will say that crap just to get a rise out of you. I put those fires out QUICKLY.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Up until this year I always heard these comments, it was always positive about the previous teacher and negative towards me. In reality I don't think these students overall like the previous teacher more than me (they were liked the same way as me: some really liked them, some really didn't, some didn't care, etc). But students often can't take changes well. At-risk students especially take it hard, because they see a teacher leaving as someone else again abandoned them. So their comments were basically outcries against changes, they weren't really against me. Of course I didn't understand it that time.

    Sometimes I think they were just trying to help in their own way when they tried to tell me what they did with the other teacher, the old ways, etc.
    The best thing to do is shut it down, you can be nice or firmer, but let them know that you don't really need their help, you got this. Or that they don't have to like you, but you don't need to hear about it (I used to say this a lot).
     
  7. anon55

    anon55 Companion

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Students just say and do weird things from time to time and we don't need to take it seriously or buy into it. I have students I thought I have a good relationship with roll their eyes at me, and I'm also sometimes surprised by students I thought really didn't like me start being really nice and say hi to me in the hallways. You never know. Just hold consistent boundaries and you'll eventually earn their respect. The less you worry about them liking you, the more they'll actually like you. It's paradoxical that way because most teachers who are desperate to be liked are doormats and students just don't respect or like those teachers.
     
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  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Students just like to press buttons. Yesterday, I overheard some students saying that they would be seen as heroes if they got me fired. One or two students have mentioned that they hate my class and me as a teacher. But apparently many students are also saying I'm an amazing teacher outside of class. The ones that hate me are ones that want to break the rules all the time: have their cell phones out constantly, have side-conversations when I'm talking, and rarely turn in their work. Most of them are ones that are failing my class because they don't do work in class or turn anything in, and I've either called home for their behavior or taken their cell phone for use at inappropriate times. I actually have very well behaved classes right now because I've cracked down on them. At the beginning of the year, behavior was horrible, but I've taught them that rules will be followed in my classroom or consequences will follow.

    As long as I can teach without constant behavior interruptions, that's all I care about. They can hate me all they want. I've heard many times that they wish they had the previous teacher who I took over for because she was "nice" and let them do what they want. But I can also tell from comments and notes that she's written that she had a lot of issues with behavior as well. I have a fairly tough hide though, and I know kid-talk is just kid-talk. The quiet ones quietly appreciate me. Even if someone really preferred another teacher over me that's certainly their right. I can't be every students' favorite teacher (or even most students').

    What would absolutely devastate me is hearing from my best students who graduated that they didn't learn anything in my class because I didn't manage my class properly or create a safe learning environment.
     
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  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 10, 2017

    I agree that some kids are button-pushers. This is an easy one to push, especially when they don't have much else to complain about. It can also happen when students are very focused on a previous procedure and struggle with change.

    I've been in my current position for a year and a half, and I still sometimes hear about the people who held it previously. Nearly all of what I've heard has been very flattering towards me, which I appreciate. Still, I make an effort to curb any negative talk about my predecessors, even if it is likely deserved. I would feel bad if people talk about me that way after I leave, so I don't want to give the impression that I think it's okay now.
     
  10. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Good insight, Peregrin. It's not so much students dislike you personally as much as they don't like what you represent - authority and the word "no". Do not expect thanks from students who are given little choice but to grow up. The "thanks" will come down the road because you know what's best for them.
     
  11. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Thanks for all the replies. I'm over it. Everyone who has posted is right. Students say things just to push buttons, or say things without thinking--this is especially true for teenagers! I know I'm doing a good job, and I do everything I am supposed to be doing. That's all I can do!
     

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