Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Apr 16, 2019.
Apr 17, 2019
Do you teach in MA as well?
I do! I'm not originally from here but my husband is so I've basically adapted to my surroundings. I'm a wicked Red Sox fan!
The pros look like the definitely outweigh the cons from my point of view. That pay increase is a lot! Plus close to home is important for me.
I learned more about the school and I am leaning towards a no. I’m not sure because this is just from speaking with one person!
-The behavior is apparently crazy, especially at the middle school. It seems that the previous 6th grade math teacher quit because the behavior was so bad. ??
- It is operated by an external operator. I’m not sure what this means or how it affects the school.
Thoughts?? I’m very conflicted.
Hmmm....yeah severe behavior issues are a deal-breaker for me. I don't need that stress. I'm not sure what an external operator would be like. I'm guessing that's like where the state takes it over? I'm guessing that's not very fun.
That said, I would not say no just based on a conversation with 1 person though. I would discuss it with a few others first.
I spoke with someone else (one of my friend’s moms) who works in the district said that her school is closing and she has colleagues that are moving to the school. She said that she has heard good things about the school and that getting a job in this district is very competitive because the pay is so high and the union is so strong. She also said that behavior is tough at this district but you get used to staying calm + managing it.
The school has not been taken over by the state but has an external operator as a partner.
I spoke with another teacher at the school who said that the meetings are sometimes the most difficult part (once a day, you meet with your content or grade level teams and have PD after school on Wednesdays.) With the current schedule, he said that he gets two preps on two days a week and just one prep the other days. He said that the deans always follow through with behavior but they are sometimes stretched too thin. He likes the external operator since they provide tons of supports. I asked about things like the uniform policy and he said that it isn’t enforced much because of the lack of staff buy in. I told him about the behaviors that I am used to and he said that the behaviors are similar but I would see them on a smaller scale since I wouldn’t have anywhere close to 30 kids.
As a newer teacher, I can understand why you are hesitating because of behavior. As an experienced teacher, I can tell you that you are going to have behavior problems in any school you work at. I think as long as you make your expectations stated right from the beginning and show that you will give consequences, you will learn how to control those behaviors. Everything else about the school seems positive.
I would ask to observe at the school and meet with the team you'd be working with before making a decision. The external manager thing would make me extremely nervous. I previously worked at a district that is now being taken over by an external manager and I am very glad I'm not there to deal with it. The behavior in that school was atrocious- much worse than anything you've described at your current school. We had kids throwing violent tantrums all day long- constant screaming, running out of the room, destroying materials/property, tearing up an entire classroom, significant violence against others, etc. I honestly would not go back to that environment for a 20K raise...the money wouldn't be worth it to me. They've also had a string of horrible admin because the good ones don't want to get involved in all of that and don't apply there. The woman I worked for was certifiable.
I have some former teammates who are still in the district. They tried to fight for another district to be their external manager to avoid privatization, but the state said no. They have to pay something like 600,000 dollars to this outside company who will run their schools like charters. Now I know schools in MA are way better funded, so maybe not a huge deal, but here that's a crisis situation. I would be very concerned about the expectations for teachers and job security moving forward. While you may be grateful to have a curriculum, I would bet that there is an expectation you teach it word for word in lock step with other teachers- no freedom of any kind allowed. The pressure to improve state testing scores there must be unreal. What happens if the school doesn't improve?
I get that part of this is streaming from being a fairly new teacher which is why I will share some wisdom that somebody once shared with me. Don't get played because you sit down at a different poker table when it's the same game. Meaning that regardless of what school you go to, the act of teaching doesn't change all that much. You're always going to have challenges that you have to overcome. Be it discipline issues, the snarky English teacher, whatever. I get that. But don't let F.E.A.R. stop you from being great. It has two meanings: face everything and rise or forget everything and run. Only you can decide where you stand on that. When you decide, make sure it's an educated decision.
And trust me I get what you're feeling right now. I'm experiencing the same thing. As it gets closer and closer to May, my heart is filled with thumping excitement and wrenching fear. It's a hard thing to leave the comfort zone, and sometimes you cling to it and make reasons to stay. At the end of the day, only you can decide what is right for you.
Like someone else suggested, see if you can have a day to observe how others interact and how things function.
I get what you mean by this, but I have taught at four very different schools (private inner-city, online charter, rural public, suburban public) and my experiences at each were vastly different -- the reality is that your experience as a teacher can vary wildly depending on admin and school culture. And yet, there's no way to know for sure whether or not it's a good fit until you give it a shot. That said, do your homework, which it sounds like you are, and try to get a real picture from talking to teachers on the ground -- observing is better than nothing, but even that isn't the same since admin can pick & choose who you observe.
From what you describe, the low class sizes would be a huge plus, along with a strong union -- my worst experiences have been at non-unionized schools where teachers were basically treated like machine parts. My current school has a strong union and our classes are capped at 32 -- less than 30 is amazing!
Are you making a change as well? I would love to PM you to talk more!!
Take the new job. So many positives! Behavior issues come and go and the more experience you get the more well equipped you are to handle. Nobody enjoys the behavior issues.
Try it for one year and see what happens. You can look again if you need to.
I am I'm moving into the vice principal role. And sure.
Apr 18, 2019
I’m moving into the Dean for Academic Affairs role. I will continue doing what I’ve been doing, but in a lesser capacity, plus my new admin duties. I will be working alongside the vice principals primarily and report directly to my principal and CEO.
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