No Support from Admin with Educational Pursuits

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by docb, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. docb

    docb Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2017

    I am currently completing a PHD in education, an experienced teacher, tenured in my last position and never received a poor performance review. An opportunity at my childrens school opened up so for the purposes of saving money on before/after school care and to make our schedules more manageable while I complete my degree I chose to leave my old teaching position for this new opportunity. I've always wanted to work in my kids school district as it has a better rating as compared to the district where I used to work. Anyway, long story but I was interviewed by 2 of the admins several months prior to the end of last school year. They were both super supportive and positive and excited about my educational pursuits and discussed the many leadership opportunities that would be available for me at my childrens school and the district. The position is a special education teaching position however I was told that there would definitely be opportunities for me to take on additional responsibilities in line with my educational pursuits. I had such a great feeling about the people who interviewed me (who were slated to be my supervisors) so I accepted the position.

    Fast forward to my accepting the job and several months later starting off the new school year with the new school (and this is a brand new classroom for this school)... both AP's who interviewed and hired me were both promoted to principal positions at different schools. The people who replaced them who I now report to have been completely unsupportive of my new classroom (discouraging me from including them in specials although it's in their IEP), refusing to provide technology to my classroom as they don't understand why severely disabled children need i-pads and computers, discouraging me from taking my children to a common cafeteria to eat lunch because of their medical issues stating that they would prefer that we just stay in our classroom specifically with the door closed all day. *Yes I was specifically told to keep my door closed because one of my students communicates by grunting (but no louder than the group of kids who line up outside of my door daily for restroom breaks)! And, I was actually called into on of the AP's office and slapped on the hand for following a childs IEP by allowing them to attend a class session with their peers. I had gotten the ok from the gen ed teachers and thought that I was doing the right thing.

    I was recently told by administration that they didn't realize that I was actually working on a doctorate but thought that I was working on a specialist instead and that they really couldn't support any of my course work (by simply signing off on assignments and allowing me to attend leadership meetings just as a quiet spectator for my class assignment) because I have not been "tapped" to be in leadership with the district. My principal's actual words were... "I suggest that you just drop the current leadership class that you're in because I can't support it".

    I am at a complete loss as to how to proceed. I am at a position in my educational pursuits and with my years of experience to apply for supervisory positions with other schools but my plan was to complete my degree first (I only have a couple of semesters left prior to my dissertation) then my plan was to pursue a lead teacher position or something like that. I was always impressed with the district until I began working here and now I don't even feel comfortable with my children staying in an environment where leadership does not support their employees. If the principal doesn't believe in me and support me in my educational pursuits then how can I trust that she will believe in my children and encourage their academic success? At this point I'm having to scramble and go outside of the district to find support in simply completing my assignments towards my degree because my current administration said no, they would not support me. These are not the people that I interviewed with. I have considered reaching out to the 2 people who interviewed me but I'm new to the district and not sure of their relationship with my current principal and don't want to make the situation worse by asking their opinion and possibly having them report back to my principal. I believe that I would be able to break my contract if offered a leadership position in education as that would be considered a promotion and a valid reason based on what I've researched. But that was not the plan. I wanted more time to prepare to move into leadership however I'm starting to feel like maybe this is the push that I needed to seek out administrative positions as that was ultimately the goal anyway.

    My classroom itself is great, the kids are a pleasure to work with, parent support is great, paraprofessionals are great. But I'm spending a great deal of money to further my education in hopes to advance my career and being slapped in the face with no support and actually suggesting that I drop my classes really makes me feel like I need to leave asap and take my children with me. I'm feeling stuck and discouraged.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 12, 2017

    Does your county have an educational services center or intermediate unit that helps support moderate to severely disabled students and their classrooms? It sounds like your administration, in an effort to make the school "look normal", is trying to hide your students in violation of their IEPs. Someone above a school level should probably be brought in to help you.
     
  4. docb

    docb Rookie

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    *This is a smaller district and only 1 person who supports all ID units (not a ton of these units in the district). I have reached out and that person basically they told me that all they can do is support but have no "power" to tell my admin what to do.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 12, 2017

    It seems like you have two different issues here. One is with your administration's demands you deviate from your students' IEPs when they make those students visible to the general population. The other is that they are actually standing in the way of your fieldwork for your degree. The latter is annoying enough, but the former is illegal. As I've said on these boards before, you teaching license is your property and one of your most prized possessions. Document all the times (especially if they're emailing you) you've been told to break with IEPs. This sounds like something you'll want to deliver to a superintendent or school board president, if necessary. DO NOT PUT YOUR LICENSE ON THE LINE. Your job there can be replaced.
     
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  6. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

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    Sep 12, 2017

    Great advice.

    My old district was not helpful with my leadership pursuits either. It was policy not to assist non tenured teachers in leadership assignments. Luckily I was leaving for a better job but I wound up doing my internship in the summer at a charter.

    Talk to your ed program. Someone there might be able to sign off on things. The head of my grad dept. did that for several people.
     
  7. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

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    Sep 12, 2017

    I think that you have received feedback regarding the classroom/ following IEP piece so I thought I'd comment on the question of leadership opportunities. First, I can hear your frustration. I also appreciate that you feel like you were signing onto something that was different. Now that you're in the position, the question is where to go from here?

    One thing that stood out to me was the comment about your administration being unwilling to sign off to attend leadership meetings. This actually sounds reasonable to me. Where I work, a teacher who wants to go into administration has to apply to a leadership pool. Once they are selected they can attend events for leadership candidates. Once they are assigned an AP or P job, they attend leadership meetings. In my District, teachers in a teaching role would not be allowed at leadership meetings.

    I also noted your comment about spending a lot of money to advance your career. I think that to advance into administration what you need more than a PhD is experience in informal and formal leadership. I wonder if there are opportunities for you to work with colleagues, demonstrate your ability to contribute to a team and work with others. In a new District it takes time. A few years showing your commitment to being a team mate should open up informal opportunities to take on leadership roles, which will eventually open up other opportunities. I have no idea how much experience you have. You may feel like you have plenty. You may still need to demonstrate this in your new school before moving into other opportunities.

    I've worked with people working on degrees. What many of them say is I'm a teacher first. This is my first responsibility. I think in a new District you really have to demonstrate that you are committed and be willing to show that you are present to support the school as a whole.

    You of course can also always look for other opportunities if you feel this school won't work for you.
     
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  8. docb

    docb Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2017

    I am the queen of documentation! One thing that I've learned over the years and continue to do is to communicate through email. Even when a meeting is called I follow-up with an email. Thanks for the reply!
     
  9. docb

    docb Rookie

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    Thank you for the reply. The district that I left was very pro-teacher leader and offered opportunities for leadership assignments for those who put forth the effort. Based on my interview where this very subject was discussed I never thought that it would be an issue with this new school. I wish that I had known ahead of time. I have spoken with my ed adviser and Principals and AP's outside of my district who know me and my work ethic and support me so that is covered. I'm just thankful that I have other networks and supports but it would have been ideal to have support where I currently am.
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.
  10. docb

    docb Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2017

     
  11. docb

    docb Rookie

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    Thank you for the thoughtful reply. "Where to go from here..." I think that is the main reason that I wrote this post. I have internalized this situation for a while now and really wanted to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard!) to get it out!

    When my administrator told me that she would not support me and to drop the class I knew at that moment what I needed to do and have begun that process. Ultimately as an educator I would never tell a student of mine to quit. I may tell them that they need to redefine their purpose and as a mentor and leader to them I would lead them and direct them. I would not simply tell them no and to quit. My children attend this school. I am not only an employee here but I am also a parent who wants great and supportive leadership for my children. I teach my children the importance of education and that mommy is a better teacher, a better provider and overall a better person as I continue to learn. All of those things drive me and my decisions.

    This experience, although frustrating and has caused a lot more work on my already overwhelmed plate (YIKES!), has also been a wake up call and is pushing me to new opportunities! I'm slowly starting to get excited about what my future holds now that I've been forced to take the unexpected turn in the road!
     
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  12. JMatch123

    JMatch123 Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2017

    Go to the special ed director with the concerns if you have one. What the administrator is doing is illegal because it's not what their IEPS say. If your brave enough, tell the administrator that you will be contacting parents about revising IEPS to state what your administrator is making your kids do (or not do)---it might scare the administrator. If not, call your state's special ed department and report concern. Im in a new special ed position and and the previous teacher wrote IEPs wrong and there were reg ed teachers sending kids down to the room (not in ieps) as a dumping ground. I had the balls to talk the principal about it. She knew what was going on with the previous teacher but she knows I am right in regards to the IEPs and the regular ed teachers. We are having a meeting the the special ed department about changing things. US special ed teachers know what is legal/illegal.....use your power! Stand up for your kids. Keep documentation on your treatment and the kids treatment and keep copies of IEPS with you...if they try to get rid of you...sue them and use your paperwork and documentation as proof! Keep dates and times of everything too!
     
  13. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

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    Sep 16, 2017

    I wouldn't advise trying to scare an administrator. But putting your concerns in writing could protect you.
     
  14. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Sep 16, 2017

    I agree with this. As has been stated, document everything as much as possible. Remember, those IEPs are contracts with appropriate remedies for breach.
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.

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