School District Drama

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Sab, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Sab

    Sab Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2017

    So I'm doing a demo lesson next week at this district that apparently "really wants me"

    At first I wasn't sure about them because of a disorganized interview process, weird desperate vibe, the position being for a brand new school, and the administration I met with just generally not seeming particularly friendly. However I was starting to get more excited about the position because it would totally be a preferred grade and subject, but then upon further research I'm learning more about the district and their issues

    So basically their superintendent is wildly unpopular and the majority of the district's teachers signed a petition for her to resign, which she didn't. People are also furious about her laying off teachers and hiring new teachers, and I would obviously BE a new teacher. I would hate to go into a work environment where people were already resentful of me. ANOTHER administrator (one who was in my interview and pressuring me on the phone) is also apparently extremely disliked and has been accused of creating a hostile work environment, "terrorizing" district employees, bullying people to leave the district, and more...

    How big of a factor would issues like that be in your decision?
     
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  3. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Jul 9, 2017

    It depends if you really need a job and you don't see this job as long term but rather as a stepping stone to your career.

    I would steer clear but if I really needed a job and other opportunities weren't calling I'd go through with the demo and let the process play out. I would also ask a lot of questions. The Sup. really doesn't effect your day to day teaching, I'd be more worried about direct admin you work with when selecting a job.
     
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  4. Sab

    Sab Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2017

    Yeah, I'm planning to still go do the demo and see how it goes, and I'd definitely have a bunch of questions before signing the contract. I wonder if they would let me contact any other teacher in the district? I'd like to talk to one; it was all administration in my interview. And I'm not really sure how much the one particular administrator would be around, his job is to help establish the new school, so I don't know if he'd be there every day or what. I am only thinking about this next school year at this point, so long term job stability isn't really a concern.
     
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  5. bella84

    bella84 Enthusiast

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    Jul 9, 2017

    I agree with Bunnie. I'd avoid a school with a principal such as the one you describe. That said, if I was desperate for a job, just to keep a roof over my head, I guess I'd deal with it but keep looking. Principals are a HUGE factor in job satisfaction and climate at a school.
     
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  6. rpan

    rpan Companion

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    Jul 9, 2017

    I think if you can get creative with trying to contact a couple of teachers who work there to see what it's really like e.g. a friend of a friend, Edmodo, just doing a google search, even Facebook etc you would get a better vibe of working conditions. Sometimes the school admin is terrible but colleagues are supportive and collaborative, and it may not be too bad.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 9, 2017

    I agree with the PPs. If you need this job to keep a roof over your head, then take it. If you're in a position where you could possibly handle subbing for a year if it came to that, I wouldn't accept. I agree that a superintendent will have a smaller impact on your day to day life at school, but principals can make a HUGE difference.

    If there is a lot of turnover in the district and admin is not well liked, I'd also worry about the possibility of non-renewal, which is a career killer around here (different in other areas, so you need to think about what it's like in your area). I previously worked in a school with awful, disorganized leadership with a nutcase P. The district would non-renew all of their probationary teachers every year so they could use that as proof that they were "doing something" about low test scores (this was a district with almost 100% free and reduced lunch and about 90% EL students). They'd say the low test scores were the fault of "bad teachers" and that they were fixing the problem by getting rid of all of the bad teachers. I was relocating and didn't live in the area prior to accepting the job, so although I knew the student population was difficult I had no idea about the district's repuatation otherwise.

    Definitely see if they'll let you talk to your future teammates and if they won't, I'd take that as a red flag. I'd also make sure if you do talk to veteran teachers at this school, take what they say with a grain of salt. They may be afraid that negative comments will get back to admin, and if the beginning of the school year is fast approaching they may be worried about the impact on them if positions go unfilled. I would be prepared to read between the lines/pay attention to what they don't say vs. just taking what they say at face value.
     
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  8. Sab

    Sab Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2017

    I'm unclear on what position this administrator exactly has, here's there for 1-2 years to help establish the new school, but I don't think he'd exactly be principal.
    Is non-renewal really that bad? I'm in CA, I have no idea what it's like here, but I thought it was fairly common. That does worry me though.
     
  9. ktmiller222

    ktmiller222 Cohort

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    Jul 10, 2017

    It really depends on how you could handle this type of environment. If you take things personally or get stressed easily, you should pass. If you are strong and know what they do is not appropriate but can continue to do your work well, then go for it. One of the positives is that all the teachers are probably feeling the same about the administration and it helps them bond and support each other better. Good luck to you.
     
  10. johnab

    johnab Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2017

    Think of it this way: Everything that has occurred at this SD before you get hired is not your fault nor your responsibility. The question becomes then, "are you willing to become (an even unwilling participant) part of that culture once you get hired?"

    If you can go into the job understanding the drama that's around you and vow to keep yourself above it - then take the job. If you think that its going to hurt your career in any way, then, ask yourself the hard questions.

    In this climate, turning down jobs is a really, really bad idea, unless you have extreme circumstances.
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    Jul 10, 2017

    If you need the job and experience, take the job, but also keep an eye peeled for chances to leave when appropriate. Know that some existing staff may resent new staff hired to replace terminated staff, but they will probably get over it. I would try to have as much information about what went down, and all of the facts from as many perspectives as possible before signing the contract, but you may have to go with your gut reaction. Good luck.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 14, 2017

    Well, like I said it's different in other areas, so your best bet would be to ask others in CA. I'm not in CA. Around here you have to report non-renewals on applications, and resigning instead doesn't help because every application will also ask, "Have you ever resigned in lieu of non-renewal?"

    Around here, non-renewals are always due to poor performance and schools will use this to weed out applicants when they're deciding who to interview. A few years ago we had an extremely hard time filling my teammate's position when she left, and even when we had gotten into August without hiring anyone , my P refused to bring in candidates who had gotten non-renewed for interviews. In my previous horrible school that I mentioned, luckily I saw the writing on the wall and resigned well before non-renewal decisions came out, so I was honestly able to answer "no" to those application questions. My friends who had waited were not getting a single interview for months. Many of them decided to lie on their applications and check "no," which did get them interviews and jobs, but that's extremely risky because the consequences are HUGE if anyone ever finds out they lied on the application, even after they'd started at the new school.

    I've learned from this board that in some areas, getting cut for budget reasons is also called "non-renewal," and in that case it's obviously not your fault. Due to this ambiguity, you might be okay with applications. Around here, when someone is let go because of budget, it's called RIF (reduction in force), so the distinction is clear.
     
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  13. MissyB

    MissyB Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2017

    Take it from someone who just spend the last year in a horrible district like this (it was bad enough we went on strike for 8 days in September) with a horrible principal who had it out for about half of the staff: don't go there unless you are absolutely desperate for a job. My year was so bad it affected my physical and mental health and had me questioning whether I wanted to be a teacher for the first time in my life. I loved my students and grade level team members but it was a chore to get up every morning to go to work and I dreaded anytime she came into my classroom or I had to interact with her. I went from teacher of the year with very good observations at my old district to being graded as barely competent by her and her nit-picky standards (standards that we later found out were different for each person being observed). I saw the writing on the wall and knew I could not handle another year there so I resigned before she could even consider non-renewal. Thankfully with that weight off my shoulders I was able to make her happy enough the last few months of the school year to get a good letter of recommendation from her.
     
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  14. anon55

    anon55 Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2017

    Non renewal isn't exactly the kiss of death in CA, but it's close to it. As you know, almost every district uses edjoin. And also as you know, there's a question on the application, "have you ever been non renewed or resigned in lieu of non renewal", or something to that effect. There's a feature most districts use that automatically sorts out the people who answer yes to that question.

    However, many people resign if they know they're getting non renewed and still answer no on that question. There's no way to prove you resigned to avoid non renewal so that's irrelevant. So it really depends on if this school allows teachers to resign or actually non renews them.
     

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