Training question: I'm afraid to tell them I wasn't trained properly

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Kenz501, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 7, 2018

    How can I tell my boss that I wasn't trained properly without risking being fired, let go, non-renewed, etc.? I've been at this placement for almost seven months, and I've been struggling and faking it almost every day. I'm a certified teacher on paper, but I have almost no idea what I'm doing in the classroom. The curriculum is confusing to me, and the kids' behavior has me very frustrated. I've even had a couple of panic attacks since I've been teaching here. It's a good school, not like the places I'm used to working. My first real "teaching" job was at a youth center, and I wasn't even always teaching my subject. I'm making a whole lot more money here; I've even been able to start paying on my student loan, and I love the climate and being around my family. I don't want to lose this job, but I'm not sure if even new teachers are supposed to struggle this much. I don't know how to teach what I've been assigned to teach, and my lessons are often confusing to the kids. I hate what I'm doing, but I feel like I could do better if I could just get someone to give me an idea of what I'm supposed to be doing.

    We're so departmentalized, though, that one middle school teacher doesn't even know what the other is doing. I feel like I'm bothering the more experienced teachers when I ask for help, and I think my superiors have made it clear that they expect more of me. I'm also leery of telling anyone that I don't really get it, because they've all tried so hard to help me. I'm really sorry for being slow on the uptake, but if I don't know how to use their curriculum guide how am I supposed to successfully develop my own lessons?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    You need to get over this belief that others are responsible for what you have learned. They aren’t. You are. If you don’t know something, find the resources that will help you figure it out.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I honesty do not know how to do that. My attempts at just searching online and finding random lessons haven't really yielded anything fruitful long-term. I think my best resources are the people who have taught the grade before or teach similar grades, but it's a communication issue, either that or a training issue, that keeps me from being totally upfront with them.
     
  5. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    What's your subject?
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    OP, the university that graduated you without the requisite knowledge and experience are partly at fault. As hard as this is to hear, you are also at fault for not seeking out more education and experience during your university experience because you are aware that you are on the spectrum, and you have chosen to pursue a career that requires communication, organization, independent learning and thinking, dealing with stress and anxiety, and worst of all, it isn't the job of your colleagues to teach you what you should have mastered during your years as a student.

    At the very least, you need to spend some of your salary to find a therapist who can help you be an organized and competent teacher. It might seem like a perfect scenario for colleagues to "train" you, but trust me, that is NOT in their job description. If browsing on the internet is not "sticking with you" or helping, you need to find someone who can help you get organized, and you need to make sure that what you are teaching corresponds to the curriculum. The world at large, your colleagues, your place of employment hired you because they assumed you were qualified for the position. You post that you are clueless, which only goes to show that they were sadly mistaken.

    This is just another version of the same sad tale, and there is nothing new to be said. You can either do the job or you can't. If it is the latter, I fear that your chance of success in this job may well be in jeopardy - which I am pretty sure you know. Get over assigning blame to everyone else, and realize that you need more help than your colleagues can reasonably be expected to provide. IMHO, you need to engage someone who is experienced in working with those on the spectrum, which I am sure will cost you some money, and let them help you find the clarity, organization, and skills you need to remain in this job.
     
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  7. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 8, 2018

    It's seventh grade English / Language Arts. Here's an example of how I've struggled. My classes are broken into two fifty-five minute blocks each day. One is called Reading and the other is called English. I've been treating them like two separate classes, because I did not know what else to do. I was informed yesterday by a coworker that I needed to reinforce what I was teaching in one in the other. This is just one example of how lost I've been.
     
  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm assuming you could discuss, analyze, write about texts that you read in reading during English.
     
  9. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Yes, I think that is what I'm supposed to do. It never occurred to me until a coworker mentioned it, though. I've been treating them like two separate classes.
     
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Okay, that is something concrete and not simply "I DO NOT UNDERSTAND ANYTHING!" Can you ask your principal if you can observe how another teacher or two handles the transitions between the two subjects? That might be a major start to building your own classroom.
     
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  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    For me, observing is the way that I learn best. Ask you P about observing in other classes; if it's difficult to arrange logistically, ask if you can take a personal day (so that you have a sub) and spend that time observing in other classrooms. In my district, we have several teacher who open up their classrooms as "demonstration classrooms" and they frequently have observers in the room.

    You've said, previously, that you wish someone would just tell you what to do, or give you plans for the year. Even if you found that, you wouldn't learn that way. We don't just hand our students answers and tell them that they have learned; we make them do the work for it.

    Look back through some of your previous threads; skip past your posts and reread what others have said. You've been given lots of concrete advice.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Feb 8, 2018

    OP has finally raised a concrete question with a concrete answer that should have been asked and answered 7 months ago. I suspect, however, that OP's attitude that the colleagues are obligated to "train her" (and probably more similar requests) have conditioned them to turn a deaf ear, finding out that if they show her how to do step A, OP will then expect them to do steps B through Z for her as well. OP's constant lament about not being trained, while receiving regular paychecks may have caused the colleagues to become immune to her frequent requests. I worked with someone very similar to OP, and felt bled dry by the end of a semester. When I was no longer the person who bailed her out, she just found a new soft heart and continued getting others to essentially do her work for her. When she had exhausted and alienated her colleagues, she was forced to sink or swim. After 2 years of being "mentored" by every available teacher, her ineptitude gained the notice of admin when she was forced to do her own work. Simply stated, she couldn't - and she was gone.

    Kenz501 seems so like my former coworker, who blamed every other teacher for "not helping her" when her evaluations showed her lack of ability, leading to her termination. I fully recognize and realize that OP strikes a raw nerve in me, because it is just all too similar to something that drained me, knowing I was teaching twice as many classes, and my coworker was "grateful" but not grateful enough to learn from anything that was done for her. I would have agreed that my coworker wasn't trained enough to be successful, but after two years, I came to understand that the "teach me" really came from a parasite that had no intention of learning. It has caused me to be fairly suspicious of trained teachers who can't seem to figure it our for themselves, by asking pertinent questions which allow them to become self sufficient. I was new once, too, but I knew that my colleagues were there as a reference, but were not my keeper. OP might want to consider how being constantly drained affected my attitude, and question for herself if something similar has gone on in her job-site over the last 7 months.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Feb 8, 2018

    Gratitude has little to do with ability to learn from others. Some people aren't cut out for the application of the education they received. They may understand in theory but can't put it into practice. Some people aren't cut out for certain jobs no matter how much they try or how much help they get. It isn't in their wheelhouse of skills and students can't be the perpetual guinea pigs for those who take much to long to learn the skills to be effective.

    Sure, eventually a few might learn, but for some people, that curve is way too long.
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Feb 8, 2018

    Amen to that.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I suspect that most of us have had at least one colleague similar to this. It is enormously frustrating to be expected to do someone else's job for them and to see them refuse to learn the lessons they have asked for.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I have to ask since two people have no alleged that people refused to learn what they were asked to be taught. Do you all really think that these people purposely decided they were just not going to learn it and were just expecting others to do their work? Sure, there are some people out there that don't want to really do the work, but isn't it more possible that these people are incapable of learning it or incapable of learning based on what is given?
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm going to go with outright refusal.

    One person I worked with did not check her work emails. She said it was "too hard to remember how to do that". I helped her log in. Every person in the hallway helped her log in. She had her username and password written down where she could access it. She wasn't some neo-luddite or anything, either, and was hugely active on Twitter and Instagram. I'm certain that she would have been able to learn how to use her work email account. She simply refused to do so. Instead, she relied on others to do it for her, and she used it as an excuse as to why she didn't meet certain deadlines or complete certain tasks (because she never read the emails).

    Are there people who can't learn? Sure, I suppose so. In my experience, those aren't the people who are causing these sorts of problems, probably because they aren't making it through the system to the point where they are hired as full-time teachers. If a person can make it through school, handle the bureaucracy of the licensing and application processes, and succeed in an interview, I think that they should be expected to be able to write a lesson plan and deliver a lesson.

    We've seen situations here where people have used their disabilities and the legal system to pretty much coerce a university into awarding a degree, so I don't doubt that that sort of thing happens from time to time. Even with that, though, the person is still making it through all the red tape and interviews, and is still savvy enough to work the system, which to me means that there likely must be some sort of functional ability to work in this field.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  18. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    a2z, my feelings, as well as my coworkers, were that this individual simply wanted us to do her work. We have since discovered that prior to working at our school, as well as since leaving our school, she has not lasted anywhere more than a year. I assume that since our school is tough to teach in, as long as we helped, she flew under the radar for two years. When the math teacher found out what the science teacher had discovered, and the history and English teacher found out they had "given to the cause", the help dried up, and the deficits were easy to see. I consider it learned helplessness, a strategy that has obviously been successful in her life. It went beyond the work and spilled over into her private life, which was anything but private. "No money for lunch - could you help?' "My car is in the shop until I can afford to get it out - can you come get me for work this week." "My child needs therapy, but my insurance hasn't been approved - loan me some money until the first check shows up?" It was relentless. I was the first to cut the strings, ignoring queries for money, rides, etc. I was pleasant, but not a part of the game any more.

    I don't know that she is incapable of learning - I think she learned to lean on others very well. As far as learning to be a teacher - not so much.
     
  19. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    It is way easier to place the blame somewhere else than to buckle down and do it yourself.

    At some point, you have to take responsibility for your own success (or failure) and do something about it.

    I have a degree in secondary English. I did not receive any training on how to write lesson plans or manage a classroom. All of my education classes were educational theory, which did nothing to actually show me how to run my classroom. My subject classes were literature/writing/grammar, but not on how to teach those.

    It was about five years before I felt like I was actually managing my classroom effectively. And about the time I got the hang of it, there were new standards or a new program or new books or a new school initiative or new technology.

    Guess who was in charge of learning that? ME! I was the only one who could actually learn it. The PD that we received, it any, was usually inadequate to be able to actually implement anything right out of the gate.

    I get really frustrated with coworkers who say they can't do things. One doesn't know how to use Google Drive, so I'm always asked to provide printed copies of things for him. You know what? I didn't know how to use Google Drive at first either. I had ZERO training on how to use it at first, but I figured it out. I did a lot of searches online. I played around with it a lot. I did also ask people for help. However, I made sure to ask specific questions instead of just saying that I didn't understand. I certainly didn't blame my lack of knowledge on someone else.

    You can find plenty of lessons online. Many of them even give you step-by-step directions for implementation. Look for them. Print one you like. Do it.
    .
     
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  20. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Here's the thing: I don't think any of us was trained properly. With a few exceptions, most teacher "preparation" programs focus on theory and content, or on the latest buzzwords and initiatives, with very little time given over to what really works and is practical in the classroom. Most of us felt lost and like we were "failing" in our first year (or years) of teaching. But, we made it through, because we wanted it so badly that we were willing to claw our way through and do whatever we could to make it as teachers. It takes a lot of long hours, short nights, sweat, and tears, to make a teacher in our "system." You have to decide if you want it badly enough to do what it takes to improve and succeed as a teacher.
     
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  21. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Feb 8, 2018

    Wake up and smell the coffee! I was once told that teaching is one of the few professions where a first year teacher is expected to perform the same tasks as a 30th year teacher. The other teachers in the department have no responsibility to help you. If they do provide you any assistance, I do hope you are grateful and perhaps consider buying them lunch or baking them pastries for their troubles. I do hope you are training your students as well as you would have liked to have been trained.
     

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