What could this mean??

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by HOPE-fulTeacher, May 5, 2012.

  1. HOPE-fulTeacher

    HOPE-fulTeacher Comrade

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    May 5, 2012

    My P called me this morning (on a Saturday) and said she'd been meaning to stop by the past week, but during the school day things had gotten busy and I'd had other commitments after school by the time she stopped by.

    She knows that I go in often on Sundays asked if we could meet tomorrow (Sunday). She said on the phone just to "foreshadow" some things for tomorrow that she's going to have one of our part time reading interventionists (who's a retired 1st grade teacher) work with me for the rest of the year since "things have been difficult". The interventionist's groups will be switched to our other 2 interventionists schedules.

    This is my first year teaching. I have had a difficult class this year, and I have had a very hard time dealing with some of the more extreme situations that have come up. I don't like sending kids to the office, but I have had a kid in the office probably 3 times a week in the last couple months. (It's usually the same kid, although sometimes there are another one of two of them that play off the first and continue their shenanigans once the first one has left.) Behaviors that I am talking about are running around the room, making loud, grating noises, tipping over chairs, moving tables apart, going into other kids' stuff and taking it or breaking it, etc. (That last thing about the students' stuff is something that's particularly annoying because no 6 yr old is going to be able to concentrate on learning when another kid is breaking their favorite pencil or going into their personal cubby.) I only send them when I have not been able to deescalate the situation and it's reached the point where the behaviors have interrupted the whole class and other kids are having a hard time focusing on their jobs. I did not have these kinds of classroom management problems in my student teaching or summer teaching assistant positions, and it's not like I had some easy kids for those positions.

    I feel like a failure for not being able to handle things myself, and I am very scared for my job next year. I live in Wisconsin, so we don't have collective bargaining. We still have a union that can give us advice, but they don't have as much "pull" as they used to. I know that my P does work a lot of hours and is often there during non-school hours, but I am very nervous about meeting her on a Sunday to talk about things like this. I called my mentor, the union president, and a grade-level co-worker (on a Saturday afternoon...that's how nervous I am!), but they were all out and so I'm still waiting to hear back.

    What could this meeting mean for me, and should I go to it by myself? I don't want to appear on the defensive by bringing someone else to sit in the meeting with me (since it's on a Sunday afternoon it would be really obvious why they were there), but since all the 1st grade rooms are connected, I thought about asking my co-worker who I have seen a couple times when I've been in on the weekends if she would be there working in her room and kind of try to listen in/stop by to drop off papers or "ask me something" a couple times.

    *sigh* I am so nervous about it, and I feel like if my P is interrupting other schedules to free this lady up that it's NOT a good sign for me or my future. I can't read my P well enough to know if she's doing this because she sees potential and wants to really help me with my class or if she's doing it as something so she can say "look at all the help she needed to do her job- let's non-renew her" kind of thing. PLEASE HELP!! (And thanks for reading this long post!)
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 5, 2012

    You sound like you have reason to be scared for your job, but it also sounds like your P is trying to give you a mentor and someone to help you. I would take the advantage of working with this interventionist and us every bit of her wisdom.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 5, 2012

    To be honest, as much as I would try not to be, I would be nervous as well. Part of that is simply my personality; things like this keep me awake at night, warranted or not.You've posted a number of times about the difficulties you've been having. It's rough enough having a hard time; worse yet when those in charge notice.

    But it sounds as though she's trying. As though she wants to give you rhe support she thinks you need. She was even kind enough to give you a heads up, so that you wouldn't lose sleep tonight thinking you would be fired tomorrow morning.

    I think I would go in there as an open book. Admit to her what you've admitted to us: that your first year hasn't gone as well as you wish it had. Fill her in on what your problems have been and on what you plan to do next year to avoid being in the same position. I think that's important- that you go in NOT as a victim, but as someone who is learning from her mistakes and is open to a bit of reflection.
     
  5. HOPE-fulTeacher

    HOPE-fulTeacher Comrade

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    May 6, 2012

    I actually met with my P a few weeks ago to talk about the problems I've been having, what I've already tried to fix them, and what I'm continuing to work on to improve things. She seemed impressed with the list that I gave her and very willing to help me. I have always had good experiences with her, but I know that others haven't, so I think that's part of why I'm nervous. Both she and my mentor (who works closely with her) know that I have tried many different things and have worked hard at managing the challenging behaviors. I have also worked very hard not to let them affect the pace of student learning, and I am proud to say that my students' academic achievement is where it needs to be.

    I did hear back from my mentor and our district's union president, and both agreed that it seems to be just an informal meeting and think it's only to give me some help, especially since I'd requested advice and guidance from her at our previous meeting.

    I am with you, Alice, in that stuff like this keeps me awake when it probably shouldn't...I am a worrier and perfectionist by nature, and I don't like the feeling of not getting something down right away. I don't think that I need to be scared for my job, but since it hasn't gone as well as I'd have liked and because jobs are so hard to come by, a little part of me is anyway. (Although, our union rep did mention that the deadline for non-renewal was April 30, and I know my P was aware of the problems before then, so that makes me feel better.)

    mopar and Alice, thank you for your advice...I will go in with an open (hopefully calm) mind, accepting that I have a lot to learn but also acknowledging that I have many strengths as well.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    May 6, 2012

    You seem to be looking at this challenging year and upcoming meeting in a healthy, professional manner. :)
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 6, 2012

    I hope your meeting goes well today.
     
  8. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    May 6, 2012

    I think you have a good attitude about the situation. Hoping for the best.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 6, 2012

    Good luck today!
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 6, 2012

    Let us know how it goes today!
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 6, 2012

    Have a plan when you go in about how YOU are going to change things. What can you do Monday to get some control in your room? Quite frankly,I'm surprised the P let it go this long without providing some support.
     
  12. HOPE-fulTeacher

    HOPE-fulTeacher Comrade

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    May 6, 2012

    Thanks for the well wishes. Unfortunately, it went worse than I'd hoped. My P was very nice about the way she said things, but said she was very concerned about the way my class was going and that she was worried for my students and myself. I guess there was a parent (of one of the "copycat" kids who used to be well-behaved but has recently been acting up to get extra attention and special "privileges" like sensory breaks and candy rewards for good behavior that he sees the ringleader getting) who called and expressed concerns about the class and asked that their child be transferred to another class. My P told the parents that we don't do that, but did express to me today that she shares their concerns.

    I asked her for specific things, and she told me a couple. I agree with most of them (like raising my voice/yelling...something I know not to do, but am ashamed to say that I have done) but one of the things I think she misinterpreted. A teacher I observed in college would sometimes snap her fingers in the general direction of a couple students who were talking while someone else "had the floor" to stop the talking without having to verbally stop the person who was supposed to be talking to address the other two. It was just to address minor behaviors and not any serious misbehaviors from students who were upset. I do snap (more than the other teacher did, I will admit), but thought that it was an ok strategy to use for those instances of minor disruption. My P phrased it today that I was snapping in kids' faces and said that it wasn't a good thing to do because it only escalated the problem. It sounded like she thought I got right up in kids' faces who were having serious behavior problems and did that. I probably should have clarified (although who knows, she might not think the "real" way I do it is ok either), but I was very upset and knew that if I moved my face at all that I'd start crying.

    She also said that I don't seem to have joy about my job and says that when she sees me in the halls or in the morning with the kids that she doesn't see me welcome them with joy and positivity. She said she's concerned about me because if we don't have joy in our jobs then it's just drudgery and she didn't want me to feel that way. I did manage to squeak out that I did love my kids and I do experience joy in my job, and I didn't realize it was coming across differently. I do make it a point to greet them by name each morning and point out a lost tooth, new haircut, etc. (to connect on a more personal level), but she is never in our hallway in the mornings to see it so I'm not sure where she got this from or why she feels this way. I will admit that I probably do look "serious" a lot in the halls with my kids when I'm taking them to specials, etc. because they are a talkative group, but that is because I feel I have to be that way to let them know I mean business with being quiet and walking the correct way in the hallway. (Again, I didn't say this to her for fear of bursting out in tears right in her office.)

    The thing that confuses me is that she has not evaluated me yet, and she only has been in my room a few times when I've requested assistance from the office for help with one of those previously mentioned students (so of course I'm not going to be all smiley and positive, but neither am I going to be raising my voice either). If she hasn't seen it personally, she must be hearing it from either parents or other staff, which makes me feel awful as well.

    She also told me again about the reading interventionist (who's a retired 1st grade teacher) who would be coming to help me, although she was more clear and direct today, saying that she would be co-teaching with me, not just an aide. She said we are going to tell the kids and the parents that "she used to teach 1st grade and she missed it so much that she wanted to come back", which of course the parents will see right through.

    I know I should view this as a great learning opportunity, which it will be, but I cannot help but feel completely humiliated, embarrassed, sick to my stomach, and a failure. There are a couple of other first or second year teachers in my building who haven't needed measures like this, and I feel humiliated and like I've really let myself down for it to come to this. I don't feel like the teacher I used to be...I didn't raise my voice at any of the students I've worked with previously, and I always was very positive with them. I don't know what's different this time around, but something definitely is because I know I haven't been myself. :(

    Sorry this post is so long...I'm still trying to sort through things in my own mind, so hopefully what I'm saying is coherent...
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 6, 2012

    At this point be open to the help. The retired teacher could really help you get a handle on mgt...accept the help gratefully, be open to learning. Show what you are good at...plan together, bounce ideas off each other...this time could really give you a chance to breathe a bit, rejuvenate and again find some joy...
     
  14. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    May 6, 2012

    I think cza is right. You have to be open to any suggestions she's giving you right now. She's made it clear to you that she's not entirely pleased with what's happening, so you want to show that you're willing to work to make changes.

    Please try not to beat yourself up too much about this... I know, I know... easier said than done. I, too, would be up all night, my stomach churning. The truth is that you're a NEW teacher and you need HELP! That's okay! In a perfect world, that should be one of the main jobs of a principal... to help you learn and grow. You say you haven't been evaluated. Can you ask someone to come in your room, someone that you trust, to give you some tips and pointers?
     
  15. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    May 6, 2012

    Take the advice and learn as much as you can from the other teacher that will be in your room. Keep your head up and show your principal that you can take some criticism and can change and that you don't refuse to adapt and change. Good luck to you! I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers
     
  16. Special-t

    Special-t Connoisseur

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    May 6, 2012

    You now will have the chance to show the retired teacher that you are a quick learner with a joy for teaching, flexible, and able to be mentored. You can turn this into a positive recommendation from an experienced teacher who is respected by your principal.
    And ... It sounds like you could really use some help. It must be very stressful to be struggling with some really tough to manage students. It could make a big difference having 2 adults in the room.
     
  17. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 7, 2012

    I'm sorry that this is happening, but I think that this might be a great opportunity for you to learn and show that you can improve. I would definitely work out some details with your co-teacher so that you have a way to really work together to help these students be ready for next year.
     
  18. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    May 7, 2012

    I'm sorry this happened. I agree with everyone else--this is a really good opportunity for you to learn. Do the best you can and show the principal how hard you are trying to improve.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    May 7, 2012

    Aww, I feel for you...I really do. :hugs:

    I believe I would feel the same way you do...embarrassed, sick to my stomach...but from outside of the situation, I can tell you as one teacher to another that it's okay. Please try to see this as just additional training...we all grow at different rates. Just like when I trained people at the grocery store...some had it in a snap while other needs days and days of training and then slowly became more independent. The good thing about our profession is that it's not an independent type of career...you have lots of people who can help.

    You will be okay. You're not a failure. I've taught with failures before, and what you've described isn't one. You care and you are willing to grow.

    Best wishes!
     
  20. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    May 17, 2012

    I love to hear how this is going for you.
     

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