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Old 05-06-2012, 07:13 PM
HOPE-fulTeacher HOPE-fulTeacher is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 263
1st Grade Teacher
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...
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:23 PM
czacza's Avatar
czacza czacza is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 22,018
New Jersey
Grade 3
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...
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:31 PM
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bandnerdtx bandnerdtx is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3,482
Assistant Principal (6th-8th)
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?
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:48 PM
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AZMrs.S AZMrs.S is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 614
2nd Grade Teacher
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
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:53 PM
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Special-t Special-t is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,964
SPED 9-12
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.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:26 PM
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mopar mopar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 10,953
Kindergarten Teacher
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.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:28 PM
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orangetea orangetea is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,607
High School Math Teacher
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.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:44 PM
JustMe JustMe is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 8,007
Aww, I feel for you...I really do.

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!
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:19 AM
HeatherY HeatherY is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 765
Substitute Teacher
I love to hear how this is going for you.
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