1st year, hate it

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by cmrncraz15, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. cmrncraz15

    cmrncraz15 Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2008

    Okay, I have no idea what to do. I'm on the verge of quitting, but I know I would make a good teacher in the right setting. I grew up in a private school setting, then switched to public for high school. Student teaching in public and subbing experience in both private and public.

    I'm teaching in a public school and I absolutely hate it. I'm the only male on staff. I spend 99% of my time doing paperwork and getting yelled at by my principal. I'm overwhelmed by the paperwork and the principal has been a nightmare. She constantly complains about everything I do or don't do. I have constant interruptions and am constantly been evaluated and compared to more experienced teachers, which is a losing situation for me. I've been instructed to teach straight from the basal and I've had terrible results so far. My principal constantly complains about my lesson plans, the way my room is decorated, the way my desks are set up, my shoe size, etc. She tells me she can't figure out how I keep my kids under control without over-structuring them the way other teachers do. I've already been pulled out of instructional time a couple of times to go meet with her. She also instructed me to "not worry" about a special ed student in my class and even criticized me for working with her because "she's not going to pass the test." I hate that idea. I find my principal to be condescending and arrogant and has told me to my face that I'm not even close to fitting in. She seems to think she's giving constructive criticism, but I can't hear anything that's going to help me teach my students. I coach youth sports and work with some less experienced coaches, so I'm sort of in a similar position. I can't help but think that if I took the same attitude, I'd run people off.

    I am told to spend my time teaching how to guess at the standards test, which I think is ridiculous. I feel like the kids will learn if I make the lessons interesting and fun. I feel like I can make a difference to these kids, but I am torn between enjoying my time in the classroom and the constant frustration I'm having.

    When looking for a job, I applied at both public and private schools. A bunch of private schools told me I needed to get some experience. Am I just going through first year struggles or am I going to drive myself crazy in a public school? I hate to quit because I know it would make it really tough to get another teaching job, but I don't want a job that I dread going to every day, either. I'm literally dreading every day because I know I'm for another day of being micromanaged and yelled at.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 16, 2008

    That's a perfectly rotten situation to be in, cmrncraz15. Sounds like your principal has some control issues; it would be interesting to know whether she tends to run young men off the faculty.

    Guessing can indeed be a useful skill in test taking, but it's useful only insofar as it's backed up by solid knowledge of the principles of the subject area in which one's being tested.

    Do the other teachers all seem to get along with her, or do they seem to have similar issues?
     
  4. cmrncraz15

    cmrncraz15 Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2008

    The returning teachers have told me to "just deal with her." I'm not sure that's my specialty area. :)
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 17, 2008

    That response suggests that it isn't just you, at least.

    I'm outside my specialty area here, by a long shot, but I sure hope someone has some good ideas for you.
     
  6. drapes330

    drapes330 Companion

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    This made me cringe. It sounds like you are trying to do everything right- from your attitude to your teaching philosophies. For your administration to act this way is AWFUL.

    The good thing about being in a public school is that you should have some support SOMEWHERE. Is there a department chair you can speak with about your concerns, or a grade level teacher? What about your school's union rep? Hopefully someone can give you some constructive, supportive feedback! Good for you for sticking to your convictions regarding how you want your class run, and how you want to instruct your students.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Is there someone else on staff that could mentor you a bit? Whether it's completely a figment of the principal's imagination or not, any first year teacher can use home advice from someone who knows the ropes.

    Find someone who fits in and seems to have found his or her niche in the school. See if there's a way he or she can observe your classes somehow to give you some practical input.
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 18, 2008

    I have 14 weeks of student teaching and some online tutoring experience and an amazing private school hired me. We actually even hired a science teacher (with some experience) from VA this school year! What private schools are worried about is that we might just stay here a few years, get experience, and then leave for a higher paying public school position. If you can prove to them you're in it for the kids and school community, that would really help.

    I used this site to help me get this position (some private schools will only use such companies to get their candidates). I would suggest you sign up and its free for teachers.
     
  9. crayoncaper

    crayoncaper Rookie

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    Sep 19, 2008

    Wow. That is horrible. I am sorry you are in this situation. I will pray for you.
    In the meantime, teach the kids. If she gets mad, then she does. As long as they are learning and your are staying within the law, I would not worry.
     
  10. UW_teacher

    UW_teacher Rookie

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    Sep 21, 2008

    I agree with crayoncaper. Do your best; teach your students and maintain a lot of records on gains made, etc... I also would get in touch with your local union representative ASAP.
     
  11. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    OMG- your principal is a nut job! I'm so sorry that this his happening to you. Sounds like she has it out for you for some reason. I agree that you should consult with your union rep so you can cover your behind if need be!!! UGH!!!!!! I'm sorry sorry this is going on. :(
     
  12. cmrncraz15

    cmrncraz15 Rookie

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    Ugh....I'm on my encore time. I'm trying to turn the lights out and pretend I'm not here. I can't believe I've made it to the fourth week. Every day is just a new set of complaints. I've been here less than two hours and I've already been lectured to three times. They gave me notice today that I'm supposed to stay for a meeting this afternoon, but I've already got responsibilities I have to take care of. I'm getting pretty sick of hearing that I'm not committed to my job because I'm not on campus two hours early and two hours late every day. Oh, and because everything else wasn't quite ridiculous enough, I also heard for ten minutes this morning about how teaching isn't about me and that I show that I think it's about me because.....wait for it......my tie is too distracting. Seriously. I had no response.

    Every day gets worse. My kids aren't allowed to read aloud in class, even though some of them want to. Regardless of what my administration thinks, I did go to school for this. I know the arguments against round robin reading, but to not allow any reading other than chorus reading is mind-blowing. Yesterday I got blasted because I was "wasting instruction time" by reading to the kids for ten minutes. We're currently reading one of the Wayside School books from Louis Sachar and every day the kids come to my class asking whether we're going to read another chapter. My reading specialist spends more time in my classroom more than I do. She took my quizzes from last week to take home to grade (apparently I'm incapable of grading my own papers) and I still haven't seen them. I've been given a step-by-step plan for what I'm supposed to do on each day every week. It's always the same thing. Read a short story, then have them do a page from the workbook, then define the vocab words, then have them do another page from the workbook. I'm still waiting on a special educator to come into my room to work with the students I'm supposed to "not worry about."

    I'm now on a day-by-day basis. Every day I get up and wonder how it's not Friday yet. Every time someone comes into my room, I'm sure I'm about to quit. What else can you do with a B.S. in elementary education?
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2008

    You have quite the situation. I don't know any administration but yours that thinks that chorus reading is appropriate and that you shouldn't read aloud to the kids. I wouldn't worry about them saying that you aren't committed to your job. I worked at a school that was not in the same town as I lived. I was one of the last ones there in the morning and one of the first to leave in the afternoons, but I had a daughter that needed to be picked up from daycare and I was 30 minutes away from her. Don't feel bad! As far as what else you can do with your degree, eduational writing, corporate training, etc.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    what a lousy principal! I'm so sorry!
     
  15. reverie

    reverie Companion

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    Sep 27, 2008

    That sounds familiar. I don't think it's the fact that it's a public school, though. It is probably just that school with that particular P. Hang in there and good luck!
     
  16. teachinLA

    teachinLA Rookie

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    It seems that you would enjoy teaching in the right environment, so don't give up on teaching yet. We need people like you (especially male teachers in the lower levels) to help and teach our kids. I have thought in public schools for the last 6 years and they are not all like that. I have never heard any one tell a teacher not to read aloud to kids and encourage teachers to just do workbook pages. I currently work as a special ed teacher but I have taught general ed and I have never encountered such behavior. It is a school wide curriculum they want you to follow or is the entire district working this way? Is the principal's agenda to make you quit? I wish there was a way for me to help other than just encourage you to not giving up on the profession and know that you are doing what you need to do. Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  17. cmrncraz15

    cmrncraz15 Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2008

    At the end of the day yesterday, my principal pulled me out of class to let me know that starting Monday I'd be teaching K5. Other than a few days of subbing experience in a private school, I've never been around kids this age. I have no idea what to do. Our K5 classes currently have 34 kids per class. We've gone 5 weeks into the year and now I'm supposed to start all over? I'm supposed to use today to get my room organized. I'm planning on spending part of the day to job search. I have no idea what I'm doing.:unsure:
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    It sounds as though job searching is a very good idea. I wish I had advice, but only have :hugs:
     
  19. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Wow! What's k5? Is that a kindergarten position? My thoughts will be with you today! Let's hope Craigslist's Education posting can come through for you!
     
  20. cmrncraz15

    cmrncraz15 Rookie

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    Yeah, Kindergarten.

    Oh. Today is finally coming to an end. I had today only to set up my classroom and, to make it worse, progress reports went out today. So I spent the afternoon in meetings about kindergarten, trying to set up my classroom (which, when I entered it this morning, consisted of no tables or chairs and a teacher's desk with only three legs), and getting my progress reports done for my old classes, the 6th grade. Then the principal yelled at me for not having my progress reports done early. One of the other kindergarten teachers has been amazing so far, which has probably kept me from running away already.
     
  21. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    You have 34 kids in a kindergarten class? That's criminal!

    Hang in there. There really are good schools with supportive admins; you just have to find them!
     
  22. drapes330

    drapes330 Companion

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    WOW. 6th grade to K with no warning? Does the P want her teachers to quit? Were you given any input on this decision? Is there a union rep in your building? I cant imagine what you must be feeling like right now, but maybe this might be a nice fresh start for you. Who knows, maybe you will find that you are born to be a kindergarten teacher or maybe the P will micromanage you less from there. But I wouldnt blame you for looking for a new job right now! Good luck!
     
  23. KAM

    KAM Rookie

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    cmrncrac15, I can totally empathize with you. It really sounds like the best thing might be to continue with your job search considering the frustration you are encountering. Good luck. I hope things turn around for you.

     
  24. cmrncraz15

    cmrncraz15 Rookie

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    My god. My first day with kindergarten was a complete disaster. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing and feel like a glorified babysitter. I don't think I have the patience for this and I am to the point where I'm not sure teaching is what I want to do. I do know that teaching kindergarten is not what I want to do. My goal for tomorrow is to not quit. I'm already dreading going in. This is not fun. On the flip side, I coach soccer and I'm finding that having practices to go to after school is a life saver. I had a blast at a practice tonight. It has become a great stress reliever.
     
  25. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Oct 6, 2008


    Check into Power Teaching... have you heard of it? It sounds like you need something intense to help you get through this. That is a TON of kindergarteners in a class. Sorry this has been so tough for you!
     
  26. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    I am sorry that you are going thru this. I know that teaching is a wonderful job for me and you sound as though you are an effective teacher. It is important for you to find your niche and run with it. I think that you should try another school, but don't give up on teaching. I hope that all work out for you. Hang in there
     
  27. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    Wow! Just so you know, it sounds to me like you are a fantastic human being for being able to deal with all of that! Not all public schools are like that at all! I'm not saying they are perfect, but I don't think you are having anything even close to resembling a normal first year experience. Is it possible in your district to transfer to a different school? That's only done in extreme cases in my district but I really think this qualifies.
     
  28. oldfashioned

    oldfashioned Comrade

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    My first year of teaching was horrible too, and I totally recognize the despair in your messages because I felt it too. You said that one of the K teachers was amazing; could you not ask if he or she would mind if you did your planning together? During my horrible first year, I had a generous and gracious grade level chairperson who was a lifesaver! Hang in there. Oh, that horrible first year I had was 16 years ago, and I did survive it, and you will too.
     
  29. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    The first couple of years are just plain difficult, and there's no way around it, but it sounds like you've had some extra difficulty heaped on your shoulders! I agree with the suggestion to look at Power Teaching - the little ones can do very well with the structure and should enjoy the kinesthetic elements.

    http://homepage.mac.com/chrisbiffle/Menu38.html
     
  30. SittinInATree

    SittinInATree Companion

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    Wow, I am so sorry you are going through this. The only advice I have is to try and stick it out. I let a mean principal drive me to quit and some days I am very happy about that decision and other days I wonder why I let her get to me. It really sucks they moved you to K though, that is a special grade and you have to really WANT to teach K. Try to make it through this school year and then GET OUT OF THERE! Good luck tomorrow.
     
  31. cmrncraz15

    cmrncraz15 Rookie

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    Oh, another day, almost gone. I can't believe I'm still here. The lastest is that I had to go to HR during a parent teacher conference day (which was when I had seen my new class for 4 days) because my principal reported that I had threatened her. LOL. I haven't said five words to the lady in two weeks. I know someone on the school board who asked me how things were going. I told them I had 33 (soon to be 34!) kindergarteners with an aide that is split between four classrooms. The next day, there were people in the school checking things out. The following day, I was called to Human Resources to have to deal with the bs threatening complaint. My principal has called me to her office once since then and I refused to go in to talk with her on a one-on-one basis. The assistant principal sat in with us and I pretty much just smiled and shook my head. I'm to the point where nothing surprises me anymore. I do no lesson plans whatsoever. I am instructed to just teach from the basal. We haven't done science, math, or history in two weeks because we're doing PALS testing.

    Oh, can someone explain to me how evaluations from the principal work? Someone told me that I should receive a written report anytime an administrator comes in and sits down for a lesson. Is that true?
     
  32. AFWifeinUtah

    AFWifeinUtah Comrade

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    Oh my gosh. I can't believe what you are going through. If put in the right school, you sound like someone who would enjoy teaching and a teacher that students would enjoy. I taught kindergarten for a year (almost 2 years actually) and having 34 kids is criminal. I taught 24and it felt like to me anything over 20 was just crowd control. I think first of all you have a horrible principal. I would job search if I was you. If you can afford to, maybe start subbing at the schools around you until something else comes open. Check the district and see if there are any other openings in the schools. Just say that you and this principal have differing views. Then pray they don't ask to contact her as a reference. Whenever I have been evaluated, I never recieved written notice. What happened to me, was my door flew open, in buzzed the principal or other evaluator, they sat at my desk, watched me and sometimes went through my things. I had one horrid evaluator that went through my grade book, attendance book and then started flipping back through my lesson plan book to see what I had been doing in it, then she wanted to know where I kept all my filed tests so she could dig through them.

    The best tip I can give you for kindergarten is that you need to get a discipline program down NOW. Kindergarten at its best is organized chaos. My system was first I'd give them a warning and make them write their name on my board and then I had cards for them to pull. At the end of the day, if they did not have to pull a card, they got a sticker. They respond well to rewards. Try not to give up. The world does need more teachers like you. It sounds like you are just in a really bad spot right now. If you can tough this year out, maybe you can get into a private school. I'd start sending out your resume and cover letter to the private schools telling them why you want to work for them. I wish you the best of luck and don't give up yet. Work with that kinder teacher you like too. Other kinder teachers are great supporters.
     
  33. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 20, 2008

    my goodness...

    First off I'm sorry about your situation it sounds awful. However, it sounds like you're an intelligent person and you protected yourself in that situation that could have ended worse than it did.

    In my union they are avid believers in having a building representative at any meeting that may result in discipline in some form.

    It baffles me the expectations they have for you; and the way they continue to treat you after they've thrown you through hoops the entire beginning of the year.

    I'm glad to read from your more recent posts that you've learned to take what is happening with a grain of salt because not all schools are like this ( in fact I would hope very few are).

    To hoping thing improve! :hugs:
     
  34. 1angel

    1angel Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2008

    Do you have a union? I see a lot of results asking about that, but I know first hand a lot of places do not have a union.

    I too have a crazy principal and no union to turn to. I am in my third year and have decided that I absolutely cannot stand working where I am. Keep venting on discussion boards such as these, teach those kids and learn from successes and mistakes, and then build up your resume with workshops and such and come spring start looking elsewhere.

    I have gotten to the point that I will finish out this year, but I will not be going back. I will work at fast food or the grocery story first. It's scary to look for other places in this economy and all, but this is my career and I am a good teacher. Find a way to remember you care and are willing to work for those kids, which often times makes a great teacher.

    I personally have decided to go to a counselor for additional venting to help me survive the oncoming months and keep my anxiety levels down. I know a teacher that tells all her student teachers to go to therapy their first year of teaching and I have come to believe this--I only wish someone had told me this! I would have saved myself a lot of pent up frustration and anxiety!

    Keep venting! This board really does help you feel better and also that you are not alone!
     
  35. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Oct 21, 2008

    I do think that you should get with your union rep and request a meeting concerning your P accusation. I would not take that lying down; this can come to haunt you when looking for another job. 34 K students is insane.
     
  36. cmrncraz15

    cmrncraz15 Rookie

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    Nov 7, 2008

    Does anyone know what the rules are concerning number of students per kindergarten classroom and number of paraprofessionals?
     
  37. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    Nov 7, 2008

    I have a feeling that differs state to state. If I were you I'd check with your district headquarters and see if it is in a contract somewhere.
     

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