I'm a first year teacher who was told informally that my contract would not be renewed. I have been scheduled for a formal meeting (a "conference of record") to make this nonrenewal official where it was recommended to have a union rep present. Shucks, I forgot to sign up for a union, so I'm flying blind. I'm in a big school district, and I'm concerned that a bad first year would jeopardize having any future with that school district. On the other hand, I had many of the typical first year issues and the ostensible reason for nonrenewal (being behind on paperwork and classroom management) don't seem that unusual or even surprising for someone in my position. I don't believe I have any aggravating circumstances for the school's decision -- though I thought one of my evaluations by my evaluator was overly harsh. (Let me say that this school year was unusually rough -- probably even by 1st year teacher standards; but that doesn't negate the core fact that the administration doesn't think I'm ready for their school). I think I have shown improvement, but just not fast enough, and the paper trail of evaluations/walkthroughs/etc is definitely dispiriting. I have worked a ton of hours and had no social life, but I also feel that administrative support was not as strong as it should have been. Do you have any recommendations for how to handle the rest of the year and the struggle to pursue another job? What should I look forward to at this meeting? I'm a middle age career changer, so I know a lot about the job market and private sector, but I confess I know little about a bureaucracy which is bound by layers of regulations. Let me say as an aside that despite the unreasonable workload in the first year I generally enjoyed my students; I just found the administration's demands unreasonable and unrelenting -- often to the point where it suffocated my ability to write lessons and organize classes. I suspect that my sentiment is not that unusual.