Admin threw one hecka question at me today

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kellzy, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    I've been teaching for 10 years, two years in fifth and the past eight have been in third.
    Basically they called me in and said that they need a strong teacher (yay for the compliment) to sixth grade, then both principal and vice principal stared me down for what was just about the most uncomfortable minute of my life, followed by a 45 minute conversation about how neat sixth grade is (their opinions are slightly biased, as both of them were sixth grade when they were in the classroom).
    The way our district policies have teachers move is by first teacher willingness and volunteers, and second by straight seniority. I am second to top of seniority on my team, so technically I could tell them no and toss that to one of the less senior colleagues on my team (we are losing a teacher on my team: no way around it).
    Here's the dealio: I love sixth grade curriculum. I hate sixth grade hormones. I have been known on occasion to refer to them as 'hormones with feet.' Third grade is my jam, but I much prefer end of year third graders to beginning of the year third graders. It's the independence.
    On the one hand I really don't want to, on the other hand, taking one for the team and making the move gives me one heck of an ace to place right up my sleeve and leave that there until I need it. They've given me a week to make a decision.
    So, here be two questions.
    Question the first is for sixth grade teachers: tell me about it. Pros and cons.
    Question the second: What would you do if you were me.
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I taught sixth grade one year. The rest of my career has been in second, third, and fourth. I would go work at 7-11 and sell slurpees before going back to sixth.

    How did you like fifth?
     
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  4. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I moved from 3rd to 6th/7th and never looked back. I really enjoy the independence and the content.

    I frankly think everyone should move every 5-10 years. It keeps people fresh. The people I see burn out the fastest are the ones who are like, "I've only taught 4th grade in this room...for 21 years!" :eek:
     
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  5. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Hated it. But it wasn't the kids, it wasn't the curriculum, it was a superior who is no longer with the school. Actually, she's not with us at all anymore--and not one tear was shed over this fact.
     
  6. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I think go for it. If you enjoyed 5th grade, I think it will be fine especially if you get all the students in a routine at the beginning of grade 6.
     
  7. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Negotiate a raise?
     
  8. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  9. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My dream is to teach 6th grade...

    I actually get along with tweens.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I would probably do it. I'd also probably try to leverage some sort of perk for myself since I'd be doing them a favor.
     
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  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'm always up for a change.

    We've got 8 teachers at my site who've taught at this site since the school opened in 1994 (same grade-level, same classroom, same everything). I couldn't do it. No siree!

    Thankfully, two of them are retiring this year. They're two of the absolute most negative people I've ever met. I get the feeling they're unhappy in their personal lives, too, though.
     
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  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I once had a principal who said he worried almost more about the person stuck in one position for eons than the teacher always changing it up.
     
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  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I find that I'm a better teacher when I change things up.
     
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I don't like sixth graders at all. They were far too needy for me, Of course, I had come from upper high school.

    I did, however, like 7th grade and taught it for 17 years (yes, in the same room) before moving to 8th grade. I'm technically not certified to teach sixth graders, just 7-12, so chances of me ever having to teach sixth again are slim. I like the middle school kids, as long as they are older.
     
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  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I like 6th grade because they appreciate my snarky humor, they are still halfway excited about school, and they are so afraid moving from 5th to 6th at the beginning of the year that I can get them to accept my rules and procedures!
     
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  17. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I wouldn't do it if your primary motivation is that it makes you look like a team player. I would do it if you think it could be a good move for you and one you could be happy with. If you move and are miserable you may not be able to move back and you won't look like a team player if you are miserable. You could ask to spend a few days in 6th to see what it is like? This time of year would give you a good picture.
     
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  18. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I teach fifth, and I’ve taught seventh. I think sixth would be amazing. I do agree about the need to switch things up. I’ve been in fifth the last ten years, and I’m dying to make a switch. I love what I do, but there’s no challenge anymore. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find strong fifth grade teachers, so unless I move schools, I don’t see a change happening anytime soon.
     
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  19. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    :rolleyes::rofl:
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I see this myself!
    Fifth grade postings almost never get filled internally. They always end up going to brand new teachers.
     
  21. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I really think it’s a shame. Fifth grade is fantastic! The content is deep enough to really make the kids curious. They are starting to figure out who they are without all the attitude typically saved for middle school. They really are still kids. My personality really isn’t suited for lower elementary, and I wouldn’t want to move grades if I didn’t feel like I was starting to get stale.
     
  22. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    I agree that change is good. It's a big part of the reason that I decided to get Library Media Specialist certification for my masters. It gives me some different options for the future. I taught 6th grade for 2 years, however, and will never do it again. It's just not my thing. I do really like that they're kind of becoming people independent of those around them, really starting to think about the world outside of themselves. You can definitely talk with them differently than you can 3rd and 4th graders which is what I teach now. The hormones, the challenging, and the DRAMA, especially with the girls, were just not for me though. I feel like I spent my life trying to disentangle social media issues and it was always a nightmare. So I personally wouldn't do it. For you, as someone said, I'd just make sure you're doing it because you really want to and not mostly because you want to have a trump card to play later. Then again, while I love my principal, I know when push comes to shove, it would conveniently be forgotten that I'd taken one for the team.
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I wouldn't touch 6th grade with a 10 foot pole. Our sixth grade is AWFUL. I feel sorry for the teachers on a daily basis. Those kids belong in middle school, IMO.

    Of course you know your P best, but like the pp mentioned, with the people I've worked for, any "taking one for the team" would be quickly forgotten.
     
  24. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    As long as my district has been in existence, 6th grade has always been middle school. Until 3 years ago, that is. We made the move from K-5 and 6-8 to K-6 and 7-8. Middle schools love it and elementary schools hate it. I firmly believe that 6th graders belong in middle school. I am sooooo ready to say sayonara to this year's 6th grade group: they've been a handful!

    The year that the 6th grade middle school teachers moved down to the elementary schools was rough for all parties: teachers, students, parents, & admin. Most of the 6th grade teachers had never taught at an elementary campus before, so the adjustment was rough.
     
  25. live

    live Companion

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    The surest way to love 6th graders is to teach 7th grade. 6th graders are babies by comparison.

    I teach both and adore my 6th grade classes. They're hilarious. Inquisitive. They're independent, but still appreciate adult guidance. Great age.
     
  26. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Our sixth graders used to be at elementary school. They moved to middle school in 1998. We often say they belong to elementary. The sixth to eighth jump is huge. I see seventh, eighth, and ninth being a better combination.
     
  27. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  28. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I loved my 2 years as a 6th grade math teacher! I think OP needs to figure out if your personality fits the age group... 6th graders are at that fun age of being "older" but still wanting to please the teacher.
     
  29. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    When I taught kindergarten, I told my principal I might be interested in a higher grade next year. The first day after Xmas break, she walked up to me on the playground while I was lining up my class. She told me I was moving into ESL 2nd gr. the following week.o_O

    I didn't make waves because I wanted to stay in the area.

    BUT, I would not be intimidated by this brow beating and pressure they are putting on you. If you don't want the job, tell them. Put it in writing. Do it quickly before they come up with some scheme to make sure you can't get out of it. Apply the sandwich approach: Something good, not so good-what you want, and something else good - where you are willing to bend.

    "I appreciate your confidence and thoughtfulness for this lateral/promotional opportunity. However, I feel my efforts are most needed in the primary grades, where my skill set and success is the strongest. I may consider your offer, should you wish to renegotiate my salary contract."

    Money talks....it either moves mountains or makes admin leave you alone.

    And if that don't work, throw the union into the mix. Just saying...

    "For the future, I would prefer to have my union rep attend any further discussions regarding my placement."
     
  30. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We can expect to be assigned to teach anywhere within our certification. While I may be very unhappy being moved to something radically different that I didn't feel I was suited for, it would not be a union issue.
     
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  31. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    It really depends on the district. In my district, it would indeed be a union issue. The MOU (Memo of Understanding) states:
    a) if a mid-year change is necessary, administration asks for volunteers to fill the vacancy.
    b) if no one volunteers to move, the person with the least amount of seniority is automatically transferred.

    A principal can't arbitrarily move someone in my district. They have to follow the MOU.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
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  32. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Regardless of what others here may think of teaching specific grade levels, your decision should be based your answers to some key questions.

    School Politics
    Do you feel that you're a valued member of the inner circle that consists of the administrators and a few select teachers? Do you really believe that moving to sixth grade will earn you points or as you stated, give you an ace up your sleeve? Be smart and don't be flattered by a few complimentary remarks thrown your way. IMO, I find it both chilling and highly suspicious to read that both administrators collaborated to make you feel so uncomfortable in their office - I just don't have a good feeling about them! You don't really know a person until the the you-know-what hits the fan.

    Grade Level Preference
    Every teacher has personal preferences when it comes to grade levels. You should not focus on your love for grade level curriculum, but on the students. You alluded to your disdain for working with pre-pubescent sixth graders and fondness for third grade. Why not go with your personal preference? In the end, this is what will enable you to make it to the finish line. Keep in mind that the same grades at different schools can have widely different challenges depending on a variety of variables (e.g. inner-city vs. rural, SES of students, teacher's skills and experience). One teacher's paradise in first grade at one school can be another's worst nightmare at another.
     
  33. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Clearly I’m no expert on intermediate grades. And union, seniority, placement requirements - yeah, I might be sketchy on these areas as well. But a 45 min meeting with both the P and AP? You’re being railroaded. Somebody’s tranferring out or leaving. You are the most likely candidate or victim. If they really appreciated you and acknowledged your work, they wouldn’t come to you like that. I bet if you ask around, somebody is leaving.

    A good opportunity shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable.
     
  34. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    The more I think about it the more I'm reminded of my own unpleasant experiences. Whenever I was called to the office and found not one but two or more administrators waiting for me, I knew that they were up to something bad. Fortunately, I always had my handy iPad with me with the recorder running in these situations.

    Don't you think it's strange and perhaps inappropriate that two highly-paid administrators began the meeting with a cold prolonged stare followed by an extremely long 45-minute "conversation" that focused on the sixth grade? It's crystal clear to me that they were using intimidation tactics to persuade you to "take one for the team". Be careful how you play your next move.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
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  35. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Yep, that’s what I said. If one couldn’t get you, the other one was there to butter you up. Then first one closes the deal. Two people = big red flag for me.

    Wouldn’t suprise me if they hand you keys and say you’re starting tomorrow. “Thanks.”

    Think this through and respond quickly. They may assume your silence means you’re accepting the job.
     
  36. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  37. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    That’s why I would call union rep....
     
  38. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    That would depend on how the recordings are used. I had the misfortune of working in extremely toxic districts and developed the useful habit of recording every meeting with any principal. I can't begin to tell you how many times this paid off. Whenever I had to submit a rebuttal in my defense or to set the record straight, the recordings enabled me to accurately recall and paraphrase some of the most asinine comments made - they helped to bring immediate closure to any bogus allegations. I never played the recordings for anyone to hear - they were for my own use.

    Allow me to illustrate with an incident that actually occurred. I was once suspected of molesting one of my students which resulted in an unexpected call to the office. When I arrived I was confronted by the principal, assistant principal, director of special education and a sheriff's deputy. By the grace of God, I was able to explain the incident in question sufficiently for the deputy to conclude that I was in fact the victim! Everyone had assumed that I was a pervert and they even had the paperwork ready to place me on administrative leave, so you can imagine the prolonged hush in the room when they heard the deputy's opinion. I wish I had my iPad set to record on that day, but didn't own one at the time.

    A few days later, along with a union rep, I went to speak to the principal in his office to reach closure on the allegation described above. Following union recommendations, the union rep was present as a witness and to help me take notes of the conversation. The principal never conceded to any wrongdoing and never apologized for the false accusation. Perhaps realizing that he had made some more asinine comments, he demanded that we give him our notes of the meeting. Much to my surprise, after some back and forth, the union rep surrendered the notes to him!!! Imagine a black union rep giving in to an arrogant white principal! I can still visualize her ripping the notes out of her legal pad and handing them over. Again, I wish I had an iPad set to record.

    Union lawyers strongly recommend that a teacher always bring a colleague or union rep with them into any meeting with a school administrator. Their files are full of the most extreme unimaginable injustices to teachers. BTW, had the administrators chosen to move forward with their allegation of child molestation, the teachers union would not have been able to provide me with any legal assistance as I recall. Wish I had never Been There - so much unnecessary stress.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
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  39. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    6th grade is a fun grade.
    However, many teachers at my school would rather mow the lawn with scissors than be in my classroom. :)
    I think the advice to do what is right for you is the best advice. No one will remember that you made a sacrifice for the team. Once you are in the spot, they move on to the next fire to put out.
     
  40. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  41. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    At my school, when we are renewed the principal asks if we want to teach different classes or the same classes each year. In extremely rare cases, a mid-year change would happen if a staff member left/retired early, but these kinds of things would not happen mid year. I find it strange that this would happen in a school. The students are used to a different teaching style already and too much change can be detrimental to them and the learning process.
     

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