Advice Needed - Would you quit?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by SCTeacher23, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    Mar 19, 2011

    I need some serious advice. Just as a background, I am a first year teacher in first grade. I have had an absolutely awful year. I am in a Title I rural school in a classroom of 30 students with no aide. 30 students is a handful as it is for 1st grade, but on top of that, we have a lot of severe behavioral issues. Hitting, physical fights daily. Children just don't know how to behave - the class is really out of control .. constant calling out, running around the room, throwing things.. it is hard to even teach. A student beat me up and gave me a large bump on my head and nothing was done about it from the Principal! It is difficult because I have little support from the Principal. At first I thought I had bad classroom management, but their Kindergarten teacher last year who has been teachign for 25 years had the same problem. Our school's teacher of the year was supposed to get this class this year, but she switched to another grade level because she REFUSED to teach my group of students. When I was absent one day, they had a sub and 3 teachers in the school in the classroom at one time and they could not control the class.

    This whole year has been awful. I contemplated quitting several times mid year, it has seriously affected my mental health, and it has seriously made me question whether or not I want to quit teaching all together. Anyway, I decided I was going to stick it out this year, but I am really worried about next year. Our school district is having a lot of issues. We are a very poor district and we are shutting down 2 (or possibly 3) elementary schools next year in our district. With that said, the Kindergarteners at my school are in 2 classes - 17 students in each class. Instead of keeping them 17 to a class next year for first grade, they are thinking of combining the classes next year.. which would give me 34 students in my class next year!!

    That is just WAY too many. I already decided that if they separated the classes and gave me 17 in my class that I would probably stay. But with the schools shutting down, there is a very good chance I will get 34 students. I just don't know if I can handle that. I really want to teach middle school math, so I figured that if they were going to give me that many students that I would take the year to get certified in MS math and quit. However, my parents are very unsupportive of that and told me how angry they would be with me if I gave up this job with a good salary and benefits to just quit. I am of course job searching, but I know with budget cuts there will be a veyr good chance that I won't find another job. I know the economy is awful, but I just don't know if I could take another year like I had this year. 30 was bad.. now 34? Any thoughts of what I should do?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 19, 2011

    How would you support yourself if you quit and didn't find another teaching job?
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 19, 2011

    My thoughts: I would stay in this job until you have another one lined up. If things are really bad, you could consider a job out of teaching to support yourself. However, I wouldn't just give up a teaching position for no job at all.

    I would keep searching for that perfect job, maybe go back and take the ms math endorsement hours, and hold my head high.

    You are making it through year one. Even with 34, year two will be easier!
     
  5. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    Mar 19, 2011

    Before I was a teacher, I was a waitress and a substitute teacher and was able to support myself. I would probably go back to doing that. I, of course, would not quit until I had all of that lined up. Luckily, I don't have any children and I am young and single, so I don't have to worry about that.
     
  6. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Mar 19, 2011

    I am also a first year teacher and have been extremely stressed this year. I have cried and cried and cried more times than I can count. My asthma has gotten worse due to the stress. I am not in a Title I school like you and I certainly don't have behavior issues so I can't imagine how you've done it!
    I've questioned whether I want to continue to do this as well. I'm going to give it another year though. We all know that teaching is getting more stressful but, personally, I don't think I'd have given it a fair chance after just one year. (It's taken me practically all year to reach this conclusion.)

    It's really a decision that you should make yourself though. Having that many students in a classroom is crazy. Have you tried other schools?
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Mar 19, 2011

    Personally, I would not quit. It could possibly be that this group is tough, and next year might be much, much better. In today's economy, having a job is a very good thing. Plus, you will be building experience if you stay, which is good. Just try to get through the school year and see how next year goes.
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    If you don't live with your parents and they are not supporting you, their opinions are just that...opinions. Thank them for caring and then you make the decision that is best for you.
     
  9. AussieTeacher31

    AussieTeacher31 Rookie

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    Mar 20, 2011

    The class you have this year sounds like a nightmare! But surely, even with 34 of them (which I can't imagine - here in Australia where I teach we have an aim to cap all classes up to grade two to 22 students, but would never have more than 30 even in the older classes) it surely can't be as bad next year. Don't forget that you are still new at this, and your behaviour management skills can only improve. If it were me, I would make a big effort to research behaviour management strategies and try to go into the next year with a positive attitude. I know it will be hard though! Will you be the only class of 1st grade in your school? If the principal in your school is not supportive, perhaps you can try and get some support from another, more experienced teacher in a classroom nearby, even if its just to chat at the end of the day about how your day has gone. But I wouldn't quit just yet - remember, it can't possibly be as bad as this year!
     
  10. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    Mar 20, 2011

    I can totally sympathise with you on this. I would try and document what is happening in the class. Document to cover yourself that you have been trying but had little support from admin. My play would be the effect the numbers are having on the students' learning. I would list points as to why 30 students are too many when you do not have any assistance. Also, play the health and safety card, especially if you have challenging children in the class with behaviour issues.
     
  11. luckyal29

    luckyal29 Companion

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    Mar 20, 2011

    If ever I really dread/hate something, I don't do it. Yeah, there are times when I may have to suck it up and do it. But I couldn't imagine sticking it out if it's daily misery.
     
  12. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    Mar 20, 2011

    SC, I really do empathize with you. I had a similar situation my last year teaching when I was your age. I quit after that year. Now, it has been incredibly hard to get back in after a LONG break of doing something else (I've always wanted to teach and never found anything else I enjoyed). My advice to you, since you've asked, is to document everything as suggested above, continue to apply to other districts even if it means driving 20-30 miles, and pray, pray, pray. Hopefully, you will get some interviews. You are just the right age/experience most are looking for right now. All the best to you.
     
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    But what if she stays on, only to get non-renewed the following year because she "couldn't control" a class of 34 first graders? Then she's in worse shape career wise than if she left now.
     
  14. SpecialEdTeache

    SpecialEdTeache Companion

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    Mar 20, 2011

    Yes, you do need to get through this year first. Make an appt. with your school counselor and ask his/her advice how to manage specific behaviors in specific children. Some of them may need to be observed for possible evaluations. Ask the counselor how to do that or if there is a form and get that. The counselor may also be able to give you much needed encouragement since he/she would be familiar with this group from last year.
     
  15. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    Mar 20, 2011

    I appreciate all the advice. I still don't know what to do. I have referred several students to get observed/evaluated, but nothing has been done. I had meetings about several students and the district psychologist assured she would come "within the next 2 weeks" and that was in November. I think part of it is that I am primarily just "babysitting" and it is very hard to do any teaching. A lot of it is behavior, but part of it is just the numbers. 30-34 is just HUGE for first grade.

    One of the other BIGGEST problems is that contracts come out next month. If I am renewed, I will probably sign to buy more time. I was told by other teachers that I could still quit by around the beginning of June, but after that it would be "breaking my contract" and I could be penalized and it could be difficult to get a job again. I know that with budget cuts, I had almost ALL of my interviews in the past 2 years at the end of June, July, and in August. So, since most of my interviews came in after i can't get out of my contract, that leaves me with a tough dilemma. I would hate to quit in June and then to get nothing and decide it was a wrong choice. But then, if I don't quit in June, and all these calls for interviews start coming in, I don't know how I'd feel either. :-/
     
  16. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Mar 20, 2011

    Wow, I really feel for you. What are the K classes like? Is there any chance that, when contracts come around, you could talk to the P and say that you'd love to continue on there, but are concerned about the possibility of having 34 students next year, and ask what the chances would be of getting an aide in that situation. The answer you get might help you gauge what kind of support (whether in the form of an aide or some other way) you could expect for next year. As other people have suggested, things might be better next year, even with 34 students-- maybe you could talk to the K teachers and also look into classroom management strategies for large classes and see if you feel up for the challenge.

    Another thing to consider, unfortunately, is what kind of a reference you might expect on your first year of teaching-- of course there are extenuating circumstances, but a less-than-glowing report (and maybe the P wouldn't be pleased that you were leaving to look for work elsewhere?) might make the difference in getting a new job or not in a tight market.

    Good luck whatever you decide! And yes, your health and well-being should factor into your decision.
     
  17. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Wow, I really feel for you. What are the K classes like? Is there any chance that, when contracts come around, you could talk to the P and say that you'd love to continue on there, but are concerned about the possibility of having 34 students next year, and ask what the chances would be of getting an aide in that situation? The answer you get might help you gauge what kind of support (whether in the form of an aide or some other way) you could expect for next year. As other people have suggested, things might be better next year, even with 34 students-- maybe you could talk to the K teachers and also look into classroom management strategies for large classes and see if you feel up for the challenge.

    Another thing to consider, unfortunately, is what kind of a reference you might expect on your first year of teaching-- of course there are extenuating circumstances, but a less-than-glowing report (and maybe the P wouldn't be pleased that you were leaving to look for work elsewhere?) might make the difference in getting a new job or not in a tight market.

    Good luck whatever you decide! And yes, your health and well-being should factor into your decision.
     
  18. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Mar 20, 2011

    I would not quit if I were you. Many places are on a hiring freeze. I would just stick it out. If you feel like you are babysitting just babysit to get through the year. It seems to me that you are fed up from this year already. You never know what next year will bring.

    I also teach first and I have 33 kids with no aide. I understand where you are coming from.
    But I would not quit. The year is almost over.
     
  19. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Mar 20, 2011

    Don't quit now - you have made it this far and having a full year of experience will only help you in the future. Look around for other jobs, but do not leave your current position unless you have something else lined up. 34 first graders is a lot!! But, it sounds like if you can make it through this class, you can do anything. You may be surprised next year!

    It never hurts to let your principal know you would be open to a change. Who knows? Maybe someone else has their eye on grade 1 and would be willing to make a switch next year.
     

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