Am I failing?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by claire-44, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. claire-44

    claire-44 New Member

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    Oct 14, 2007

    I am an older new teacher. I did great as a para-educator. My students love me. I graduated with honors from an excellent university this summer and my student teaching experience was wonderful. I love teaching and I love my classes and students. I am spending long hours giving students additional one-on-one help after school. (Some of them just come to my class at the end of the day because they feel welcome and safe.) I am probably overly dedicated. I am having a problem though. I am teaching a new curriculum at the school. It is very group work oriented and so my classroom is noisy and fun. Students move around the room and use lots of materials and tools. I was told by one of the administrators that I will never make it as a teacher and that I am not cut out for the profession. My mentor is telling me that I need to take away priveleges from the kids and make my classroom more rigid. I am being told that I appear to be too busy so people take that to mean I am unorganized. (I have a lot of energy and tend to walk quickly and have an outgoing personality.) I am also being told that I need to have lunch in the lunch room with the other teachers even though I always end up sitting by myself in the room. I have been friendly and outgoing. My students have mentioned comments that other teachers have made about my class to the students! (They're little things but seem to give me less credibility with my students and my peers.) Now, I have the teacher across the hall stopping my students from leaving my classroom once they have gone through my door even if the tardy bell hasn't rang. I feel like I am not going to make it through the year. I felt a great sense of loyalty to the school because they hired me and now I feel like I can hardly wait until the year is up so I can go to one of the other districts that offered me a job this summer. (I had 7 job offers after I took this one.) What am I doing wrong? I know there are old school teachers out there that think students should sit quietly and memorize things but the new curriculum the district has implemented is based on group work. The district wants me to teach the curriculum. I also believe in a student centered classroom and have been told I shouldn't be doing that either. Are there any suggestions? My self-esteem is diminishing and I am scared that I won't make it through this first year. Then what will I do? (I am a recent-2years-single mom as well so I have that self-esteem issue already. I really need to be able to feel good about my job right now!)
     
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  3. lupin43

    lupin43 Companion

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    Oct 14, 2007

    Well, I haven't observerd your room, but I have a few comments. A classroom can have what I call "controlled chaos." I teach math, but we do a lot of hands on activites and labs especially when graphing. Sometimes it looks like a science class. I have a volume in my mind that is acceptable, if the students get louder than that, I stop and redirect. Make sure you have the ability to stop the class at any time. Especially because emergencies arise and you may need to stop like for a fire/tornado drill or other special announcement.

    As far as the teacher stopping your students from leaving, I would watch the clock and if they only have a minute, don't let them leave. They would have a good chance of being tardy at that point even in the bell hadn't rung.

    If you really like this school (it doesn't sound like you do), then eating lunch with the other teachers and sitting near them would be a good way to socialize with them. If you plan to stay there next year, take at least some of the advice from the administration. I would take some advice anyway so that you could at least get a good recommendation if you were to leave.

    If you plan on leaving (it seems you do.), continue to teach in your own style. All teachers have a specific style and it's in that style that they do the best. I could never be a good teacher with a notetaking guide and a workbook, but some really are. Appease the administration to some extent. On observation days, I would reflect on the group work days and aim towards higher level questioning. You would still have the same curriculum, but the administration would see some part of a "traditional classroom." It appears thats what they want.

    I think that you can have a fun learning environment with some noise, but make sure that the noise level isn't bothering the nearby classes. Also, figure out if you can control the chaos. If you can, then I think it's ok. I would just try to maintain a good recommendation from this school and look for other opportunities for next year.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 14, 2007

    Excuse me!! First year teachers ARE busy! I don't think you should HAVE to eat in the lunch room. As a paraeducator, I don't. I stay too busy. Of course this had people talking too but they got over it. As a teacher, you might consider making two days a week days you join the cafeteria crowd just so you can make connections. Once teachers get to know you a little better they will see your style less threatening or chaotic. They will get to know your philosophy, method and personality and this actually might help, over time, ease some of the gossip. It also may be hard for them to connect an older teacher with newer methods without thinking that it is really chaos in disguise. Particularly if the rest of the school seems to be more traditional.

    Are the students getting their work done? Are you having class disruption issues (disrespect, etc)? Are your kids frequently tardy? How are the grades? Those are better questions than how does it look. Unfortunately looks are the only impression most have to go by.

    What is the mentor seeing that she thinks you need more rigid control? What problems is she observing? Does she think that with your loose style of getting up to get stuff, being noisy, etc is getting in the way of getting things done? OR Does she at least acknowledge that the students are indeed getting things done?

    I'm trying to figure out if you do have a need for more management to help further their learning or if you really are doing a bang up job with this style. If the latter is true, then the image of what your class is has to change, not the class itself. THat may be something you talk about in front of other teachers, etc. Once that image changes, people will back off and leave you alone and they will respect that you actually do a great job.
     
  5. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Oct 15, 2007

     
  6. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    It sounds to me that you have all the makings of a great teacher. You are dedicated and caring about your students and have learned to make learning fun, I wonder about the attitude of the other administrators and teachers in your school. Do they feel threatened by your way of teaching.?To talk about another teacher in an unflattering way to their classes is really unprofessional.How do your students do on their examinations?. In our test crazy system,this is what really counts.How do their scores compare with the other classes? How do the parents feel about what is going on.? You know what works best for you and your students.The most important thing is they are learning and understanding what they need to be taught.
     
  7. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Oct 15, 2007

    Our school is very student centered at the admin request, but there are teachers who cannot do the student directed classroom! They have to be in total control all the time.

    I would meet with the administration and talk it thru with them since they put you into this situation.
    When other teachers give comments, just say thank you for the advice. Explain that the admin gave you this new student centered/cooperative grouping curriculum to follow and that it is a work in progress.
    I agree that you need to make sure you can get control in a moment's notice (I can start counting down from 5 and before I get to 2, the kids are looking at me with their mouths zipped)... if that isn't a problem, then close your door and keep doing what you are doing!
     
  8. ateacherntx

    ateacherntx New Member

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    Oct 16, 2007

    same boat

     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  9. ateacherntx

    ateacherntx New Member

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    Oct 16, 2007

    I new at this too, also older new teacher, and still student teaching. I feel like I am doing a horrible job too. I hope it will get better for you also. I have already missed a couple days and the principle is has already offered another student teacher (young and single, no children) a position. Very discouraged!! I hear the first year is the worst.
     
  10. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    You need to look at what your students are accomplishing. Is the noise level because they are excited about what they are doing and are learning? Or are they off task? I have often been criticized because of the level of noise in my room but I teach Spanish and when you have 30 students speaking to each other they will make noise! I also have a higher noise tolerance level. In fact, I don't like the idea of my students sitting in their desks being quiet and not talking at all!
    I am lucky that I have thick walls at my current school and the other teachers are very supportive of me and my wacky ideas. I currently have a tent and a fake camping site equiped with campfire in my room!
    However, I do think I am given more respect because even though I am a new teacher at this school I have been teaching for 13 years. I don't hesitate to ask the other teachers for help but I also make it clear that I am the expert in my classroom.
    I have been in the situation where I asked for too much help and was thus view as not capable. It just depends on how support the staff and administration are. . . They may say they want to help you but what they are really saying is "you still are having problems?!" New teachers should be supported. Really your first year is your hardest and it will get easier as you go along.
    Give it a chance, but you may be a better fit at another school!
     
  11. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    By the way is completely unprofessional for other teachers to say anything about you in front of students. I always support the other teachers even if I don't agree with them. When they complain about the other teachers I either say that is not appropriate to talk about right now or that they are lucky to have teachers who care about them and go the extra mile to challenge them.

    How rude of them!
     
  12. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    I'm glad I'm not the only one. I also think I have a high noise tolerance level. Perhaps I've lost some of my hearing with all the years of bells and drums banging :D Anyway, I have 30 kids in each class learning to play the recorders right now. The assistants that help with classes seem a bit horrified :lol: Maybe I should keep aspirin for them.
     
  13. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Oct 16, 2007

    I once had a class of middle school students singing Spanish Christmas songs (albeit off key). They were having a very good time when the teacher next door (meanie:mad:) came in and said "sorry, but it just sounds like a bunch of screaming in here:.
     

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