Anyone ever gone from leadership back to classroom?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ozteach, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    I've been a curriculum coordinator for 3 years but find I am really missing being in the classroom? Has anyone ever made the move back from leadership to classroom teaching?

    Do I have rose-coloured glasses on, remembering the good times of teaching?

    Any advice for someone who's feeling the tedium of administrative work and missing the interactive nature of being in the classroom?
     
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  3. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    My teammate moved back to teaching from curriculum and is much happier, except for high stakes testing.
     
  4. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Thanks Missy. I'm just feeling frustrated with overseeing all the planning and curriculum in my school and not having the power to implement any teaching or work with kids. But so, so worried that going back is a one-way street and I'll regret it. Wish I could see into the future!!
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I moved back this year. I was a literacy coach/coordinator for the school district. Like you, I was frustrated with the lack you f authority to make any real changes! Also, I missed being part of a school community since I travelled between all of our schools. It’s so exciting to be back in my own classroom!! I’m excited to try some new things and take some risks that I wouldn’t have done before I was a coach.

    I think I’ll return to being a coach/coordinator in the future. No door is ever fully closed. For now, the classroom is the right place to be!
     
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  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Actually I think this is ideal.

    All coaches and administrators should be required to go back to teaching every so often. The logistics of it would get messy, but if a coach could alternate one year shifts with another coach, and return to the classroom in the in between years, it would ensure the coaches were maintaining a mindset of what it's like to be in the classroom.
     
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  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'd totally go back to the classroom for a year or two. The only hitch would be that they'd have to pay me the same salary I'm making right now.

    I think about going back to the classroom whenever I'm evaluating teachers who obviously hate their job (there are normally 1-2 at every single school). I often say to myself, "Man, I wish I could take over this class myself so I could give these kids what they deserve!"
     
  8. MissCeliaB

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    My mom tried to go back into the classroom after being a coordinator, but they wouldn't let her. She wasn't allowed to choose to move down in salary. She retired instead.
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Salary doesn't change here. I was still considered a teacher, so they kept paying me a teacher salary. It was nice because I maintained all the teacher holidays, too.
     
  10. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I think that people in leadership, whether admin or curriculum etc. should be required to teach once every two years (plan units of work, write assessments, assess, report, the whole 9 yards). It will give them a better feel of whether their leadership has any effect at the classroom level, which is where change is effected. And also a first hand experience of the difficulties and what works well at classroom level, and in having that knowledge, make better policies. That’s my two cents. Sorry it doesn’t answer your question directly, but wouldn’t you consider having gone back to the classroom a strength and a better candidate should you consider doing curriculum again?
     
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  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Why do they work there if they hate their job?
     
  12. otterpop

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    Lots of people work in jobs they dislike. Not saying it's right, but it happens in all industries. You gotta have a way to pay the bills.

    Personally, though, life is too short to be doing something you don't enjoy. And students deserve teachers who care about their jobs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
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  13. YoungTeacherGuy

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    This.

    You will see this throughout your career, @futuremathsprof ...especially if you ever venture outside of your private school.
     
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  15. Always__Learning

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    Where I work, people in curriculum do have to go back to the classroom after a period of time. In Canada I don't see it being workable in administration for a number of reasons. I think it is a great concept for the reasons stated in the thread.

    As for why people who do not like their job are still there, in Canada unionized employees cannot be let go without cause. So in a private school, the P can decide "we don't like you" or "we don't think you are a good fit" or "you are grumpy" or "you are arrogant" or "you don' get along with coworkers" and let you go at the end of the year. In a public school you actually have to be able to prove a lack of performance. I'm not sure if YTG is in the same boat, buy my P can't just get rid of someone because they are grumpy.
     
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  16. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Yes...to your entire post!

    In order for me to get rid of a tenured/permanent employee, they would pretty much have to do something unfathomable (re: hands on a child). The most I can do for an ineffective teacher is put them on an assistance plan—which I have indeed done!
     
  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I’m sure this happens in all careers, but if they hate their job to begin with, why did they go into it? It just defies credulity.

    I think where teaching is concerned, the students deserve a teacher who is committed. Otherwise, it is the students who suffer and that’s not fair to them as they have no recourse.
     
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    So by your own admission, an ineffective teacher can’t be let go without physically touching a child in public schools. Lovely.

    That’s good to know administrators can’t fire a teacher not doing their job otherwise.
     
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  19. YoungTeacherGuy

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    There have been some other circumstances where I’ve seen them let go such as coming to work under the influence. I believe that case was hard to prove, though, and cost the district quite a bit of money as they had to investigate for a certain length of time.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I don’t think anyone would disagree with your 2nd paragraph.

    Regarding your first paragraph, we all have bills to pay, so maybe they saw it as steady income that involved not having to work too hard? I can only speculate.
     
  21. Always__Learning

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    I think sometimes people go into a teaching program thinking it is what they want and by the time they graduate they realize it isn't a good fit, but they have debt and need to work for awhile before considering other options. Some leave in the first 5 years, some decide to stay in.

    As for removing a tenured teacher. It absolutely does happen but it is over simplistic to just say to YTG why aren't you firing that person? It's complex and costly to a District and they have to weigh costs versus benefits.

    I would still argue that having to have "just cause" to fire someone is a good thing. I think as a system the overall benefits outweigh the downfalls. The majority of teachers are great and giving them a sense of job security is great. I know I feel more comfortable taking risks, trying new things when I know I have job security.
     
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  22. futuremathsprof

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    Yes, but when an employee is insubordinate, outright hostile, and/or is clearly incompetent, etc., they shouldn’t be able to keep their job just for formality’s sake and for the sake of due process. It’s only expensive because the district makes it expensive.
     
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  23. Always__Learning

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    I am unclear futuremathprof as to what criteria you are using for stating "it's only expensive because the district makes it expensive." I'd be interested to hear about your personal experience about how a District you have worked through has gone through the just cause process without expense. That simply hasn't been my experience. I have seen the process because colleagues have gone through the process and bluntly it is expensive for the district.

    It is expensive because we have laws that protect employees. And these laws, overall, are good but it does mean Districts have to have evidence that will stand up in a court of law and that standard is difficult to meet because of the subjective nature of teaching. It means that districts have to work through all of the processes to help an employee improve and when those are done if they choose to let someone go, they have to work through a legal process to respond to the grievance of wrongful dismissal which will happen because the union has a legal responsibility to defend its members. So it is absolutely expensive. This is also why Districts have process where they do a lot of observations because they can't just document one employee as this is viewed negatively by the courts. So yes, good Districts have to decide if this is a good use of resources because government's don't provide districts with legal funds or extra administrators to do this - the funds come out of classrooms and it adds to what YTG mentioned earlier this year was his 12 hour day.

    And at the end of this, I still believe in just cause because I don't think my Principal should be able to let me go because s/he doesn't like me or I don't go out to social events with staff (which in Canada are reasons you can get fired if you are not protected by just cause - they just have to give you reasonable notice). But it is absolutely expensive and a complex process.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  24. RaiderFan87

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    It is indeed a very expensive process. @futuremathsprof has no experience working in a public school setting. His handful of years in the classroom have all been spent at a private school. Private schools march to the beat of their own drum.
     
  25. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    You shouldn’t need the court system or lawyers to dismiss an employee.

    If the employee has numerous infractions on their file, does not follow directives by their superiors, is frequently tardy, is uncooperative with employees, their students are failing, they sit at their desk the whole time and don’t teach the class, they have extremely poor classroom management, and the list goes on and on, then all of THAT should be grounds for their immediate dismissal.

    Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill. It’s not rocket science.

    This is the reason why certain people in the public have disdain for us.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  26. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    You are correct that I have not worked in public schools, but I’ve done my fair share of reading on numerous cases involving public schools and there was more than enough evidence in every case for the teacher to be let go.

    Teachers are protected so long as there is evidence which shows their innocence. If a teacher has been deemed effective or better, shows up to work on time, is a team player, their students frequently do well, and they follow all orders by their admin, then they will stay hired. That’s how it is at my private school. I would venture to guess that since you need evidence in public schools to fire a teacher, the good teachers will be protected because they already do those things.
     
  27. Always__Learning

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    This isn't about making a mountain out of a molehill. This is about how legal processes work. You said it is only expensive because districts make it expensive. That simply isn't true in my experience. In my experience, it is expensive because districts work within a legal system that requires just cause to fire an employee. So do employees get fired. Yes, but your response in my humble opinion about how this should happen lacks an understanding of the nuances of what this actually looks like in practice. Reading is different from doing. I value YTG's experience in sharing his perspective.

    Say I worked at a private school in Canada and my Principal retired and we got a new Principal. Say that new Principal sees me as a 'high flyer.' Say that Principal thinks that I don't work collaboratively enough and that I seem to be too focused on a promotion and not enough on teamwork. That Principal could let me go at the end of the year and they wouldn't have to have a reason. I might feel that P was out to get me because they felt threatened. The P might think they are justified because I'm arrogant and am hurting the school because I'm not contributing to our collective work. In Canada, there is usually only one public District in a region so I actually only have one shot at a job unless I want to move - which isn't always possible for everyone - maybe my sick mom lives here, maybe my wife has a job here. That District probably requires me to have 3 references including my last P. Most Districts won't even call retired P's. So I'd now be job hunting with no references as the P that just hired me said no and I'm not allowed to use my last P. My career would basically be over. If I tried to take it to court I'd have no recourse. As long as the P gave me enough notice they do not have to have any reason to fire me. In the public system, I could take the Board to court and they would have to prove that they had a reason to fire me. This seems like a reasonable process to me. I don't think anyone should be able to be fired without a justifiable reason.
     
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  28. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Your response hits the nail on the head. Unfortunately, it's falling on deaf ears...

    @futuremathsprof, reading about cases where teachers have been let go is not the same as actually going through the process of getting rid of someone. I lived it (thankfully, as the AP, I wasn't the lead administrator in the investigation). It took 2 entire years and involved lawyers, an extraordinary amount of documentation, and a myriad of sleepless nights. Worst experience I've ever gone through, but that teacher had no business being around children. She was a danger to herself, for that matter.

    If you choose to become an administrator, I'd strongly advise you to venture outside of your school and complete your field work hours at campuses that have a teacher's union to get a feel for the ins and outs of the evaluation process, hiring/firing policy, etc.
     
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  29. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Just for the record, many private schools can't fire teachers for the same reason the public counterparts can not. You need incontrovertible proof. You need to prove intent. You need to prove that the behavior was not a one time mistake. You need to prove that the person had been duly warned in a timely way that they needed to make changes. You need to prove that you provided an assistance/improvement plan and that they did not fulfill the requirements, willingly and knowingly. So, I am someone who has been in and out of administration a couple of times, and I can attest that the process in both sectors is difficult. Firing a teacher is serious business as they will have an enormous amount of difficulty in ever securing a position again. You are not just firing someone, you are, in effect, in most cases, banishing them from the career that pays the bills and from the career for which they studied.
     
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  30. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    You guys, I’m not saying that teachers should be fired without justifiable cause. Firing someone because you don’t like them is not justifiable cause. I’m also not saying remove protections for teachers with regards to the firing process.

    I AM saying that the process needs to be streamlined; you know, a right to a *speedy* trial and all that.

    @YoungTeacherGuy, why should it take 2 years to fire a teacher when it was abundantly clear “she had no business being around children.” How much evidence do you need before enough is enough? Why did you need an “extraordinary amount of documentation” beforehand? What about 5 instances of severe wrongdoing? How about 10?

    This is how I imagine the process goes:

    Teacher does major infraction. Reprimand.
    Teacher does second major infraction. Reprimand.
    Teacher does nth major infraction. Reprimand.

    How many major, monumental mistakes are allowed before someone is fired?

    This reminds me of the engineers in Japan versus the engineers in the USA. When a major sinkhole appeared in a busy intersection back in 2016, the Japanese repaired it in a week and it looked like nothing ever happened. Here, that would take months and months and months because like you all say: There’s a process that must be followed.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/v...ir-road-48-hours-after-sinkhole-appears-video

    It also reminds me of the length of time it took my college (one of the largest public universities in the USA) to build a 500-ft sidewalk: 1.3 years. Phew, that’s a little over a foot of concrete laid a day.

    Everything is longer and drawn out than it should be in America. Why, I don’t know.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  31. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    This. You can’t just fire someone for the sake of it at my private school. An investigation is launched initially, which is very comprehensive, and following the conclusion of the investigation, the school board members and CEO take the accumulated evidence into account and vote in favor/against your termination. A simple majority is required for you to be terminated. Again, just cause is required.
     
  32. YoungTeacherGuy

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    1. Teachers can appeal/challenge their dismissal which can be a lengthy process.
    2. The dismissal process costs hundreds of thousands of dollars from start to finish. In some cases, we end up paying for the teacher's lawyer fees, too, so I've seen it cost the district upwards of half a million dollars (plus, the teacher generally remains on the payroll until the entire process has concluded).
    3. The documentation & teacher observations have to be ongoing and spread out over an extended amount of time in order to build the case before going to court.
     
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  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Why does the duration of time matter? If a teacher commits a nefarious act 10 times in one month or 10 times over 1 year, the number of offenses is still the same and still not okay.
     
  34. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I don't know. Ask a lawyer who deals with educational stuff.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

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    When a process this cumbersome exists, in my experience it's usually because a more streamlined version of the process resulted in an outcome that was unfair. As at least one poster has noted upthread, being fired from one teaching post can mean being blackballed from teaching altogether. I can regret that a specific teacher whose faults seem obvious takes advantage of the system, but that doesn't mean that the system is what's wrong.
     
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  36. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    In terms of the private school concept, I did indicate that this is the law in Canada. In Canada, you can let anyone go without cause (unless they belong to a union) as long as you give them enough notice. How long that notice is exactly may vary but you absolutely do not have to have just cause to get rid of a non-unionized employee. Non-unionized employers are still careful because in some Canadian provinces, a non-unionized employee can file a complaint with the human rights board if they qualify in a protected class and want to argue that they were discriminated against but that is really the major thing non-unionized employers have to be aware of when terminating an employee. You literally an fire someone because they wear orange on Fridays and you don't like it if you don't have 'just cause' protection in Canada.

    The other big difference is what happens if the employer loses in court. If the employee is not unionized what they are typically owed is money (if the employer was found to let the person go in an inappropriate way) whereas unionized employees can be reinstated through arbitration
     
  37. Always__Learning

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    The reason the process takes a long time is because the employer has to know they have a strong enough case that they will win when the dismissal is challenged (because it will be). If the lose in court they often have to not only pay all of the costs but also rehire the person. If my husband got fired and won in court, he wouldn't get his job back because he isn't eligible for arbitration - just court - whereas if I was fired and won in arbitration, I would get my job back. That is really the number one reason that an employer has to take the time to demonstrate that they have done everything to help the employee and then build a very, very strong case. The employer does not want to go through all of this and then have to re-hire the person.

    As for why the timing matters - it totally does - and I agree with YTG - go ask a lawyer. But the non-lawyer explanation I've got from my union is that if I do something once this year and I get a letter in my file and then I have 10 great years and then get another letter in my file, this does not prove a pattern (I'm not talking grievous stuff but smaller things I could get let go for), whereas if I get a letter and then repeat the behaviour 3 times in the next 3 months, that is showing a pattern and if I am offered support/training, etc and I don't improve then the District is starting to collect a paper trail that can be used.

    As for your private school, that process works until it doesn't. I don't know how much your school has in reserves, but one or two successful lawsuits from terminated employees could bury many smaller private schools and lead to them being shuttered.
     
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  38. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    This makes a lot of sense, actually. I can’t find any fault with these statements.
     
  39. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    My school has reserves well in excess of $50 million with an annual budget of $20-$30 million. It currently has over 110 employees.
     
  40. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Thank you for your very thorough and informative response. Very enlightening for me.
     
  41. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Thank you! My mind is starting to change. I can see why the process is the way it is.
     

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