Are new teachers targeted?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by kwbhs09, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. kwbhs09

    kwbhs09 New Member

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    Jan 2, 2010

    I'm a first year teacher and I sometimes feel as though I am being targeted by my administration. It seems as though I can never do anything right and there is always something that I am doing wrong. We are taught that for every bad thing we have to say about a student, we should find something positive to say as well. Does this not apply to educators? I am very discouraged and don't know how to approach this. I've spoken to my supervisor and he just acted like I was exaggerating. HELP!
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 3, 2010

    Hi and welcome!!!

    I think it's a different thing from one school to the next. But I can say without a doubt that it doesn't happen in my school.

    BUT-- that said, there's a difference between the way we treat children and the way we treat adults. So, no, the same rules don't necessarily apply. It would be nice if they did, but this is the adult working world, not school; the rules are different.

    What, specifically, are "they" criticizing? Give us some specifics and we'll work together on helping you improve.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Anytime we do something new, there is a lot that we don't know and have to learn along the way. Some of it is quick and easy, some of it takes time and experience. Unfortunately, teaching is one of those occupations where you need to do a good job, even when you're new and struggling. Your students deserve the best education they can get and the parents and administration will demand that.

    It sounds as though the way they are approaching the situation isn't helping and you are feeling like you are being beaten up. Give us some specific examples, or areas you need to improve, and we can help.
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I've worked for two different principals who have people they seem to pick on, so that not only do they notice it, but the rest of the faculty notices, too. I've been that person, and I've watched other people be that person. In the end, it made me stronger.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Teaching has a steep learning curve. It doesn't matter how good your training program is, when you step into your first classroom and all of a sudden it's just you and 20 kids, you suddenly discover there's a LOT you don't know. To have a list of things a mile long that you need to fix is pretty much par for the course. That's okay. Some of those things are probably small and easy to fix, and others might be larger and take more time and effort to fix. I agree with the others. Tell us about what kinds of things are being mentioned, and we'll do what we can to help you solve the problems :).

    Welcome to atoz :)
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If it's any reassurance, I'm not a new teacher, nor am I new to Special Ed. My job changed considerably this year, however, and I spend most of September and October feeling pretty stupid. I asked a lot of questions, made lots of notes in meetings, and wasn't afraid to say, "I'm not sure about that. Let me find out and get back to you."

    There's a tremendous support system here and, I suspect, at your school and district. Ask questions.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 3, 2010

    In my district, new teachers are not targeted- they are mentored and supported. The expectations,however, when a district hires a teacher is that they have hired the best person for the job...a new teacher needs to learn the 'ins and outs' of the district, but should have some good skills and be able to do a good job in general without too much intervention...what specifically are the criticisms?
     
  9. blitz1030

    blitz1030 Rookie

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    Jan 3, 2010

    Re: Targeting

    There have actually been qute a few articles written on "teacher hazing". A great one is the "Profession that Eats its Young." The articles discuss how both fellow teachers and administration target new teachers making it nearly impossible to succeed. The articles evaluate many instances of older teachers puposely making it difficult for new teachers to survive. It highlights the I did it before, now it is your turn....may only the strongest survive attitude that a lot of new teachers receive. Google teacher attrition and retention....there are a lot of great articles. Obviously, there are a lot of great districts where this doesn't happen, but it does happen. Not all states require mentoring for new teachers, which is cited as being one of the reasons of high attrition rates in those states.
     
  10. kwbhs09

    kwbhs09 New Member

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    scenario 1: Sometimes my lessons take less time than I anticipated and I end up with time at the end of the period that leaves room for discipline problems. I've tried over-planning but when I do that my students get overwhelmed by the amount of material covered and put on their tests.
    scenario 2: I am a floater, which basically means I'm never in the same classroom twice. Often I run into problems with technology in the different rooms that I go in and I end up having to improvise a well planned lesson. This makes me seem ill-prepared when the observers from the school board and my administration come in.
    scenario 3: I teach two VERY large classes. One has 34 and another has 42. It is sometimes hard to maintain order in these classes and even harder to assure that each student gets the attention they need when trying to understand concepts.
    scenario 4: I'm find myself in the dark on many policies that are present in my school. I am expected to know these procedures even though I've never been introduced to them.
    scenario 5: I have 5 preps. This makes paperwork difficult to keep up with and not to mention that I feel like I'm being pulled in 10 different directions.

    I know that I am being held to higher expectations since I am a first year teacher. I try my best and ask lots of questions. But I do not feel as though I am being supported properly by my administration. The reason I say this is because of the way things are approached when I am being criticized. I understand that I am not perfect and I appreciate criticism when given in the right manner. I would appreciate it even more if I was given ways to fix whatever it is that I am doing wrong.
    I'm also aware that a lot of my "problems" can only be improved with experience. I've become friends with another teacher who is new to the school, but not new to teaching. She says that she feels the same way that I do sometimes. She tells me that it will get better once my first year is out of the way.
    Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
     
  11. SunnyGal

    SunnyGal Companion

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    Jan 3, 2010


    Yowza! This sounds just like my first year of teaching! I floated...and hated it. I also felt like there were teachers who didn't want me to succeed. Now that I've gotten to know them better, though, they've become great people to go to for tips! The best advice I heard about the first year of teaching is to just get through it. You're right in the fact that a lot of the problems you're having can only be improved with experience.

    I'm guessing you're about to head back to school this week. Take some time to figure out how you can gain control of those large classes. You're getting a fresh start! Start teaching as soon as the bell rings so that they see there's no time to waste. I think you're better off over-planning. It doesn't mean you have to constantly introduce new material. Find things you can have your students do to get more out of current material. When they're doing individual work or group work, set a timer. That has been a life saver for me. The kids know they only have so much time to get something done, and that cuts down on unncecessary chatter and playing around. Once the timer goes off, that's it! It's time to move on!

    As far as technology goes, have a back-up plan. We have Promethean Boards at our school, and they aren't always reliable, so I always figure out how I can tweak my lessons in the event the board doesn't work.

    Good luck! Feel free to PM me if you need to talk!
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, for starters, exactly what are those 5 preps, and where are you in the syllabus for each? Let us help you organize.

    You're VERY RIGHT in that dead time in a classroom inevitably leads to discipline problems. Again, knowing what you teach will help us help you here. Is there a teacher in your department who might be willing to share last year's plan book? Knowing how to pace the material is a huge help.

    I don't understand how overplanning is leading to difficulty on the tests. Why not just test more often? Or throw in a review class or assignment before each test?

    I float too-- I have only one class in my homeroom. What kind of technology are we talking about? Is it possible to scale down the use of the technology for a while as you concentrate on the classroom management?
    I had a tech issue for this year's one and only observation; I had planned to put my "Do Now" problem on the projector, as always. But it simply would not come up. So I improvised-- I put the problem on the board and juggled the order in which I had planned to do things. Until you can get to the point where that's a feasible thing, I say cut down on the tech use. AND-- spend one afternoon after school going from one room to the next, familarizing yourself with what's in each of your rooms.

    Ooop, hang on a sec.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sorry, I wanted to give my son the "good' computer :)

    As to the large classes: I'm with you on that; classes in my building typically run from the mid 30's to as large as 45. Organization is your best friend there. You need to start class the same way every day, have homework in the same spot, keep them busy as you check homework at the same point in the class, and so on. Routines will help tremendously.

    OK, next on your list: being in the dark as to procedures. My school is great in this regard: there's a New Teachers Meeting every Tuesday with the AP to discuss what's going on. I realize that most schools don't do that. How about this: take a look at the school calendar for January today. Tomorrow morning, stop by for a chat with a more experienced teacher, one who seems sympathetic. Basically say that you're determined to get more of a handle on procedures... here are this month's events, what should you know about each? Do you have to be present, what's the unofficial dress code, and so on. And take notes; these are things you'll want to share with next year's newbies and remember yourself. So, for example, I always warn the newbies at school wear a jacket for graduation, since the AC is always amped up. Little details like that make all the difference in the world.

    Hang in there. It really does get a lot easier!!
     
  14. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Don't take constructive criticism personally, I'm sure your admin is aware of your circumstances. It does sound difficult.

    Your first year is your hardest under the best of circumstances, go with the flow. Say, "Thank you" whenever anyone offers to help. Sometimes "help" comes off critically.

    Look for your district's Handbook, there's probably a copy of it on-line. Take the time to read it, memorize it if you have to. Knowing what's in there will protect your job and you from making critical mistakes.

    Also, remember, you're brand new, there's a lot you just haven't experienced and it's perfectly fine. What you have to offer in enthusiasm far outweighs what you lack in experience.
     
  15. kwbhs09

    kwbhs09 New Member

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    My preps are for 2 sections of 7th grade Life Science(both are very different student types so I have to change my approach for each class), 12th grade Biology 2(42 students), 11th grade Chemistry Honors(34 students), and 2 sections of regular 11th grade Chemistry(also very different groups of students which must be accounted for when planning). Looks like that's only 4 different subject preps, sorry for my miscount. We have pacing guides and I'm following it to the T. My Biology 2 class is up to my own discretion because there is no curriculum to follow. I'm using the text as a primary source of lesson planning and throwing in some things from some of my college Biology courses that I found interesting. It is hard to cut down on technology use because there are no chalkboards or dry-erase boards in the classrooms that I use. We have Smart Boards with projectors and ELMOs. I am very dependent on putting bell ringers, notes and assignments on the Smart Board because there is simply no other way to show it. I would run off copies of notes and such, but I am limited to 1000 pages per six weeks which is hard to maintain since I have many classes to provide for.
     
  16. SunnyGal

    SunnyGal Companion

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    Are there whiteboards in the rooms you use? You can always jot bell ringers and assignments on those...or...you can get a smaller one to carry around with you. You can go ahead and write bell ringers or assignments on those in the mornings and when you go in the classrooms, all you have to do is prop up the white board.

    I had a teacher float into my classroom last year and she did this and it seemed to work out pretty well for her.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Worst case, can you write the bell-ringers up on chart paper and put them up at the front of the room?
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    How about this: type up 3 sets of problems: Life Science, Sr Bio, and Chem, and collect them after each period. They can be your bellringers. Make them generic enough that you can use them for the different classes within each subject. That's your bellringer, and possibly even your test review.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I've never been a big fan of bell-ringers. I let my students talk until the tardy bell rings (while I am on duty in the hall outside of my classroom) and when the bell rings, I close the door and immediately begin teaching. Bell-ringers were wasting my time: doing them, going over them, collecting them, etc. My students simply will not do work that is not graded. They were meaningless.
     
  20. kwbhs09

    kwbhs09 New Member

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    I'm not really a fan of bell ringers myself, but we are required to do them. I agree that students will not do work that is not graded, that's why I began giving a grade each week for doing them. I try to use released test items from the standardized tests each level has to take. I think this helps them to be familiar with what they will see in the during testing in the spring.
     
  21. Mr. A

    Mr. A Rookie

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    Jan 4, 2010

    Yes, you are being "targeted," but don't take it personally because it happens to all first year teachers.

    What subject?
     
  22. swigardanne

    swigardanne New Member

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    Jan 9, 2010

    Your opinion is wrong that “new teachers targeted”. It will not happen at another place. Don’t waste your time at that place, where your worth is negligible. You should change your school.:thumb:
     
  23. Mr. A

    Mr. A Rookie

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    Jan 9, 2010

    Maybe "targeted" is a bit harsh.

    Beginning teachers are paid more attention than veterans, and rightly so (in most cases ha ha).
     

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