Bad observation results, but I'm working extra hard. Is it enough?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by LittleShakespeare, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Feb 16, 2018

    Hi, guys.

    I did poorly on my last observation. It's my first year at this inner-city school, and I am happy, but I do admit the kids are tougher here than at my last job. I don't mind the kids, to be honest. I'm just freaking out about the people I work with.

    The VP who observed me is known to the entire district as a tough grader. She never gives anyone above a 2.9 on their observation, and that's a fact. All the English teachers warned me about her.

    Anyway, she advised me to meet with the supervisor of the humanities to make my lesson plans "less elementary". Although the supervisor was very kind, he did recommend some PD's for me. To be honest, he told me that what makes a great teacher is one who is passionate about their subject matter. I felt like I wanted to rub that in the face of my in-class support teacher, who always belittles me in front of the kids and tells me, "You should have been a librarian! You don't belong here! Too passionate!"

    We're starting a new novel on Tuesday, which is called "Looking for Alaska". I never taught this book before. I want to find some rigorous resources, so I've been searching. My in-class support teacher wanted to meet after school yesterday, but I had an emergency doctor's appointment, so this morning, when I asked her what she wanted to do for the novel, she gave me the silent treatment for canceling on her.

    It's a nightmare working with her, but I have to suck it up if I want to keep my job. Essentially, it's my classroom and my name is on the report card, but she LOVES taking over. She took over for the first two marking periods, and then complained that I never contributed. ANY TIME I WOULD SPEAK IN CLASS, SHE WOULD SHUT ME UP. Any time I wanted to lead a discussion, she would step in and I would have to sit down. However, she told me to take the reins for "Looking for Alaska", only because she's mad at me for canceling on her yesterday. "Do whatever you want to do, and I'll follow your lead." I'm just not sure if my lessons will be good enough. Nothing is ever good enough for her, and then she complains to my boss that I'm "too passionate" or "too elementary."

    I guess my biggest question is this:

    I know I was let go at my old school because I made a stupid mistake. And this new job came out of nowhere. Contracted, long prep, no more anxiety. :( I'm terrified. Every night, I go to sleep wondering if I am going to get fired or lose my teaching job. Does this mean I should probably look for another school, or does this mean that I'm just worrying too much? (I do have OCD, if that counts) :p
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Feb 16, 2018

    If you’re on the English Companion Ning, you can search the book title and find a few threads with resources.
     
  4. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    Feb 16, 2018

    If you truly do have diagnosed OCD, then does this not mean the anxiety is a result of the disorder and not of your job, in which case it would continue even if you quit?
     
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  5. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I do have diagnosed OCD. To be honest, it's gotten better, but lately I've just been freaking out a lot. It's hard being a newbie at a school where everybody is expecting you to fail.
     
  6. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I looooooove this website. Thanks a million! ❤️
     
  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Feb 18, 2018

    This statement makes no sense as it is contradictory.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2018

    It's only senseless worry if there are no pending problems. If an observation is poor, however, possibly getting you on a professional improvement plan, that is something that warrants attention and due diligence. Separate your displeasure with your colleague from the score on your observation. The first is a thorn in your side, the second could end in non-renewal.
     
  9. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    God, let's hope so. Then I can find the right school for me. I hear there's a teacher shortage at this school. Nobody ever wants to stay. I don't think I'm going to accept my renewal if I get it. It's not worth the aggravation. I actually have an interview at my high school next week, so hopefully it goes well!
     
  10. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2018

    No need to be a jerk about it. :)
     
  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Feb 18, 2018

    True, I didn’t mean to be a jerk. I just said that since you’re an English teacher, haha! I hope everything works out at your new school. :D
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2018

    Fine, you are going somewhere else, but you don't need the question of were you ever non-renewed like an albatross around your neck, do you? That would create a lot of anxiety for virtually anyone looking for a new job. One non-renewal or termination might be explained away, but two in two years sends up red flags.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
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  13. MsM25

    MsM25 New Member

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    Feb 19, 2018

    Ok, the first thing I noticed about your post is that you are not taking ownership of your classroom. I'm currently a student teacher and I don't let my cooperating teacher OR the co-teacher walk/talk over me because it would make me look weak in front of the students; which is the worst thing you could let happen; and it's their class!! From day one I made it clear that I was a competent person, I jumped in to help even though I had no clue what the kids were really working on. I focused on keeping the kids on task, answering general questions about writing and or comprehension. At the end of my first week, my coop-teacher said, "You got this, I'm comfortable turning over the class to you whenever you want." You need to project confidence, even if you don't feel it. Fake it till you make it needs to become your motto from this moment forward.

    Second, yes it's important to be passionate about our subject, however, you need to challenge your students. Use Bloom's Taxonomy to make sure that you are engaging their higher order thinking skills. It's not enough that they memorize information, they need to master it. I keep a copy of Blooms Taxonomy verbs next to me when I lesson plan to ensure that in the end students are engaged in some sort of critical thinking activity, or that they are synthesizing information. Look into inquiry based learning lesson plans. I too find this is the most difficult part, and some of my first draft lessons (which I too struggle with) could also qualify as "elementary".

    If you aren't taking ownership of your class I can understand why your in-class support teacher is taking over. Someone needs to own the classroom. When you are leading a discussion and she steps in, you don't sit down. You build off of what she is contributing to the conversation and take the reins back. Even if that means pulling her to the side of the classroom and telling her to take a step back. It's up to you to press restart on your relationship with her. Talk to her and set some ground rules on how things will be from now on. If she is really belittling you in front of the kids, nip that shit in the bud because it is unprofessional and unacceptable. If that means you need the admin to step in to mediate, so be it. Like you said, it's your name on the door, if she wants to teach, she needs to go find her own classroom.

    You also need to change your attitude. You said, "However, she told me to take the reins for "Looking for Alaska", only because she's mad at me for canceling on her yesterday. "Do whatever you want to do, and I'll follow your lead." No, she told you to take the reins because it is your job to plan and execute your lessons, and since you couldn't meet with her to share your lesson she is going to follow where your lead because, you are the content specialist. It's her job to follow your lead and provide assistance and modification to the students who need it. You should be meeting regularly to work with her on modifying lessons, pacing, etc. You also contradict yourself here, do you want to be in charge of your class or not?

    "I'm just not sure if my lessons will be good enough." No one knows if their lessons will be good enough. It's a trial and error kind of job, because the lesson that works for one class doesn't work for the next. Which is why you should talk to other teachers in your school and ask them to share any resources they have, research lesson plan ideas online. Ask your students what kind of projects they like to do (student-centered learning) and add it into the unit somewhere. Keep a journal of what went right and what went wrong with each class if you truly aren't sure (reflective teaching).

    Most of all, BE CONFIDENT. Fake it if you have to. It's an overwhelming job and you aren't supposed to be perfect in the beginning so forget that bad observation. You are a novice teacher, you are supposed to make mistakes. What is important is that you learn from them and fix them. (Sorry if this is harsh but sweet words won't keep you employed.) ALL the best luck to you.
     
  14. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Feb 19, 2018

    Thanks so much, everybody.
     

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