"Bait and switch" ???

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by LadyInABlueDress, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Jun 30, 2016

    Hi everyone!

    I recently got hired for my 1st year teaching high school. I will be doing an alt certification route, so this is my literal first time in a traditional classroom. My degrees are in Wildlife Management and Neurobio/Physio.

    This principal got my resume from another district (I didn't even apply to his). He initially stated he had 2 positions open, Chem/Earth Science and Bio/A&P and asked which I preferred. I told him Bio. Again at the interview, he said both were open and again asked which I wanted to do; I repeated that I wanted Bio and was not comfortable teaching the other subjects.

    He called to offer me the job, but then told me he had either Chem, or Earth Science with 2 periods of Environmental Science (integrated with special ed kids on IEPs). He hemmed and hawed when I asked him about the original Bio position, said he'd check into it.

    He is now trying to convince me that I don't want to teach Bio because it's freshmen, that it's ok to only have cursory knowledge of Chem, the students won't know enough to ask any questions I can't answer, etc. He insists the Earth Science is the same as my Wildlife degree (it is NOT), and that the integrated classroom is better since there will be another teacher... despite the ~20 students with IEPs and special needs... I feel like a 1st year teacher does not need that.
    I told him I didn't feel it was in mine or the students best interests to make me teach a subject I personally struggled with in college (Chem) or that I knew next to nothing about (Earth Science). Then he told me he *could try* to shuffle around for Bio/A&P, but insisted I think about it more.

    Basically I feel he kind of "bait and switched" me. I would never have interviewed had he not said he had Bio open. Now I feel like he's trying to pressure me and if I hold my ground, we will be off on the very wrong foot.

    Advice?
     
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  3. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Jun 30, 2016

    I would guess he has a lot more applicants for Bio than Chem. He might have hired a credentialed Bio teacher after offering you a position, thinking you might have some flexibility. He may decide you are somewhat intractable if you stand firm, but personally the first year of teaching is hard enough without trying to teach a subject you do not have a solid foundation in.

    As far as the integrated classroom, you should be prepared for being given an assignment like that, so I would not include that situation as part of your concerns with your currently assigned schedule.
     
    czacza likes this.
  4. kaitydid

    kaitydid Rookie

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    Jul 4, 2016

    I don't have much advice, but please get this out of your head. I just finished my first year of teaching, and I taught one class of about 30 in which at least half of them had IEPs and special needs. I was more than happy to teach them, but I certainly didn't have a choice and wasn't told about those students until schedules were finalized a week before school started. You are a teacher now. You need to prepare yourself for having classrooms like this, regardless of how much teaching experience you have. I would focus on your concerns of not having the ability to teach a certain subject, not because you think first-year teachers shouldn't have to teach students with IEPs.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jul 4, 2016

    Can't you just turn down the job offer?
     
  6. NewTeacher2016

    NewTeacher2016 Companion

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    .
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  7. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jul 4, 2016

    This is almost certainly the case. When I interviewed for my current job they were hiring for ELA and science (it was 6th grade so my elementary ed certification qualified me for both) and while I preferred ELA (and told them that), I ended up being offered science because of how the other hiring shook out. I took the job because I really needed it and I didn't mind teach science that much. There is some truth to the idea that your students won't necessarily know enough to ask you things you don't know. And if they do ask you something you don't know, it's always fine to say, "I don't know, let's find out." Some of the best discussions we had came out of things we looked up together because I wasn't sure what the answer was. I got my curriculum a few weeks before school started and it was sometimes stressful trying to teach myself certain things as I went, but I actually really enjoyed it. I guess my advice would be to pass on it if you feel that strongly about not teaching those particular subjects but to keep an open mind. At the very least, I doubt the school was trying to pull a fast one on you or anything.
     
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  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    OK, I have a lot of college chemistry, but hated all of it until we finally got to the metabolism of the cell. If you think you can teach biology without knowing a fair amount of chemistry, or at least appreciating the correlations, you are going to struggle teaching bio at the HS level. Would I want to teach chemistry? Probably not, but from bio you are sleeping with environmental science, which is buddied up with earth science, so if you can see the interconnections of all of that, it isn't as hard understanding what is being asked of you. For the record, I was an AR teacher, and the only thing I don't want to teach is physics, although I do teach physical science with the others I listed. If you want to major in earth science, you are going to want a real rock person, but I know more than my students, and learn more with every teaching cycle. Biology teachers are "cheap" in the teaching world - lots of them, and many of those adjacent teachers can do a pretty good job, too. If the admin has a licensed bio teacher to bring on board, you, the AR candidate, may be relegated to the other positions.

    Let me back up what the others have said about IEPs and Special Needs - you can't avoid them, and if it freaks you out this much, you should reevaluate your desire to teach, and I am saying that as kindly as I can. I had a high percentage of students with IEPs my first year, even in the Honor's classes. You learn by doing. You learn where you need to shore up your knowledge base, and then add courses and PD along the way to fill gaps in knowledge and enhance your teaching skills. It is surprising just how fast you can transform as long as you are content to remain a true life-long learner. My kids are always shocked when they learn the I am always taking some kind of course - they assumed getting out of HS means no more school.

    The first year is hard for everyone, and traditionally prepared teachers are often shocked to find out just how different it is in reality compared to what they thought they knew. I thought, as AR, that I was blessed - I knew it would be rough, but I didn't know how much PD was out there, just waiting to be learned, free for the asking. You can't be AR and believe it will be easy, but you will have life experiences that many recent graduates lack, and sometimes that is enough to level the playing field.

    I would, honestly, go where I was needed, lean on others for support, and make great friendships along the way. Be a team player, earn the respect and gratitude of admin because you were the answer "Yes, I will." I watched a bright newbie with a master's go down the tubes because he couldn't roll with the punches. I watched it unfold, and promised myself that I would never be that rigid in my stance, that unable to compromise. Just take this as advice from a once upon a time AR candidate who now holds a handful of certificates just because I never stopped being a student.
     
    tigger88, NewTeacher2016 and kaitydid like this.
  9. teacherquestions

    teacherquestions Rookie

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    Jul 7, 2016

    If I were you I would hold my ground and wait until something better came along that suited my needs. I wouldnt want to teach something im not passionate about.
     
  10. NewTeacher2016

    NewTeacher2016 Companion

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    .
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  11. teacherquestions

    teacherquestions Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2016

    Yeah that's my thought--not everyone enjoys the same subject. I wouldnt want to teach physics either!
     

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