BTSA Vent

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by TeacherWhoRuns, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Sep 8, 2015

    The BTSA coordinator at my district level is a nightmare.
    I have never had to deal with such a difficult personality before. Last year there was a major change that apparently was not communicated to the mentors. Then, when the project was due, the county sent it back to everyone to redo. This man blamed the mentors. Yeah...all 20 of them just neglected to pass on information. He goes off on tangents at meetings and sends these crazy wordy emails that are a page long when he could give the same information in three sentences. He constantly passes the blame for things to everyone else...to HR, to mentors, to the county Dept of Ed...if you ask him a question, he is condescending and just mean. Someone was telling me he sent him an email with a question over the summer break. He sent a response saying he couldn't answer the question because he was on vacation. Um...you are clearly checking your emails. That wasn't a generic "Out of Office" response through the system. Instead of the simple yes or no the question required, he took the guy to task for bothering him.

    The sad thing is that nobody can really do anything about it. New teachers aren't going to make waves. They just want their credentials cleared. None of the mentors want his job, so they won't say anything. They just don't return to the program. Last year by the end of the year, the meetings were wild. People were so angry about the way he was running things. :dizzy:

    For a program that is intended to help new teachers, it sure increases the stress. Personally, I don't mind the work. That's just work. Dealing with this coordinator is the awful part.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 8, 2015

    Oh, dear, TeacherWhoRuns. I'm so sorry you and your colleagues and the mentors are all going through this.
     
  4. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Nov 1, 2015

    Oh...I can't even with this dude. He would be comical if his communication skills were not so bad.
    The DoE has been sending out forms to people to sign and return. He sent out an email telling everyone that our district didn't apply - that it was a blanket email from the DoE and we can just disregard.
    Then apparently the DOE corrected him, so he sent out another email saying that the forms needed to be turned in and that everyone needs to cc him because clearly nobody paid attention to the directions in his previous email about turning in the form.
    Ummm...the only direction was that we didn't need to fill out the forms. Everyone still has your email!
    Eight more months. Eight more months. Eight more months.
     
  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 2, 2015

    I hate to say it, but the people who are drawn to be BTSA coordinators, at least in my experience, tend to be extremely incompetent, well-intentioned, but not at all capable of running the program smoothly and in a way that actually makes sense and achieves what it is purported to do: support new teachers. Instead, it becomes an exercise in filling out endless forms, checking little boxes, and wading through paperwork...Sorry in advance if anyone on here is BTSa director, I'm sure there are exceptions, but I did BTSA in two districts and experienced the same level of frustration and incompetency in both!
     
  6. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    Nov 7, 2015

    Well it could be worse, my district doesn't offer btsa at all and us newbies are on our own to get it figured out. They don't supply us with mentors and we have to pay for it all ourselves and the cheapest I can find is 4000.

    Is such a burden I'm not even going to do it until I'm in my 3rd year since by then I'll have moved up my salary schedule a bit so that I can better afford it. But by then how is it support me as a new teacher? The whole thing is a crapshoot
     
  7. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 9, 2015

    I also taught in schools with no BTSA as a new teacher -- a Catholic school followed by a charter. I ended up doing BTSA with 5 years of teaching experience! It felt like a waste of time but was definitely easier since I already knew what I was doing....not the goal, I know, but it worked out!
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 9, 2015

    In my district, BTSA is a complete joke.

    I went through the program as a new teacher and as a mentor teacher. By the time I was on the other side of the table as a mentor teacher, things were streamlined a bit--but it was still totally disorganized.
     
  9. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Nov 9, 2015

    This is the best explanation of BTSA I've ever heard - forms, boxes, paperwork... SO. ACCURATE. And don't forget the constant threats that if you miss a form or forget to fill in a box you might have to repeat the semester.

    This happened at my charter, too...the year after I finished the BTSA program. I'm so grateful I barely squeaked by. It wasn't the school's fault - the district, which hates charters, decided to start charging charters through the nose to send their employees there for BTSA. I'm surprised you found one for $4k. All the ones I've heard of are at least $5k, and usually more.

    It's sad. I'm pretty convinced BTSA is nothing more than a money making operation. There are some well meaning people working in it, but overall, it seems to be about money.
     
  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 10, 2015

    I think BTSA was originally well-intentioned but has just spiralled out of control and yes, it has become a money-maker. I would be interested to go back and read the original law/regulation/whatever that created it and see just what exactly is actually required by the state, as opposed to what is being done in individual districts. But, of course none of us is actually going to do that since we're all too busy doing what we do! Which is why BTSA is unlikely to change any time soon.
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 10, 2015

    You all should see what they make us do to get our clear admin credential. It's just like BTSA all over again--two year program filled with busy work. So glad I'm done!
     
  12. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Nov 20, 2015

    With CA screaming about a teacher shortage I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see it go away soon. After I slog through it, of course.
     
  13. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 20, 2015

    I don't think BTSA should go away altogether -- I do think it's important for new teachers to have a designated mentor and support system. I heard from a former admin that BTSA used to be just an assigned mentor that you had certain check-in points with and had certain conversations over the course of the year. I think what needs to go away is the whole crazy APTRA/action research and insane documentation. Where did it all come from, anyway?!?
     
  14. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    Nov 21, 2015

    What's the point of btsa if schools aren't required to provide it. When the schools don't provide it the teachers wait to do it and have to outside for it and then it's busy work for teachers with a few years under their belt and no mentor relationship. Its just bureaucracy and hoops and expenses and a burden of teachers who already are over burdened and under paid.
     
  15. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Nov 26, 2015

    Who is it that's making the money off of it? County DoE's? In my program they're always reminding us that the district is paying for it and not all districts do and that if you miss any requirements you'll have to take an extension out of your own pocket at X amount of dollars. They've threatened everything from $800 to $3000.
    I do see some good things about BTSA. Having a mentor is fantastic, although I subbed for five years before getting a contract that qualified me for BTSA, so I'm kind of beyond the need for help. I figured most things out by myself along the way. I do think the emphasis on plan-reflect-adjust is a good thing. However, the way they go about having you do that is a bit silly and repetitive. I have to reflect on my lesson as a whole, then on the performance of the students, then on the lesson in context of a larger lesson series. I pretty much end up writing a lot of the same sentences on different forms because each thing feeds into another.
    What I really hate is the way the requirement is set up. When I got my credential, it was right as the recession hit, so everyone going through it with me is already on an extension of their preliminary credential. If for some reason we don't finish this pretty quickly, we run the risk of not being able to even sub long term, since after the initial three year extension, you can only keep your credential if you are enrolled in BTSA.
     

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