Can I recover? Principal not impressed with me this year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by allaragallagher, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Sep 17, 2015

    It's my second year. I feel like this year my principal has been all over me this year from the start. At staff meetings he will mention things (don't give caffeine to the freshmen/students should be eating breakfast in the cafeteria) that I later find out were directed at me. I was giving coffee to seniors and thought the food being eaten in my classroom was brought from home. How do they get out of the cafeteria in the morning with food? Anyway, why doesn't he just knock on my door and say these things instead of making anecdotes at staff meetings?

    He sends other staff members to do his dirty work. I understand he is busy, but I hate when my mentor teacher or the PP (President Principal) walks in to say: "Bob wanted me to tell you know that you missed your lunch duty today" or "Bob wanted me to talk to you about the coffee thing again." I'm always having to defend myself. "It wasn't my lunch duty. Here. Look at the schedule." Oh, well, that explains it. No apology. "I don't give them coffee. I haven't since after the staff meeting. I do allow them to bring coffee from home. Is that against the rules?" No.

    Yesterday was bad. He walked into my class and barked at a kid to take his hat off. I said: "Bob. It's hat day." Meaning the kid had paid money to wear his hat for the day. He ignored that comment and ushered me into the hallway to ask me about two students who keep getting out of class early. I told him that I do not have those students except during an earlier period long before lunch.

    As he explained further, I released he was talking about unstructured RTI time that is new this year. We established in the beginning of the year, at a staff meeting, that students can be at the library or go to a teacher's room for help for the 15 minutes before lunch. We no longer have study halls. I remember this because the teachers all got together and talked about how it's a stupid idea to have all the kids flock to the library. I said: "Bob. That's RTI. They were in the library."

    These two students were released from the library early. He insisted it was still my fault, that the kids should not be in the library, and that since I had been mistakenly doing this since the start of the year, I was lucky that nothing worse had happened. I said I would make sure that all students who were supposed to be in my class are there until the bell releases them. I went and got a roster of students for that 15 minute span. Problem solved.

    He asked me to drop by his office after school to talk to him. He told me that the seniors were my responsibility and even though they aren't as good as the seniors last year (I disagree. I think they are better), I need to be holding them to higher expectations. He thinks I've "lowered my expectations in both my honors courses and the new elective" I was saddled last minute with. He said they were going to get bored by April. I was so upset with him by then that all I could do was nod and say: okay, okay, no problem.

    I don't understand how he came to this conclusion. He hasn't observed either of my honors courses. I've been telling everyone that I think I'm a better teacher this year.

    Earlier, a coworker had written me asking how the class was going. She was supposed to co-teach it with me and supply me with a curriculum but neither of those things ever happened. I told her that half the class took it seriously and had done this, this, and this. The rest of the class couldn't get over the fact it wasn't a credited-class last year and didn't care if they failed. I wrote that I had scaled down my expectations for the class (meaning the elective) and was only focusing on the important aspects of the college process, instead of breaking my butt assigning loads of work that students were not going to do.

    When he spoke to me, he used my same words back at me, so I know she shared the e-mail with him. I wrote both of them and clarified that I did not mean to imply I had lowered my expectations with seniors as a whole. That my honors courses are more rigorous. My grading system is more balanced and, thus, I have a more even spread of grades. He wrote back: "It seems to me like they are doing nothing at all."

    I took a personal day, which probably didn't make him happy.

    My mentor teacher observed my honors class two weeks ago and wrote a stellar review. No concerns whatsoever. All of my observations last year (3 informal with my mentor teacher/3 formal with my principal) were good.

    Can I recover from this?

    P.S. Obviously I am not going to allow ANY food/drink in my class from this point forward. Too much drama.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 17, 2015

    Invite Bob to observe your class and ask for suggestions. That way, you know he's going on first-hand information and not on anything whispered down the lane. After that, have a frank talk about the changes placed on your classroom. Seek advice, which puts the ball in his court.

    This is survivable.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 17, 2015

    I agree with cat. I think you can recover from this, though I hate that you are going through this.
     
  5. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Sep 17, 2015

    Thank you. I will do exactly that. :love:
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 17, 2015

    Hm: sounds like someone's not so confident in his authority. If it isn't school culture that staff refer to each other in students' hearing by first name, I'd recommend calling him "Mr. B" outside the faculty room. (I've leapt to an assumption here, based on the language of your post. If it's not true, well done.)
     
  7. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Sep 17, 2015

    That might be true. Though I always call him Mr. B in front of the students. ;)
     
  8. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Sep 17, 2015

    I would document everything. Be careful who you vent to. And avoid drama. I think you can save things.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 17, 2015

    I think you should lay low for a while and make sure you do everything by the book. At the same time, if you are blamed or accused of something, you should -as diplomatically as possible - stand up for yourself and clear everything.

    When I was in my LTs, first the P loved me. She actually created the position for me. Then in about 4-5 months she started picking on me and I felt so intimidated. I definitely didn't want to argue with her, so most of the time, the things she said, as untrue as they were, I just let them go. But I was so stressed out. I didn't understand why she was picking on me, I did everything a regular teacher does for almost sub pay. I went above and beyond.
    Then a teacher told me that "she's a big bully" and she always picks one person to focus on. I'm supposed to stand up for myself, and defend my ways of doing things, because she will be receptive and will respect me more.
    And guess what. It really did happen that way. We went in one conversation from her telling me how wrong I was and that "people have been talking", to admitting that I'm right, and that she had only heard one person complaining but she shouldn't have listened to them. If I didn't stand up for myself, we would have left the conversation with me being in the wrong.
    After that her attitude changed, (of course it took about a month, several conversations, accusations, etc.) but she left me alone and then started praising me in front of staff, at meetings, and basically I got the treatment I really deserved.

    When I was offered my current position at my school, she gave a stellar recommendation and expressed how she was going to miss me, and made a big deal out of me leaving (in a good way)
     
  10. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Sep 17, 2015

    How long have you been at this school?

    I understand your perspective and that you are probably right about these things, but the way you have narrated your responses is not great. If you are really responding like that, I can see why they may take a dislike to you.

    First of all, don't say his name as the first word of a sentence, it makes you sound like you are patronizing a child. Secondly, don't be so matter of fact and argue these points. Third, don't write any emails ever about your classes or students (learned this the hard way).

    This is how I would handle this situation:

    Random admin: You missed your lunch duty!!!
    me: Oh my gosh I am so sorry! I didn't know I had yard duty! Can you help me read the schedule? Hm, I was reading this one here and it says I don't have yard duty today. Is there a new schedule?

    Then hopefully the person admits they are wrong. You want to look like a person who is eager to do the right thing, not a person who has to be right all the time, you know?

    Another example:

    Admin: kids shouldn't have coffee in class
    You: Oh, ok, I'll take care of this. Just to clarify, is it ok for kids to bring coffee from home?

    Do you see how that is better than "that's not against the rules, is it?"? Your response makes you sound like you are lawyering or arguing.
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2015

    Don't pretend that you're stupid. Just ask to "clarify". When a not-so-diligent related service person messes up my class's schedule I always say, "oh, is there a new schedule? Miss Sally didn't come for Suzy at 10am". Usually, they will get the picture and LOOK at the schedule and see their mistake for themselves.
     

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