Can you choose your classes to teach?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by GaryBerry21, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. GaryBerry21

    GaryBerry21 Rookie

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    I just started a job last month for my first teaching job. We were asked to turn in a survey on whether or not we were returning and I replied that I wasn't going to be returning for the next school year. The students really love me there and I'm having a great time but I wanted to teach a higher level than 8th grade math. I felt bad because the school was really welcoming to me and I think they were expecting me to come back. That said, I wanted to teach Calculus or at the very least Pre-Cal.

    I'm asking this because at the school I student taught at, there was a teacher who was placed in Geometry with a couple of Pre-AP sections and she only wanted to teach Algebra I. She didn't like how nosy Pre-AP parents were and she just wasn't "good" at Geometry in general. But at the beginning of the year the principal said that's what you're teaching at that's that. She flat out refused to teach, for example she would sit in a corner and stare at the class not teaching them anything. This went along for 3 months before the principal bent and switched some classes and teachers around to let her get what she wanted. Obviously I know that is one of the worst ways to go about it.
    I've also heard that seniority gives you the opportunity to teach those classes but as a new teacher I can't use that.

    How should I go about this during hiring season?
     
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  3. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Incoming teachers have no say in what they teach at my HS. At the end of each year, our dept chair has us fill out a survey with our desired courses and desired planning periods. Obviously, not everyone will get what they want, but she does make an attempt. But that first year? You're just filling in whatever the teacher who left was scheduled to do.

    I would not give demands as a teacher looking for a new job. Be open to whatever THEY need (although mention your stronger points) and then try to move the next year.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Your colleague who sat and didn't teach sounds like a petulant, spoiled child who won't last in education.
    As a new teacher you pretty much get what you get and you don't get upset. Your best bet when job seeking is to be flexible...certainly express your passion and interest in teaching specific content, but keep in mind you are going to need to prove yourself in whatever position you accept.
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I taught a grade I wasn't interested in to get into a school I love. At the end of the year I filled out my survey for the following year and was granted my first choice of grade to teach. You will have to 'put in your time' for a bit at the beginning before you land your 'dream job'. Switching schools frequently won't help because you will never get ahead in seniority so you'll always be at the bottom when making choices.
     
  6. GaryBerry21

    GaryBerry21 Rookie

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    Ahhh okay. Thanks for the information and replies!
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I need to be open to teach anything within my qualifications. We are asked each January, to indicate our preferences and administration tries to work within that as much as possible.

    Some teachers aren't happy with where they are placed and do make that known. I try to be flexible and make things work.
     
  8. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    In my district, your colleague, tenured or not, would have been fired midyear! And rightly so, IMO.

    We can ask for different assignments, but they aren't often granted. We're never asked what we want.
     
  9. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    Chances are you will have to spend a few years in algebra or geometry before they put your in pre-calc or calc. You may get lucky, but in general, the higher level math classes tend to be scooped up by the vets. We get to give our preferences, and our supervisor tries her best, but the more "tenured" folks get first dibs. And a first year teacher generally gets what they get.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I had zero choice, but my colleague was asked before I was hired if she wanted to switch any classes. She did not.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The only way to get seniority is to stay in a place for a while. If you quit after your first year everywhere, you won't ever earn the seniority you want. I don't think you should have quit. I think you should have stuck it out teaching the lower sections for a couple of years until you have proven yourself capable of teaching an upper section.
     
  12. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    I agree with Caesar...you're in a place where the students love you, the school was welcoming and liked you and supported you?? Oh my god, stay. To me that sounds GREAT and somewhat rare. You could build yourself up there maybe. Investigate the options for it at any rate. Communicate your goals to them and see what they say about the possibility of achieving them in that district.

    I mean, you know what's best for you though, follow your instincts.
     
  13. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    I think the OP was in a middle school since he mentions teaching 8th grade math so I don't think staying in that school would result in higher level sections; however, staying in district might be wise. Then if an opening happens in the HS, you will already have proven yourself to an extent.
     
  14. MrTeach11

    MrTeach11 Rookie

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    She should have been fired on the spot.

    To the point of your real question, as a first year math teacher myself, when I got hired at my current school, they did not ask what my preferences were. So I was given 5 sections of Geometry. Geometry would have been my last choice but it has turned out ok. Next year a veteran teacher is moving and I am going to be taking up her Pre-Calc and Advanced Trig classes. So I guess my point is that if you wait it out, you will be able to move to classes you want to teach. Good luck!
     
  15. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Indicating that you are not returning next year before having lined up a new position is maybe a bit reckless.

    Since you have a good relationship with your school, you can probably work something out for your course assignment.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    You're right. I was thinking about my own district, where there are many opportunities to move to different schools while retaining your seniority.
     
  17. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    We are asked for our preferences, and our principal tries to accommodate that, but we are expected to teach (skillfully and professionally) any subject in our areas of certification!
     
  18. GaryBerry21

    GaryBerry21 Rookie

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    I'm at a middle school now so there's no way I could stay and teach what I want to eventually teach. That's why I'm deciding to move on.

    Also to the people commenting about that teacher, I was really surprised at the way the principal handled it as well. My cooperating teacher was the dept. chair for math, he said he thought the principal might have been afraid of a little backlash if he fired her because of her personality when I questioned why he didn't just get rid of her. I was just a student teacher so I couldn't really say much about it.
     
  19. msmac21

    msmac21 Companion

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    GaryBerry21, I have to agree with prior posters. You should be thankful you even have a job in the present climate. Coming from someone who has struggled for find a job for two years, I am immensely jealous of your opportunity.

    Be grateful for what you have and stay somewhere where the kids are great and the staff like you! You're going to feel pretty stupid if you quit this job and can't find another one!
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    You can't always choose what you teach. You're there to accommodate the school's needs, not the other way around. I teacher English 2 and English 3 and 2 sections of credit recovery (online classes, easy, no planning, almost no grading). My P could say next year that I teach English 1, 2, 3, and 4 and there is nothing I could do about it. That's just how it is.

    It is hard to get a teaching job, and even then, there are so many things that can work against you: rough school bad P, coworkers make the environment uncomfortable, students are not motivated to learn, behavior problems, etc. You don't have any of those issues.
    I say stick it out, and you will probably be able to request classes you teach, later on.
     
  21. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    At my old school no choices. The school I teach at now, when we had our old principal he really did like to give people choices. Only twice did he not give people choices and he probably did give them a choice, either teach where I put you or don't teach here anymore. The principal we have now, absolutely no choice. Last year she pulled me into to her office and basically said you are moving to another grade level. Don't get me wrong I did need a change, and in so many ways I am happy. It was just the way she gave me no choice. I don't she would give anyone choices. She is too much of a control freak.
     
  22. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    We usually get to choose 1 of our preps (to keep one the same) and then the second prep we could be moved to anything. I was also asked at my interview what I would be most comfortable teaching. I actually am teaching Honors Pre-Calc at my school (which, in my district, does 3 months of the AB curriculum for "enrichment") and it's intense. I would love to move out of that. My Algebra II class is great.
     
  23. ChemTeachBHS

    ChemTeachBHS Comrade

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    It took me 7 years before I got to pick which classes I wanted. As a new teacher you get whatever is left.
     
  24. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I had to spend 6 years in a grade level before I was able to be moved. And now that I switched schools, I'm teaching my worst nightmare grade level! You have to work up the totem pole.
     
  25. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    We fill out a survey each year on what we want to teach for the next year. I've been very fortunate - I've always gotten the grade level I requested. Sometimes I've had an elective thrown in there that I didn't ask for (or want but hey! It's still a job!).

    It's pretty much a crap shoot, though - you teach where they need you or you can find another job.
     
  26. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    giraffe what grade are you teaching?
     
  27. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Kindergarten. I think I'd have a better perspective if I had started with them instead of being a mid-year replacement trying to clean up someone else's mess.
     
  28. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Ooof yeah!! that's tough, good luck!
     

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