Considering Leaving my Title 1 School

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    As part of my scholarship program, I have to teach in a Title 1 School for two years. If I only fulfill one year of teaching here, then I will have to pay back $ for my masters program.

    I was talking to another new teacher today who is also completely exhausted by the behavior. One of her classes has 32 kids but it is a pre-AP class, so the behavior is excellent. However, she has a 7th grade class where the kids are yelling, fighting, swearing, out of their seats and she can't teach. I am so lucky that my students are better than that, but I know 6th grade behavior is easier to manage than 7th at my school. (My friend was shocked when I said that my kids in my bad class sit down quickly when I count down and do the Do Now and exit ticket quietly.) I am so so glad I didn’t have to teach the older grades at my school because it seems worse.

    I’m just tired of there being no immediate consequences for the kids and I’m tired of admin acting like behavior is excellent at my school. So many teachers that I’ve spoken with have had behavior issues. The teachers who don't have issues are veterans. But my school has so many new teachers and so much turnover that I feel like there has to be a better way to handle the behavior. A teacher next door teaches 8th grade and all I hear is yelling and screaming from those kids and nothing is ever done.

    I teach 3 classes and my last period class (which is only 24 kids) is a dream to teach. There are almost no behavior issues because a few of the kids in my last period class are mostly in honors or pre-AP English. I really love teaching this group. Having less kids means I can space them around the room and the kids aren't getting distracted with each other. Even though there are some behavior problems, they are very easily handled. They work quietly and it is really nice.

    I hate teaching my morning classes. I dread going to work every day. There are over 30 kids in both and it feels like crowd control, not teaching. One of the classes is relatively well-behaved but they still require a lot of redirection. I still have to raise my voice, repeat directions, etc. but I figure that's how it goes with 34 kids in a class. I know it is first period so the behavior is better, but I am happy that this class listens during my lessons, gets work done, etc. My other class is AWFUL. They sometimes have a good day, and then they have a bad day. I am tired of the ridiculous behavior all around. I know that behavior would be better if I taught honors or pre-AP or had smaller classes. I don't think my behavior management is terrible...I know I could do it with 20-25 kids with both of these groups. The 5th grade class is huge next year, so I know my classes will be the same size or larger. The thought of doing this again honestly makes me feel sick. I don't think I would make it through the year if it wasn't for my last period class. I hate how my school tracks because all of the behavior problems end up in either inclusion or college. I hate how tracking means that my highest kids get to be in a class of 24 and my lowest kids are in a class of 34. It is infuriating. The English teacher who shares the same kids as me said that college (what we teach) is the worst because there is no support and so many low kids.

    I am also exhausted by the testing/expectations. They expect so much out of the kids, but they give us no time or resources to teach it.

    I always thought that I wanted to teach in a Title 1 School, but I never thought I would dislike it so much. I student taught in a "rougher" district and I still liked it more. I got to work one-on-one with the kids and I built good relationships with them. I know student teaching is different but I really miss the calmness of having 20 kids in a class. I have a job interview in the same district at the school I student taught in next week. It would qualify as title 1, but I know the behavior again could be rough. This district, however, pays extremely well and has really good benefits for teachers.

    I don't realize how exhausted I am until the end of the week. I haven't done anything fun on a Friday in so long because I am so so tired. Today, I spend an hour after school working, another hour crying, and another hour complaining with my friend. (I know...not a good use of my time. But I honestly felt too tired and exhausted to go home.)

    There is a part of me that wants to start job searching in a suburban district. I remember subbing in one and the behavior was amazing compared to this. I teach in a state that supposedly has the best public schools so I feel like there are better places to work...
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
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  3. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    How much money has to be paid back? I would definitely be job searching if I hated going to work, but depending on the amount of money, I may think about toughing it out just one more year.
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I think about 10K...
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    This is obviously a personal decision, but no way would I miss out on 10K for one measly year! If you were talking about having to stay five years, I might see your point. One year in the grand scheme of things is nothing.

    Figure out some ways to make the next year a little easier. Maybe that means using one sick day per month as a mental health day that you have to look forward to. Figure out where you can cut out extra work. For example, a coworker who is retiring this year determined she just wasn't going to spend time on differentiated homework and refused to do that this year.

    Set little milestones for yourself throughout the year with rewards for making it to certain points. Then next Jan.-Feb., get together your letters of rec and start working on your cover letter, resume, and whatever else is needed for hiring. Throwing yourself into getting a new position will help you not be so stressed about the current one. And two years at the same school is going to look a lot better on a resume than just one- especially as your first year- that raises questions about you not really being able to handle the position.

    Also consider that next year will automatically be easier for you. You won't be figuring out all of the new routines and rules of the new school, and you have all of your background knowledge from this year to fall back on as far as planning and teaching. You should even be able to reuse some things for next year.
     
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  6. Pisces

    Pisces Rookie

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    Find a job in the suburbs that pays more than what you earn now and you'll make that $10K back in a couple of years.
     
  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Surprisingly, the best paying district in my state is a Title 1 School.
     
  8. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I agree with this. Yes, your school sounds difficult -- but one more year is nothing when the alternative is paying back that much in loans/tuition. And, as the rest of @waterfall's post mentions, next year would likely be easier (assuming you teach the same classes next year).

    If your grant(?) requires you to stay at the same Title 1 school for 2 years, then my advice would be stick it out for another year. If you can change schools to a different Title 1 school then by all means start applying, but I think if you don't get hired elsewhere you run the risk of not having any job next year that would take care of college money. And if you do get hired, there's no guarantee it will be any easier than your current school, especially if your most DIFFICULT class still mostly follows directions when you redirect them.
     
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  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I would say that my most difficult class sometimes follows my directions. I’m relieved that they at least do the Do Now quietly (this is an improvement from before haha). The behavior is really bad though. This week, I’ve had:
    -a student throwing paper in my room, insisted he didn’t do it
    -students yelling across the room during instruction
    -students who wouldn’t stop talking during a test
    -student who refused to throw out gum
    -student who was out of his seat 5+ times
    -student who refuses to take off his non-uniform sweatshirt (twice)
    -students making noises during a test

    With my difficult class, the talking is the worst. I usually say “we can wait” and they stop for a minute and it starts again. It’s ridiculous. Detentions do nothing. I’m just really tired of the number of kids. It is exhausting.

    Are these behaviors normal for 6th grade?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  10. otterpop

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    It could be worth it to switch, but do also consider that most of the issues you bring up are problems that can happen anywhere. I teach at a school that is not Title 1, and most of our families are middle class, and you could run into most of these problems at my school. You talk about being tired... I'm so tired when I finish the workweek that it seems like I need the whole weekend to just recover and sleep so that I'm ready to start again on Monday. It's exhausting and demoralizing... And I have a generally good group this year. Likewise, testing is going to be something that is a big focus nearly anywhere you teach right now unfortunately.

    On the other hand, I'm huge advocate of taking care of yourself first. If you're not happy, start looking for something new. Life is too short to be miserable and crying regularly.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    My entire district is Title I, and I love my school. Some years are a bit rougher than others, but we have very good behavior overall. We make good academic progress with the kids.
     
  12. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    Holyoke, I don't post often but I read here often. I am a veteran teacher--15 years in--and you have inspired me all year with how you have followed through with discipline, called parents, and assigned detention. I have read more than one of your posts where I felt humbled by the effort you put into discipline in situations where I was just giving up. I have felt inspired by you and awed that you are new to teaching. Based on your posts, you sound like an amazing teacher.

    I think that your impression that veteran teachers at your school don't have discipline problems isn't accurate. This year I was feeling that I was the only one at my school with discipline problems but the more I dug into it through talking to teachers and participating in optional walk-throughs, I realized that I simply didn't tolerate behavior that many other teachers did. So it wasn't that Johnny behaved in his other classes, it was that other teachers allowed him to sleep, or listen to music, or use his cell phone. So they didn't have a problem with defiance with him, but that was because they pretty much let him do whatever he wanted.

    I suspect that most of the vets at your school have either given up because they know that admin won't implement consequences, or they simply stopped caring about some of the behaviors. I doubt that the kids are actually better behaved for them.

    I think that you will see the same behaviors anywhere unless there is a strong admin. In my 15 years I have seen behaviors getting worse and fewer and lesser consequences. I do think that the reality of teaching now is that you may see those behaviors every year, in any public school.

    As for paying the 10k, if moving schools allows you to stay in the profession rather than being miserable and quitting, 10k over 29 more years until you retire is not much and is worth the investment. However, you really won't know if the new school is any better.
     
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  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    That’s quite the generalization. I’m 26 years in, and I haven’t given up or stopped caring. I have, however, developed a much bigger bag of tricks for dealing with student behavior issues. This holds true for the majority of others in my building as well. We have had a few newbies and veterans who have crappy management, but it has been consistently so. They didn’t suddenly stop caring.
     
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  14. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    Yes, it is a generalization. That's what I've seen at my school. I'm glad that it's not like that everywhere.

    Holyoke's school sounds similar to mine in terms of how parents respond to parent phone calls and conferences, and in terms of how the administration handles discipline issues. Without backup from admin or parents, there's simply not a lot that a teacher can do. I mean obviously a teacher does everything possible--engaging and organized lessons, proximity, seating charts that minimize disruptions, rapport with students, fair and consistent expectations....but that is not always enough.
     
  15. Preschool0929

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    I would definitely tough it out for another year to avoid paying that amount back. To be honest, I’ve taught at 3 different schools during my career, all Title 1, and behavior has been rough at all of them. However, my current school is PBIS and we have an amazing behavior coach and admin team and behavior is dealt with swiftly, so it’s very different.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    These are not egregious behaviors and you can encounter them in many classrooms, especially if your classroom/behavior mgt repertoire isn’t strong. Stay a year to reap the benefits of the monetary incentive and, more important, the gift of time to hone these essential skills.
     
  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I give my students $5 gift cards here and there as incentives for good behavior (even in high school) and they love it! I do this once a quarter to the top 5 students who are on their best behavior. And for the best-behaving student, I give him or her a bundle of five, $10 gift cards to Starbucks, In-N-Out, Jamba Juice, Cheesecake Factory, and Applebee’s.

    I’ve found that monetary rewards provide powerful incentives for the majority of my students to behave. Plus, I just claim the educator expense on my taxes, so it’s all good.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nope nope nope.
     
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  19. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    What state are you in? I'm in CA and class sizes under 30 are rare, aside from SPED, ELD, or AP classes. I am lucky enough to teach at at Title 1 school in a good district that caps classes at 32. I have taught up to 40 kids in a class (ELD!!!) and I got out of that situation with a quickness. So basically, do your research on class sizes in neighboring districts before you make a change, as it could be going from bad to worse :(
     
  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Thank you for your contribution?
     
  21. TrademarkTer

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    How do you determine objectively who is the "best behaving" student? If I gave gift cards for good behavior, I'd have to give like probably 95% of my juniors and 75% of my seniors cards (they're a little more checked out, and willing to test boundaries with me, but still mostly good kids), which would be quite pricey!
     
  22. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I'm surprised you would need behavioral incentives like that in a private school...
     
  23. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I think that the kids are better behaved for them. Most of the teachers in my school are great and hard working.
     
  24. GeetGeet

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    This is correct. I teach in a very affluent suburban school and even in that environment there are many behavior issues that I know won't be addressed. So I pick my battles. I'm in my 14th year...and the issues have lessened in some ways. In general, however, I notice that more and more, the "inmates run the asylum," so to speak. I think it's partly a culture shift, unfortunately.

    *English teachers: am I using too many commas??
     
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  25. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    NOOOOOOOOO a student shouldn't be rewarded for what is essentially "expected" behavior! I totally get why you would do this, but I was really uncomfortable reading that!
     
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  26. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Once per quarter is not too pricey and I only spend ~$250/year; plus, I only give out 5 awards across all of my periods.

    Basically, I give gift cards to the following 5 students: 1) the student who most improves behavior wise, 2) the student who doesn’t talk out of turn and doesn’t interrupt, 3) the student who actively encourages others, 4) the student who is most polite to myself and others, and 5) the student who volunteers and helps others to succeed.

    I don’t let my students know my metric for selecting who wins and I try to switch it up so it’s not always the same 5 students who win each quarter, though a few sometimes do win more than once.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  27. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Kids of all backgrounds misbehave. It’s not specific to any social class. And my high school is 60% middle class/upper class (mostly middle) and 40% working class, on average.
     
  28. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sure, but I do it because I want to. It also helps some of the problem students because they have something to look forward to, at least.

    It made you really uncomfortable? Really?
     
  29. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I went to the interview of the school in the same district that I student taught in. The school seemed fine but the job is for THREE grade levels (6th, 7th, and 8th). I received a demo for this week but I think I'll turn it down...I do not want to plan for 3 grade levels!!
     
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  30. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    It is just really surprising that you would need these types of behavioral incentives. I haven't heard of anything like it + it would be frowned upon in my school.

    In my experience, low-income schools generally have more behavioral issues as do "lower" students. In my school, behavior is excellent in the pre-AP and honors classes and behavior is more challenging in the college level and inclusion classes.
     
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  31. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    To be fair, I never said I *need* these behavioral incentives. I do it because I like rewarding certain students for doing the right thing even when they are not asked to. Also, I think it is important to reward and recognize students other than just those who have the highest grades. This is one way of doing that. Plus, I think it’s only fair because I get cash gifts and gift cards from students all the time.

    And, no offense, but I would not be too concerned if a practice I did were frowned upon in my school so long as it was moral and legal. I think it’s equally valid that you don’t do this, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t because you or others don’t.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  32. rpan

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    Sometimes it’s nice to get some acknowledgement even if you are doing what is ‘expected’. It applies to adults and students. We thank our parents on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Parent Day for being good parents, and buy them gifts or a meal, even though it is an expectation that our parents should be good parents. Our students buy us gifts to thank us for being good teachers and mentors, even though we get paid to do so and they expect it from us. It feels nice and appreciated to get that acknowledgement. So personally, I don’t see a problem with rewarding students with something that they want, for doing something that is expected, lesson after lesson, day after day, month after month. As long as it’s above board and transparent.
     
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  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    :yeahthat: Right on!
     
  34. Backroads

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    At the first nanosecond of reading about the gift cards, I was stunned.

    Then again, I grew up with teachers doing similar things on occasion and I know plenty of teachers who love prize boxes (which I actually imagine paying for adds up to at least if not more of what @futuremathsprof is spending on gift cards).

    It doesn't fit my philosophy, but they're not pricey gift cards nor does it sound like an everyday thing.

    Do your thing.
     
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  35. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Thanks for your understanding and support. :)
     
  36. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I have applied to several schools and I taught some demo lessons on Friday. One of the jobs is for 6th grade math in the district that I student taught in. I taught a good lesson with fraction tiles which I think they liked. They want to move forward with checking references, so it seems positive but you can never be sure.

    The school is newly renovated and seems really nice. The class sizes are small and the people seem really nice. I would really love to not have classes of 30+ next year. It is a tough district to work in still. The salary is really, really good though. I would make about 11K more next year. I spoke with my mentor at my school and she said that it is not uncommon for people to leave my district/school. A lot of people are unhappy with the administration, etc.

    I would also love to join a school with a middle school team, which this school has.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  37. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Good luck! Do what your heart tells you.
     
  38. Pisces

    Pisces Rookie

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    Is that what your school is telling you? Usually, suburbs pay a lot better than urban schools. I've lived in several urban cores around the country (NYC, ATL, SF, to name a few) and the burbs always paid better. It's common knowledge they will tell you otherwise, not expecting you to look up the salaries.


    $11K more in a better district? told ya so :blush: I hope it goes well and you are offered the position!
     

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