Did I make a mistake in accepting my renewal?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by LittleShakespeare, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Jun 4, 2018

    Hey, everybody. Happy June! I hope this message reaches you all well.

    Since September 2017, I've been working at this inner-city / urban school. It has been a bit challenging, much more than my other school. The kids are ridiculously disrespectful and disruptive. We have a daycare attached to the school because 40% of the student population is pregnant. Many of the students drop out to "be on welfare, like mama." Very few, if any, students want to pursue higher education. It's like none of them want to be here. Many of my students cannot be controlled. The more you ask them to settle down, the louder they get. They challenge you every day. They never want to do their work, and you have to repeat instructions 5 times before they get the hint. I have had students at this school ask me how many sex partners I've had. I even had to suspend one student for asking me if I had "ever given a BJ to a man before."

    I'm not saying these things to complain. I'm just trying to give you a better understanding of how this school is.

    Anyway, my contract was renewed because my summative evaluation was high. I'm rated as an effective teacher. I accepted my renewal because although this is a terrible school, I do have some benefits: I have a 2-hour prep period, so I don't have to take work home; I can leave at 2:30 when the students leave; and of course, I have health insurance and am part of the union.

    I am planning to apply for a PhD for the Fall 2019 cycle. I was going to use 2018 to strengthen my grad school application.

    I accepted the renewal because even though the kids are tough, I feel that this school is a lot easier in some ways. I don't even know if that makes sense. Lol! But in truth, at my old school, I would have severe anxiety because I was a long-term sub, treated like garbage, and responsible for 5 preps at $120 a day. My mentor was a Spanish teacher, and I teach English. It was a nightmare.

    Even so, I might not stay in secondary education, if I get accepted into a 2019 program. So, it doesn't make sense to switch districts right now. At this school, although the kids are tough, I feel that this year has been a lot better than my old school. I leave my frustrations at work, and I'm not working myself to the bone like I was last year.

    But I'm having a hard day today, and I came into school with a little anxiety. I'm getting over someone, and I'm fasting for Ramadan, so maybe it's the caffeine withdrawal. A big part of me feels like I made a mistake in renewing my contract.

    Please advise. :(
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Based on the multiple complaints you have posted over the year, I feel that you have done a disservice to your incoming students, the school that you degrade in every post, and done yourself no favor, to boot. All of that said, you have made a choice that hopefully you can live with.
     
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  4. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    It's always a pleasure hearing from you, Vickilyn! Such a positive energy you are, a vibrant spirit! Always a pleasure! :D
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Agreed.

    OP, you never made one positive post about your school and your position. I hope it is really better than you portray to us.
     
  6. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Hmm. I wonder then why I scored "effective" in all my evaluations. :) I'm the teacher that got honorable mention as a rookie teacher for helping her students prepare well for PARCC as well as the SAT's.

    Just because someone has a hard day, it doesn't mean they're not cut out for the environment they're in. Not once have I ever degraded my school. I am telling you what it's like, which is a bit different than my old school. Sure, I may not belong here, but don't ever make assumptions about me. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps I only post on hard days? That I need some support from fellow teachers in this difficult district?

    I'm going to ask you to please refrain from answering my posts. I'm honestly not interested in your spiels about my personality and what I was meant to do for a living. And although I ask for advice, I really don't want it from you, of all people. You have triggered me a number of times, and I always feel pangs of anxiety when I see your name on my posts.

    Thanks a lot! Cheers.
     
  7. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Of course there are positives to this school. Did it ever occur to you that I only post when it's a hard day? Maybe I need words of wisdom when the going gets tough?
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Well you talk about contentious relationships, bad reviews, being disliked by administration, being unprepared, etc With nothing positive ever, what picture do you think it paints for us? We don't even get a sometimes it is wonderful even though things can be rough sometimes. You tell us about your horrible observation. Honestly, with the picture you painted I was astounded that you got a good end of the year review. It almost made me think administration is just desperate for a body based on the only information you provided for us.

    We aren't mind readers and some people do have horrendous situations where nothing is ever good. So, how are we supposed to know it is actually pretty good that if you don't tell us and only tell us how awful things are and how poorly co-workers and administration considers your work?
     
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  9. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    "I'm not saying these things to complain. I'm just trying to give you a better understanding of how this school is."
     
  10. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Not sure where you're getting the "admin" part, but my VP loves me, as well as the students. She did give me "effectives" in all my evaluations. I have a co-teacher that's a bit difficult to deal with, but we were able to settle that dispute. I never got bad reviews, and I've never been unprepared. All my lesson plans are made ahead of time. Perhaps you meant when I scored low in my old observation? I still managed to get a 2.8, so I'm not sure where you're getting your information from? Maybe you'd want to PM me for some more information?
     
  11. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    If you read my post, dear friend, you'll see that I said this school contains a lot of benefits as well. Long preps, early days, more rigor in the curriculum, etc. I'm telling you everything like it is. I said that it's a lot easier than my old school, but it is a difficult environment.

    Perhaps I was wrong to ask a few users here for some words of wisdom. I have come to find that this forum can sometimes be like a shark tank where some people want to watch you drown, and that's fine. Whatever makes your day more pleasant! But to be honest, I think I made the right decision for myself because I am an effective, passionate teacher, and the kids can learn a lot from me and my zany enthusiasm for literature. Although it's a rough environment, not exactly an academic Eden, it's what makes sense for me right now, especially since I want to pursue higher education. It wouldn't make sense to switch ships right now: adjusting to a new school while applying to my PhD programs,

    So, perhaps this thread should be closed.

    Thanks! :)
     
  12. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    That's very kind of you! God bless. But to be honest, this school doesn't have a high demand for teachers, so...

    And I'm pretty sure she didn't give me an effective rating just because she felt like being nice.
     
  13. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    You seem like you were miserable there. It's the end of the year now; you have a contract in front of you. So you have thoughts like, "was it really that bad?"
    The positive of signing that contract is that it is easier than going out finding a different job. The bad news is that you have to relive the school year in the same environment all over again. You need to make changes to make sure your prepared this time. Keep in mind, the kids are going to be the same.
     
  14. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    You're definitely right. I have some PD's and classes lined up for this summer that are geared towards working in this type of setting. I also had a conversation with my mentor, and she said the second year is when you usually find out if this is the district for you. I guess I'll try it again. It's like night and day when compared to my old district, so I need to make some changes.

    Thank you so much for your help! :)
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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  16. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I think you need a different, a fresh perspective. Think of the many new teachers who are applying to all the jobs they can, yet, they don't even get an interview, or don't get considered, without even knowing why. And they're subbing and staying hopeful for years. You have had a job for a few years now, and you are even renewed for next year (the dreaded question at the end of year: will I have a job next year?)

    So these are the things I recommend:
    - take this job as a lesson to learn from. It will only make you a better, stronger teacher. If you can get to these kids, and settle them down, and even better, actually have them learn, then you can teach any where.
    - take it as a challenge. Are you afraid of a challenge? Are you always looking for something easy? The more difficult something is to get, the better are the rewards.
    - would you be rather subbing? not knowing if you will make ends meet on a teeny daily rate, and not even knowing if you will work every day?

    I would suggest to do the following this upcoming year (and prepare during the summer)
    - people always say "relationships, relationships, relationship", but it's true. How do you establish a relationship with these kids?
    1. they have no structure at home = you create one for them. Have routines, procedures for everything, do things the same way. For example every class starts with warm up. Every Wednesday you do grammar worksheets with them (my kids love them, because it's not hard, they feel successful, and doesn't seem like a lot of work, even though it is)
    2. they get no respect or love at home = you show them respect and love. Say polite things like "thank you" and "you're welcome" , say good morning to every kid, even if he's falling in the door 35 minutes late. Say "have a good day" and "please stay out of trouble". This is how you start. Keep your word on everything. If you say you will do something, do it, even if they drove you crazy and you feel like going back on your word. They get that at home, they need someone reliable in their life.
    3. soon they will learn to listen to you, then respect you, then like you, then trust you. They will learn that they can come to you with problems, and you will listen. Out of respect they will quiet down, and they will even do the work.
    4. talk to them about life after graduation. All the time. Emphasize the importance of a high school diploma, and explain the reasons, but don't emphasize higher learning. Talk about at least getting there so that they can get a job, even if it's at McDonalds. Better than selling drugs or being on welfare. Then talk to them about vocational school. About learning a trade, investing a couple of years, often just 8 months to learn something not everyone knows.
    5. you will not reach every kid. Even if you just reach half of the kids, they can help model good behavior, and a lot of others will fall in line. Then you will just have to deal with 3-4 knuckle heads, which is more doable.
    6. it will take a lot of hard work, a lot of emotions invested and you it won't be easy, but what is the alternative? To teach at a school where you hate the kids and they hate you? Get to know them, and things will change.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Yes, I actually did read all of your previous posts before responding. I went to your name and messages (144 of them) and read through them to see why you wanted to stay at this school.

    Before this one post where you took the job, I didn't find much of anything to say there were good things. So, yes, I did read them because I was so surprised you decided to stay.
     
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  19. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Thank you so much for your wonderful response! I do find that working here has a lot of rewards when that one kid comes to school every day because of you. I think I just need to try harder. I'm in great appreciation of your answer. Thank you!
     
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  20. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Great! Happy Reading! :) And I hate to sound like a broken record, but perhaps you should know that people can post when they're having a hard day and need some wisdom from their peers. Perhaps I should post when things are going well too. Would that make you happy? :)
     
  21. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    And I only pulled from this and other posts. Nothing personal in my remarks. If I was as unhappy as you have portrayed yourself to be, I would think that the renewal is a mistake. Your titles asked if iit was a mistake to accept the renewal. In my opinion, yes. If you don't want an answer, why ask? There was nothing about your personality in my answer.
     
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  22. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    I humbly apologize. It must be from that post where you said I bring candy to "seek affirmation" from my students? I'm not sure. There were quite a few of those.

    Thanks a lot for your feedback, but I have my answer.
     
  23. Nancy Doerner

    Nancy Doerner New Member

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    I am new to A-Z but would like to "impart my wisdom". I have worked in public and Catholic school systems. Take a look as to why you went into teaching. If an inner city school is the opportunity you were looking for I would chalk up the negative feelings to just a bad day. The end of the school year is, in my opinion, the hardest time of the year. If this is not where you want to be in 5 years look to make a change.Now is the time to review what you WANT to be doing. My dad told me when my husband and I had an opportunity to be an entrepreneur it will get harder to make that decision as time goes on. He was 100% correct. Sit down with nothing but you, silence and God and plot out your vision of life as you would like to see it. It may not go as planned but you can't start down the right path if you don't have a destination. Bless you for what you do. You may not know it now but your kids will remember you.
     
  24. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Look. You are the one here looking for advice. All we have to go on is what you present to our forum in your posts and replies to other people's posts. If all you present is doom and gloom with no positives, that is what we have to use to give advice.

    Seems you didn't have a poor observation after all, but you told us you did. So, until a few minutes ago when you decided to tell us that you didn't understand your observation marks, you presented to us that you weren't doing well.

    As a lover of the written word, do you assume what an author wrote is incorrect and decide to make up your own version of what is being said or do you rely on the words that were provided? You seem to want me to have knowledge that I can't have such as your explanation of a poor observation actually means a good observation. I just can't do that.
     
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  25. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I know this is cliché, but even if yo have watched these movies, watch them again:
    Dangerous Minds
    Freedom Writers
    Coach Carter.
    Even this movie called Beyond the Blackboard (this is actually about elementary age kids, but they're all homeless, and going to school. I happened to catch on tv probably 6-7 years ago, but the message is still powerful. Once the teacher got to learn about the kids, and their needs, everything changed.

    Then when you have a bad day watch Bad Teacher lol. That always put me in a better mood, I fantasized about becoming that teacher, of course it was just to let off steam, then the next morning I went to work with a renewed faith in the kids.
     
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  26. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    You're definitely right. That's why I'm thinking of going back to school. Maybe it's just been a difficult few days because all the kids are checked out and ready for summer break. But your words have comforted me so much. Thank you so much for your help. :)
     
  27. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    So...you're saying yes? That you do want me to post when things are going well?
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Well, of course. Why not? Especially if you ask for advice and want people to work off of an accurate assessment of your situation.
     
  29. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Will do!
     
  30. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    I know this school has a lot of downsides. To be honest, as I think about it right now, I think it's just the behavior of the kids. I'm not intending to sound like I'm complaining, but the middle school will break your heart. They come from broken homes. One of my kids was homeless. So, their behavior is not the greatest to deal with. They can challenge you on a daily basis, and it can be hard to keep them motivated. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Remind them to get their work done.

    But for the positives, I do love the kids. We have grown so close to one another, in my classroom. Some days there are bad days, but other days, we have thorough and deep discussions. I know this sounds crazy, because I'm a teacher, but I really need a lot of alone time. I'm social, but most of the time, I just want to be alone. I think it's the anxiety. I'm trying to get some help with my meds and therapy. That's why I love having a 2 hour prep. I just grade my papers and finish all my work at school, so I don't bring anything home. It's wonderful. Most of the time, if my work is all finished, I can just go home and read. It's the most wonderful gift in the world: I've read 15 books since January because I have the time when I get home.

    I kind of like the block schedule. I teach three 80 minute blocks, and the rest of the day is mine. I build a better rapport with the students. It's a lot easier than teaching five classes of 45 minutes each. Back to back to back. My face had to smile, smile, smile even when I was falling apart. It was exhausting. :(

    I feel this school has a lot more structure. As a long-term sub at my old school, I wasn't given that. I didn't have to submit lesson plans, and the teacher I was covering for left NOTHING. I had to create everything from scratch. Here, the lesson plans need to be done a week before they're due. It's kind of wonderful. I have a map.

    The teachers are also supportive. She and I were able to work out our differences. I might have to bring up what happened to my VP, but my communicating with her helped our situation a lot. I love how the teachers here share class lesson plans. There is a lot of gossip though. :(

    Also, I admire that I'm able to leave at 2:30. At my old school, the contracted staff (even me, the long-term sub), were required to stay till 4:00 EVERY DAY. Mind you, I lived an hour away, and I had to take the turnpike, which had so many angry truck drivers. Maybe it's my anxiety, but I hated driving near the trucks. They're just loud and obnoxious. And with traffic, I'd be home by 6:00. This current school is only 40 minutes away, and I'm home by 4:00 with traffic.

    I know it sounds crazy that I want to stay. To tell you the truth, I had a job offer NEAR MY OLD DISTRICT. :eek: One hour and fifteen minutes away with the turnpike. I turned it down because it doesn't have a block schedule and I'm terrified of repeating my past.

    I just found that when I made myself a chart with the pros and cons of this job, the pros outweighed the cons. Maybe I won't stay here after my second year, but I just feel like I shouldn't switch right now, especially when I now know how the school works. I don't want to add to the stress of the PhD applications.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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  31. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Welcome to teaching. Of course students are a challenge; some more than others. We know, and research proves, students will act one way for teacher A and completely different for teacher B. In 28 years of teaching I can count on one hand the number of discipline problems that were not a direct result of something I did or didn't do. Of course, like many, I have an ego to protect which manifests itself in a list of rationalizations. Fred Jones calls it "Dying By Inches":

    1) You can't teach them if they don't want to learn.
    2) It's just the way kids are at this age.
    3) You wouldn't believe the kinds of homes they come from.
    4) The noise doesn't bother me that much.
    5) It's all the TV they watch.
    6) I don't really have any major problems.
    7) It's my job to teach. It's their job to learn.

    "How You Can Tell You're Dead"

    Exhaustion - You're constantly dealing with discipline.
    Futility - It doesn't get any better.
    Resentment - It finally becomes them against me.
    Cynicism - You can't do anything about it anyway.

    Consider: If you switch schools the next class could be worse. In other words, hoping the good class shows up every year is not realistic. Classes are "good" or "bad", for the most part, due to the skills of the teacher. I'm sure from your own schooling and observing teachers some seem to get the good kids every year while others seem to struggle. You mentioned taking PD courses over the summer. Great! After my first year I signed up for every management course I could find.
     
  32. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Thanks so much, everybody. I know I've got some hard work ahead of me. Please keep me in your prayers. :heart:
     
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