Don't trust principal as reference

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by waterfall, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'm in a really tough situation. My principal is just plain awful. She literally just accused my veteran teammate of stealing and using my lesson plans in her official evaluation (which has no basis whatsoever). She literally just makes up things when she's not happy with people or she feels threatened by them. Four people from my school have already lost a potential job because she gave them a bad reference. Three of them sent some kind of letter from the union to her/HR. I don't fully understand it but it was something official that would go on file. It's supposedly against district policy for principals to "blackball" teachers that are leaving. They think this will make her back off but I honestly think it will make her even angrier and more vindictive.

    I did a demo lesson and an interview last week with a district I'm really interested in, and they basically told me that if I met with the team and they agreed, they would make me an official offer. They e-mailed me this morning asking if I could provide a supervisor reference. I gave them both my principal and assistant principal from my previous school and a current teammate and instructional coach. They e-mailed me back and said they would contact those people but they needed a current supervisor reference. I've been very upfront with them about why I'm leaving and mentioned that administration and I are not a good fit, so I was hoping they wouldn't call them.

    My parents are both teachers so I was asking them about this. My mom thinks that I should tell the new school that I can give them the number, but I don't think the reference will be positive. She thinks I should say that it has been a valid concern in my building and that other teachers have lost jobs because of it, and ask them to please make sure they talk to all of my references and get the whole picture. My dad thinks I should leave it alone and see what happens.

    What do you all think I should do? I'd like to think I can just let it go and maybe it won't happen to me, but this has happened to literally every single person in my building who has tried to get another job, so that's not very realistic. I could hope that they won't take her seriously, but if that were the case they wouldn't be specially asking for her number. I also don't want to sound like a crazy person or just shoot myself in the foot right up front if I say the reference won't be positive.
     
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  3. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Apr 23, 2013

    Do you have copies of evaluations from this principal? Maybe you could share them so that they see them compared to what she says. Is there an assistant principal?

    If you have to, I would mention that you are concerned about the reference she will give.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2013

    Wow. That's really tough. I thought this P (new school) knew your current P.

    Personally, I would probably tell the new school that the reference will most likely be bad. I would also probably have a heart-to-heart with the current P so she is not blindsided. Maybe that will help a little.

    I know you can't use your commute as an excuse. How about pay? Does the new district pay more? Is their schedule different? Is there ANYTHING you can use as an excuse? (Well, besides that she is a psych B!)
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 23, 2013

    Be upfront with the new school.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    There is an assistant principal, but she has not really seen me teach. She also got one of the "official letters" citing her for costing someone else a job, so I think it doesn't matter. The P and AP will back each other up no matter what. I was very upfront with this new school about leaving due to administration. The P that hired me resigned and I ended up working for someone else who completely changed things, so what I thought I was signing up for ended up being completely different. Our turnover rate is 50% and we also had people leave mid-year, which I also mentioned. I said that administration and I were not a good fit. I described how positive and open my first school was and how I was looking to get back to a school where I feel like I have a voice and can collaborate with administrators. They seemed totally fine with all of this and continued to keep in contact with me after that interview, so I figured they weren't really phased.

    In my first evaluation my teaching was and data stuff was rated very highly, but one of the principal's "pets" had complained that she didn't like working with me on the RtI team so on one part it literally says "people in the building have said that ______________ is uncomfortable to work with." On my second evaluation she knew I was leaving and was extremely vindictive. Some of it wasn't even true (which seems to be pretty common across the board).

    Giraffe, that was a different principal...she said she would keep me in mind but unfortunately the opening in her building was filled by someone RIF'd from another school in the district, which she wasn't aware was going to happen originally. So my only chance there is if someone resigns unexpectedly. The pay is slightly higher, but the school day is MUCH longer at this new school.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    So the person checking references e-mailed me around 2 pm today. I tried to call her earlier but just got voicemail. I'm thinking about sending something like this,

    _____,

    Thank you for contacting my other references. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to talk to you in person before contacting my supervisor. My number is ______________. You can call me anytime tonight. I'm also available during my planning period from 9:00-9:40 tomorrow morning or lunch from 11:50-12:20. Thank you so much for understanding.

    I don't want her to just think I'm not responding...
     
  8. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    Apr 23, 2013

    I don't understand why they would need a reference from your current employer. Usually, there is a box on the form that asks whether they can contact your current employer since most people don't want their employer to know they are looking for another job.
     
  9. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    This is common at this point in the process. My guess is that is the only thing between waterfall and a job.
     
  10. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Apr 24, 2013

    I would do as your mother suggested.
     
  11. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    Apr 24, 2013

    use Human Resources as your reference

    I made an appointment with Human Resources and spoke the lady in charge. She assured me that the only information anyone can legally give out is dates of service. That said, I have heard that calling a principal is risky, they may not remember you or they might mistake you for a staff member they are unhappy with thus give out a poor recommendation. Options:
    Use Human Resources as your contact. I have done this on all of my applications, I give out the main HR number and write this on my applications: Human Resources requires that all employment inquiries be directed to their office.
    I contacted my previous principal who retired recently and he wrote me a letter of recommendation.
    Bold but has worked: you type up a simple letter of recommendation and submit it to your principal to sign.
     
  12. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Apr 24, 2013

    Just to cover your end, I'd suggest NOT offering to speak with them when you are on contracted time.

    I agree with your father. I know I may not realize how bad the situation with your current P is, but bad-mouthing them may end up reflecting badly on you. I personally don't think the negative part of the better evaluation you described about being "uncomfortable" to work with is that bad, especially when the rest of it was positive. Can you send them this before they contact your P?
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I was very upfront when I interviewed with my current P. I told him that the last school was not a good fit for me with the admin, and I really wasn't too sure what they would say about me when contacted for a reference.

    I don't know what was said, but I got the job.
     
  14. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Apr 24, 2013

    Water...I hope your P realizes that any one of those teachers who were denied a job because of her poor reference can sue her... and I'm sure you hope they will!

    I would normally offer the advice to sit and just wait to see what happens...

    ...in this case, I agree strongly with the advice to be proactive and protect yourself by explaining your situation.

    If I remember correctly, is this the job that you gave a demo for? So, they have seen you work, they have spoken to you, they have seen glowing reports from other employers...they have to know that some P's are just vindictive...you can get that point across in a nice way.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Well, good news I think. I did call this morning and explain the situation a little bit. The AP (person checking references) said that usually they do require a current supervisor but she would check with the principal since this seemed to be a special circumstance. My teammate got her reference call in today after school (she had been playing phone tag with them). I was in the room as she was talking and she said extremely glowing things about me. The AP asked her why I was leaving if I was doing so well, and she (politely) explained that it was essentially due to administration and that there was a lot of turmoil in our building right now. The P called me about an hour later and told me she talked to my teammate and she was impressed with what she said. The P said it sounded like there was just a lot of politics going on in my district as a whole right now. She asked me to come in and meet the rest of the team tomorrow at 4:00 and seemed really excited about that. So I'm assuming she wouldn't have bothered to ask me in if she thought it was going to be a problem.
     
  16. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Apr 24, 2013

    Sounds very good for you!
     
  17. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I'm glad its working out!
     
  18. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Good things happen to good people...:hugs:
     
  19. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Well when I came in to meet with the team only one of them was there. The other two that will be back next year were out at some union bargaining thing. I don't think that's a good sign, because obviously those absences were planned ahead of time and if I were really the top candidate I think they would have made sure everyone was there. I met with the remaining teammate and the AP. My mom had suggested that I say NOTHING else about the school, because I don't want to sound bitter, which I thought was a good idea. The first thing the AP asked me was to explain my current situation to the teacher. The rest of the conversation was going fine, but then she asked me what experience I had with working with a low ses, high ELL population. I currently work in literally the poorest district in the city. I just explained where I worked, said I was familiar with the population and that my data this year was very good. She then proceeded to go on and on about how she thought this area (her school's ) was much "worse" and that I would be shocked at the differences, talked about the homeless population, etc. My school has a higher FRL population and a higher homeless population...but I didn't want to sound argumentative. Then she went on to tell me that she feels the team is weak and needs someone who can be a strong leader to come in. They said they'd make a decision in a couple of days...still haven't heard anything. I'm assuming if it were me I would have heard by now, because what else could they possibly be doing? I'm definitely not feeling optimistic about this one.

    I do have a couple of things lined up for this week, but I've had tons of interviews already and keep getting calls telling me I was "such a close 2nd" and they wanted to tell me I was a strong candidate even though I didn't get chosen. I keep getting nosed out!

    We just got our state test scores back for reading, and mine were absolutely amazing (yay!) but they're embargoed for another week so I can't say anything in interviews.
     
  20. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    It sounds like you might be better off without this school.
    It is only April :)
     
  21. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    True...but hiring season is early here. It's pretty much March-mid May at the latest. The only positions left after that are some that might trickle in if someone resigns unexpectedly.
     

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