HELP!!!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by mommyre, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I am really frustrated and I will try to give all the information that I can. We got a new principal this year and a week into school she puts me on an action plan.

    I know that the areas she identified are areas I need help with but I feel an action plan was a bit much without warning. The first area I fixed on my own, she wanted more detail in my lesson plans, I did not need an action plan to fix that, all she had to do was ask.

    Second is the area I have the most trouble with and really need help. I am a second year teacher, and do not trust my new mentor, more on that in a minute. I have trouble with classroom management, especially time management. I do tend to be long winded, and easily distracted.My students are not listening and talk entirely too much, despite the fact I make them turn their cards, etc. I am in no way leinient but am feeling very flustered. Any suggestions would be nice.

    The issue with my mentor stems from whom she is friends with. My neighbor teacher (and grade level team member) is quite the joiner and tells me she has joined this group or that one as the grade level rep. She says that I really don't have time to worry about them. Isn't that my choice. She and I had words before school started and now I am seeing that she is principal's pet.

    The principal gives out "stars" and my mentor and her friend have each gotten one. Many people on staff were hoping that since we got a new principal the clique would go away, but it seems to be growing. If you are not a member of this clique you get dumped on and hard.

    I cannot go to a person that I know will talk to her buddy about me and my issues. I want to quit my job!

    Any suggestions.
     
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  3. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2009

    mommyre,

    Our situations aren't identical but very similar. My mentor teacher is at another building 20 min. away and I'll be meeting her for the first time this week.

    I feel as though I cannot talk to anyone about anything without having it shared with everyone else on staff. I had shared with my P some concerns/questions/areas of doubt and low and behold she shared it with another teacher before ever addressing them with me (and she still hasn't really).

    I too feel pretty alone but... I'm resolved not to let them get the best of me.

    Take it upon yourself to work on your strengths. Make them see that an action plan wasn't necessary and that you've made progress all on your own. Take ideas from people on here, research classroom management models, join professional organizations. If you do all of that, you can't help but grow and regardless of whether or not they see immediate results to their satisfaction, you will. You'll start to feel more confident in your classroom and I hope you'll find that does wonders for you in the common areas of the building as well.

    By no means am I an expert. This is my first year and I'd say I've cried almost every night and have even considered leaving but... it's my hope that these things will help me to stand up for myself and be more confident in my abilities which will in turn lead to a more bearable and successful year.
     
  4. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Sep 5, 2009

    mommyre, I'm sorry that you are going through this! I think that maybe the principal (being new) is just trying to show that she is "the boss" and wants other teachers to see the example. Like PP said, I would try and work on your classroom management in anyway you can. What did the action plan suggest that you do? Is there anyone you ca go to in the school and observe or ask questions even if they are not on your grade level? Just don't give up!
     
  5. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2009

    There are a few places I may be able to observe, but not on my grade level. The principal isn't new to being a principal, just new to us! She is known as a "fixer" and since our scores are in the toilet she is here to fix the issues. I get that, but isn't the 4th day of school a little soon as an action plan.

    The action plan just said to work on it and gave two people to ask, one is our curriculum facilitator, and the other is my mentor. I really don't trust either, since the hateful teacher is "tight" with both.

    I would like to go to another school to observe this teacher that I totally trust, who is in his second year of my grade, but has been teaching a while. When I was working as a TA we worked together, and he was great at classroom management. This is my second year teaching, I want to be excellent, but don't feel tearing me down is the way to build me up.

    I know last year the system office was encouraging us to go to other classrooms even in other schools, but I don't know about this year. What do you all do? I have trouble not answering random questions. Any suggestions as to how to avoid them?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  6. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Ok, so doing some research, I found a neat tip that I could very easily implement. I will paste it exactly and then tell how I would adapt it. Let me know what you think!

    Asking each member to write one sentence that really struck them in the week's reading. Then at the meeting, have someone read their card and talk about their thoughts regarding it for two minutes. Then each member gets one minute to add on to the thinking. It's a bit contrived, but it helps focus the conversation and keeps everyone involved equally.

    I could let them use their individual whiteboards during whole group for the question part, and give them one point toward points party (a reward during PE every other Friday) for great ON-TASK questions.
     
  7. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I'm so sorry to hear that you (and newbie23) are having such a rough time! Keep your chin up!

    A suggestion I have: to show that you are REALLY taking the action plan seriously, is there a workshop on classroom management in your area that you can request to attend? It'll show that you are striving to continue your professional development in the area that she has identified as your weakness.

    As far as the time management goes, why don't you try getting a timer? A teacher at my school last year used it to give herself fair warning when there was 5 minutes left in class. If say, you want to limit your lecture on a topic to 15 minutes, you could set it to 14 minutes, and know that when it goes off you have 1 minute to complete your lecture. Putting it somewhere highly visible to you, so you can unobtrusively glance at it, might be good. his way you'll train yourself to manage your time better.

    As far as the class goes, I would do a new seating chart as well as start a system of rewards and punishments for the class. I haven't really done Power Teaching, but I know many on here swear by it. You may also want to consider something like small pop-quizzes that are open notes, to check who's been paying attention. Since you mentioned being easily distracted and long winded, try really hard to stay on topic, unless something is truly a teachable moment, and to make good notes/outlines for yourself on what you need to cover during class. If it's not on your list, and not an important, relevant question or a good teachable moment, then don't talk about it. Also, try to plan more active learning work. This will cut down on both the chatter and your long-windedness.
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Sep 6, 2009

    mommyre,

    I know you are upset about the plan of action after only 4 days, but I really don't think you'd be any happier about it on the 10th day, or the 14th day, or the 20th day. Having been an administrator who was called in to "fix things" before, I can tell you that this admin is doing one of two things: either she really wants you to improve and is genuinely trying to help you, or she is getting ready to clean house and already has some new people tapped to come in and help her do this. If the latter is the case, your job is in serious jeopardy, and you need to take immediate and decisive action too keep your job. Since you have no way to know her real motivation, you need to hope for the former, and plan for the latter.

    If she told you to go to specific people, then like them or not, trust them or not, go to them immediately. Ask their advice, and do exactly what they say whether you agree with it or not. Then find a way to make it work. Then document it. It doesn't matter if you "trust" them or not -- if it is what the principal has told you to do, not doing it will be seen as not wanting to improve. Trying to find things on your own will not meet the requirement. Those two people are the ones who know what the principal is looking for -- what will satisfy her -- and you need that knowledge. Looking around for things that "might" work is too hit-or-miss, and you can't afford to take that risk right now.

    Go to one of them immediately as ask them to sit in on your class as a silent observer and then you teach the way you normally do -- warts and all. Afterwards have them tell you what discipline method THEY suggest based on what they see, what time management system THEY suggest based on what they see, etc. Then develop a plan and do it. Make sure to communicate to your principal that you are doing this.

    I'm telling you, from experience, that if you don't, you will be looking for a new job soon. If you would rather be let-go and in the job market at this difficult time than talk to people you don't trust because they are friends with someone you don't like, then by all means, go for it. Just realize that a plan of action is very serious. It is the first step in terminating a non-tenured teacher.

    Also realize that if she already has someone else in mind for your job, whatever you do will be futile. It is sad, but true. This is a classic technique administrators use for making a vacancy for a person they already have in mind. They look for the weakest (nontenured) link and push them out quickly. The best you can do is make yourself less of a target by doing everything your princpal says TO THE LETTER, and hoping that maybe she put 3 people on action plans, but only has 2 people she is looking to bring in, and that you can save your job.

    This isn't a time for hurt feelings, and "she should have..." talk. This is time to leap into action. I realize it is unfair -- but focusing on how unfair it is will keep you from possibly saving your job. Put the injustice out of your mind, and dive in to saving your teaching position.

    Even if you decide you don't want to work for this school anymore, you will need a positive reference to get another teaching job next year -- so either way, you'll need to swallow your pride and do what must be done. You can ask anyone on these boards who is struggling to find a job because their former principal won't give them a reference -- they will tell you how hard it is to get another job without that reference.

    I wish you the best of luck.
     
  9. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Sep 6, 2009

    Rainstorm, That was EXCELLENT advise!
     
  10. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Sep 6, 2009

    I so agree with Rainstorm. She gave you excellent advice. I was sent as a "fix it" administrator mid-year of 08/09. I made significant changes with regards to staff. It was necessary in order for us to improve (I am a nice person, by the way, but refuse to sacrifice a child's education).

    We have a completely different feel/culture at our school now. Do exactly what this principal tells you. If you respond to her suggestions and put forth great effort, she may see your potential. Classroom management will be an obstacle that you must overcome. If she believes that you cannot manage the classroom, she will have doubts that the students can grow academically and socially.

    One last thing.....you want to use her as a mentor. You want to go to her for advice, follow her advice, show her proof that you respect her opinion and have put her advice to work.
     
  11. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2009

    Well, when she looked at my lesson plans, which was a subject of her plan, she said this is what I wanted. I just wanted to say, "All you had to do was ask". I had my plans written as cues and she wanted details. I felt like that should have been asked first, but she didn't and I proved that I can do what she wants, if I am let know.

    I said she is known as a fixer, that is not "official" but I have told parents at other schools who our new P is and they ask, were your test scores low? She's sent in to fix that.

    I am going to talk to my mentor on Wednesday and our CF, but I am going to run my new idea by them as well as listen to theirs. Thanks for the advice.
     
  12. historygrrl

    historygrrl Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2009

    Rainstorm had excellent advice. It sounds like the P is trying to clean house. Do everything she wants.

    Make sure you document everything! I'm actually surprised she placed you on an action plan without a formal observation first. There should be some sort of due process in your district.
     
  13. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2009

    I thought that the process included an observation first, but since I am second year, maybe not. I need to check with our teacher organization, because I really do not think she followed protocol. I think that is what has me so upset!
     
  14. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Sep 6, 2009

    By teacher organization, do you mean teacher union? I surely hope not. She gave you an action plan to work on a specific area. I'm assuming you are not tenured if you are a second year teacher?

    You realize that if you check with your teacher union and it gets back to her, she will most likely give up on you asap??
     
  15. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2009

    In our state we are not allowed to "unionize" per se. But yes, its equivalent. I would not ask anyone, I simply meant reading the regulations.
     
  16. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Well, she has already given up on me... everything I have fixed there has been one more issue. I had only good observations last year, and this year nothing is right, well its a new to our school principal, and apparently nothing I do is right. She pretty much gave me an ultimatum, quit or she will make my life a living hell and non-renew me. So, I am leaving... I think I may add special ed to my license since I am more comfortable in small groups anyway. I am also working on my masters. I think I may look into Sylvan or Huntington or something similar until my DH returns from Iraq. I need to minimize stress anyway.
     
  17. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Oh mommyre, I'm so sorry about that. Are you sticking it out until you find a new job, or did she want your immediate resignation? I would see if you can get a reference from the old principal for your resume. You can say, if asked, that you feel more comfortable listing someone who worked with you and observed you for a full year. I would also post on the job seekers board to get recommendations for how to handle the "why did you leave?" question in interviews if it comes up. I can't believe she did that to you without even a formal observation! Actually, I can: I think your job was doomed before she even met you. She probably has someone she wants to hire for it, and kicked you out so she could hire a friend.

    I don't know if the teacher organization can help you, but maybe they can give you advice or aid you in some way to make sure she doesn't put a black mark on your resume, so to speak. I would think that they at the least would be interested in the fair warning that she gave you an action plan without observation, gave you less than a month (what was it, 10 days? 15 maybe?) to implement it, and then gave you an ultimatum. Furthermore, unless you haven't mentioned it, she never even observed you to see if you implemented her action plan in your classroom! It seems that she didn't follow normal protocol, so even if you don't feel like fighting for your position, I think you should let them know so that they can keep an eye on it with other teachers/remind other teachers of their rights regarding the matter. Good luck!
     
  18. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2009

    She was never formally in my classroom, and frequently came in during transitions. She stayed 5-10 minutes, and that was it. She did mention a colleague who lost a position last year. I think she is trying to hire her! She asked that if i choose to resign to make it in the next two weeks. So 10-2 is my last day. She knows I do not need the money right now, although I never told her that, but nonetheless she knows. I am sure it was get rid of the newbie with the hubby that can pay the bills!
     
  19. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    Sep 20, 2009

    I'm so sorry, mommyre.
     
  20. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Thanks guys. I feel so stupid. People warned me about this principal, but I decided to give her a chance, I wish now I had heeded their advice. It just goes to show, some people are not the good people educators should be.

    I think I will go to the job forum now and see what i can decipher.

    By the way, if there is anyone who has gone from regular classroom teaching to special ed., let me know. (you can PM me, I have questions)
     
  21. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Oh mommyre,
    I was in this situation last year. I barely got to a new school (2nd year) and I could tell they wanted me out. It was horrible. I stuck it out all year and was non-reelected. People kept telling me it was not me. It was political. I like you had all positive interviews the year before (different P, different school)
    Look at it this way, be glad you are out of there so that something new and better can happen for you. It did for me. :)
     
  22. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Sep 21, 2009

    Mommyre- Before I would hand in my papers saying that I am resigning, I would make an appointment with your HR director and explain everything that has happened thus far. I would tell the director what your situation is and I would see what he/she has to say about the protocol that has been followed. I would definitely tell the HR person about the ultimatum that has been handed down to you and how you are being told that you will be nonrenewed at this early point in the year. If HR is not helpful then, and only then, would I turn in my resignation. You never know, they may decide to move you. I would give that a chance before burning all bridges with this district. It is worth a shot and it may salvage your good name. Please try.
     
  23. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2009

    She indicates she has already talked to HR supt. I just want to be rid of her. I was at the same school last year with different P. That P retired. He was a little lax, but I find it hard to believe that he was that lax, and one of the people from district was in my room and fully watched a lesson, she went out of her way TWICE to tell me how good it was. I cannot help but think I am not the terrible teacher the new P has made me out to be!
     
  24. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 21, 2009

    I don't know if I would believe her that she talked to HR. If she did, it was to cover her a$$. I would still follow SCT'a advice. Feel free to PM me. I made the switch from Gen Ed to Sped. I'm gone this evening, but I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
     
  25. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Sep 21, 2009

    You NEED to take my advice and make an appointment with HR. You need to explain this situation from your perspective and the FACT that you have been given an unrealistic ultimatum. You need to do this to save your good name. Education is a small community. You need to do this. Have everything documented on paper. Have what has been said, done, etc. Give the times of when you have been observed. Use the words of the principal. DO NOT be emotional when speaking only talk about the FACTS. You need to do this. DO not take the easy way out for the P. Do this for yourself and for everyone else that has to work under her.
     
  26. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Sep 21, 2009

    I agree with SCT, someone needs to hear your side of the story- there was a teacher at our school last year who went through something very similar, and she got LUCKY and got to transfer over the summer to another school- but she almost did not have a job this year. I know you might not feel like you need to fight for your job; but really this might be fighting for your lively-hood. Good luck!
     
  27. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 22, 2009

    I got really frustrated today. The same person that was in my room a week or so ago from district office that told me how great my lessons were, was in my room again today. She told me again how wonderful my questioning of the students were, and that I was really making them think. UGGG. I cannot be as bad as P says. I am going to speak with her, as well as the beginning teacher liaison. We will see how it goes from there.
     
  28. historygrrl

    historygrrl Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2009

    Go to HR!!! Don't pass go or talk to the P! She has made up her mind. Protect yourself.
     
  29. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2009

    I guess I wasn't clear, I didn't mean I am going to talk to the P, I meant the person from district office. OOPS. I guess that is what I get for posting tired. It looks like it may be for the best that I leave at this time. My son had blood work yesterday, and it wasn't great. They wanna recheck him in a week incase it is just infection causing the levels to be off. I have a whole new worry.
     

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