Huge Adjustment- please advise!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Doug_HSTeach_07, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

    Feb 4, 2007
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    Sep 17, 2015

    This is my first year teaching middle school in a much different setting than what I was used to. For 8 years, I taught high school in a very rural, small town setting. I had 8 classes to prepare for and I was the department. Taught everything with little input from other teachers. I was in complete control of the curriculum.

    Now this year, it's a huge adjustment. I am teaching middle school, and I'm on a team of teachers who like to use what they've planned from years before. There are all-school meetings nearly every week to talk about interventions, vertical teams, and then the daily lesson plan meetings for the curriculum. We are expected to update our webpage, attend all IEP meetings, collaborate, collaborate, and more collaboration.

    I've also done some deep soul-searching and wondered who I truly am as a teacher. I know this much: I enjoy doing one thing above all else- to TEACH stuff (and teach it well) that I have planned. Yet I find that I am doing less and less these days, analyzing data, forms to fill out, bureaucracy, hounding kids for missing assignments, emailing parents, and sitting through meetings that I honestly feel could be handled through email.

    My greatest strength is in teaching and being in the classroom. Am I wrong for starting to wonder if high school (or perhaps community college) would be a much better path for me? Or is it still too early yet?

    Also, I realize the current educational fad is collaboration, teams, etc. Nothing wrong with that. But is there also room for teachers who genuinely feel that they work better alone and individually? Sometimes I think, I just want to be left alone to create my own stuff!
  3. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

    Jun 10, 2013
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    Sep 17, 2015

    I think that you may find that location is more a difference-maker for you than age level (at least in k-12). I teach high school and still experience a good chunk of what you described, albeit with less frequent occurrence. I am part of a team that meets at least once every 2 weeks to discuss upcoming curriculum. We don't teach exactly the same (sometimes we share, sometimes we go our own way), but we cover the same material during the the same period. I have meetings, paperwork, data to analyze, kids to hound, parents to email and mind-numbing professional development. :p

    So, perhaps you may find that your niche is in smaller schools like the one you taught in first, but it won't be as easy as choosing high school.
  4. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

    Jul 27, 2011
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    Sep 18, 2015

    I was in a similar situation in a high school. We had PLC teams and were expected to meet weekly to collaborate on lessons, fill out paperwork, make common assessments, and analyze the data. I floundered the whole year. I definitely did not fit in with the school culture and had some major first-year mistakes, but I had a lot of extraneous anxiety from all of the team activities you described.

    I have moved to a small middle school where I am the department, and I am doing much better. I agree with HistoryVA - it seems like a school size issue.

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