I don't understand what happened...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by justfluttering, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    Mar 4, 2009

    Hi,
    I just graduated and have been teaching since January 5th. I have a contract until 5/28/09. I teach science and I am certified and highly qualified. I was hired to replace a teacher. The teacher and students had become totally combative. There was a 70% failure rate and the teacher would hide from the students.
    I come in, no mentor, the computer software doesn't work, no training, no DVD player, no curriculum. I am handed some books and a short list of chapters that the other teacher covered. I put together a semester for two types of science and dive in. The kids acted horrible. Worst two weeks of my life. No support and no help.
    Fastforward to now: I have at my own expense gotten a DVD player, I had my son come and hook up the computer so it would work. I replaced all the missing remote controls so I can show the announcements on the TV. I have created and put together a solid semester of work. My students are passing and only a handful are failing. The behavior issues are much better.
    Two days ago the administration told me that they don't want my type of teacher at their school and that I have no future with them. "My arm hair raises being around you" and "You make my neck hair rise" are the exact words used to describe me. I stand accused of saying the students are dysfunctional and that the adminstration won't put up with that. I think the kids are a handful and some of them act crazy but I don't think they are flawed in some deep way. In a moment of frustration, I must have said something unkind about my students to another teacher, but what teacher hasn't had a rough day and been discouraged?
    I teach 9th grade students. I have kids that go the bathroom and not return. One girl bit another girl in the neck and not in anger but because they both wanted to. One boy saved another boy the expense of getting his ear pierced by doing it with a thumbtack in the hallway. One girl throws things and swears. Several students refuse to work and won't stay in their seats and their parent's phone numbers are all disconnected. Today the kids were pushing against the door so I couldn't open it to start class. I told them I would call security and get them put into sweep. They laughed and said that the other teacher would lock them out and they would get the principal to open the door.
    How am I deserving of such disdain from the administration? I work hard, never miss a day, never lock my students out or hide from them. I teach every day and follow the state standards. I call home often and keep detailed notes of behavior issues. I have never had a formal evaluation and the other teachers that have watched me teach tell me I teach just fine and that my classroom is completely in line with the rest of the school.
    I don't get it...
     
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  3. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    Mar 4, 2009

    I'm sorry, but thats extremely unprofessional. I'd request a list of issues they have with you and steps you can take to improve. Even if you don't want to stay, they can't say you didn't try.
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Mar 4, 2009

    I agree, it is not professional, and you have not even been observed. Have you contacted your union rep?
     
  5. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Wow!!!

    9th graders can be quite a handful to manage. Especially when you're handed a class that has already been mismanaged and has gotten into a pattern of poor behavior.

    I'm with adventuresofJ on administration. Do your best to stay ultra professional and ask for very specific suggestions on how to improve yourself. If you have situations that were particularly difficult for you, describe them and ask how they are better handled. I would focus on classroom management as that sounds like it was a handful to manage.
     
  6. Samothrace

    Samothrace Cohort

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    Mar 4, 2009

    Go to your union ASAP! That to me is borderline harrassment in the language they used when talking to you. They have no proof if they haven't observed you. As I was told from my building rep, document everything between you and admin. so if a larger problem arises, you have proof.

    I'd be asking the custodian to take my door off if the kids prevented me from walking in.

    I'm still convinced that some principals shouldn't be principals. Does anyone know if they have to go through evaluations like teachers do? If not, they should!
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    What a great question! I have never thought of that, but I completely agree. They, too, should be evaluated, which I think would help.
     
  8. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    I contacted the rep today and I will follow up tomorrow. I plan on documenting everything. I am a very new hire and did not expect to survive the 21% budget cuts to education here in AZ but I did not expect to be called names and treated so poorly.
     
  9. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Mar 4, 2009

    Our school system does a "360 evaluation". Every teacher provides an anonymous evaluation of the principal. Most are form questions in various categories, but there is also a comment area for each major category.

    This goes to the superintendent and is part of his eval of the principal.
     
  10. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    When I asked for pointers on what to do with my disruptive students I was told that they don't believe in disruptive students and that a air-tight lesson plan is all that is needed. They took great offense at the term "disruptive student". That if there are ANY management issues in the classroom it is because I fail as a teacher. I never meant any offense by saying "disruptive students" but I do write up students for being disruptive and they get in school suspension.
     
  11. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I hear all kinds of discipline issues in what you described and I'm not sure what to make of fellow teachers saying it's in line with other classrooms in the school.

    My bottom line would be consequences for bad behavior and I'm not hearing that in your post. If I have a student not come back from a bathroom break, that student is in ISS for 3 days and the entire class is loosing bathroom breaks until further notice.

    One girl bites another girl. At a minimum, that would be 3 days ISS in my school. From the sounds of it, it would be 3 days OSS. That's not my choice, that's school administration enforcing the rules and I fully support it.

    The simple fact that they held the door and then laughed when you threatened them tells you that there are no consequences for these kids. Discipline breaks down when there are no serious consequences.

    The only solution for a class that is like this (especially freshmen) is to go Nazi. Snap down on every infraction quickly and harshly. Each time the boundary is moved, they will try to push it back further. Once you've established hard boundaries then you can adjust, but do so cautiously. This is something I still struggle with as it's not in my nature to be as strict as i should be.
     
  12. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    The kids that don't come back from the bathroom do get 3 days ISS. The girl that bit the other girl, she had her parent call and say that it happened at home, off school property so no ISS. The teacher I took over went total discipline on the kids, no labs, no fun, all worksheets, all referals for everything. What happened is she lost the goodwill, respect, and help of the 2/3 of the students that were and still are behaving. Group punishments don't work because of the lingering resentment. So the kids that didn't come back from the bathroom don't get to go anymore and the other students still get to. This makes for more work for me, I walk around with a binder, it has the roster for each class, and a space for each day for each students. I track behavior and any other issues. This way I know who can't be allowed out and who can't.
     
  13. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Mar 5, 2009

    In regards to principals and evaluations, they are evaluated and can even be put on improvement plans.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think the OP likely did provide consequences and was elaborating on the behaviors that occur from these students. Regarding no bathroom, by law (where I am), we have to let the kids go to the bathroom.
     
  15. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Yes, OP (e.g. justfluttering) did clarify and it sounds like she (I think the poster is a she) went way above the call of duty in trying to establish/maintain good consequences. An impressive feat in the 2 short months she's had the position.

    On the bathroom note, my only experience is Tennessee and we don't have that issue. I do allow my students bathroom breaks (I also have 1 with a medical condition that requires it) but I try to be a bit rigid on when I allow them as much as I can. When I wasn't, students would head for the latrine constantly. What's more....several got ISS for using their cell phones in the bathroom because they knew they could go text their boyfriend/girlfriend in the middle of my class.

    Unlimited bathroom breaks really screwed things up for me and was one of my first crack downs. When I'm getting ready to present something new or run clickers, I have to scrap my lesson plan work around them or treat them like an excused absence. Niether of which is acceptable to me.
     
  16. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    I printed up bathroom passes. Each student gets one pass a week and one pass for emergencies. I copy the passes on colorful paper, Feb. was pink, March is green. So the first day of the month the kids each get 5 passes. The passes are worth 5 points each at the end of the month. This rewards students for staying in class. I had one girl that was constantly out of class, she was either demanding to use the restroom or to see the nurse. The bathroom passes made her mad since I told her that she needed to use her passes for trips to the nurse too. Two weeks into the month she ran out of passes and I wouldn't let her out of class. She grabbed her stuff and stomped out. I wrote her up and called security. She now has 3 days ISS.
     
  17. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead Rookie

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    If ever it all gets to be just too much, try looking for a job on an international school in another country (if you are able to leave home that is.) Where I work the students offer to carry your bag and open the door for you. They are polite, hard-working, eager to learn and very respectful. I would never teach in England again, not after having spent so many wonderful years doing what I really want to do. I want to teach, not go to work and face a battle or an uphill struggle everyday.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It makes me sad that teachers work under these conditions. :(
     
  19. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    You are very lucky. Most administrations are not as supportive of teacher needs in the classroom. I've had the AP roll his eyes (at me) when kids are sent to the office for fighting.

     
  20. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I really do feel fortunate. Last Friday I had one spout off "I'm not gonna do the work and you can't make me."


    I sent her to the AP who had a 30 minute chat with her. On my planning, I spoke with the AP and he decided to pull her buddy (who's been a similar work ethic issue) into his office where the 3 of us had a 1 hour chat with her.



    On a side note, both of these ARE good kids and normally great students. They just ran into a part of the math that they are really gonna have to work at to understand and they don't want to do it.
     

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