Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Lovely1, May 2, 2010.
May 2, 2010
I decided to remove my original post
You need to put this experience behind you. You helped build the case against yourself by complaining about your course load and criticizing your mentor. There are ways to ask for help without making those around you feel bad. This may all feel right now like you were picked on, but it's time to learn from this experience.
Consider that there are many many other candidates out there who would gladlly be hired into a position where they would be given great responsibility to teach 3 preps- Take on future challenges with a positive attitude. Create materials where no resources exist. Supplement the materials you do have to facilitate student learning and make yourself shine as a professional. Find colleagues whom you can trust and with whom you can work collaboratively.
I am going to have to agree with the above statement. Time to move on and begin a new adventure in teaching. I would ask some of the people that found your teaching positive for a recommendation. You will need at least three persons that have seen you teach for a reference. They will also ask for your immediate supervisor or your principal. I would start mending a few fences before you leave for the year so that they have some positive things to say about you. All the best!
Well, not being hired back is a hard blow, I understand. It is hard to give any advice with the limited information you have provided, however. What were the P's concerns about you? What were the specific issues? As far as not having curriculum, several on the forum here have to create their own, that does happen sometimes. In any case, I wish I could provide some words of advice, but I am still inclear as to the situation. I would agree with the two above posts, though, that being positive and willing to positively face challenges will help.
Definitely time to move. No going back now. Once a P makes the final determination, it is much too late to try to plead your side of the story.
Non-tenured teachers can be let go with no explanation. Take what you can from your experience and start fresh.
I'm really sorry. Other posters have given some good advise, so I will only add good luck and again I'm sorry that happened to you.
Well, she told me in the first evaluation that I need to work on the noise level in my classroom and give less warm-up problems. I did that and I got positive feedback from my mentor and my instructional mentor. I didn't complain about the load of the planning I accepted it and I made my own resources and met with other educators found other textbooks to use. I did my part and I thought I would be appreciated. At the end even though I have proof that I fixed these issues from her verbally and others who observed my class her argument is: You have shown growth, but there is still room for improvement and I am letting you go. It happened couple of instances that she wanted to come and to do an activity with my students so she'll keep her skills sharp and give me a break. When I met with my master mentor after all that she got upset and she wouldn't even say good morning in my face.
As others have said, a non-tenured teacher is on a one-year contract and can be let go without any reason at all.
My first year I had excellent observations from my principal, my mentor teacher, and my state supervisor, yet I was let go at the end of the year because a tenured teacher was returning to the school after a leave, and I was the last hire in the department. That meant I had to go. That's just how it worked. That year was awful. My mentor wasn't helpful at all. I also taught four different preps (12th British literature, 11th American literature, 9th English, and 7th reading) at two different schools while completing my state-mandated internship and going to grad school at night.
I thanked the superintended and both principals for the opportunity to work at the schools, and I let them know that I was still intereted in a position if they had anything available. Sure enough, one of the principals had an opening the next year. It was only part time, and the superintendent found me another half-time position to make me a full-time job. I did the "thank you, and remember I'm available" thing for several years before landing a full-time, permanent position.
Be very careful about burning bridges if you want to continue in education. People talk, and your attitude often comes to the interview before you arrive. We have interviewed more than one person who tried to play the blame game, and it doesn't fly with an interview team.
Most years, including my first, I've had three preps. It's not considered to be an extraordinary thing in my school.
Same at my school Alice. My first year teaching, we were on the block back then, I taught:
They didn't offer you a 2nd contract, you resigned ... neither of those can be undone.
Grieve the loss, figure out how to do better, and get back out there.
Thank you all for your advices. It is not only not being hired, but she gave me bad evaluation, so I am not allowed to apply in that district any more or they will go back to my file and know about my failure.
May 4, 2010
I totally feel your pain, the exact same thing happened to me 2 years ago, except it seems like your situation was even worse.
For me though, it wasn't as hurtful because up until they formally let me know they were not rehiring me, I was already extremely unhappy at that school. The students were really good, but the administration and other faculty were just horrible. So once I got word I was not being rehired, I went straight to the district office and happily filled out my resignation papers. The HR woman I was talking to even said, "You're really taking all this very well." I just smiled.
Anyway, I am also a math teacher and that very night I went and applied to various math opening positions at other schools, and less than 4 weeks later I had a job in hand at a nearby school (so I didn't even have to move). You should consider yourself lucky you teach math - a new job shouldn't be nearly as difficult to come by as in another subject.
Just keep your head up and don't feel bad about it. If you had a choice right now, would you even want to be rehired even if you could? Personally, I would never want to be somewhere where I wasn't wanted and valued as a member of the faculty.
Your career has to move on. Unfortunately, this bell cannot be unrung, and no matter what, you are likely not going to be hired back to this school. Your option is to dwell on it, or to use it as a learning experience.
(FTR, our high school math teacher-the only one for our high school-teaches Geometry (2 classes), Algebra I, Algebra II, PreCalculus (2 classes), and Calculus, all to 3 or 4 different schools using our school's Codec system. All assignments and papers have to be faxed or mailed back and forth.)
May 5, 2010
My first year, I had 5 different preps (though two were similar). I was given the books, shown my classroom, and told good luck. I had no mentor, no feedback, no support system. I was on my own in the heart of one of the worst ghettos in a major city.
Life sucks sometimes. You do what you have to do, and do it to the best of your ability. Like others have said, this can't be undone, so get back on your feet, dust yourself off, and do what you need to do to get another job.
I have six preps and one 48 minute planning period. Five of the six classes are tested by the state at the end of the year.
Lovely1, I'm sorry this happened to you. Sometimes, I do believe that new teachers are sometimes set up for failure & I think this is kind of what happened here since you say that you didn't have the resources you should have & the P didn't support you.
It's probably a blessing in disguise that you're done w/ that school. Are you going to apply for another job in the same district or look elsewhere?
I've never had six; I think 5 has been my limit so far.
But I have changed preps midyear to cover a maternity leave, or picked up a new prep--Intro to Calculus no less-- one Saturday night when the teacher was hospitalized.
Flexibility is part of the job.
I got dragged out of the cafe at the college, by the dean of all people, to cover an introductory biology class that started 5 minutes prior. The professor's father had passed away that morning.
Oh, and the dean was nice enough to pay for, and deliver the breakfast sandwhich I had just ordered.
May 6, 2010
Learn from this and take responsibility for your part. You make it sound like everyone was conspiring against you. Be careful about burning your bridges, because education is a very small world and future employers give much credence to what former employers have to say, or, worse yet, not say about you. As an administrator who hires teachers, I always speak to the previous administrator, or department chair and take a pass on applicants who can't, or don't produce them as a reference.
You're absolutely right about that.
As the only teacher of my subject at my school, I'll always have at least 4 preps--one for each level. It's tricky but it's just part of what I signed up for. Teachers need to be able to roll with the punches and do what's asked of them, provided that it's not completely unreasonable or immoral or something.
P.S. I have 5 preps this year.
May 8, 2010
Thank you all for your concern. I am not going to apply now. Hiring freeze in the district where I live and the school I have left district as well. I haven't decided what to do yet. The P won't give me a reference letter, but I will try to get positive reference letters. I know it will be hard and I hope I will be strong. As far as the 3 preps, there were two other experienced math teachers who had only 2 and I had Alg, Geometry, and Discrete Mathematics.
Also, I am not complaining about the 3 preps, but I wasn't appreciated at the end. All of you still have your job, but for me after I did what I was asked to do I am not appreciated, which hurts.
May 9, 2010
We're not trying to play "I had it tougher than you", just to show that what you were asked to do is pretty much part of the job. The years when you get fewer preps are bonus years. (though one year I had one prep and hated it.)
Best wishes as you decide where to go from here.
Oh, and mm, that's too funny... at least you got breakfast!! What a very nice dean
I really disagree that having three preps as a first-year teacher should be acceptable. I know that schools do it, but that doesn't make it right. The last thing new teachers need is to be saddled with multiple preps when they're still trying to figure out classroom management, school culture, pedagogy, parents and all the other things first-years have to tackle. This trial-by-fire thing that public schools do by dumping 3+ preps on brand new teachers is no good for the students, no good for the teachers and no good for the school.
Last year, I had 3+ preps and I taught an extra class. Did I survive? Yes. Did the experience make me a better teacher? No. I was mentally and physically drained, and ultimately my students suffered.
It's unfair to give a first-year teacher 3 preps. First-year teachers should have one prep so that they have time to observe master teachers, attend workshops, meet with their mentors and learn how to do their job. As educators, we should be advocating for more support for teachers who are in all phases of career development.
Sorry to hijack the thread.
As far as not being renewed, it happens to a lot of people. The economy is bad all over, property tax revenue is decreasing, and schools are laying teachers off. Don't give up. Learn what you can from the experience; at the very least, you have a portfolio of lesson plans and activities that you can show off at your next interview. If the district isn't hiring, take a look at charter schools and private schools. Prisons and juvenile detention facilities also hire teachers if you're willing to work with a challenging population.
"Should be" isn't always possible, particularly in these days of belt tightening.
And I honestly think it's not unfair. It's part of the job of the professional teacher-- to teach what needs to be taught. I think that too much emphasis on "new teachers need accomodations" will only nudge schools away from hiring new teachers. Should new teachers be targeted? Of course not! But I think that ANYONE hoping to be hired should be capapble of teaching what needs to be taught. And 2 to 3 preps a year are probably typical; one or 4 are probably fairly rare for any secondary teacher.
And it's entirely possible that those 3 preps were prefable to one, if that one would have meant the worst behaved kids. In my school we have 3 tracks. My friend and I each have one section of the lowest track freshmen. Sure, it's a 3rd prep for me this year (technically a 4th, but that's really splitting hairs.) But it does mean that each of us spends most of our day with the easier kids to teach, and as a result have more patience with the harder kids, particularly on the every-other-day double periods with them.
I would hesitate, though, to suggest juvenile facilities and prisons to someone without a lot of classroom experience. While 3 preps may be tough in terms of organization, I would imagine that those two populations give a whole new meaning to the term "challenging."
Actually, not necessarily. It's challenging for different reasons; classroom management, for example, is not an issue.
I've never done it-- have you? (Not asked to challenge, merely out of curiosity.)
I can not imagine that either of those two populations would be easier to deal with than a typical classroom. But if you've done it and have extensive experience, I'll be happy to acknowledge it.
My husband has worked in that type of situation. There are no referrals or detentions; if a student misbehaves, the student is removed. Everyone is searched and swept for weapons before they go to class. There are guards present. It's much safer than a typical public high school. Besides, the students who are there want to be there, especially in adult detention facilities. They're taking classes because they want to improve their lives, or they're bored, or they're trying to demonstrate that they deserve to be paroled. It's challenging on an interpersonal level because the students are struggling with so much stuff, but classroom management is a breeze.
I teach high school math in NC and I understand the pressure of teaching 3 preps, and all mine are state tested. I'm a 4th year teacher, and I barely feel like I'm going to make it. The amount of pressure put on you for your students to be proficient is crazy. If they don't pass the state test they have one chance to retest and if they aren't proficient that time they don't receive credit for the course.
I couldn't imagine doing it my first year of teaching. I'm lucky that I work with a great department who is very supportive.
Thank you. Basically, you are telling me swallow it and move on...
Don't you agree with me that putting my career in one person's hands or judgment is a scary thought which gives me little hope.
Sure its scary, but that's life. Welcome to the real world. I don't know of any other career choice where fresh college graduates are given nearly as much support as education. Its a sink or swim world. So yes, to put it bluntly "swallow it and move on". Learn from your experiences. Don't whine about having to work hard. Don't whine that life isn't fair. It doesn't earn you any points. Life isn't fair.
Now, you have two choices. You learn from your experiences, spin it the best you can to show potential employers that you have learned from them, and land a new job, or you can continue to whine that life isn't fair, and bad mouth your current situation, and virtually guarantee that you won't get another position any time soon.
Oh, and by the way, these forms can be read by anybody. Who's to say that a potential future boss isn't already reading it?
That support for new teachers definitely varies from district to district. There is a reason why the statistic for leaving teaching is high and maybe those reasons should be thought about a little bit.
OK, let's assume you're right and take classroom management out of it, since you and I brought it up, not the OP.
I would imagine you could have LOTS of preps. I would also imagine that you would be dealing with students with an incredibly varied educational backgrounds, since each had gotten to the same place via very different routes. So even one prep-- say Algebra I-- would include students who were very capable, who had taken part of the course, others who had never taken algebra, and others who had taken it and failed. Those who had taken it were assuredly in different schools at the time, and had it interrupted at different points in different curriculums using different explanations from different books. And the fact that different teachers tend to explain things on totally different ways. The OP is ESL, so I would imagine there would be a decent variety in the languages of the students, and in the dialects of those languages.
Then throw in all those other issues you mentioned. And several preps.
I'm still not seeing it as a strong recommendation for a teacher who struggled with his or her first year in a more traditional setting.
OK, back to the OP... I wouldn't have phrased it exactly that way, but that's the gist of what we're saying. And mm is right-- in very few other professions are there "mentors" or "teams" for new members once training is done. In most jobs, when you're hired you're expected to be able to preform on a level with your peers-- sink or swim. And in most jobs, your immediate boss pretty much has your career in his or her hands.
So mourn the loss of this job for another few hours.Then tomorrow, bounce back with a plan for finding a job for next year. Learn from what went wrong this year, and ensure that it doesn't happen again next year.
I'm not sure why you're implying that I'm being misleading or untruthful. I told you that my husband has worked in such a situation, and classroom management isn't an issue. I also mentioned that there are other challenges, although classroom management isn't among them. I'm simply giving the OP some options to think about since she mentioned that returning to her district is out of the question; OP is an adult, and is perfectly capable of picking and choosing the advice that is best for her. I'm just trying to give her some options for moving forward and encouragement rather than verbally beat her up for feeling confused, angry and disappointed about losing her job.
The lack of empathy in this thread is pretty disappointing. It's difficult to lose a job, it's frustrating to be a first-year teacher, and it's especially difficult to lose a job after enduring the stress of being a first-year teacher. Losing a job is a stressful, major life change right up there with marriage, divorce, moving and even death of a loved one. OP's posts indicate that she's aware that she has a tough journey ahead of her, and berating her for reacting perfectly normally to losing a job is not helpful.
Even non-tenured teachers have rights which can be stepped on. Why not contact your union rep and see what he or she has to say? I'm sorry you are feeling so awful, and I know you'll put this behind you one way or another.
I agree 100%. It would make an interesting topic for another thread.
For starter, I'm not implying anything other than that my opinion might differ from yours. Classroom management is a skill that varies widely from one person to the next; what works well for my husband in his classes might or might not work well for mine. So when I said we would assume you were right, I was conceding that perhaps it would be for everyone as it is for your husband, though I'm not convinced that was the case.
As to the "lack of empathy." Check my posts. I'm not a "hugs" type of person when practical action is called for. I'm incredibly practical, and good at problem solving. I've had my share of pity parties when things have gone horribly horribly badly for me. The difference is that when things went badly for me, the situation was out of my control and there was no timeline attached. For the OP, it's different. We're in the midst of hiring season in a bad economy. If she were to choose to indlulge in the luxury of self pity for a few weeks, she might lose out on the job that could turn things around. Yes, she'll feel better. But it might cost her a job.
So mm and I, along with a few others, have decided on the practical tact. One, that the OP realize that multiple preps are NOT out of the ordainary. That's important, as it will very likely be the case in the other jobs to which she's applying. And Two, that this is the time to get beyond the mouring of the lost job and regroup. Teaching has a hiring season, wtih a beginning and an end. It has begun. Spending time now mourning the lost job will mean that other jobs will go to other people.
May 14, 2010
May I know what OP stands for?
Separate names with a comma.