Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by NewKindy1, Sep 25, 2015.
Oct 20, 2015
Sorry as well.
Why don't you relocate to an area where teaching jobs are in demand and try again? There are places that are short teachers and do not have the pick of the litter for their staff. Surely they won't be firing you, they will be happy you are a body that is filling a need in a classroom. Then the pressure of keeping your job is off, and you can learn and develop as an educator.
There are no real consequences in school anymore so it makes handling students that much more difficult. Students need punishment in schools, regardless of what all the Ph.d's say.
I'm also very sorry.
I hope that you're not hard on yourself because it can happen to any teacher who just happened to get an unusually defiant group of students with a lot of emotional and behavioral issues. A group like that can undermine any adult who is teaching them every single day. Some teachers just got lucky early in their careers and happened to get a wonderful group of students.
As Education4all said, you can get a teaching position in an area where teachers are in demand. There's a chance that you will get a great group of students and an administration that actually supports teachers.
Another possibility is to work as a teacher's assistant in an average or high achieving school. Not only will you be able to learn new teaching and classroom management strategies, but your faith will be restored because you will see that there are still some good students out there who do value education. They tend to come from good familes and homes as well. I think that if you had been a teacher in a decent neighborhood, you would not have experienced even a third of what you had to go through during these past few months.
Best of luck to you!
Oct 21, 2015
Thanks everyone! I'm okay. I am kind of relieved. I really did want to try to improve and make it get better, but the kids just wouldn't listen to me. They didn't have problems listening because when I was out sick, they listened to the sub and did very well. I guess it was just me and something that I was/wasn't doing that just didn't really garner respect, and my classroom management skills weren't up to par. It's bittersweet, though. I really did like teaching, but it was just everything else that became stressful and going to work every day hearing "you need to get it together" "your class is too loud" "you need to get them under control". I will miss my kids though. Some of them were just so smart and I don't even think they know they're that smart. I really did want to see them grow and improve throughout the year. I just don't know what my next move is going to be.
Since you really liked teaching, I think that you should give it another chance. It's possible that you were just placed in an unfortunate situation.
It ISN"T true that your classroom management skills weren't up to par. Often difficult kids will behave appropriately for a sub because they like the novelty of having a different teacher for a day or a few days. The other possible reason why they behaved is because the principal was supporting the sub and yet wouldn't support you.
You shouldn't be overly critical of yourself because several of the same teachers who make remarks such as, "Your class is too loud" and "You need to get it together" also have a lot of classroom discipline problems themselves. Likewise, some administrators who make comments of that nature have experienced discipline issues and they have quickly forgotten what it is like to be a teacher. It's well-known that some administrators sought their management positions because they felt that they couldn't handle the responsibilities of being a classroom teacher and thought that being an administrator is easier.
The heart-breaking part is that you obviously do care about these kids and whether they learn. I hope you find something else teaching-related that you excel in. Perhaps look into being a para, a sub, or a tutor. That will still put you in the same arena, but with less responsibility.
I think that you will eventually find a teaching role, grade level, or school that is a lot more reasonable and rewarding. I know of several new teachers who started off in a rough school and were immediately in culture shock to see mostly defiant and violent students there. They soon applied elsewhere and were offered jobs in schools with hardly any discipline issues. As you can imagine, these teachers were happy as can be. You can do it too; it just might not happen right away.
Thank you. I don't really know of anyplace that will hire a non-certified teacher, especially out of state (I live in Louisiana). I just don't know what I want to do now. I had thought about teaching abroad after I became certified, but it seems like becoming fully certified won't be happening so teaching abroad won't be happening either. I just don't think I'm a good teacher
If you enjoy it, I would give it another shot. I don't think very many people have a good first year of teaching. It's a difficult job. You could go to another district or school and things could be completely different. It happens all the time to teachers, they are miserable in one place and go somewhere else and love it. Plus, it could be that kindergarten just wasn't "your" grade. Maybe you would have more success with the older students. They are more independent.
Again, I don't think that you should be so hard on yourself. Many highly skilled people in various fields, including classroom teaching had a rough start early in their careers. Some of the reasons included having unusually difficult students, customers, or coworkers as well as supervisors who weren't supportive at all. It sounds like on top of a difficult class, you also had an apathetic supervisor who wasn't supportive.
I recommend that you try your hand in another educational role (e.g., teacher's assistant, library technician, counseling) and in a different district that is known for well-behaved students. Yes, there are still many districts like this and if you do the research and ask around, you can quickly find them. If you find that you really like your new school and want to teach there, you can apply when a teaching position opens. I know of teachers who have done this and they eventually found their ideal school and position. It can happen for you as well.
I'm going to go in a slightly different direction here. If your gut feeling is that you aren't a good teacher, then use that to guide your future decisions. If you want to become a good teacher, then try getting a non-teaching educational job, and try getting your certification in a traditional program. If you want to leave the field completely, then find your niche somewhere in the "real world." Don't tell yourself that you're a good teacher who was in a bad situation. Tell yourself that you were in a job that you weren't equipped to handle, and that you will do everything necessary to make sure your next job is the right one for you.
I think some of the responses here are a little "pie in the sky." Based on your description of yourself, I wouldn't say that you were a bad teacher, but I would say that your lack of classroom management tools was crippling, even compared to what most new teachers go through. If you want to be a teacher, and a good one, then it's homework time. Start studying up on classroom management. Start designing your system. Plan rewards. Plan consequences. Plan rules. Plan routines, procedures, expectations, and all the day to day minutia that goes into teacher.
I'm sorry. You have a good heart, and there will always be jobs for people who care about others as I can tell you do. So, teaching didn't work out. There are lots of jobs out there, and I'm sure you will find one that will be a great match for you. Take some time to find out what you really want to do. I wish you the best.
Oct 24, 2015
Excellent suggestions, axton213!
In addition, perhaps Harry and Rosemary Wong's book and DVDs entitled "The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher" will be helpful for newkindy1. This book goes into detail about how to teach children rules, procedures, and much more. It seems to have a focus on elementary school, which may be perfect for newkindy1.
Another book that you may want to look into is Gary Rubenstein's "Reluctant Disciplinarian: Advice On Classroom Management from a Softy Who Became (Eventually) a Successful Teacher." Even though Rubenstein's advice is from a secondary school perspective, you may find that it's nice to know that despite his first year of teaching, he became a highly skilled teacher. Rubenstein's approaches to classroom management can be modified for elementary school.
Oct 28, 2015
I have taught 37 years and I can tell you K is a different animal all together. I teach K PE and if I had to stay in the room all day with them I would need meds. They require a completely different mindset and expectation than older kids. Before PreK it was even crazier. Maybe a higher grade is your style. My first 6 weeks of teaching MS math (my first year) I was running 5 miles a day to unwind. Finally got some advice,some support and some perspective. Then I loved it.
I agree. I student taught in kindergarten, and while I loved them, it really tested my (still developing) classroom management skills.
I am very sorry to hear your situation. It sounds like your classroom was unusually difficult and your principal totally unsupportive.
I would urge you to try subbing to get a feel for different buildings, different age ranges and different communities. If this was your very first experience in education, you owe it to yourself to explore other options within the field, particularly because you are so passionate about it.
The most important thing is to take care of yourself and try again when you are ready. I have had bad experiences too and still have moments when I wonder what the #%#% I was thinking becoming a teacher. I have moments of self-doubt - this is normal.
Yours was not a normal situation. You deserved to be mentored and supported, not shown the door. You were set up to fail.
If you are in LA, was this experience in a charter school ie; non-union?
You're so right, Culturanta!
NewKindy1, you were definitely placed in an unusually rough situation with no support whatsoever from the so-called administrators who set you up for failure.
One of the many things that I find bothersome about the situation is that the administrator had the nerve to tell you that your "appearance isn't up to par." Those who talk like that usually aren't much to look at themselves, so they're not really ones to talk. If they're going to point the finger, they should make sure that their hands are clean, which they probably aren't. I would also like to see an administrator like that teach a rough class on a full time basis every single day for a whole year. Then we'll see how many kids listen, pay attention, and do all their work.
I agree that you should be a substitute teacher or teacher's aide and also work with a mentor who has recent experience teaching the grade level you're interested in teaching. You will eventually find the grade level or school that is the perfect fit for you.
Oct 29, 2015
Thank you for your reply. I love teaching, but right now, I honestly don't know if I even want to continue with teaching anymore. I worked as a sub for a little while last year, but they're weren't a lot of sub jobs in my district. And in the other district to sub, you have to be certified. My principal was giving me advice, but she and the other teachers were either giving me the same advice or they would or the advice would be vague. And about the comment about my appearance; I'm an African American woman with natural hair and my hair had been braided for awhile and needed to be re-braided, but so many things were on my mind, the last thing I was worried about was my hair!
I am sorry that you had to resign. Kindergarten is tough and I ended up resigning my first year as well (taught Kinder as well). I got another job the year after that teaching 2nd grade and even though it was better, it wasn't great. We moved after that year and I took the year off due to a rough pregnancy. Since then I have worked in 3 different school districts that have all been great experiences for me! Take this time to volunteer in different grade levels, different schools, sub if you can and see what would be the best fit for you if education is where you want to be. Good luck!
Have you looked at teaching English in China or areas like that? For some companies, you do not have to be a certified teacher in order to do this job.
I actually have thought about teaching abroad. Teaching abroad is something that I've always wanted to do, but based on my experiences, I don't even think I can handle that. I've been looking into that for a few years, but there's so many factors holding me back that I don't think I could handle it.
Nov 6, 2015
The principal who had the nerve to comment about someone else's appearance had no right to talk like that. That was bitter and judgmental on her part.
I'm sorry... but no. I can't agree here. Appearances are important. Looking unprofessional is a real problem. Commenting on somebody's appearance if their appearance is unprofessional is not bitter and judgmental. Every time a parent sees a teacher looking unprofessional, every time a colleague sees a teacher looking unprofessional... that carries an image around. In this case, with parents and colleagues expressing concern about what was happening, the appearance issue was a symptom of a very serious underlying problem.
ICAM and I will add that for many of the kids I teach, there are no real consequences at home either. This is my biggest frustration with teaching; I work in a district where there seems to be no effective consequences for problematic behavior and we have a problematic student population, especially at the MS and HS level. Calling home, parent conferences, detentions and missing out on incentives are not big enough consequence for most of my kids (7th graders) and these things do nothing to permanently change behaviors. Add in parents who do not give/enforce consequence and make excuses for bad behavior and you get ... the mess my district has.
As my students like to remind me everyday, they can't (won't) be suspended for anything other than fighting/bringing a weapon to school ... and they know that fighting usually just results in an ISS or Admin detention (which they skip). TPTB in my district are always talking about how we can't improve data/test scores until we improve school climates and get behaviors under control - but, they have no solutions for this ...
Apr 3, 2016
Hello all!!! It's been a while since I last posted here. So I don't really know what provoked me to post here again lol. Just to recap: I had a bad experience and quit my job in October. Since then, I've been seeing a therapist and it's really helped . My doctor told me to not look for a job until December of last year, so I started my job search and didn't come up with anything until now. Now, I have a job at Sears. It's not a lot of money and I'm still paying for that darn alt cert program, but at least this job won't be as stressful, and I'm still living with my parents, so that helps some. But I'm feeling much better. I still do miss the kids, but I've made my peace with the whole situation. Thank you for all the support!
Glad to hear that things have improved for you!
Apr 4, 2016
Very happy that you have found some peace. Your sanity is more important.
I likewise am happy that things have gotten better for you. You probably are gaining good work experience at your present job. I also think that it's a great idea to read these forums even if one isn't a current classroom teacher because they give you an idea of what it's really like to be a teacher in a variety of school settings. You will see that you're definitely not the only one who has had a rough class. It seems as though only a few people have good years in their very first teaching assignments. Several years ago, I myself taught in rough schools but have moved on and have been happy, rewarded, and appreciated in my new school ever since.
Although you were only at your former school for a short amount of time, I think that there had to be at least one parent who appreciated that you cared for the kindergarten children. Parents like these are honest enough to admit that they couldn't handle any teacher's job themselves, let alone a job in a troubled school. I know this because at my former school, we would have new teachers who resigned after a brief stint because of the toxic environment. Thereafter, the few students who wanted to learn said that they missed these teachers and were sad to see them leave.
Apr 17, 2016
Do kids in kindergarten normally take tests like that in the US? I am from the states but have been down here in Mexico so long (without experience in kindergarten over there) that I honestly don't know. I teach pre-first (same age as first grade in the states...but it is an extra year in between kinder and first grade here), and our kids do not know how to test. They learn how to take a test with us in pre-first. They are evaluated by other means in kinder. Primarily, one-on-one, and not pencil and paper. Maybe I am out of line, but the idea of them taking a pencil and paper test in kindergarten seems a bit inappropriate. My gut tells me that could be part of the problem with them getting to sit down and actually taking it. However, do the other Kindergarten teachers struggle with this as well? I would observe them (if they are managing well) and try to see what you can do differently.