I think I'm going to get in trouble. Do you think I will be able to find another job?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by pinkcupcake90, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    Feb 23, 2016

    Hi, everybody.

    I'm working as a long-term sub in New Jersey. I'm a first year teacher going through ALTERNATE ROUTE. I'm finishing up my standard teaching license at Rutgers via Alternate Route.

    Anyway, I used to think that this high school was the place I wanted to be forever. I do love my job, but man, do I hate this district. I dread going to work every single day.

    To make matters worse, I said something today to a student that I regret. It involved a curse word. May God forgive me. I am a failure and I'm looking to resign as soon as possible, especially since the students chat and gossip like crazy. I don't know what's come over me, but I should have held my tongue. I'm just going through a rough time what with being in and out of the hospital for depression.

    The student was being such a smart alec and trying to put me down in front of the entire class by telling me I can't spell or create a grammatically correct sentence. When another student corrected me, I thanked her, and the other student shouted, "Why do you thank her and bash me for pointing out your mistakes?" I replied with this: "Because there's a difference between being helpful and being a d-bag."

    I plan to apologize to the student, but I think my teaching career is over. Should I resign from my job now before my boss finds out what I said?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
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  3. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    I don't think that you shoould resign from your job because you've come this far and there are only about four months left in the school year. As other teachers (including myself) have said in other threads, this sounds like a bad school and you probably just need to switch to a better one.

    It's actually a good sign that the principal is trying to get you a contract because in his/her opinion, you would be an asset to the faculty.

    About what was said in class today, I would just go on, teach the class, and act as if it never happened. If your boss questions you about it, I would say that I am sorry and that it will not happen again. I would also use this as a learning experience in that I will be prepared of how to handle a similar situation with a difficult student in the future. For instance, in the situation that you described above I would explain to the class that put downs and insults should not and will not be accepted in the classroom. I would enforce it by giving the discipline plan consequence (warning, detention, referral to dean, etc.) to anyone who makes such comments. Another thing that I would explain to the class is that if they have a question about a possible mistake, they should voice it in a respectable way and not in a way to make others feel bad for trying. In fact, we should encourage others to try in class.
     
  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I disagree, in that you need to tell your administration right away. Even if it doesn't come of anything in terms of the students, they should be aware of a mistake you made, in case it comes back to them. Share your mistake, explain how you plan on making sure it doesn't happen again, and then move on.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    In my opinion, you need to let admin know asap about what you said to the student. They will hear about it, and it's best that it comes from you. While you may not need to resign over it, it would be a serious issue for me and I could anticipate an official reprimand. The language, itself, wouldn't be the primary problem, more the fact that it was directed at a student.
     
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  6. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I know this is a serious situation, but if it makes you feel any better, I cackled. However, we need to make sure those kinds of thoughts -- and yes, we all have them sometimes -- get thoroughly cleaned by our brain-to-mouth filter.
     
  7. PoliticalFutbol

    PoliticalFutbol Rookie

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    If it is a bad school, I really wonder if the boss will let it go. A good school has some latitude with mistakes, but a bad school may not.
     
  8. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    Thanks for your response. What should I say to the principal?
     
  9. frteach

    frteach Rookie

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    I said h*ll in class one day. I immediately ratted myself out to my principal. I just said that I am human and it slipped out by accident. He totally understood and he told me if he had any parent complaints we would handle them together. No parent ever complained, but I knew that I was covered if they did. He appreciated knowing ahead of time just in case a parent called.

    Be honest. We are all human and stuff slips out sometimes. Face the music like an adult and you will be fine. There is no need to resign over this.
     
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  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    "I'd like to let you know about something that happened in class yesterday." Then, be honest and explain the situation that led up to what you said. Don't leave anything out and let your administrator know that you recognize your mistake and tell them what you will do differently next time.
     
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  11. bridgebreaker

    bridgebreaker Rookie

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    I wouldn't worry about it. Before you put the baby in the bath, test the water. If you interface with other teachers, you can confide in them, and see what they advise on the issue. Can I ask what the students are like that are giving you resistance? Is your school in an urban environment? I am familiar with that type of school.
     
  12. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    It's a very bad district. It's a district where the principal refers to bad children as dickheads. Pardon my French.
     
  13. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Given this piece of information, I don't think I'd worry about your indiscretion.
     
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  14. pinkcupcake90

    pinkcupcake90 Companion

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    I feel so awful. I made a terrible mistake. God as my witness, I love teaching more than anything. It's a tough district, but I don't want to lose my teaching license. I have a job fair to attend this weekend. I pray that I can find another job. It was just very hard getting this one and getting hired via alternate route.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You might want to delete the initials of your school in OP. I Knew which district it was immediately and it's an easy enough Google search. Good luck to you.
     
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  16. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    If this is really the only mistake you have made, I seriously doubt you would even get in trouble for this. I would probably find another teacher you can ask about this issue with before you bring it up with your principal. At my school this would be frowned upon but I seriously doubt you would get fired or even reprimanded in writing. Everyone lets something slip every now and then and this is pretty minor especially if your in a high school class.

    If the teacher you speak with says not to mention it then I probably wouldn't. Every school is different and things will be bigger deals in some places than others. If the person tells you to bring it up with the admin than do it but don't go in there crying and offering to quit. Try to stay calm and it will blow over.
     
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  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I agree that you probably should let your principal know about what happened. But you should not worry as much as you do.
    You remind me of myself about 15 years ago or so when I was working for a very large company (for 8 years), and I was doing well, but at one point I had an abusive supervisor. She was the B from hell. Unfortunately at that time I didn't know how to stand up for myself diplomatically, meaning stand up for myself without getting in trouble.
    This lady messed with my mind so much that I was in constant anxiety. I made many mistakes because I was second guessing myself and I worried myself to death about small things because I thought I would get in huge trouble. And I made more mistakes. and I was in fear. It was horrible (she got demoted and hings got better lol)

    I think you are so very stressed out that you overthink everything, you worry too much and you probably make mistakes because of that. Find a way to relax. Take a step back, and know that you're doing well, probably a lot better than other long term subs they had.
    Take a few days off if you can.

    You comment about the cuss word you used, well, I imagined much much worse.
     
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  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    LOL! I've said worse. Don't worry pink. If they report it, you may be asked to go into the office where they'll give you a slap on the wrist and tell you not to do it again, but don't freak out about it. Don't tell them if the students don't.

    I understand how you feel though. I remember freaking out my first year because I told the class to "shut up" jokingly. I think if you get freaked out about it, the kids will sense it and use that to push your buttons.
     
  19. bridgebreaker

    bridgebreaker Rookie

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    Finally, Pink, I thought I was the only one dealing with city kids. The teachers in this forum seem to be teaching in Amish country. They have never had a dope pusher in their classroom! I have been attacked physically, I've had to wrestle the grade book away from a student. I've had one parent... well I don't want to scare the people on this forum with war stories.
    Hang in there. First, be aware that there is help on the way!! The book tough guys Torture Teachers is showing teachers the problem originates with drug distribution and the gangs.
    You should confront your students. Ask them what drugs cost. The type of drug that is sold. You can Id the pusher by size and nastiness. The 7th grade is where they usually start pushing. TGTT tells the entire history of the problem. Do you remember the movie Dangerous minds? It was set in LA. It's the story of a teacher Mary Lou Johnson who taught in a city school. that was in the early 90's.
    The teachers n this forum may be having the problem but don't realize its social situation they are dealing with. Imagine the day that the world discovered germs.

    TGTT explains it all. You need to give it to you Principal. He should get the author to speak at your church.
    Does your school have a leper colony where the really bad ones go? We have a teacher in my church who was in charge of the lepers. He had to quit.
    Also TGTT offers an answer, but the solution must be administered on a state wide basis. This is moving into suburban schools now and into Europe too. Anywhere there is drug distribution, the situation exists.
     
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  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I did not see anywhere where the OP mentioned drugs, so I feel like your sales pitch is a little odd.
     
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  21. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    For the record, the movie Dangerous Minds didn't accurately portray the events that indeed occurred. The movie was loosely based on author LouAnne Johnson's book, My Posse Don't Do Homework in which she described her five years of teaching at Carlmont High School; this school is located in Belmont, CA and not Los Angeles. (In the book and movie, the school's name was changed to Parkmont High School.) Belmont is located over 350 miles away from LA.

    According to Niche.com, Carlmont High is one of the top 100 schools in Cali to date. Niche further notes that Carlmont High's community of Belmont is considered affluent (median household income of $100,000). I for one couldn't afford any of Belmont's homes (average of over $800,000) on my teacher's salary. LouAnne's book further mentioned that many students at this school came from well-to-do families back then and from what I understand, this status quo hasn't changed since then.

    LouAnne herself has written on her website (www.louannejohnson.com) that the events in the movie Dangerous Minds were so ridiculous that she couldn't stop laughing. This is one of her takes on the movie:
    www.louannejohnson.com/files/My_Thoughts_re_the_movie_Dangerous_Minds.pdf
     
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  22. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't understand your post. Actually, in every one of your posts you talk about this book and about gangs and drugs, but I often fail to see the connection.
    You are not the only person on these boards that know about this topic, there are plenty who have thought at-risk students. I know plenty about gang-affiliated youth, and let me tell you, often it has nothing to do with disrespect towards teacher. In fact one of our most dangerous kid is a quiet, soft spoken kid, who has never ever disrespected me and always follows directions. He's the quiet one you need to look out for, because if he ever snaps, it will be in the blink of an eye. But these type of kids are not the loud-mouths.
    Those kids that are disrespectful towards the OP may or may be in gangs, but she won't be able to even scratch the surface if that's the approach she takes.

    And drugs? Drug dealer kids don't care about disrespecting teachers. (we have plenty of those). All they care about is networking on campus and after school and make that sale. I'd suspect they'd be actually pretty quiet, most of the time to stay under the radar and not get caught. They don't get any street credit or any business from cussing out or pissing off a teacher.
    If you bring up drugs in the classroom, it just causes more problems and harm than good. You will not identify the cause by the "nastiness" because the drug dealer will lay low. The drug dealer himself is probably not the one that's behind the disrespect. You would bring up an inappropriate topic, and you will have a hard time steering t back to on topic. And again, you would just look dumb, pretending you know what you're talking about.

    OP, def. don't confront these kids, that's not the way to go about it. And don't bring up drugs, as this poster suggested. It would look foolish.
     
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  23. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    I second what Linguist92021 said about how there are several members of this forum who have taught gang members and/or drug users. I also agree with her advice to never bring up inappropriate topics such as drug use; you shouldn't participate in a conversation like this with students (not even in a casual conversation during break time). Confronting students, especially hostile ones will just make matters even worse. If you were to even ask them a question about drugs or other inappropriate topics, they will say something like, "None of your business." Many difficult students will twist your words when they tell other people about what you allegedly said in the classroom. What I think that you should do instead is to focus on teaching your lessons and on helping as many students as possible.
     
  24. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    By the way, what does this mean??? I haven't been able to figure it out lol. Leper colony? What does a school have to do with a church? Lepers in church? WTH? Or is this a metaphor I'm missing??
    Please explain.
     
  25. bridgebreaker

    bridgebreaker Rookie

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    .....................Sorry, Ya'll, I've been busy. The church mention is an obvious slip, I meant school. Forgive me. Today was Wednesday Bible study. Brain can't chew and walk too...
    The leper colony is where the HS kids go who will not behave in class. In our city, you can't send them home unless the parents answer the phone. The parents aren't going to answer a call from a school, so the kids stay in school.
    They are put in a separate room (hence the term leper colony) with a teacher to maintain order.

    About drugs: I suggested that the teacher ask the students because I did . I found that the kids were very open about the drugs dealt. To verify a hypothesis, I asked. When we did sub orientation, they never told us that this was inappropriate... Ooops.

    To explain this is very hard... unless you see evidence in your school.

    Linguist: The mafia no longer distribute the cartel's drugs. the gangs do. The consumers and vendors (pushers) are now 7th graders. The book seems to detail this.
    I am not from LA...so I dont know. about that.
    Someone mentioned the book. It quotes the Blackstone rangers from Chicago, the Bloods from LA. This is a national problem. ..
    Someone mentioned my posts. For instance, "Are some kids incapable of math?" Seventh grader giving teacher trouble. I see a pattern. Maybe no one else sees the common thread. They are not "incapable" of doing math. To quote Mary Lou Johnson, "My Posse Don't Do Homework." as a math teacher, I know the value of homework. The failure of these kids is simply lack of effort. Saw it too often.
    Miatorres: Sorry, been busy, but I'm back. I dont remember the movie. Never read the article, but I believe you did. Ms. Johnson's book is titled "My Posse don't do homework." My city is far from hers (LA), yet one symptom of the gang culture here is that they "refuse" to do homework or schoolwork of any kind, especially history. Her book was written 20 years ago. It has spread far. The suburbs are now as bad as the city (in some areas) and as the book says, the cartels used an aggressive marketing strategy. So, if Pink is in the suburbs and they are bad, then I am not surprised.
    On drugs: As a sub, I never knew that we teachers were forbidden to ask simple questions about drugs. That is fascinating and also explains the fact that no one seems to be aware of the society that has grown up in secret. Very interesting. I didn't know I was being bad.
    You could do a few tests to see if the kids are into this culture. First, take a failing student and ask him about sports. I he has an amazing grasp of sports trivia, then his IQ should also enable him to excel in history. Right? So, why is a high IQ like that failing? Why are so many kids doing well and then fail? They are classified as special in grade 7, but were doing well before 7th!
    Second test: A kid scores straight A's from 1st to 6th grade. He gets into 7th, and blam, straight F's. He suddenly starts to cut up (act out and mess with the teach) at the 7th grade level. Why?
    Third test, follow the kids from 7th to graduation and see which are arrested as pushers. Then review your time with them. how did they act. Pushers today are moving product in grade 7. That means that they are chosen by the gang before then. Reputation is very important.
    Forth Test is the cold way these kids see us. Pink is seriously taking this hard. Why? That's easy, she cares and the kids don't. The kids don't see her as a person. This is a symptom. The cold way these kids see us isn't the way we felt about teachers..
    Stanley Milgram defines the agentic state where people obey authority, in this case their peers. They dehumanize teachers and now we are victims in their quest for reputation.
    Suggestion: Their behavior doesn't make sense to us. It's not logical to us. Don't assume they are you. Forget the days when you were in school. This is a new game. new rules new motives.
    Forgive me if I have not answered you. You guys wrote a lot of stuff.
    I see I have answered one objection (drugs) twice. I'd reread and correct it all but
    It's 325 am. I'm wiped. Goodbye
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  26. bridgebreaker

    bridgebreaker Rookie

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    In 1994, I pointed out some students (that were dressed all in black) to an African American colleague. Then I asked if he knew who they were. He told me they were white supremacists. I told him they were vampires. He laughed. Then I assured him they were not Nazis. I told him of a goth that was the son of a minister and slept in a coffin. All of this seemed hilarious to the elderly fellow. He had never heard of Goths. Goths were about to become very well known. I wonder if they still play their role playing games? Ann Rice became a Christian. I wonder if she still writes gothic romance.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  27. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Did you speak to your administration, pinkcupcake? Has there been any "fall-out"?
     
  28. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Pink Cupcake, just a quick note to let you know that we are on your side. Our thoughts are with you. At my house, outside in the cold and through the snow the spring flowers I planted are starting to sprout up. That is you. You are a caring teacher with a passion for teaching. You will push through this horrible year and find a much better school. Remember, it's not you, it's the students.
     
  29. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Bridgebreaker, I guess according to you I teach at the "leper colony". This is the last spot kids "who have gone bad" can go (there's only juvie from here, if they break the law, but this is it).

    However, I would never call them such degrading terms.
    These are someone's children, they're like this 99% of the time because of bad parenting or lack of parenting. Not all parents are bad, sometimes they're uneducated and unskilled, so they have to work on the fields 16 hours a day and then have another job, father is gone, and the 3-4 kids are roaming the streets, raising themselves, or most of the time, the gangs are their family.

    Yes, we have drug dealers, lots of gang members. So? I'm here to educate them. I'm here to teach them how to advocate for themselves, get some skills and make it in the real world. That means that they can't just call someone a name when they have a bad day, they must follow the rules and directions (of the school and later, society).
    If a kid acts up, it doesn't matter if he's on probation, a drug dealer, or a pimp. I need to handle it in a uniform way to redirect him, let him know what he did was wrong, and if a consequence is in order, enforce it. I don't always have to get to the bottom of things.
    If a kid has domestic violence at home, or all of sudden is homeless, or has been bullied and is crying for help, that needs immediate help.
    But teachers' main job is not to get into what drugs they sell, or what their role is in a gang. Who cares? I don't need to show them that I know all this, I'm not trying to get them admire me for my knowledge etc. That's childish.
     
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  30. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I agree.
    Our kids can't even shake each others' hands (gang handshake, regular handshake, whatever)
    Sometimes our P tells us to keep our ears open because things happened after school, or we know something is going to go down, so we do let them talk, and kinda eavesdrop. But not in a way that we promote it.
    I myself never catch any of this, because I don't want off topic talk in my classes, we have a lot to do, and the kids know my attitude.
    But one little comment can spark a fight, who wants that? and why would a teacher bring up anything that's illegal or criminal activity? Now you would just lower yourself, and sound like you're either trying to be cool, or make it sound like you know what's up, and you would just look dumb.
    My P knows everything about everything, she still doesn't flaunt any of this. She just uses her knowledge to get info from the students or help them.
     
  31. RSA1984

    RSA1984 Rookie

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    I've heard a teacher over around my neck of the woods say to an at the time sophomore, "Don't lose that a*s." Needless to say, the person is still teaching at that particular school. The kids today that I've noticed seem to let things roll off their shoulders. It's as if they see or hear one thing and 5 minutes later their attention is someplace else. I honestly wouldn't worry about it. If something comes up then defend yourself and admit to your mistake. Going and saying something to admin. could open up a can of worms. That's just my .02 cents. Again, you must do what you feel is right.
     
  32. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    bridgebaker, the author of My Posse Don't Do Homework is LouAnne Johnson, not Mary Lou Johnson. As I have said earlier, LouAnne Johnson's experience was NOT in LA; it was in the affluent community of Belmont, which is located over 350 miles away from LA. You stated that you yourself haven't read her articles (one of the links are available above), so how can you quote or paraphrase what she wrote in the first place? I think that in order to make an informed statement, people must at least get the author's name right and read the appropriate book or article.
     
  33. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Pink, have there been any updates?

    I have been thinking about your situation a lot lately. Do you think that you can finish out the school year at this school? Are these cracks in your foundation repairable? It just seems like things are escalating, and I'd hate to see you wind up in a position where you can't undo something that you've said or done. We all get frustrated (I'm feeling particularly salty today myself due to things beyond my control). Even so, we simply must maintain our professionalism. There is no getting around that. We can't call our students douchebags, at least not to their faces, and cry during class, and scream and yell. Those actions are not professional, they don't help us become better teachers, and they don't help students learn. I'd further argue that they don't even do a great job of letting us release our anger because we end up feeling so bad afterwards that now we are saddled with guilt on top of our already-existing frustration, resentment, and other negative feelings.

    I say these things not to beat you down but to gently, but firmly, remind you of your obligation both to yourself and to your students. We have never met, but I really care about you and your potential. I have always sensed your passion for your subject and your desire to become a great teacher. Those two qualities can't be learned or taught, in my experience. If you want to be a teacher, you have to go for it with your best efforts. Don't let yourself down by resorting to childish, if not somewhat understandable, behavior. You're better than that.
     
  34. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I for one am taking off tomorrow and going camping / hunting. I need a break. My P always tells us that if we need a day off, take it, it's better than get frustrated, and lose it and have problems in the classroom.
    So far I've only taken off 1 day for being sick, so I don't even feel bad.
    This is the time of year when students start getting restless, we have more sunlight, better weather, they start partying, being out late (as opposed to staying put in the cold winter months) so we start to see more problems. And us, teachers are getting tired. It's everywhere, this is when we start getting new students from regular schools, because this is when those schools are getting tired of their behaviors.
    So I suspect I will take off maybe a couple of more days before the end of the year.
    Pinkcupcake, do you think you could take off a day here and there?
     
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  35. bridgebreaker

    bridgebreaker Rookie

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    Feb 25, 2016

    Pink is ready to leave teaching. Her kids are driving her from teaching. Its funny, you are on her for saying Douche. How terrible it is to say douche. I didnt even know that douche was a swear word. Meanwhile, Ya'll overlook the fact that she is being emotionally hurt and wants to quit.

    I honor Pink. She is fighting the good fight against a tenacious student body. If the principal labels them as bad, then he should know.

    I got through my tough times by going to the teachers lounge and hearing the veteran teachers tell their stories.

    Miatorres: Mary lou, got it. Thanks so much.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  36. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Feb 25, 2016

    Struggling with one's emotions doesn't give you the right to act inappropriately towards others.

    (Note that this isn't meant against you, pink - you already understand this, because you came to post and ask for advice!)
     
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  37. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 25, 2016

    Odd. It seems like the consensus of the thread was to not worry about what she said. I don't see anywhere where anyone was "on" her. Everyone also seems to be sympathetic to her emotions and have been comforting her and trying to offer her useful advice. We must be reading threads in alternate dimensions.
     
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  38. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Feb 25, 2016

    I would not recommend asking questions like this. I think it is a good idea to get to know your kids and let them know you're comfortable talking about things, but asking things about cost and who's selling seems like getting involved at a level you don't want to be involved at for liability reasons. What will you do with that information once you have it?
     
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  39. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Feb 25, 2016

    This was what I wanted to say, but everyone saying "tell your P" made me hesitant to say it haha. I wouldn't tell on yourself; it could create unnecessary problems for you. Own up to it if asked about it. If not, live and learn.
     
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  40. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Feb 25, 2016

    I think that I just happened to be one of the first to reply to the OP, and I said right away that my recommendation was to NOT bring up what was said in class and to act as if nothing happened. If the boss would question the OP about what was said, I suggested that the OP just apologize and say that it will never happen again.

    I definitely see why others would recommend that the OP should tell her boss what happened before the boss hears it from someone else. Some schools give less leeway to teachers than other schools do, so perhaps the OP should consider the pros and cons of telling the boss what happened.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
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  41. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Feb 25, 2016

    That's a very good point. My answer of approaching your administrator was based on my own experience, where there's a 100% positive, trusting relationship between administrator/myself, and their personality is such that they would like to know about those situations. This isn't necessarily the case for all administrators, and you may/may not have a different relationship with yours because all administrators are different. Use what you seem to know about yours...or if you're unsure, and you have a trusted colleague, get in touch with them about the situation and see what they'd suggest.
     
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