Is this Normal ? : /

Discussion in 'General Education' started by limon, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. limon

    limon Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2019

    I posted a few weeks ago about being in a new school and having conflict with my principal about, well - allowing students to retake exams with a 'special' study guide because they 1) didn't like their original score and wanted to do better or 2) they completely blew off the exam and classwork and now have F's. The jist of that thread was that I told him I would do as he asked but resign at the end of the year.

    Well, surprise! I got fired yesterday and it was because of that 'difference in educational' philosophy. He agreed that we don't see things the same way, he feels it is ok to have students 'make up' their exams for a better grade or because they don't do any work in or out of class, don't care and have very low F's. Now they can pass with these exams. I told him I believed in integrity and ethics, and asked how students would respect a teacher if they know they don't have to do the work? At this point, they don't listen to me and some are extremely rude to me. He sides with some of the worst behaved students, and has asked me to be 'more flexible' with my rules around students. He wanted me 'to care about them.'

    Ok, so please - tell me if this is normal or not because I find it completely unethical and amoral. We had argued this point several times but he doesn't agree with me, and without the support of other teachers - who have not been friendly or supportive, then that's that. In general, it has been a very unfriendly and even hostile environment and I have been incredibly unhappy here. Still, I am hoping this is not normal. : /
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Dec 14, 2019

    I don't know that is it "normal". However, I do know that some kids are more of a struggle than others, and sometimes you have do make adjustments to get them through it. I've won over some very apathetic, poorly-behaved students over the years with a little extra attention and understanding.

    I will say that this was always on my terms, not mandated by someone else.

    Sorry you were fired, but if it was a miserable situation for you, you are now free to find something you like better.
     
  4. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    Dec 14, 2019

    I am so very sorry! Did he fire you that day or for the end of the yr? Do you have a union? If yes, contact them asap. They can probably get you to a better place. Do not sign anything. I hope you didn't already. Even still, it can work out.
    It is possible to work with admin who have different philosophies, but it takes a lot of patience and tongue biting.
    Nowadays, all P's will tell you to build relationships ( I think- Care about them) and often that works. Often it doesn't. When it doesn't, the P should step up his game and help you. Unfortunately P's have gotten wimpier year by yr.
    Integrity and ethics have already left many public schools, I am sorry. I know some teachers who have them, but they are working in corrupt systems. They made some grading system for schools which involves how many kids pass/fail/ graduate/ drop out. If too many fail, the school can get a bad rating and the P gets in trouble. Therefore, the P wants you to pass them all along.
    You may find schools not like this, but I have been reading about the same type of problem for years on teaching boards. It became worse once schools were getting rated. Before, I saw sports and influential parents make the P put pressure on teachers, but if you were very careful in your grading and documenting, they could not force you. I think now they weed out anyone who won't go w/ their flow early on. I am so sorry and hope something better comes along for you soon. It is a new beginning for you, and it will be OK. ( Even if it doesn't feel like it, it may be a blessing in disguise.)
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Dec 14, 2019

    If this is a charter school you are working at, they can fire you essentially without cause. You are considered an at will employee. It is one of the reasons many teachers prefer traditional jobs in schools with unions. Simply adding that for anyone who comes across the thread at a later date.
     
  6. MaleTeacher

    MaleTeacher Rookie

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    Dec 15, 2019

    I think that it is getting more normal to "help" students on tests, especially in the urban districts. The help is in terms of giving out special study guides or reading the questions or "redirecting" the kids to a different answer choice. On the NWEA my school had teachers just complete the tests for the kids last week, since this way the school's performance scores will make it look good. I was made to give multiplication tables, calculators, and even keep up the math charts on the walls with all the examples.

    It also made me feel like crap, because this definitely does not teach them ethics. At the end of the day its not worth arguing with admin and getting yourself in trouble, so every kid passes (even the one who can't add while we are doing 3 digit by 2 digit multiplication).

    It sucks that you got fired, but at least you got out of that situation. Since you were fired (and you did not resign) you can try to claim unemployment benefits while looking for another job. It is just sad that your principal thinks that "caring about them" means that you should help them cheat or give them better grades than they deserve.
     
    futuremathsprof and limon like this.
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Dec 15, 2019

    I think it is awesome how you stood up for your values. When a person chooses to behave in a way that is inconsistent with their deepest values and ethics, sadness is sure to follow. Some try to suppress it, but it is difficult to have a conscience and ignore it. We go into education because we value children, and whether we stand up for that belief or not makes all the difference.

    Principals are under incredible pressure and too many choose unethical decisions. Most of these don't fire their teachers over them. Yes, there are schools with principals who stand up for the children and ethics. I hope and pray you find that school and that principal.
     
  8. limon

    limon Rookie

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    Dec 15, 2019

    Thanks for the comments and advice. I do feel incredibly sad about this, and to be honest I felt uncomfortable from the beginning but kept trying to fit in and get along with others.

    Really, no matter what I did the other teachers were not interested in me or friendly and some staff were very openly hostile to me. It was really hard, and awful. No wonder the students didn't respect me, the other adults didn't either. It's just a really terrible feeling to go to work, work hard and then be devalued and insulted by students and not have any support by peers. Talking with another teacher yesterday who turned out to be really nice (great to find her on the last day!), she said that when you are feeling insecure and on your own as a new teacher the students pick up on that and some will go after blood so to speak. She told me that when she started from the start her department worked with her and everyday they talked and worked together. She never felt alone or confused, and that made a very big difference in the classroom. I am just going to take some time to think things over and repair my self-esteem and confidence. : /
     
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  9. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Dec 15, 2019

    If you don’t have a union, consider possibly putting in a complaint with the state for unethical practices. Basically the school was asking you to help students cheat or to provide modifications without there being a 504 or IEP (legal documents) requiring you to do so.

    I don’t think your principal’s point of view is terribly rare, unfortunately, but I also think it’s not well known by the public how widespread this is.

    If there was no previous write up on your file, and if you were not provided a written policy stating you must follow this grading policy, I’d also recommend filing a complaint with Human Resources.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  10. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    Dec 15, 2019

    Wow! I have never worked anywhere like this, but know of a school in an old district where the P cheated and encouraged teachers to cheat on these types of tests. The teachers were so mad that they went to central office and filed a complaint w/ the state. Teachers can lose their license for doing that!
    Color me naïve, but I didn't think that went on much anymore.

    Limon, It would make most people sad to lose a job. You can feel good about yourself though knowing what you did was right. I saw someone suggested unemployment. I'd definitely make them pay it. It should be good for you to take some time, relax, and work through what all went on.
    When I 1st started teaching, I had an excellent support system in place. The school had what they called a teacher leader. She did not teach, but had for yrs. She was very nice and helped me navigate and learn through the system. She was there 5 days a week. I think teaching in a big school that has resources like her (and many others) is the best way to go for new teachers just from my experience.
    I work in a small school now. I'd never recommend a new teacher to work there. ( You have to figure everything out by yourself almost.) I think admin is wise enough not to even try it. Look for a big district that has many resources next time. Talk to people at different schools and find out all you can before leaping into another job. Also, I think big schools tend to get better admin. It takes a good PR person to deal w/ a big school. Rest up, recoup, and best wishes to you.
     

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