Is this odd of me to ask for this? (New teaching job related)

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by pommom, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2018

    I will be working in a new district this coming school year. I already signed my contract, and I will be teaching middle school English. Since I have free time in the summer, I would love to read any texts and novels that are on the district curriculum ahead of time now. I have emailed the principal and the English curriculum specialists for this information, and no one has emailed me back. Is this out of the norm for me to ask for this information during the summer? Should I call them? I just don't want to sound like a pest.
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2018

    I don't think that it's odd of you to ask. I think it's totally fine to show your enthusiasm, and I think it's typical to want to be prepared. However, given that it's summer, this may not be their top priority. I probably wouldn't suggest that you keep contacting them - by email or by phone. Instead, just be patient, enjoy the remainder of the summer break, and then get ready to learn a lot in your first few days. Every one of the four schools where I've worked has included curriculum information as part of the new teacher orientation, and three of those schools had to go over curriculum with all relevant staff (not just new hires) because the curriculum had changed since the previous year. I think that curriculum is often an evolving document rather than static one in many schools. Your new school may not be prepared to give you to the info that you're requesting because it could still be a work in progress, or, it could be case where you are given a lot of autonomy in what texts you use to teach. I would think that asking repeatedly could come off as annoying if they aren't prepared to answer your question, so I would recommend holding off after you've expressed your initial interest. As an alternate, you might ask for the name or contact info of someone who will be on your team or in your department. Then, you can try to get in touch with that person for more of the specifics about your curriculum. Even that information, though, may be tough to get from them in the middle of the summer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
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  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2018

    I agree that your question is a normal question for any teacher new to their district. Have you tried searching on the district website for their curriculum or pacing guides? Just remember that the principal and curriculum specialist are likely on summer break themselves and may not check their email with regularity.
     
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  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2018

    And, on that note, even if they do check their email, they may not want to respond to it during the break.

    I have a new colleague starting this year, and he's already contacted me a few times this summer to arrange things. The first time, I politely tried to suggest that he wait until later in the summer, closer to the start of the year before getting into school mode. He only halfway heeded my advice. Although I'm totally open to helping out, and I completely understand his enthusiasm, I'm slightly irritated that my summer break is being interrupted sooner than I'm ready for.

    So, anyway, just a note to try and see it from their point of view as well. While you're excited about a new job, they may be trying to take advantage of the only downtime they get. Things will work out, even if you get no info until your first official day.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jul 17, 2018

    I agree with the others. It's not odd that you asked, but I wouldn't continue to contact them. You don't want to get labeled as "high maintenance" right away. I typically don't check my school email in the summer. I know you're excited to start; but I would also caution against doing too much planning over the summer. Wait until the school year starts and you're familiar the school/district expectations and the needs of your students.

    I know I've posted this before, but for the job I had before this one the principal specifically requested that I come in and get teacher's manuals for the reading and math curriculum when I was hired in the spring so I could "do my planning." I posted here asking how I was supposed to do that not knowing anything about the school's expectations- do they follow the curriculum with fidelity, does the team plan together, is there a pacing guide or other requirements? Several posters told me I was being lazy and that the P gave me the TE's for a reason. I am SO glad I didn't listen.

    When I started working, I found out that the district did put out a pacing guide and that the my P didn't really want us to use the TE at all. She wanted us to use the curriculum as a "resource" and expected us to come up with our own "more engaging" lessons based on the materials. Absolutely anything I did ahead of time would have been a complete waste of my time.
     
  7. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Jul 18, 2018

    The main information i was needing are novels read. I wont contact them again though.
     
  8. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Jul 18, 2018

    I know someone else already asked this, but did you check the district website for a curriculum guide of some sort? My district has a Curriculum and Instruction page and with a little digging I would be able figure out any novels read from there.

    This is a totally normal thing for you to want to know, but as others have said, responses just don't come as quickly in the summer. Maybe try another email closer to the start of school, maybe a month or so out. I'd also stick with someone in the English department. The principal likely doesn't know what each grade level's curriculum entails in that much detail.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2018

    A lot of admin take July off, so it may be until August before you hear anything. I wouldn't contact them again, as others have said.
    I know it's frustrating though. I teach English as well, and I'd never get everything done if I didn't read any new books and mark notes over the summer. I have always preferred to do the bulk of my planning in the summer, but both schools I've worked at had no curriculum map or pacing guides or anything. It was all just up to the teacher since there's only one teacher per course.
     
  10. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Jul 18, 2018

    Thanks for replies. I found a 2012 very vague one page overview curriculum on their website. I am going to email the English department head since I havnt done that. It doesnt state who that peraon is online, so I guess I will need to call.
     
  11. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Jul 19, 2018

    Your request isn't at all unusual. The year before I started at my current school, I read the entire social studies textbook. It provided me with a basis from which to build my curricullum. Although I make only sporadic use of a traditional text, that is still where I would start any preparations.
     

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