It's just too stressful

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by 4myclass, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    Oct 6, 2007

    I have a class of 27 students. One of my students has serious anger issues, who tells me constantly that he hates me and wishes I was dead. He throws things at other students and calls them names. I also have one with emotional problems, who hides under my desk and won't come out. Between the two of them, they create constant kaos in the room. The other students start acting out in response.

    My principal is constantly harassing me, telling me that I am not following procedure and I need to read the handbook. I have and I have followed all procedures to the letter (even my union president says that I have followed procedure). She won't offer any help concerning the students with emotional problems. She leaves them in the classroom for me to deal with. I'm the one who gets called to the principals office, not the student.

    I have a couple of very high maintenance parents who run to the principal daily about the smallest issues, like why I don't post grades the minute their child turns in a very late paper. I have been forced by my principal to go back and regrade papers from the beginning of school until certain students receive a grade that their parents will accept (including tests, which they are allowed to take home to redo).

    All of the stress is starting to affect my health. I no longer have an appetite, I am having nearly constant headaches, I barely sleep, and I am having trouble with my vision.

    I give up. I'm throwing in the towel. They win. They obviously want me out. For the last several years, I have taught Pre-k. I have never taught above 1st grade. I feel like I am a first year teacher all over again, but without any support.

    I feel like a complete failure.

    Pray for me.
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oct 6, 2007

    I'm so sorry. That sounds like a horrible situation. Sending lots of prayers your way.
     
  4. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Oct 6, 2007

    You are not a failure. They are not giving you the support you need. Are there any counselors or resource teachers who can work with the students with bds? What a horrible situation!
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oct 6, 2007

    You are definitely not a failure. But your principal sure sounds like one.
     
  6. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I agree with Daisy. Teaching is difficult under the best of circumstances. It sounds like you really did your best. The principal is the one who needs to be sent to the office for bad behavior. I'd want to quit to. Start looking for another job in a different school. Lots of prayers being said for you.
     
  7. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    I requested help from the counselor. She came in and quietly asked my "angry" student to come with her. He refused and the counselor told him if he needed her, he was welcome to come by her office. Then she left! He went right back to insulting me and other students.
    I wrote the student up and the principal sent the write up back saying that I needed to follow the procedure outlined in the teacher's handbook. I read through the book and it said call parent (did that), write down the offence (did that), tell what disciplinary step the student is on (did that). Then it said that the principal would call for the student and assign whatever step the student was on. The principal has never called for any of my students. She normally just sends back the write up with whatever punishment was given. She is the one not following the written procedure, not me.
    Needless to say, the student has yet to receive any punishment for telling me that he wished I would die and throwing all his books and papers across the room.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 6, 2007

    4myclass, you are not a failure. You have been dealt a very cruel situation. Students that sound like they shouldn't be in class, an unsupportative principal (I mean, what principal would force their teachers to change grades to appease parents). I agree with the poster that said to start looking for another job now! You need to make your health your number 1 priority.
     
  9. mstemple05

    mstemple05 Cohort

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    Oct 6, 2007

    Your health is most DEFINITELY MORE IMPORTANT than this job or paycheck. You sound like you're @ a satellite school of the one i worked @ 2 years ago. The CEO went ahead & changed grades for me. "I just went ahead and changed the grade, I gave him a B, his mom was just going on and on and I don't have time to hear that." Yep. Then 2 more times she sent memos (her way of communication) telling me how irate the parent(s) were that their child who never did work was receiving a bad grade. Mind you, we could not give children grades lower than a C. They had a "Failure is not an option" policy, but all that meant was, you better do everything it takes to make sure that child DOES NOT fail. Yea, sure does make it look like her school has a bunch of pretty smart kids that NEVER fail. Yea, that is til they transfer or go off to college and then still don't know the stuff. I don't know how the state dept of ed allows these schools to still run. Like, that's ridiculous. All a parent has to do is call & say "I don't like this grade and i'm upset about this & i'm gonna transfer my kid" And voila! Magic "A". One parent told the CEO that I said her child would never pass. And was pleading with me to "work with her kid" because she was trying to get him into a good private school in another state and the C was hurting his chances. Ummmmmm.. if he comes to class late, never takes out a book, puts his name and date on a test-you think he DESERVES to get into a good school? You want a good rep for ur kid, but does he? Talk to him, not me. He's hurting his own chances. He'll get there and sink.

    But whatever, most times parents can't imagine that their little :angel: is sitting in class doing NOTHING or acting out or not studying or something else OTHER than what's right..

    :mad:

    :sorry: I :hijack:
     
  10. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Oct 7, 2007

    Do you have documentation of all the steps you have been through? If not, start writing down everything. Then the next time this principal tells you to follow the handbook you can say "I have" and show her all the documentation. If she still doesn't step up and do her part, do you have a union rep you can contact? How about someone higher up you can talk to? I don't know just how well this would work, but it might be worth a shot. This principal ought to be. Just kidding (but only a little.) :whistle:
     
  11. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Oct 7, 2007

    I feel very sorry for you. You work in a school in which the principal is afraid of the parents and lets them run the school. The Guidance Counselor sounds like a person who is more interested in avoiding trouble than doing her job. Speak to your Union Rep. They should be able to make some suggestions about how to handle the situation of the two children who seem too sick to be in a regular classroom.
    It is not your fault. You work in a school that is very poorly run. What do the other teachers do?Perhaps if you called the teacher's union they would describe what other steps you might take to get the two students the help they need,and allow you to teach your class.If possible you should try and transfer to another school in your area. GOOD LUCK. I've been there,I know how you feel.
     
  12. fratbrats

    fratbrats Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2007

    Hello,

    Sounds like a terrible situation! Can you stick it out with this job until you can find another? That way you are already employed with someone else and don't have to answer why you left before the year is up.

    I can't believe there's no support for you. I'm not finding support with my principal, that person's very busy. However, I have 2 good assistant principals, counselors, a social worker, and then other special ed teachers. I kind of have 2 mentors. I've seen one once and the other twice for a few minutes.

    I was kind of given the keys and expected to do everything on my own. I'm in special ed, so I don't have a team that I can meet with on a regular basis. I just now have a conference period, the 6th week of school. I had to just start putting kids in outclasses to make it work. So, as long as they are behaving, I have a conference period. No duty-free lunch, but who's complaining.

    I have felt like quitting a few times this year. I can't though, I'm in my probationary year and if I do, that's it for me.

    I made sure that I reread Harry Wong's book again for the first day of school. I'm pretty strict with my morning routine. When they come in, there are 4 procedures to follow on the board and we make them do that. We may have to remind them, but it cuts out chaos and sets the tone for the day.

    Are there rewards and consequences in place for your students? When this child misbehaves, what are their consequences? They definitely have to be something that you'll be able to enforce.

    I would call the parents in for a conference and develop a behavior contract. Send home a behavior sheet that needs to be signed daily by the parents. It can be very simple, so it doesn't take too much time to fill out everyday. Hopefully, they would have a consequence in place for a bad day. It will be harder if the parents don't care. Loss of video games, tv, etc.

    This may sound dumb, but can you remove as many things out of the room that can be thrown? Your room may have to be a little boring for a while, but it can be safe. Since I'm a b-mod teacher, I have thought of this a lot. My room is not boring, but I don't have pencils just lying around the room. My scissors are in a cupboard. They have a pencil box with a lid that I bought them. I looked at everthing that I thought could be used as a weapon. (I'm sure there will be things that I won't think of and then they'll have to be adjusted.) They also keep their items in a cubby, that I also bought. I know one teacher that had to move a child behind their desk to keep the others safe in the room. He was a big bully.

    I would also have a reward that this child would miss out on if he can't behave. Popcorn on Fridays, extra recess, etc. Maybe another teacher could pick your kids up early for recess, except the misbehaving one/ones. I would start out slow, have him reach little goals and then raise your expectations through the year. If the goal is too high, he'll give up or won't even try.

    I would also use planned ignoring for the outbursts. Talk to your other students about this without that student in the room. Tell them that they will be helping him by ignoring him.


    Have a counselor or a special ed person sit in your room and observe the behaviors first hand. They may have some other resources available to you. Perhaps, another staff member can pick up your other kids when this child is having a meltdown. His audience will be gone and they will be kept safe.

    It sounds like the child with E.D., should have some support services in place. At the moment, I would just let him stay under the desk until you can get this other child under control. Maybe that's why this child is hiding. Also, tell the kids to ignore this behavior. Address this behavior with parents and also whoever services this child. Maybe he can complete his assignements there. Document everything that you are trying to do with this child as well.

    Take a deep breath, and don't get upset or angry with the children. Plan for your own meltdowns or venting for later.

    I would have some lessons on social skills. What makes you angry? What can you do when you start to get angry? Walking, drawing, etc. Perhaps, there's something this child can do to help around the school. Like help collect recycling, picking up the box tops from classrooms, etc. (Community Service) There may be a staff member that can pick him up to supervise him. A counselor, a janitor, etc. (someone who doesn't have a classroom)

    I like how the other person said to document, so you can show the principal what you have done.

    As far as the parents go, how sad that they don't see that they are only hurting their kids by having their grades changed. Why wouldn't they have them study more or preview their homework, etc. I'm surprised that the principal wouldn't back you up on that at least. Give me a break!

    Good luck and I hope that you don't quit, at least until you find something else. I know that new opportunities come up in the school year. I had a call for an interview last week and we have a science position that opened up at my school last week.

    Take care:love:
     
  13. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    Oct 7, 2007

    Fratbrat,
    It sounds like you must work in a large district. The district that I work in is a very small rural district. Our whole school board consists of only three people. I am the only 5th grade teacher in our small district. I am glad that you are able to find support from people other than the principal, but that just is not the case where I work. The other teachers are supportive, but they can only do so much.

    Now, does anyone know how to write a letter of resignation? I don't even know where to begin. :help:
     
  14. fratbrats

    fratbrats Comrade

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    I didn't realize that your district was so small! However, is there not anyone that you can reach out to? Even, if it's another grade-level teacher? I hate for you to quit! :sorry:
     
  15. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    4myclass, I'm sorry you are going through all of this. It's so hard. Just hope your administration changes next year? Also, this is just an idea, but the boy who says he hates you, can you talk with his parents about this? Maybe together you two can work things out. I learned as a substitute teacher never to go to administration for any classroom problems 'cause they just aren't that much help. When you get the kid back into the classroom, it's worse because then they really think you can't handle them. For the little one who crawls under the desk, can you encourage her and a few of your most reliable and kind students to work together on helping her to feel more comfortable? Maybe the boy's anger is making her feel more insecure? Those are just ideas and believe me, I'm not trying to make it sound easy because I know it is not. I would be looking for another position too, in your place.
     
  16. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    I have called his mom several times. She doesn't answer and she won't return my calls. There is only the one number listed. I hope that there is never an emergency, we would not be able to contact her. There is no father in the picture.
     
  17. mstemple05

    mstemple05 Cohort

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    Oct 7, 2007

    You can google resignation letters. I did and just put my name & pertinent info that applied to me in there.
     
  18. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Talk to the counselor. See if you can set something up so that when your lovely gets violent he is taken away from the group right away. That way you can get back to the business of teaching. If he learns that he will be removed immidieately maybe he'll stop. If not then he needs outside help. Something is wrong at home if he can get away with this. Outside intervention is necessary.

    Pretty extreme, but what about calling child services? Is this some sign of abuse or neglect? If so we are required to report it.
     
  19. pokybloom

    pokybloom Rookie

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    Oct 12, 2007

    ew your principal is lousy! Don't throw in the towel, try for a transfer. I am sorry that you are going through all this :-/
     
  20. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    There is no where to transfer to. This is a small Pre-K thru 8th grade school. Less than 250 students in all.
     
  21. SuperMissM

    SuperMissM Rookie

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    Jun 10, 2008

    I def. know how you feel. It sounds a lot like whole lot like what I had when I taught 2nd. It was tough. I came home in a horrible mood, got in fights with my mom and grandma. I cried constantly. Luckily I had a good friend at my job who knew what I was going through. I got her a job where I teach now and its funny how people now really believe the stories I tell.

    My principal at my old school wouldnt come up and break up three fist fights occuring simultaniously in my 2nd grade classroom. I called her and she just said "Well have you sent them to time out?" I basically just hung up and delt with it as best as I could. I would call the ISS teacher, my lead or the computer teacher to come get the kids. Luckily I was friends with the comp. teacher and the ISS teacher. Both big men who could come get the kids (boys and girls) from fighting.

    I had a rough year, but I took 23 kids, who were mostly ED (our school psychologist asked me what I did wrong in my previous life) and had them finish the year well... I was the 4th teacher between Sept and Dec, and the principal couldnt handle them either...

    At the end of the year I didnt get a letter asking me back. EVERYONE in the building was shocked. Later the principal called me down and offered me a kindergarten aid position... a step down and a HUGE paycut.

    Her explainaition? I wouldnt have to manage a class on my own.


    ????!?!?!?!?!

    SHE couldnt handle my kids.

    Thats when I said GOODBYE!

    Get through this year to prove to yourself that you are a great teacher for putting up with the crap. Do the best you can to not give up on your class and what you love (teaching). Dont judge the profession on this year... and move on. You deserve better... obviously if you're still there.

    If the admin is bad, you're not getting support... move on.

    i will keep you in my prayers!
     
  22. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jun 10, 2008

  23. 5thgraderocks

    5thgraderocks Companion

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    Jun 12, 2008

    This is an impossible situation BUT think twice about resigning. I haven't been in the job hunt for many years but my advice (FREE) is that you get your resume out ASAP, get a signed contract in your hands with another district ... THEN submit your letter. Even if you can manage financially, any health insurance coverage you have is worth holding on to. This class will move on but your principal most likely won't get better. Good luck to you!!
     
  24. Professor142

    Professor142 New Member

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Changing schools or districts also is an option. I had a principal like that several years ago and it nearly drove me out of teaching. I changed schools( along with several other teachers on staff) and found a principal that was really great and revived my career. I have now taught for thirty-eight years, and know the change improved my health and career. Hope you were able to last it out.
     
  25. 100%Canadian

    100%Canadian Companion

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I agree with the last two comments. Your experience at your current school isn't necessarily a reflection of the job itself. Post out to somewhere else where you'll get the support you need as a teacher. Your administrator sounds like someone who needs to be avoided like the plague. Surely there is another school that could use - and appreciate - your services. Good luck!
     
  26. Alyssa82

    Alyssa82 New Member

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    Jun 28, 2008

    Your not a failure. Your school community is being very unsupportive. You don;t deserve your health being affected so badly. I suggest you go to a different school in your area. Then your school will be sorry for not respecting you more. I suggest you go to a different school or teach a different grade level. Your principal seems like a failure. Don't let them overpower you like this.
     
  27. Panther

    Panther Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2008

    Hello,
    I just came on board and read about your troubles. I agree with several of the posters that you should not resign before you have another position. Just a thought, but do the other parents know about the problem child in the room? Since the principal seems to only listen to the parents maybe if the parents showed concern for the students' safety something would get done. Be sure to document all of your actions for discipline for the student so you have proof for what you have been trying to do. I would go so far as to put dates and times if you can. Don't let someone as incompetent as this person obviously is push you out of something so rewarding as teaching. Think about the other students. Definitely don't let this cause you health problems. My thoughts are with you.
    Peace and light
     

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