Kids Who Come From "That" Classroom...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by YoungTeacherGuy, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 25, 2012

    We have four 1st grade teachers and four 2nd grade teachers at my site.

    During a collaboration meeting today, we (the 2nd grade team) were discussing (well...venting) about the fact that students who come from a certain teacher are often our lowest students and always seem lost/confused (as though they've never heard of the concepts we're teaching). This isn't an isolated incident. This teacher consistently has the lowest scoring 1st grade class (our scores are not private) and her kids are often seen running through the hallways, yelling while eating at their assigned table in the cafeteria, and behaving pretty poorly overall.

    This teacher has been teaching 1st grade for over 25 years.

    Obviously, none of us really know what happens behind closed doors (as far as her teaching goes).

    We have a new principal this year and my colleagues were thinking of making her aware of our concerns about the students who exit this particular teacher's class each year. I want to stay out of this whole thing, but at the same time, my grade-level team keeps saying that we need to stick together or the children will continue to suffer.

    I don't know what I'd even say to my principal. Should I just let her find out for herself about the things that are/aren't being taught in this particular classroom? Do I mind my own business and focus on getting these kids caught up?

    :confused:
     
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  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Since you don't actually know what goes on in this teacher's classroom, I would stay out of it. I would hope if the grade 2 teachers are consistently noticing gaps in my students' learning they would let me know. I would be anxious to fix that!!

    Your principal will figure things out on her own. We had a new principal last year and she was regularly in our classrooms learning about each of our teaching styles. If the test scores are really that telling, it won't be a secret.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I would stay out of it as well.

    BTW, do you work at my school? j/k We have a crappy 1st grade teacher that my P keeps trying to get rid of. She transferred her out twice due to budget cuts, but our enrollment always goes back up at the last minute and she gets shipped back.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't feel like it's your place to tattle on a colleague. If your admin is doing its job, they will find out soon enough what goes on in her classroom. Stay out of it. It's nunya.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Well, I DO think it's your business. If you can't teach your standards because she hasn't taught hers, that dircectly impacts you...and can show in your results. But at the same time, I would be hesitant to say something. I can't think of a way to approach it. So, while it's your business, you're stuck with it. :(
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I actually think it is my business--especially when I'm teaching 1st and 2nd grade standards to those 5-6 students who came from that class.

    It's not fair to that handful of students who're in my "Intensive" RtI group because of last year's teacher. Overall, 21 out of 24 of her students are receiving RtI services--so yes--it is my business.

    I don't care if my students come from Teacher X, Y, or Z. As long as they come to me with a good foundation--that's all I truly care about.

    I'm definitely going to stay out of it. If the rest of my team wants to say something--well, that's their deal. Personally, though, I think I'll just keep doing my thing and get those kids up to speed.

    An ineffective teacher can harm a child for many years. :2cents:
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dude, I get all sorts of kids at the high school level who clearly didn't learn much at the elementary and middle levels. I'm not about to go hunt down those teachers and rat them out to their principals. What's the point of laying blame and getting someone in trouble? A better solution is to meet students where they are and get them where they need to go. We're always going to have students at different levels. It's part of the job. We deal and move on. We do not alienate and tattle on our coworkers. I will repeat that if admin is doing its job, they will figure out what's going on without our input.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    That is true, for sure, Caesar. I had sixth grade students reading at the first grade levek every single year. However, that was mostly child-related and not due to a seemingly ineffective teacher. But I do agree still that there probably isn't a great way to approach this, and more than likely would just create additional issues in the professional relationships. Sucks, though.

    Is it possible, YTG, that this teacher is given the lowest of students each year?
     
  10. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    This can be a problem when collaboration is limited to own grade level. Some schools are able to cross collaborate between grades above and below. At these meetings everyone has a chance to see where students are going and where they came from. Often, teachers are unaware what the curriculum and/or expectations are for grades other than their own. I recall making a chart on the board at one meeting between three grade levels and plotting skills in terms of exposure, taught, approaching, mastered so all could step back and see what each grade level was doing. This cleared up a lot of misunderstanding and the "blaming" which can be fallout from everyone doing their own thing.
     
  11. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I would stay out of it initially, but if the P approaches to ask about it later, I'd give honest opinions and experiences.
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Well, we spend several days at the end of the year forming classes for the upcoming school year. Every class has to have a certain number of high performing, average, and low performing students. Then, we run the class lists by the VP who then forwards them to the P who finalizes them.

    All I know is that it's sad to see the kids who come from this particular class. It's not their fault, ya know?
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It was unprofessional for your team to be discussing another teacher. Regardless of anyone's personal thoughts about another teacher, it is not your job to assess their effectiveness or to report your thoughts to administration.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I think this needs to be brought up to the administration. Don't focus on the previous teacher but focus on the lack of skills of the students.

    If we continually put the children last, we all suffer. I believe that is why there is a push for tying assessment scores to evaluations. If you are responsible for the scores of your current students, there is a hope that people will stop keeping their mouth shut when it is obvious someone is dropping the ball before them. Sounds awful, but most of the changes put in place is to get the system out of the entrenchment of protecting its own.
     
  15. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Some teachers get "dumped on" by being given the lowest-performing students and biggest behavior issues. Does she get more than her fair share of those?
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is a very valid concern as well.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    But even if it is true that previous year teacher gets the lowest level students it is important to bring the issue up that more needs to be done for the group or the chosen method isn't working.

    Issues can be raised without pointing blame. It can be raised that each year these students are coming low and whatever was used in the past isn't benefitting the students. We need to determine how to make these students more successful. One could even lead the admin to look at the assessment data from K regarding the students to see if all the low performers are placed with this teacher.

    Unless the students have someone in the school looking out for their best interests, they are doomed. The students/families then end up being viewed as the problem, not the system that is failing to provide sufficient services to bring them to grade level.

    If one teacher is being given all the low students, and they aren't progressing, then the method is failing. To ignore this is educational neglect on the part of the system.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I met with a student's parents one morning this week. The couple will both miss BTS night and just wanted to touch base about their son. They shared that their son has had a rough go of it or the past few years...first grade was a year with a maternity replacement midyear. The change was difficult for him. Last year he struggled with the curriculum and had some behavior problems in a classroom that is somewhat unstructured. They said that they are already seeing a change in their child...he runs into school every day and goes home excited about what's going on in class...each year is a new opportunity to make a difference in students' lives and learning. Rather than focus on what may have led to his struggles in other classrooms, I reassured the parents about what I would becoming this year to support him in his growth as a learner.
    Instead of pointing fingers at previous teachers, it might be best to put supports in place to facilitate learning for your strugglers. You have the opportunity and obligation to reach and teach your students at their learning levels. I know it can be frustrating to feel someone else dropped the ball, but now it's your turn to pick it up and run with it. You can do this.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Being the only male first grade teacher, it has actually been brought to my attention that the words "He needs to have a male teacher next year" often come up at the kindergarten placement meeting in May.

    Right now, I have 13 boys and 6 girls in my class. My scores are never that stellar, and my noise level tends to run higher. I also have the class that can never seem to walk in a straight line.

    However, last year, I had two parents insist their children get moved from the super organized, super strict, teacher with the highest scores to my class.

    Oh, and I also have ADHD and get requested by parents of ADHD kids because they believe I will understand their children better.
     
  20. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Yes, that would be the strategy for dealing with this year's students and parents. But should the teachers do nothing when they know that this year's 1st grade students are not getting the education that they should be getting? Should they just let this malpractice continue? Wouldn't the "professional" thing to do be to bring this to the attention of the administrators so it doesn't happen to future students?
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Unless you're observing what happens in the classroom during instructional time, you really have no idea.

    I never type in all caps, but I'm going to now. IF THE ADMINISTRATORS ARE DOING THEIR JOB, THEY WILL FIGURE OUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THAT CLASS. It's not your job to evaluate your coworkers.
     
  22. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I might be in the minority, but I don't believe that it is my job to judge others or to tattle on them. Unless I am unable to do my job because of what is going on in their class, I believe I need to keep my opinion to myself. Your principal will see the test results and it is his/her job to handle it.
     
  23. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I was typing the same idea when you were!
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :agreed:
     
  25. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Youngteacherguy, can you give a few details, specifically, what the kids from this teacher's class can and can't do? I'm curious because I teach first grade and might be able to shed light on a few things.
     
  26. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Like I said earlier, I have that group of kids in a Tier III reading intervention group. They also attend an afternoon Tier III math intervention group. I'm doing what I can to get them up to speed with the rest of the class.

    I can't change the fact that they may/may not have had the best 1st grade experience. All I can do is give them a great 2nd grade year. So far, all five of them are picking things up pretty quickly, so I'm really hoping for the best.
     
  27. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    What does it take in terms of fluency to get into Tier III at your school?
     
  28. DrivingPigeon

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    If your administration was doing their job and looking closely at student data, they would notice the pattern. I would leave it up to them.
     
  29. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Coming from a background of being given the lowest students with the most behavior problems, I would meet the children where they are and do your best with them. If I was a new P. my first introduction to the school would not please me if it came from teachers complaining.

    That probably puts me in the minority, also.
     
  30. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    We used DIBELS to test our students in August. Anyone who was reading less than 30 wpm is considered Tier III worthy. Then, we break those students into three groups. One teacher takes the students who are reading 0-10 wpm, another teacher takes the 11-20 wpm students, and third teacher takes the 20-29 wpm group.

    We deploy our students for 30 minutes/day. Each student (regardless of their reading level) receives intervention or enrichment. We have a total of 9 certificated staff members who help us during our intervention/enrichment time, so every student receives services that're tailored to fit their individual needs.

    I'm a former first grade teacher, so I'm very aware of what they should leave first grade knowing. Their phonemic awareness and number sense (specifically) are alarmingly low. They're also working on forming sentences with a noun and a verb. Additionally, the students have difficulty sitting for extended periods of time (I've been told by the teacher herself that she likes a Montessori type of classroom. I'm not saying that Montessori teachers lack management or strong teaching abilities. I am, however, saying that the kids aren't used to lots of whole-class direct instruction).
     
  31. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I understand where you're coming from, but I agree with Caesar about staying out of it because you don't know what goes on behind the closed doors of that teacher's classroom. Case in point, I'm sure I may be "that" teacher to the this year's second grade team.

    I know in my heart I did not give my students as great of a foundation as I could have because I had three students with severe emotional disturbance in my classroom.

    Even though I've only been teaching for 6 years, 3 of those (that's half my career) I have developed a reputation for being a tough teacher that can handle "difficult" kids, so they've all been piled in my classroom. If that other teacher has been teaching for 25 years, her reputation might be stronger than mine.

    Last year I had three students with major emotional issues which included -

    1. A student who sexually harassed and assaulted another student NUMEROUS time, including sending her sexually explicit notes and pictures. This child also used to verbally and physically assault children in the bathroom, steal from desks and curse. He would run from my classroom, crawl on the floor, unplug things and attempt to stick scissors in the electric outlets

    2. A child who threw desks, kicked children for "looking" at him, would try to fight me, attempted to bite me, would give my entire class the middle finger and yell "F**K you" when I'd get on the phone to call his mother due to his constant interuptions, hold onto my classroom door and refuse to leave, run from me in the hallway when he didn't get his way, knock things over and scream and cry when reprimanded and throw daily tantrums

    3. A child who was later diagnosed with four mental illnesses, but Mom was in denial from August - February and spent those months making my life Hell. She was constantly at the school, accused me of being racist/sexist, not giving her son "a fresh start" every morning. Her child was extremely needy and if I didn't give him undivided attention, he would howl at the top of his lungs and throw himself under the table kicking, screaming and banging his head against the furniture until someone removed him (in which case, he'd run from them all around my classroom).
     
  32. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Perhaps some of the seeming lack of knowledge stems from a difference in teaching styles and expectations of the teacher in the classroom. (For example, you might seem more frightening because you are tall, and they were used to short, cozy teacher in reading groups. Sometimes, it can be terminology differences.) I know that might seem weird, but sometimes kids seem to evidence a complete and utter lack of knowledge with you, and they seem to catch up quickly when really it is just that they are catching on to you and your style, not the material.

    It can also be that they are ill prepared. As mentioned previously, a good administrator will definitely get a handle on that quickly. You might check and see what they say in third or fourth grade about your team. It might surprise you to know that I hear the same declarations on every grade level from time to time. :)
     
  33. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    You're absolutely correct! All it takes is for one person to make some sort of statement and for everyone else to say, "Ya know...I think you're right!"

    I kind of wanted to get a feel for what everyone else would do. I'm just going to stick to doing my best for these kids and disregard what type of experience (good or bad) they had last year. They'll only have one 2nd grade school year, so hopefully, it'll be a good one!
     
  34. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    I think it's a slippery slope to tell on this teacher. For one, you don't know how your admin will respond. They could then view you as someone who runs and tells and is not a "team player."

    Why don't you personally talk to this teacher? Sound super friendly and ask her advice about the students in last year's class. Ask what sort of phonemic awareness activities did she do. Did she find they were all low? If she has no real insight or can't recall what activities she did, then get concerned and think of another plan.
     

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