Low Morale

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by lcr, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. lcr

    lcr Companion

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    Nov 8, 2013

    So, our state recently instituted the new grading system for schools, and I have to say that morale is at an all time low. Teachers are leaving the profession, moving from low-income schools to more affluent schools where test scores are higher, and some teachers are just plain depressed.

    People do not realize that teachers are dealing with things that we have no control over: parental involvement, poverty, etc. It is so easy to blame the schools and teachers instead of taking a good look at society and how we value and support families and education. I stay in it because I love teaching and being around children, but it is getting harder every year.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 9, 2013

    I think that every teacher I know, myself included, could be doing a better job than they're doing. There are days that I could do more, lessons that could be better... I don't pretend that I'm the epitome of all that means "teacher" every single period of every single day.

    BUT.... I think the trend is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We need to recognize all that is so very right about so many teachers and schools.

    And THEN fix what's wrong. And that, of course, is the part that's missing in far too many settings.

    Is there anything you can do, particularly with the holidays coming up, to help morale? It could be as simple as organizing a rotation of people to bring in goodies for the faculty room, or as large as organizing a Toys for Tots drive.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 9, 2013

    We're jumping through more hoops more quickly it seems. This year alone, my district teachers have SGOs, SGPs, Marshall evaluations, learn Nimbus, new security duress system, no contract....add that it's report card and conference season...yeah, it's a lot.
    All you can do is your best. Pull together. Form PLCs and share best practices. Help each other through.

    For morale in my district, we:
    Have monthly staff breakfasts
    Fundraising jeans Fridays
    Secret Valentine
    Sunshine committee celebrations
    December cookie swap
    PLCs
    Book clubs
    And on Fridays...happy hour.:spitwater:
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2013

    It was a low week at my school - we're writing new report cards and everyone seemed to be 'feeling it'. We had a PD day yesterday at school and I brought a special snack to share. It was a nice 'pick me up' for many staff members. Could you do something like that for your team?
     
  6. lcr

    lcr Companion

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    Nov 9, 2013

    We do monthly activities, but that is just glossing over how we all are feeling about this new evaluation system. 50% of our evaluation will be based on test scores and it matters where you teach. I taught in a high income area my first year and 100% of my students passed the test. Then I switched to a low income school where 33% of my students passed the test. I was a better teacher at the low income school, but there were things I could not control, like whether my students had enough to eat, or whether their parents were in jail or deported. Single, young mothers who never had anyone teach them how to parent.

    Now I am at a more diverse school with a ton of parental involvement and most kids reading at or 2 to 3 grades above grade level and the state considers our school a C school, because the grading system makes no sense.
     
  7. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Nov 9, 2013

    I understand completely. Many teachers have never taught in a school
    with the issues you describe. It can be a struggle.( I know from personal experience.) These VAM scores, etc., are sometimes not realistic and often aren't reflecting what the teacher is doing. A friend heard some students say they aren't trying on the yearly tests because they don't like the teacher and they know it will have an impact. Sad.
     
  8. lcr

    lcr Companion

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    Nov 9, 2013

    Wow, Mrs. DLC, that brings up other issues of personal accountability and free will. Most teachers I know want their students to succeed, but you always get the students who just don't try as hard no matter how you try to motivate them. But to purposefully do poorly on a test to affect a teacher's income, that is awful.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Nov 9, 2013

    As an adult, I know this is awful now, but I was a smart kid who often did not put out too much effort on standardized tests. I had a "what's in it for me" mentality, and as soon as the teachers said the tests had no effect on our grade, I thought, why try? For me, it wasn't done with any desire to sabotage my teachers; in fact, I don't think I knew it had any effect on them. IMO, this is a HUGE problem with these tests. Students need to have some sort of stake in these tests otherwise there is little motivation for them to do well.

    OP, good luck. Others have offered some great ideas for improving morale. I have talked with other teachers at low income schools who have similar struggles. It's rough. Wishing you the best!
     
  10. CiniMini

    CiniMini Rookie

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    Nov 10, 2013

    Things are low at my school as well. Our district has implemented a new grading policy--requiring us to have certain number of grades in homework, class work and tests each grading period. It was designed by our new superintendent who has no idea how things go in an elementary classroom.

    We've also purchased both new reading and math programs to try to teach common core. It's overwhelming to have both new in one year. Upper grades are spazzing out over new testing that we don't have any info on yet except that its new.

    Behavior is ridiculous school wide. I usually pride myself in my classroom management but even my kids are off the chain!! It's so depressing.

    I'm glad to know its not just my school. We were talking just the other day--wondering if things were bad in other schools too. It doesn't make it better but it's a little comforting.

    Best wishes to all.
     
  11. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Nov 11, 2013

    I teach in NC. Recently we have been given these lovely upgrades:

    No tenure for anyone after 2018

    You can be distinguished on 5 of 6 standards. If your test scores are low that is the only one that matters.

    Now you can have your pay reduced and it is not considered a demotion- no hearings, no recourse.

    Teachers no longer have a right to a review panel or hearing of any kind if they decide not to renew you.

    Master's and advanced degree pay is frozen until Bachelor's pay catches up to it.

    They will identify the 25% of the 'best' teachers and give them a pay raise every year. Not anyone else.

    Contracts will be 1 or two years for most people, and 4 years for the 25% Who are the 'best'.
     
  12. lcr

    lcr Companion

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    Nov 14, 2013

    I am surprised teachers are not leaving the profession in droves!
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 15, 2013

    I love it. I'm not going anywhere.
     
  14. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Nov 15, 2013

    It's odd that you include PLC s as a motivator. I'd list it as a source of stress. Not the actual meetings, but the paperwork that goes with them. If it makes more work for me, it is not improving my morale.
     
  15. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Nov 15, 2013

    lcr,
    I am not sure you are in my state, but if not...that is Oklahoma's new push. We scored a B. But a friend is in a F school...I know that she and her peers work harder than me and my peers. She has ZERO parent help. I am in a middle class and upper class community. Our parents are very involved. I had 100 percent parent conference attendance. She had 2 out of 21. My students have breakfast and are read to each night. Hers most of the time wouldn't have food if it wasn't for the food pantry backpacks that are sent home each night. There are so many factors involved in student progress.
     
  16. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Nov 15, 2013

    Funny (sorta)...I just came from a PD day with the other elementary self-contained teachers and we were talking about how low morale is. Then I came home and see this thread. Out of the 5 teachers in my meeting today, 3 are actively looking for other positions outside of teaching. I'm not one of them and I love being a teacher, but I understand where they're coming from...The main thing that's killing me every day is that I'm drowning in paperwork. I constantly have to prove my worth but not by teaching - by assessing. Who has time to teach when one must constantly assess to show what they don't know, what they do know, what they might eventually know...
     
  17. lcr

    lcr Companion

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    Nov 15, 2013

    Having experienced both sides of the coin, I know how different it is. It is easier to blame things on teachers than to look at deeper problems dealing with poverty.
     
  18. lcr

    lcr Companion

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    Nov 15, 2013

    My students call the SBA the "Stupid Butt Assessment".
     

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