Meeting with Education Department Chair

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by SF_Giants66, Sep 17, 2014.

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  1. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    This post is going to address some issues from threads that already got closed, but in a different manner. If after a few responses the moderators feel the need to lock this thread, that is fine. I just need to ask an important question.

    I was e-mailed by the department chair of my college yesterday because it is his job to assist students on their journey to become teachers, and he had some concerns brought to him by a few professors and wanted to point them out since I am a candidate for clinical practice next semester.

    He was clear that nothing I did violated any academic policies or could get me in trouble with the college, and at this time they are not considering not allowing me to go forward with clinical practice.

    What he addressed mostly was some behaviors which he didn't really give any examples, but professors mentioned I over-shared some personal information in class at times, mostly before I started my therapy. He also mentioned a few professors mentioning that I don't get involved in socializing with classmates. These are issues I was already aware of and am working on, but it was one another issue he brought up that caused me to give him the evil eye the rest of the meeting.


    He talked to one of my professors this semester, who is my field course professor to ask if he noticed anything concerning or unusual, he said no, and that the only thing different that most students he noticed is that I didn't stand for the pledge of allegiance with the rest of my classmates.

    We've had this debate before, so I'm not going into it again on whether schools and kids should or should not say it. The only problem I had with him, is that he seemed to be indirectly calling me out for it as he said that simply not participating is going to cause serious problems with some principals and parents. I thought I was very respectful. I just sat down, didn't interrupt, and didn't say anything about it. Last semester I was in front of kids and another teacher and didn't participate, and nobody said anything to me about it. The teacher and I had a good relationship and I got good ratings from her.

    He also made another comment that one of my professors didn't seem to agree with. He said if he asked every principal in the area if they would hire a teacher who didn't say the pledge, nearly 100% would say no. Others I told found that to be a very skewed estimate, and most principals in diverse areas are used to having students and teachers who don't say it for religious reasons.

    Last time we had this discussion in this online community, most people were merely suggesting I don't bring the conversation up about the pledge to avoid the message being misinterpreted, but limiting it to only stating that the students have the option to sit out.

    His point was questioning whether your convictions are worth not getting or keeping a teaching job. Well, firing or refusing to hire a teacher because they didn't say the pledge would be against the law for one. Also, I honestly feel that if I cannot find a job anywhere in the country over the pledge, I would be willing to move to Canada.

    I guess my only real important question is this. When I start my student teaching next semester, should I address this with the cooperating teacher from the first day and state that I personally choose not to say the pledge, but I am not making an insulting statement to the country by doing so, or should I just wait until he or she says something and explain?

    Our department chair seems to think that most teachers will not give me a good letter of recommendation no matter how good I teach simply over the pledge. I was kind of having respect with him up until he brought this up, and now I think he was delivering me a load of crap to try and fear monger me and was patronizing me by saying I have a right to my values and convictions.

    If you had a teacher candidate working under you, would you simply refuse to give them a good recommendation over the pledge no matter how good they taught?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Do you think that giving the "evil eye" to someone, a mentor trying to help you no less, constitutes professional behavior?

    Would you violate your personal convictions and values by standing for the pledge, even if you remain silent during it?

    Do you ever feel like perhaps you go overboard in your analysis of other people's behavior? Do you think that this guy was really "fear-mongering"? Do you think that he is out to get you or cause you to fail? Could it be possible that he was offering constructive, if unwanted, advice to you based on what he sees and experiences in the local community?

    Do you think that teaching jobs are plentiful in Canada? Do you believe that you are qualified to teach in Canada? Have you looked into what it takes to become certified/licensed to teach in Canada and to obtain a visa?

    Do you think that a potential employer could find another reason to not hire you besides your position on the pledge? Could they find a reason to fire you besides your position on the pledge? Would you be able to prove that you were fired or not hired based on your position on the pledge?
     
  4. SF_Giants66

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    If the pledge was mentioned on my reference letter, I would report that to the ACLU, because that is not relevant.

    I just don't want to take part in something that represents fascism similar to the Nazi supporters.

    I didn't say anything, which is why I think it was unfair that he brought it up. If I had gave them a lecture on why I think the pledge is stupid on school property, I could see him bringing that up.

    I don't know if he caught onto the evil eye. I wasn't really making eye contact with him because I don't make eye contact with anyone.
     
  5. kcjo13

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    SF, you're not going to get hired or fired based on the pledge. Your professor is trying to be nice to you and point out something easy to fix that might possibly help take the focus off your other plentiful issues.

    Caesar's questions are spot on. You should take the time to analyze your answers to those questions, and waste less time analyzing others' behavior toward you.
     
  6. SF_Giants66

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    Near the end I said I'd be a bit concerned if the reason he called me in was because of the pledge, and he said it wasn't. I believe that other professors may have pointed out questionable behaviors that he mentioned at the meeting.

    I'm just questioning why he would have brought that up and made such an extreme case out of it though. That's all.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I find it hard to believe that a college professor would take time out of their busy schedule to even make this a concern.

    And in my many interviews, I have never once been asked if I say the pledge or not. I've had many students who simply stand but don't say the pledge.
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I always stand during the pledge (I say it, omitting certain parts) but that is because I can't see what is going on in my classroom when the students are standing and I am sitting down. Maybe if you think of it that way, you can justify standing for the pledge to yourself.

    I think you should take his advice. His job is to make sure that you are successful with your field experience. He wants you to be aware of how your actions may be perceived. Sadly, a few students I started student teaching with were not recommended for certification and had to repeat their student teaching because of thing similar to what you have described in this thread and others.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    He is absolutely valid in raising his concerns with you. As far as the pledge, if the school requires that teachers lead their class in the pledge, that is what you will need to do, in spite of your own beliefs.
    Right now I am teaching in a private religious school. I have to teach bible class. While I don't hold some of the same beliefs, I am teaching the prescribed curriculum because that is my job.
     
  10. catnfiddle

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    Concentrate less on the Pledge issue, since that is one that you have decided is your hill to stand on and defend to the last (which I totally understand), although I agree that standing during the recitation would give you a better view of student behavior. Look more at the professor's concerns about your oversharing and other conduct in class. He is probably nervous that it might translate into this type of behavior with students.
     
  11. kcjo13

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    He was not calling or emailing you only because of the pledge. He was calling or emailing because you are creeping people out, and he was trying to find a nice way to tell you to knock it off.

    Ultimately, SF, saying or not saying the pledge will not get you a job, or prevent you from getting a job. But when you consider the mere fact that there can be HUNDREDS of applicants for ONE position, it can sometimes come down to a hunch or a feeling from a hiring committee.

    And if they do not get a good feeling from you, you're not going to get a job. Saying the pledge, standing, sitting, whatever-it's just one more thing to perhaps tip the scales NOT in your direction.

    And the same thing is true in Canada.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    While we don't have to worry about whether or not to stand or recite a pledge, there are some expectations of our behaviour that are tied to respect--standing respectfully for the national anthem (whether or not we sing), observing a moment of silence (again, standing respectfully), to name a couple. When I attend sporting events in the U.S. (my daughter is a student-athlete "south of the border"), I stand and remove my hat during the American national anthem. I believe in showing respect for those around me, regardless of my personal beliefs.

    My sense is that the concern has nothing to do with whether or not you say the pledge, but is more about how you present yourself to those around you. Regardless of how well you relate to children, if principals don't see you as approachable and personable, you won't get the opportunity.

    I spend a lot of time talking to my students about the importance of considering the feedback that I give them. I reassure them that it isn't personal, and is never an attack. My feedback, whether about their work or their learning skills, is given out of a desire to help my students improve. Consider the feedback you are being given and being offered with the same desire in mind.

    Oh, and getting a job in most areas of Canada is just as challenging as it is in most areas of the U.S. (unless, of course, you are able to teach French).
     
  13. SF_Giants66

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    Requiring teachers to lead the pledge would be against the law.

    He said my grades were fine. I actually made the honors list. He said the meeting was about issues that can't be measured on paper or with a number, which overall demeanor and attitude was one of them.

    I didn't have a problem with the meeting, but didn't appreciate him bringing that up.
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Yes and our national anthem even mentions God! *gasp*

    But if you decide to be a teacher in Canada, go for BC.
     
  15. SF_Giants66

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    I guess people missed the point. I didn't say I'm gonna move to Canada, but that he was making it seem as if no school in the country would hire me just because I didn't say the pledge in my clinical practice.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I kind of feel like you are missing the point.
     
  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    SF...you hit the nail on the head. He has concerns about your demeanor and interactions with other people. Concentrate on those issues, not the pledge issue (which is really a non issue)...although I can't figure out the Nazi connection.
     
  18. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    He said the meeting was about issues that can't be measured on paper or with a number, which overall demeanor and attitude was one of them.

    I didn't have a problem with the meeting, but didn't appreciate him bringing that up.


    ^^ While I feel bad when people point out areas of weaknesses that I have, I also take it as an opportunity to grow in those areas and find ways to improve. Would you prefer someone just to speak to all your strengths? Because that wouldn't allow you to grow, especially as an educator where we need to be continuously reflecting on our practice.
     
  19. SF_Giants66

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    What I meant was that I didn't appreciate him bringing up the pledge.

    That's a bit of a hot button issue for me, and I didn't think he was being honest about the reality of it, but was offended that I didn't say the pledge and wanted to fear monger me into it. He said he didn't care if I didn't say it though, which I think may have been a lie. I don't know though. That's just my guess.

    I'm hoping he was trying to help, but using that as an example seemed to ruin his point for me.
     
  20. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Honestly, the problem is attitude. I understand attitudes can be difficult for people with autism to grasp, as it they are more abstract than behaviours. Just know that it is not this one behaviour or action that is the problem, it is the underlying attitude. It is the way you come across. It is the reason so many of us here are rather disturbed at the fact that you are going to go into education. An attitude like that is very evident in an interview, and it is that attitude that will be your undoing.

    Having said that, I realize none of this will change your mind because you HAVE to work because you are old. Unfortunately, employers don't care much that you feel you HAVE to get a job. They are more concerned for how good a fit you will be in their staff. You will have great difficulty gaining employment and keeping it with your attitude.
     
  21. SF_Giants66

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    Being ordered to salute a flag and recite a scripted pledge reminds me of the hail Hitler salute of the nazi party.
     
  22. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    My apologies - I misunderstood what the "that" was referring to!

    Just be careful not to over-think/analyze it, as many others have said. You assume he was lying, but I'd think if you believe that more because you've already colored a certain picture of him in your mind, or whether there is actually specific evidence for that. Same thing with my students - I will assume the best intentions, unless there is something specific that points to that understanding not being true.
     
  23. SF_Giants66

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    Honestly, he didn't give me any other examples. I think one of them may be last semester when I mentioned openly to my classmates who were asking me why I didn't do as good on the math development midterm the previous semester as the rest of the class when I seem to know more about math then they do, I gave an honest answer saying my main worries were that I was going to be ordering nitrogen tanks to commit suicide by the end of the year, so I wasn't too worried about getting an A on a midterm.


    That was a bit too much to disclose. He said in the meeting that people didn't need to know everything about me, so that is what I think he was referring to. That was before my first psychological therapy appointment and I didn't have too many lines of support to talk about my problems though, and don't have many friends.

    I over share for a couple reasons. One is that I try not to feel shame about my past mistakes or mental health issues, so I don't always feel a need for them to be secret. Another reason is sometimes it feels just wrong to hide things or withhold information from people. That's why I planned suicide in the first place. I felt shame from a lot of past mistakes I couldn't just openly tell people and expect them to find me a trustworthy person, even though I've moved on from them. I regret a lot I've done and the last thing I would want to think is that I'm not capable of being a good role model for the kids that look up to me. However, my story was featured on Autism Awareness, and there are a lot of comments that many of them would want a teacher like me for their autistic child.


    So I don't know why people here are trying to call me a sad pathetic loser who shouldn't be teaching, but maybe if you knew more about my situation, you'd understand where I'm coming from.
     
  24. SF_Giants66

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    Yes, I should have explicitly stated what he was referring to.

    I'm thinking he was trying to be helpful, and that is what I want to believe.

    I just wish he didn't ruin the meeting by pressing a hot button for me when he could have left that part out.
     
  25. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I agree with everything that has been said so far, but would also like to add that I find it odd that they even recite the pledge at a college.

    No college I ever attended recited the pledge.
     
  26. SF_Giants66

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    It was in the middle school library with my field classmates.
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I might recommend that you speak to your therapist about attention-seeking behaviors.

    I don't think anyone here has implied that you are a sad, pathetic loser. There you go projecting again. Be careful with that. Not everyone is out to get you. I very much doubt that the folks here are out to get you. Most of us seem interested in helping you, despite the fact that you assign negative motivations behind our actions and words.
     
  28. SF_Giants66

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    Some people's remarks seem rather insulting and condescending. That's why I feel attacked..
     
  29. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I do not get insulting and condescending,but I do get frustrated from some people. You seem to be hearing the same things from numerous people, but not understanding what they are all saying. That can be frustrating to some people, and it may show up in their tone in their writing.
     
  30. kcjo13

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    SF, people here are genuinely concerned for your future. We've seen this happen before-a student teacher is not being successful and instead of taking what we say seriously and honestly contemplating the future, it is taken personally.

    In general, it is extremely difficult to get a teaching job. It is difficult even for those with experience, positive references, and impeccable interview skills.

    Since you have expressed extreme distress at the possibility of failing to get a job, and since the members here have a vested interest in securing the future of any teacher, it has been suggested that in a classroom is not the most advantageous place for you at this time.
     
  31. SF_Giants66

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    I honestly interview real well. I can change the pitch and volume of my speech if I'm trying, and can script what I'm going to say and limit awkward body movements. The issue is that it is a very analytical process and I wouldn't be able to naturally present myself that way all the time.

    I believe my resume would be more extensive than most of my classmates.

    If I was prepared for certain stresses, I could handle them, but the problem is most teachers probably can't give specific examples of what to prepare for because it can be varied depending on many factors.

    We are working on collaboration as well as appropriate types of relationships to have with kids in your class, which I think is offering quite a bit of good advice.

    I talked to my learning diversity professor today and asked her opinion about the situation with the inclusion class I mentioned previously, and she mostly agreed with me that it seems a bit awkward the outline of the course. She gave me some tips on how to question the teacher without coming off as accusatory.

    So, I am trying even though people think I'm just being an incorrigible punk. I guess I still have a bit of ways to go though.
     
  32. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Okay, I call Godwin's Law on this argument.

    There is legal information regarding teacher rights and responsibilities on the subject here.

    This aspect of the conversation is like a bright, shiny object that we'll all chase until we accidentally smash into a wall. Let's move on to other aspect of your issue with your professor.
     
  33. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Interestingly, when I lived in The Netherlands, I spoke to many Dutch people who held the OP's same opinion about Americans and our salute to the flag. I always tried to explain our viewpoint on it, but I was always fascinated by the mentality that multiple people held on it.


    Also, although I do feel you have MANY areas that you need to work on, OP, I will say that I have a close friend who teaches high school social studies with me who does not stand or say the pledge. She is a Jehovah's Witness and doing so is against her religion. She has never experienced any pushback over this. So, I do not believe that would be a problem in all places.

    The other areas of concern may be.
     
  34. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I agree with PP that the reason the chair wanted to speak with you is that you're making people uncomfortable.

    This issue isn't just that you're oversharing. It's not like you were oversharing "regular" things like how "well" a date went, for example. That kind of oversharing can be laughed at or brushed off. I can see how oversharing about a projected suicide attempt could make others really uncomfortable. And, as much as it may be beneficial to you to not hide your past, I think that reading the room and knowing your audience is important. Someone who doesn't know you well? Maybe not the best person to oversharing to (especially in the blunt manner you described above).

    Now, being Canadian, I'm not exactly sure how the pledge works, but I'm assuming saying it is a societal norm. So, if we take someone who is already stepping outside the box (oversharing *very* personal and sensitive information in a way that makes others uncomfortable) and is also refusing to participate in other societal norms, it might just be adding to the creepy factor. Again, I have very little knowledge about the pledge (all I know is what I've seen in movies), so I'm not saying that you should or shouldn't say it. I'm just saying that that may be a reason why the chair brought it up.

    HA!
     
  35. SF_Giants66

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    So I've got some issues to consider I guess.

    I'm emotionally and socially immature and I working on it. Before I started at my current college, I was just way lost and am a lot further now than I used to be.

    I'm looking forward to having my own class, but it is the behind the scenes of the job that is going to be my hurdle.
     
  36. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Along those lines, most countries have some way for their citizens to show their patriotism. What do you suggest people do to to show their support for their home country? Thinking about this may help you work out some ideas for how you will operate in the classroom when you have to teach something with a patriotic theme as part of the curriculum.
     
  37. SF_Giants66

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    Fortunately math doesn't have too many patriotic themes.
     
  38. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    But you may be required to do one for Veteran's Day or Patriot's Day as many schools are.
     
  39. SF_Giants66

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    If this was the case, usually I'll end up doing it as a satire the way I usually do.
     
  40. MissCeliaB

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    Not standing for the pledge is not a big deal, but not teaching a school (or district or state) mandated lesson will likely end with you in the principal's office for a meeting.
     
  41. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Part of being a successful teacher is being able to do with administrative mandates. Some mandates you'll like, some you won't, and more than a few you'll think are just the worst things imaginable... but if you choose to ignore any, you probably won't be invited back for year two.
     
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