My students are writing complaints about me, and I'm worried

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Kenz501, May 13, 2017.

  1. christie

    christie Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2017

    You don't think you're doing good at your job and the kids are certainly making it obvious that they don't think you're doing good at your job. It's probably not surprising that your bosses may not think you're doing well at your job. If you go into the visit with the mindset that this teacher is coming to judge you, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Look at it this way: they wouldn't call in a veteran teacher to help you with your classes if they didn't think it would benefit them in the long run. You've been there two years, you don't have tenure, you're getting a lot of complaints. Firing you is a lot easier and less expensive than bringing someone in to help you.

    Posters have tried to help you resolve some of your issues or to help you reframe them in a different way. If your attitude remains that you can't do anything about the issues because of your diagnosis no one is going to be able to help you. Teaching is, by its very nature, a reflective profession. When something goes wrong you have to be able to own it - to understand the role you played in that failure and have a plan to address that issue when it happens again.

    I'm going to strongly reiterate the "fake it till you make it" advice. My first two years I was petrified that someone was going to come into my room and escort me out of the building because I knew I was sucking pretty hard. You have to pretend you have confidence in what you're doing and the rules you're enforcing. You have to pretend that their comments don't faze you, even when they make you want to cry.

    I'm also going to second the advice of finding a different teaching job. Right now, you're stuck in a place where kids don't respect you. I'd imagine by their nature, detention centers have a lot of repeat customers and/or kids who are there for long stretches of time. This means you never really have the opportunity to start fresh and you need to start fresh.

    At the high school in my district, we have a few teachers who do what you do - though not in a detention setting. For students who are struggling in school, for whom a regular schedule or regular classes aren't the best fit, we have an online option for some classes. If you're comfortable with facilitating online learning look for a job that is similar, but without kids who are looking to strike out at whoever is handy (which may be a tall order, kids can smell blood in the water and will strike out if they think it will make a hit).

    An important thing to remember: people are let go for a variety of reasons and they still get teaching jobs. When asked, you have to be able to explain what you learned from your issues and how you plan to address those issues so those issues don't become a repeat problem in a new job.
     
  2. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 19, 2017

    I would love to teach online. Behavior management is my main problem. I'm pretty good with the other aspects of teaching.
     
  3. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 19, 2017

    As far as reflection goes, it looks like I've been ignoring very subtle signs of disrespect. A few of my students refused to move their hands when I was giving them their papers, for instance. I've been ignoring this behavior, but today I was told to write it up; it's disrespect and noncompliance. Had I not been told to write this up, I would have still been under the impression that I should ignore this behavior.
     
  4. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 20, 2017

    I'm having a little bit of trouble figuring out how this could be a plus. My class sizes are usually pretty small; I've only had about ten people at most, and this time it might be more like only six or seven. That's a lot for me, as the numbers are supposed to be lower; I don't usually deal with more than six or seven people at the most.
     
  5. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 20, 2017

    Kenz501, I'm just going to say it. You're not cut out for this.
    I envisioned at least a class of 15-20 students. If we're talking 6 or 7, then that really is a big, red, waving flag. Not saying they probably aren't difficult students, but if basically monitoring and offering occasional help to 6 or 7 students who work on computers in an alternative setting is THIS stressful for you, I don't think you are meant to be in this field.
    And your comment about teaching online classes is very telling. You don't do well with people, and teachers have to be personable.
    There are jobs out there that would suit your personality more than teaching.
    What drew you to this field to start with? What made you want to be a teacher?
     
  6. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 20, 2017

    Well, I guess keeping track of ten or eleven students in a classroom meant to accommodate only three or four at a time shouldn't be that much of a challenge. I do agree with you. I guess having only two or three computers to serve ten students shouldn't be that much of a problem for a teacher, but it has changed my whole classroom dynamic and placed demands on me I'm not used to facing, such as actually having to plan and teach lessons to the class, even if the subject is out of my field. I also serve students who are working at different grade levels and working on different subjects. People say that it isn't a challenge, and maybe it isn't for an experienced teacher, but I still have trouble planning lessons for one grade level and subject area, let alone four or more. I see it as a challenge, but it's discouraging that most people probably see it as nothing serious.

    I guess I'll agree with you that I'm not cut out for this. Real public school teachers keep up with twenty-five to one hundred students. Keeping track of ten should be a cake walk. That's what the other teachers seem to think, too. I did manage to keep track of around one-hundred students when I was substitute teaching, but those tricks don't work here. I'm beginning to wonder what does.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  7. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 20, 2017

    The veteran teacher was in my room today. She said she didn't really see a problem, however, I noticed some things that she did that I usually don't do. She made conversation with the kids and got a little personal with them; they opened up to her about what they were thinking and experiencing, where they thought they were going to be transferred, what was going to happen to them, etc. A sense of respect was quickly re-established in the room. It kind of left me scratching my head, but the students extended their respect to me a little bit, too. I'm a bit surprised. It wasn't as difficult to gain their attention and trust.

    They tried the veteran teacher, too, and got smart and sassy with her, but she reacted to it a little differently. I'm confused. Usually, when I try to stop someone who is impeding our progress, that person usually doesn't back down but instead gets very defensive. Others then join in. That didn't really happen here, though. The student was put out of class, and we resumed with our lessons. No one really tried to challenge her like they usually do me. I'm not sure if these kids are familiar with her already or what it was.

    Here are my takeaways from today:

    Problem: Blind Blaming
    I've been reacting too quickly and punishing the wrong people. I don't know how to identify the "ringleaders" in a behavior management situation. I'm surprised that this veteran teacher was able to spot them right away.

    Possible fix: Address Behavior

    Pay more attention to what is going on in the classroom, and don't let little instances of rude behavior slide. Correct it, and if it doesn't get better,' don't be afraid to put the kid out of the classroom.

    Also, prepare engaging lessons to keep the students' minds off of misbehavior.

    Problem: Lack of "with-it-ness"
    I'm not "with it" when we are having a lesson, so it's hard for me to keep the students' attention. I feed off of the energy in the room, and it's difficult for me to teach when students seem discouraged and unfocused.

    Possible Fix: Pay Attention
    Pay more attention to what is going on in the classroom. Look for students who are having trouble, and offer explanations they can understand.

    Problem: Kids Lose Focus

    The kids don't respond to me the same way they do other people. They seem to be distracted when I try to teach them things, making interactive lessons a little challenging. I think it's because I go through too many steps during my explanation and I confuse a few of them.

    Possible Fix: Talk to them, not at them
    I'm really not good at explaining things sometimes. I need to find some way to break the information down and make it relatable. I'm good at explaining things when I'm excited about them, but my excitement doesn't last.

    Problem: Behavior Management / Personality Mismatch
    I don't seem to have the right kind of behavior management style for my personality. There are a lot of things other people in the classroom can "get away with" that I'm almost afraid to try, especially after those kids filed those complaints. I also guess I have a problem projecting a sense of authority. I'm pretty easy-going.

    Possible Fix: Offer a More Engaging Experience
    I need to deliver better lessons that will keep the kids' attention and hopefully distract them enough to keep behavior issues to a minimum. The kids act out when they are bored or think they can get away with it.

    Also, people are superficial. Maybe a nicely pressed suit and a trip to the salon will help me make a better impression.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  8. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 20, 2017

    Also, I think I forgot that my focus should be the kids and their needs. In my frustration, I kind of made it into a power struggle. I didn't mean to, but I just didn't want anyone to think I couldn't control the class. Hindsight is 20-20, and now that they've taken these drastic measures, and the veteran teacher is having a very easy time with my students, tells me something important. I was reacting to my own wounds, and I wasn't really looking at the needs of the kids.

    I could have improved the whole experience by being better prepared, but I was just pretty offended that they would stoop so low as to write formal complaints against me for petty reasons, not when I wanted so badly to do a good job. At the end of the day, though, I'm the adult. I have emotional coping strategies that these kids have yet to develop, and it's not like I haven't held jobs before where I was made fun of and hurt pretty regularly. I used to work at a diner, and one day I was so upset at the way I was being treated that I started crying in front of my boss. Oh, and don't get me started on substitute teaching. The kids loved trying to make my life miserable, and, unlike this job, there was nothing I could do about it.
     
  9. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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  10. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2017

    Run far and run fast from teaching. Sorry, but it's the truth. I too work in an alternative setting and we have a similar setup to you but we also teach. The computers do a lot, but we still have "whole class" engagement. Choose to not get stressed, I know, easier said than done.
     
  11. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 23, 2017

    I'm sorry, but that's really not encouraging at all. I went to school and went into debt for these degrees. I know my subject pretty well, but I'm not required to only teach my subject. I'm frequently required to teach out of field without the help of the computers. I think there should be something wrong with that since I haven't been given any time or training to sufficiently prepare.

    I have math and science students this time, and I'm certified in English. I've tried to help them, but it's actually a bit difficult to teach a subject I haven't seen much of since I was a high school student. Still, though, I think I've been doing a good job. I just have some frustrated students who don't see that I'm doing what I can, and they've been writing complaints. I think they are frustrated with this system, and maybe they are taking it out on me because they are kids? It's frustrating. I'm thinking those of you who have responded with "quit teaching," haven't really understood the picture I'm trying to paint. Anyone will fail if not given the proper tools and training to do the job. The students' complaints, though, are misguided. None of what is going on with their courses, computers not working, my lack of training, etc. is my fault. I have tried to fix the issue, but I have had almost no success. Everyone seems to want to pass the buck.

    One of the main reasons I was frustrated in the beginning is that these complaints, from my perspective, seem almost malicious. I told them already that these are for serious issues, not minor things like tattling on instructors when you don't think they are doing a good job. Thanks to these stupid complaints, I've been subjected to yet more action on the part of my admins, and even though I'll admit that I'm thankful for the help, it's a little humiliating. I'm not a bad teacher, I'm just in a difficult situation, but since the people receiving the complaints aren't educators, they don't know that. The problem with data collection is that they always assume ideal conditions, and teachers hardly ever work under ideal conditions.

    It's also frustrating that some of you think I should be doing well under these conditions and if I'm failing, I'm just "not cut out for teaching."
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  12. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 23, 2017

    At this rate, the decision of whether or not you continue in teaching may get made for you because you refuse to see the writing on the wall. And when you're unemployed, sitting around complaining and blaming everyone for your misfortune isn't going to pay the bills.

    If you want to be a teacher, BE ONE. Stop making excuses for everything and do what teachers do. They work hard at creating engaging lessons, maintaining effective classroom management, building relationships with students, and working collaboratively with their colleagues. And these things aren't secrets. If you've spent a ton of money on a degree and certification as an educator, you should have learned that these things are what the job is all about. If you want to sit in front of a computer screen 8 hours a day avoiding face-to-face interaction with people, you should have chosen a different profession.
     
  13. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 23, 2017

    I'm sorry; you don't understand this situation. At least that's what I'm guessing. I think I've described a scenario that is different than that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  14. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 23, 2017

    I really think I should quit this job, though. My boss says that the detention center doesn't understand why I've gotten so many complaints, and it's really difficult to explain to them that it's probably a combination of being too nice and just not socially aware enough to avoid landmines. To be honest, this is pretty depressing. It's like every other part of me functions okay, but that part of my brain that's supposed to keep me from allowing others to take advantage of me is broken. I trust people too much, even when I know they aren't trustworthy, and I don't do it on purpose. It's like I'm just blind to it until it comes back to bite me.

    I feel like what is going on here is not fair at all, but that's life, right?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  15. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 24, 2017

    You admit that you lack a major characteristic for being a successful teacher, yet bristle when people suggest that teaching may not be for you.

    To be successful in the teaching profession, there are certain personality traits and mental/emotional capabilities that are advantageous if not outright required. You lack those traits and capabilities (as you've clearly stated multiple times), so why do you think you should continue on in a profession for which you know you are not emotionally or mentally equipped?

    I'm really not trying to rip you apart, but you're never going to be happy with your job if you continue trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. And they are not going to change the shape of the hole just to accommodate your particular needs. Sorry. That's just not reality.
     
  16. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I'm just still trying to wrap my head around the notion that some personality types aren't good fits for certain jobs. They don't really teach that in college. I learned that people can do anything if they work hard enough, and I thought that was true for a number of years. I knew what my preferences were, but I didn't know there were nearly unchangeable aspects of my personality that would impede me from being successful. I'm still struggling with the idea that this is true. That seems like something they really should have tested for in college before allowing me to spend so much money on two degrees that I may not be able to use. I chose my career based on skills I would like to learn, not skills that I already had, because I naively thought they would teach me those skills. College was a lot more hands-off than I thought it would be. I know they'll probably change this system like they changed other things after I grew up. It's just like they're making sure that I and people like me can't benefit from it.

    I'm still perplexed. On paper, teaching is the best job for me because it's the job I'm trained to do. I have no skills outside of it.
     
  17. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2017

    Wow....

    I'm one of the first people to steer others away from teaching. The profession is under attack from so many directions that it is no longer a noble, sustainable career anywhere but for a couple of forward-thinking states. Quite often, you get more respect as a custodian or fast food cashier, and the pay gap is closing.

    One of the more insidious forces rallied against teachers are other teachers. Some are naturally judgemental, hypocritical, and self-righteous—and in the regular habit of tearing down other teachers to build and cement their own distorted self-image.

    By and large, I teach troubled youth. I teach people who are nothing like me, whose life experiences are completely alien to mine, whose thinking is often times a complete mystery that I struggle to understand every day. Therefore, I can relate to and understand what your current position is like.

    Out of ignorance or spite, some would equate work at a detention center with that of a traditional setting. It is important to recognize flawed thinking and the voice of inexperience when encountered, and to assign foolishness the weight it deserves. Having difficulty relating to the psychotic and sociopathic is not a personal failure or mark of flawed character. Rather, it is quite normal. To suggest otherwise is to follow the ignoble path of blaming the teacher for every social ill—part and parcel of weak administration and the for-profit education industry, yet indicative of lazy, uniformed thinking everywhere else.

    You are new and teaching in a particularly demanding and hostile environment. It is unrealistic to expect perfection, to think an unnatural situation should play out as natural. You would have to share similar life experiences with these kids to better relate and understand at this point, and—thankfully for you—you do not. They are psychopaths and sociopaths. Is that what you would want for yourself?

    It will take time, a lot of study, and a biblical amount of patience to adapt to your current position. And you will have to adapt. You need to realize and accept this, or look for another position where your charges will be more socially viable than the current lot.

    I cannot blame you for having trouble with these kids. Most normal people would be unable to deal with them. No rational, unbiased person would fault you for their failings or your anxiety.

    I can only suggest looking for another, more conducive environment before deciding you aren't cut out for teaching—which is entirely possible, as most people are not. But do not measure yourself by a distorted yardstick.
     
  18. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Well, I have a little more against me than that. For me, regular people can be like sociopaths, because I have ASD, so this job may be twice as difficult for me when it comes to relating to the kids. I can't relate to a lot of things they are and do, but I can relate to feeling like you can't trust other people, and I can understand that different people have ways of coping with living in an environment where you can't trust other people but still have to get things from them.

    Of course, based on my life experience, I see it all as a miscommunication. I think that people like me would behave a certain way if they understood what was really going on, so I explain unspoken rules that I wouldn't catch. Of course, I'm frequently not dealing with people like me, and it's a little like telling the cat where the pet parrot is hidden. They use me and take my kindness for weakness. They see me as incompetent, although in reality I'm caring and overly considerate. I make accommodations for them as if they were suffering the same problems I had. It's a completely ineffective strategy, and, like I said before, not one I employ on purpose. It's just the result of misinterpreting and misreading while trying to relate.

    For example, before this recent onslaught of complaints against me started, I explained to one of my students what the complaint forms were because he asked me. I didn't feel like I was making a mistake and thought we had good rapport with each other and the student would understand what I was trying to communicate. It turns out this was not the case. By explaining that the complaint forms were taken seriously and why they should not be abused, I inadvertently gave the student another powerful weapon to use against me.

    Another example is I only recently started to understand that they didn't want to be at school. Before, I was treating them like they loved school and learning. I really don't know how to treat a person differently, because I love school and learning. The idea that someone would be turned off by education, not want to learn math, and not enjoy reading and writing is sort of a foreign concept to me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
  19. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 24, 2017

    I also usually only disclose my disorder on a need to know basis because there's a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding out there. Some people think that I choose not to relate to others, and that's not the case usually. I just miss the signals. Plus, I don't have a lot of experience with people and various personalities, because negative results caused me to withdraw and learn to conduct a lot of my needed activities without socializing or in environments where limited socializing was required. I found out as a teenager that I have the tendency to fail in social situations. Usually, I fall victim to gossip, rumors, or bullying, and, of course I can't "defend" myself against an unseen threat.

    Social communication issues seem to be a problem for those of us on the spectrum so much so that it's recommended we take jobs that don't require a lot of social interaction. I was totally misguided in thinking that teacher fell into that category; I assumed that teaching was an environment with limited and structured social interaction. Nope. I didn't know what was wrong with me back then either, though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
  20. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jun 24, 2017

    They lied to you.
     
  21. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2017

    In an environment of socially-adapted young people, your condition would be better tolerated: the group takes up the slack, as it were.

    You have been cast down with the socially inept and morally bankrupt. Their treatment of you is to be expected and will never change. If you can't change, you need to find another environment, one better suited to your temperament.

    At the college level, your condition would likely be less notable and better tolerated. I well imagine half my professors fell somewhere on the spectrum.
     
  22. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I would love to teach college, but my degrees aren't high enough for that, and I owe too much in student loan debt to really consider going back to school.

    Oddly, I'm not particularly good in math or socializing, so higher education may not want me either. My temperament and love of learning are well suited for it, though
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
  23. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Kenz501:

    1. What made you want to go to school to become a teacher?
    2. What teaching skills did you acquire during your college education?
    3. What would you say your greatest strengths are as an educator?
     
  24. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    What made me want to go to school to become a teacher?
    I had a terrible time in school myself. It wasn't because I wasn't motivated, but I had social struggles that my teachers overlooked and my peers took advantage of. Talking about it still makes me feel like I'm whining, but I was just frustrated. I felt like people weren't clear enough with each other, and I wanted to demystify the process of teaching for myself so that I could teach myself new things and help kids who were like me. I thought there were lots of them, and the teachers were the people with the most power over my life, or at least I thought so at the time. I saw it as an empowering profession that gave you respect. They were also mostly really good communicators, so I thought communication skills were something teachers learned in college.

    Little did I know that I was in the minority. Most people didn't have trouble reading social cues and my willingness to candidly share everything I was learning with my students was asking for trouble.

    I also didn't imagine that teachers aren't really given the resources they need to do the job the students expect. For example, today I've spent a good two hours going over one of my student's lessons to see if I could provide more help than I already have. This profession requires prerequisite skills that I don't really have, and it really eats away at your leisure time. You have to do the job right, though, otherwise you are criticized and ridiculed for it. Even if you stay up long hours preparing engaging lessons, they'll only consider it a requirement. Teachers take so much work home if they want to be ideal. I had no idea how much work it took to actually be effective.

    Add to that that your students often don't see the work that goes on behind the scenes. They only see how they perceive you reacting to them. It's really frustrating. I might be tired and upset with this system, but it doesn't mean I'm a "mean" teacher or not really trying to help them, like they seem to think. They seem to delight in casting me in that light, though. They don't seem grateful for my efforts at all. What other job would require you to dedicate your weekends to grading and planning activities? I can't think of one! You kind of never stop working when you are a teacher.

    I've been assured that this is just a learning curb and it will get better after I master these survival tactics and create a system that works for me, but it's nonstop work right now, preparing lessons on subjects I'm not certified to teach, going through students' lessons as if I'm a student myself and trying to look for pitfalls and misunderstandings, having to avoid explaining myself in an effort to help my students understand the social context (because they don't have this problem like I do, and they can turn it all around on me in a heartbeat), and field criticism from kids and coworkers.

    It kind of looks like my students don't trust me to give them advice, and some of them don't even think I know the subjects I teach. That's partially true because I'm not certified in everything, but I seldom try to teach them something I haven't learned how to do myself. There's a communication gap, though, and it really frustrates me.

    What teaching skills did you acquire during your college education?

    To be honest, I think I only learned how to search for and find information. I learned very few practical teaching skills in my teacher education classes. Sure, I learned some theories that stuck with me but without really knowing how to apply those theories they aren't of much use.

    I also learned some things that are practical for people like me, such as how to read body language and make a schedule, but I wonder if they would be of much use for others.

    What would you say your greatest strengths are as an educator?

    Before I started this job, I would have told you that I"m willing to work hard and learn what I need to get the job done, but this experience has tested me. It's one thing to put in an hour or two of work on the weekend; it's another entirely to have to stay up until 2:00 in the morning preparing lessons for students. I feel like I've been used and abused by my aspirations, perhaps. My creativity is frequently drained, and I feel like I'm working in a hostile little bubble. I'm not able to take advantage of the discoveries of my peers. Everyone kind of expects me to "reinvent the wheel."

    I'm disappointed, because I know we could do better. This is just a bad system, and I'm stuck as an employee, so I can't do anything about it. I'm frequently forced to reinvent the wheel, and teaching is actually a lot more difficult than I imagined. For one, I thought that effective methods would be kept and built upon, but no, effective methods are often thrown out in favor of whatever happens to be the trend this year. I could have benefited from a solid program that walked me through the steps of teaching and helped me become well-prepared for the classroom. As it stands, I struggle with basic stuff like finding supplementary materials for my students. I have to juggle different subjects that are sometimes not intuitive and cover very advanced subject matter for my students' ability levels, and I'm just failing across the board at this.

    I'm very candid about everything, and when the system isn't functioning correctly, I feel like I'm falling apart. I get so frustrated that I just don't know what to do. I guess the kids read this on me, and it just makes things so much worse.
     
  25. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Jun 24, 2017

    I realize that the group that you are teaching are not the normal student population but what you have described is basically what teachers do. Maybe you should have gone into sped or taught autism classes. I think your perception of teaching is not what it is really like.
     
  26. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Jun 24, 2017

    Do the math, though. If I have eleven students, and I have to spend two hours going over their assignments each day and creating study guides for subjects that I'm not certified to teach, that's 22 hours per day! I get that teachers are supposed to be dedicated, but don't you think that's a little excessive?
     
  27. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Ok, I get that you are overwhelmed. Last comment, you are not cut out for the situation you are in and I don't know if there is really any teaching situation that will work for you. All I hear is excuses and no action plan to make the necessary changes. Good luck in whatever you plan to do.
     
  28. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I think I've said enough, but I am looking for solutions.
     
  29. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Kenz501, you are looking for remote possibilities while ignoring the facts you possess. I truly hope you find your miracle, I truly do, but I am afraid that you are failing yourself and your students, and that is just a lousy way to live. I will wish you the very best.
     
  30. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Solutions:
    1. Talk to your administrators and clarify exactly what your role is in your current position. Are you a facilitator or a teacher? Are you expected to create lessons and materials for these students, or merely monitor them and offer help when you can? Make sure that you're not doing more than your job description actually calls for.

    2. Read Harry Wong's The First Days of School (if you already have, read it again). It's basically the bible for beginning teachers. I still flip through my copy when I get to a sticking point (15 years in).

    3. Develop a classroom management plan that is practical and can be implemented ASAP. Read books and articles and blogs about classroom management. Watch videos about classroom management. Talk with veteran colleagues about classroom management.

    4. Use the advice and suggestions you are given. Don't make excuses for why it won't work. Try it. What you're doing now isn't working, so you really have nothing to lose by putting some of the advice and suggestions you are given into practice.

    5. Being a teacher is a lot like being an actor, especially in the beginning and whenever we are stressed, tired, frustrated, etc. You're "on stage" for most of the day in the role of "The Teacher". This role may sometimes require you do do things that are completely out of character for you, but are necessary to be convincing in the part. Play the confident, helpful, outgoing teacher that everyone loves and respects, and eventually that is exactly who you will become.

    6. If you have excuses for why you can't do any of the things mentioned above...go find another profession.
     
  31. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Thanks, this is the way it is. Totally agree.
     
  32. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Please see my responses in the above quoted passage.

    Finding another profession would not be easy. The way I see it, I just wasn't sufficiently prepared, not by college and not by student teaching. No one can do a job properly if they aren't give the tools to do so. Teaching is what I'm most qualified to do on paper. Anywhere else, and I would be starting from square one, and since most people want experienced workers, I would lucky to find anything else willing to train me.

    Dreaming, though, has left me a debtor; at this point, I would be willing to leave teaching if I could find something that pays more and gives it's workers more respect. I've thought about becoming self-employed, but I'm poor at networking, and I'm not really that good with people. It's hit or miss with me.
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    You keep talking about being unprepared by your education, but I don't expect any program works on social skills for adults. How was student teaching and did you get top ratings?
     
  34. christie

    christie Rookie

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    I'm honestly not sure any of us were well-prepared by our colleges and universities for the reality of teaching. In my first years of teaching I had to do a LOT of soul searching, finding solutions to my problems, and figuring stuff out on the fly. That's generally what's expected of teachers. The fact of the matter is that long hours and low pay has been a documented issue in teaching for decades. Any research at all into the field of teaching would have had this information on your radar when you started down this path.

    Now that I've been teaching for 18 years, I'm better at the long hours, but working 50 hours a week during the school year is my goal; one I usually reach, but there are weeks it's longer. To be fair, I'm only in the second year of a completely new position and I'm having to do a lot of finding solutions to problems, and re-jiggering things that worked well for a different age group and subject area.

    You need to sit down and decide on your next steps. If your only reason for staying in teaching is because that's what you're most qualified for on paper, get out. Paper is pretty worthless in the classroom. I'm qualified to teach pre-school, but I can guarantee you if I had to, I'd probably cry often and be absolutely terrible at it. One year I had a student teacher who didn't make it through the program. As we (her college supervisor and I) were working with her on the issues, she said something along the same lines, "But I've spent so much money..." She graduated with a valuable university degree and the knowledge that teaching was not for her. She's doing fine now, in another field, that doesn't involve the amount of work required in teaching.

    If you love teaching and want to continue, you're going to have to come to grips with a few facts: it's a LOT of work and requires hours of time outside of your contracted time. Kids are kids - they're going to be mean sometimes, especially when they get a rise out of an adult. They want to be liked, they want to be valued for who they are - flaws and all. You have to get over being hurt by what they say or teaching will be a misery for you. Teaching requires reflection. Serious, soul-searching reflection. Reflection that looks a lot like, "Hey, so many of my kids failed. What do I do next?" The next part of that can't be, "Well, I can't do anything because they come from poor homes, their parents don't care and likely they don't care, so they'll just fail." I get that you have social issues and they're greatly impacting your ability to be successful in the classroom. You have to find a way over them, around them, or beneath them. Working with a counselor might be one way of getting help. You need strategies to implement. You need to have a script of sorts going in your head for when something happens. At least one of your issues seems to be responding within the moment to a problem. Start listing issues you've had where you've been unhappy with your response. Work out how, now that you're not in the moment, you wish you had handled that. Practice it.

    If you want to be a teacher, you're going to have to do more work than the NT teacher. That's just reality. It's not fair, but if you want to be a good teacher, that's what's going to have to happen. If you're not willing to put in that work, there may come a point where your bosses decide that they can't keep you in the classroom. All kids - detention center or not - deserve the best education possible. If you're not the person to provide it, it's the principal's job to find someone who is.

    Teachers are not paid well. If this is only your second year teaching, you're on the lower end of a (likely) crappy pay scale. You can find other work. On paper you may be qualified for teaching only, but many jobs simply require a college degree rather than a specific degree. Find one of those jobs. Know that in the short term, you might be making less than you would teaching, but if it's a corporate (or similar) job, you'll be out-earning your former fellow teachers within 5 years, tops. I know someone else has said this, so consider this a seconding of their advice. Make a list of things you do well. Make a list of things you don't do well. Make a list of things you consider to be non-negotiable in a job. Start there.

    Take ownership of your issues. Everyone has them. It's probable, because of your diagnosis, that you have more work-related issues than the bulk of NT population, which definitely sucks. Own the issues, find ways of mitigating them and overcoming them. Get a counselor who can help you do exactly this. Don't feel like you have to do this alone. It's unlikely anyone could.
     
  35. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    I'm going to leave this here...
    "There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew." ~ Marshall McLuhan

    ...and this...

    "The Bottom Line"

    Face it.
    Nobody owes you a living.
    What you achieve or fail to achieve in your lifetime
    is directly related to what you do
    or fail to do. No one chooses his parents or childhood
    but you can choose your own direction.
    Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome
    but that too is relative to each individual.
    Nothing is carved in stone.
    You can change anything in your life
    if you want to badly enough.
    Excuses are for losers.
    Those who take responsibility for their actions
    are the real winners in life.
    Winners meet life's challenges head on
    knowing there are no guarantees
    and give it all they've got.
    It's never too late or too early to begin.
    Time plays no favorites
    and will pass whether you act or not.
    Take control of your life.
    Dare to dream and take risks.
    If you aren't willing to work for your goals,
    don't expect others to.
    Believe in Yourself!

     
    christie and MrsC like this.
  36. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jun 25, 2017

    I also have to ask, if you felt teachers should have helped teach you lacking social skills and you went into teaching so that you could help students such as you, how were you planning to teach skills and knowledge you do not possess?
     
  37. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I heard that teaching was going to be a lot of work, but I didn't really understand that this is the kind of job you pretty much have to give every minute of your life to to be successful. That's a challenge for me on a number of levels. I like having free time. I like to have side projects. I want to pursue more certification. I've actually been interested in cultivating a life outside of work as daunting a concept as that is to me. I can't do that if I'm very busy writing lesson plans and "trying to put myself in my students' shoes." I didn't really comprehend that teaching is actually so much work that you sometimes don't have time for a life outside of it if you want to do your job effectively. That's not something I was counting on at all.

    I'm used to being socially inept, and it does hurt me on a deep personal level not to be liked by the kids. I feel like I'm not doing my job well, and I also feel frustrated, because I also know that it's not really my fault. Sometimes, though, I just feel like I fail at life in general. Like everyone else, I never had any say in whether or not I existed. I used to wish I didn't. Now, I'm still struggling with the romanticized idea of "having a purpose." Of course, I don't know mine. I feel like I fail at everything, and other people would be fine without me. It hurts a lot when people point these things out to me, though. I don't share them, but I guess there's something in my demeanor that says, "I don't want to be here." I also get bored pretty easily and have trouble completing repetitive tasks without becoming frustrated when I can't allow my mind to wander.

    I went into teaching for all of the wrong reasons. I thought the colleges were going to teach me how to be an actor on stage. I wanted to become a sharp and clever entertainer for the kids, but the colleges taught me none of that. In fact, they barely taught me how to do a good job in the classroom. My expectations were very different than reality, and sometimes all I need is a little guidance to do well, but no one is in my head. They don't know what I'm imagining, and I wonder why it's so difficult for me to implement these things.

    Well, another frustration is that the kids usually don't want to learn. I'm amazed, and there must be some kind of generational gap already forming, because if I had all of this information available to me as a kid, I think you can bet I would have taken advantage of it, and I would have been excited to have a teacher who cares so much about new information and helping people master new academic skills. I wonder, though, if the kids really get any of that in practice, though, as most of my class time is spent trying to help them meet academic goals their schools have set for them, not helping them pursue what they want to learn.

    Mainly, I lack prerequisite social skills that aren't taught in college. My mind is frequently in other places besides on my job. I'm extremely creative and imagine fun teaching scenarios, but I have no real idea how to incorporate those ideas into the classroom. I daydream about running off and joining a magician's show or an acting troupe, because I guess they could teach me the skills I need, but I just don't know how to make things happen. If I knew how to get started, I could become a children's entertainer, but I have no clue where or how to start, even though I think that's really the profession that interests me.

    I struggle with connecting with people and really need to work on those skills, and I crave occupations and experiences that I assume teach those kinds of skills.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  38. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I wish I were the teacher from Disneyland, as that's how I imagined it would be, but it's difficult for me to come up with lessons that are kind of fun and still work on my own. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to come up with a curriculum that much fun.

    The kids are probably like I was when I was a kid, though. They probably crave stimulation, and I could give that to them if I had more help and support to implement these ideas in a plan that would work, but, as it stands, I'm just too inexperienced to trust trying anything too new. What I think will be fun often turns into a frustrating experience for me and my students due to my lack of familiarity with the strategy. I've been craving strategies to make my teaching more fun, but I haven't really gotten them. I've been left to struggle with the basics: juggling lesson plans, printing out worksheets, brushing up on unfamiliar subjects, and managing challenging behavior (that's really probably just acting out due to boredom.) It's just frustrating to me, because I became a teacher in hopes of helping kids escape boredom. I'm just not trained well enough to accomplish that on my own, though.

    This seems to be a pattern with me. Everything I imagine and want to accomplish, I often find that I'm not able to do, and there's no way to share what I want to do in a way to get people to want to help me. Maybe this goes back to that annoying communication issue, but it's probably the most frustrating part of the whole experience. Imagine having all of these great ideas in your head but when you mention them, people ignore you. Now, if someone else mentioned them, he or she would probably not be ignored, but I'm usually ignored.

    I'm like an actor trying to give an Oscar worthy performance without so much as a script or an understanding of my character. Of course the movie is going to be bad. What would you expect if you didn't give me the tools I needed to be good? Give me what I need, though, and I think things would change dramatically.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  39. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    What do I think I need?

    Behavior Management Skills
    A good solid understanding of how to react to instances of student behavior--what's severe and needs to be addressed right away, what needs to be ignored, what is a student's attempt to challenge me vs. a student just acting out due to boredom?

    Entertaining lessons
    I need lesson plans that are easy and tap into the kids' imaginations. I'm only certified to teach a handful of subjects, and lack of familiarity with some of these things keeps me from being able to make them fun and relatable. Things really have to broken down for me, and I have to feel like I'm over prepared to be confident. This job doesn't give me the opportunity to do that.

    Organization
    Not being able to implement lesson plans effectively due to not being able to organize things properly is really frustrating to me. I've gotten better at not doing this, but I used to give very labor intensive lessons that, instead of being fun, turned out to be a chore for the students.

    I also can't concentrate on preparing really engaging lessons all of the time, due to the other tasks that I have to complete.

    Gimmicks
    If I could get away with it and could plan it all out like this, all of my lessons would literally be like plays complete with costumes and props. As it stands, I feel like I need a gimmick: an engaging speech, a fun game, a couple of "magic" tricks, etc. I'm into memory tricks, so there are a few things I could try with the kids, but I'm afraid to pull those out for a myriad of reasons. The kids might think it's too hard or not understand what I'm asking them to do. These little tricks might take away from valuable learning time. I guess I could also try arts and crafts. The kids seem to like origami a lot, and it's not too difficult to study a YouTube video on how to fold things. Right now, all I offer is a little bit of free time at the end of the class period; it's usually spent watching a movie.

    Effective communication

    I'm offended that some of the students apparently don't trust me and don't think I know my subject. It's difficult to get some of them to listen to me, and it doesn't help that I have more trouble communicating when I'm frustrated or nervous. I feed off of the energy the students give me. If it seems like they're interested, I pay more attention to them and try to do more for them. If it seems like they aren't interested, I back off a little bit and try to figure out what's wrong. It would be great if we could actually communicate with each other like people are supposed to.

    The students have a lot of baggage, and I can't counsel them about their problems because they won't open up to me. It's weird, but I'm really shy and don't really open up to people unless I feel confident. My sense of confidence usually comes from my work, so if I don't feel like I'm doing a good job keeping the kids engaged, I probably won't be trusted with news about other life issues.

    I've got a lot of desire, and I hope you see now why I'm so frustrated with having complaints written about me and the kids daring to tell my superiors that I don't know how to teach or am not interested in doing my job properly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  40. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 25, 2017

    This has been mentioned in some of the other posts...college does not prepare someone to become an actual teacher.

    Once you hit the classroom, google becomes your best friend. The majority of skills that you wish you had can be learned through research. It is up to you to do that research.
     

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