New Job Woes

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by Evabop, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Oct 30, 2019

    I have recently taken a job as an after school assistant teacher. I have been teaching preschool for over a decade, Pre-K for five years, and coordinated my preschools' after school program and summer camps. I chose a part time job close to home in order to work on some other projects. However, I am having much difficulty. This school is in my neighborhood, and these after school kids need adults like me who will spend time with them, play with them, and converse with them. I've only been here three weeks and these are my horrors:
    #1 I'm not allowed to have a set routine or schedule.
    #2 I'm encouraged to yell at the children and use fear tactics.
    #3 Children spend 30-45 minutes walking through the hallways (within a one hour period).
    #4 My group of Kindergartners changes every day (we have 50+ in the program).
    #5 There are no planned activities. "We just do whatever we feel like with the kids."
    SO, I need some advice. What should I do? I don't want to quit, but it is very difficult for me. Using positive discipline with children who have been conditioned with negative discipline and empty threats is TOUGH! I've already had to use my monster voice twice (when I raise my voice to get their attention), and my bosses feel like I am incompetent. I've been documenting everything I have witnessed and experienced, but I have no solutions. Any advice would be a huge help. I'm used to having my own classroom with set rules/routines/procedures/schedule, and a positive atmosphere built on mutual respect instead of fear. This is way out of my comfort zone, and I'm I feel as though I am fighting an uphill battle.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Oct 30, 2019

    If you're allowed to "do whatever you feel like with the kids", what power do you have in planning stuff?

    What is the school's philosophy?
     
  4. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Oct 30, 2019

    I have zero planning power, I've come to realize. I have to work with another teacher who sends me a text everyday with the "plan." I've made suggestions, and asked if we could do certain things, and I am met with "No, I want it this way." She is more concerned with herself than the children, and VERY teacher centered. We disagree on just about everything :/ Today I overheard her talking smack because I let my group free-color their monster for tomorrow's Monster Mash. Apparently I was supposed to force them color their monsters perfectly. When it comes to art, I'm more about the process than the product, and I NEVER tell children how to be creative. I make suggestions here and there, but I will not stifle anyone's creativity.

    The school's philosophy is aligned with research based methods, like mine, however, this after school program seems to do it's own thing. I'm not even sure if the principal knows what is really going on.

    Thanks for responding!
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Oct 31, 2019

    If she's your boss and you've voiced your opinions and she doesn't choose to follow them, there isn't much you can do. Either adjust or find another job. When you are the boss, then you get to choose. If it's a safety issue, then by all means report it, but other than that, you'll come across as saying you know more than your boss (which may be true, it often is in reality) but other than direct safety concerns, disregarding your bosses instructions is a receipe for disaster when it comes to a job.

    I know it is tempting to think about going over her head to the principal, but 99% of the time this will backfire, and you will find yourself left in a hostile work environment, and your direct boss will find a way to get rid of you -- either by constantly finding fault with your work or by making the work environment so unpleasant that you will quit.

    If the parents aren't complaining by pulling their kids from the program, nobody has gotten hurt, the fees are being collected and deposited, and someone is showing up each day to do the work, then the principal is probably just glad he/she isn't having to deal with "one more fire to put out." Afterschool programs tend to be pretty low on the totem pole to most principals.

    As employees, working for a boss who is in charge, we rarely get to choose how the work gets done and be autonomous. Afterschool workers are not certified teachers, they are employees. Employees follow their bosses requirements. They may not agree with them, but it is a requirement.

    So I guess you have to decide -- which is more important -- having this job or doing things your way (even though you feel certain your way is the right way.) If you are totallly not comfortable doing it her way, then I'd start looking for another job.
     
  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Oct 31, 2019

    I think you've hit the nail on the head here. You were hired as an assistant teacher. Some teachers are gracious and co-plan with their assistants, but others don't. If you are the assistant, then how things are run is up to the person in charge. She was put in the position of authority, whether or not you agree with it.

    I can see it from her point of view, too. She's been running a program for a while, parents aren't pulling their students and seem satisfied, the principal is satisfied and doesn't micromanage her, so in her mind, she is doing a great job. Then along comes a new assistant, who is basically telling her that everything she is doing is wrong. She should be planning a different way. She should be scheduling a different way. She should be disciplining a different way. You are basically telling her that you know better than she, and that she should be listening to you. Of course she's going to get her hackles up. And it is human nature to find fault with people who are basically trying to tell you that you are doing something completely wrong.

    When you come into a program and try to tell the person in charge that you "know better" (which is how it must seem to her) then of course they are not going to want to listen. You can use words like "research based" and "positive philosophy" all you want, to her all she hears is that you are disagreeing with her, and in her mind, she's doing it right.

    I'm not saying you should yell at the kids. If it isn't your style, then don't. If she wants to complain about that, it is her right to do so. If it's against the school's philosophy, then she'll do it in front of the wrong person one day, and that will be the end of it for her. But until then, she's the boss.

    Once you have some "street cred" and have worked there for at least 6 months to a year or so, and she's found you to be supportive and helpful, like an assistant should be, then she'll probably be more open to listening. Give it time. Prove yourself.
     
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  7. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2019

    Goodness, you make me sound so hostile. I have not told her she is wrong. I've only asked if I could have a schedule and a role sheet, she said we can't. And I've also asked if I could help her plan activities, and she says no. I have not once told her she is doing anything wrong. And I respect her authority, especially in front of the children. I've never tried to take over what she is doing or overpower her in any kind of way. In fact I have been super gracious and warm. I compliment her like a friend, I mold to her ways, I don't give her beef about the fact that I am going crazy without a sense of direction or purpose everyday, I brought her herbal tea this week when she did not feel well, I don't gossip about her, and I only attempt to work with her not against her.
     
  8. Evabop

    Evabop Rookie

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    Nov 1, 2019

    I am definitely going to take your advice about building some "street cred." I don't want my superiors to think I'm just trying to make waves with one of their favorite teachers. It's just super challenging going against everything my teaching soul believes in. I do stay true to me and my methods when they do not bump heads with hers, and I'm trying to lead by example. The children are slowly building relationships with me, and I gain more trust and respect from them every day.
     
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