New teacher, considering leaving, need help!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by andyguitar331, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. andyguitar331

    andyguitar331 Rookie

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    Dec 2, 2014

    Hello

    I just got hired as a music teacher at a 6th-12th school in NM.

    I was hired Oct 1st of this year (2014). The previous teacher decided to bail and quit mid semester. This was a mystery to me at first, but it all made sense once I started working here.

    As the music teacher here I am expected to teach band, choir, violin, guitar, and mariachi. I am the only music teacher for both middle and high school. The middle school is set at seven 45min periods a day; they have the same classes every day. The high school is set at block schedule. This all yields a ridiculous schedule for the music teacher.

    Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other Friday I teach both middle school and high school. I start the day with a middle school class which is followed by my 40min prep time which starts at 9:00am. After the 40 minute prep, I teach all day with no lunch break and my classes start to overlap (this scheduling doesn't really seem legal, I'm not too sure though). I teach a high school class, and in the middle of their period a middle school class walks in, an in the middle of the middle school period the next high school class comes in. This scheduling makes me dread these "A" days.

    The "B" days I only have to teach middle school; so these days are fine.

    I have no experience teaching choir prior to this job. I thought I would be able to considering I was in choir during college; but I have learned that I am not a great choir teacher and feel like I am not cut out to teach this discipline. I feel comfortable with all the other disciplines. What makes this worse is that none of my choir students are interested in music; they were all "thrown in" the class. I asked a student a simple question about rhythm yesterday and she told me, "I don't know, I don't pay attention in class and I don't care about music."

    Today is the first basketball game and the administration is going to want me to have a pep band play at the home games. This would be an easy task if I had more students in band. I have 6 students in my beginning band, 4 in my HS concert band, and 3 (one special ed) in my MS concert band. Usually for a pep band you gather some students from your already existing band and have them learn the simple pep band music. I only have two students from my beginning band that were interested and signed up, the rest of my students in pep band have never played in instrument and don't know how to read music. Because I got hired in October I had a late start on this pep band. So my beginning pep band is not ready to play the simple pep band songs or the difficult school song.

    This is all causing me a great deal of stress. I have lost motivation to teach and I am forcing myself at this point. I have a bad feeling this is taking a toll on my mental health; I'm considering going to the doctor because I'm really starting to feel depressed.

    Should I quit as soon as possible? Should I tough it out until the summer comes? Should I tell the principal that I can't have a pep band ready for the games?

    Thanks for reading all the way through.
     
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  3. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Dec 2, 2014

    I'm sure more experienced teachers will come through here and offer some great advice...until then, you have my sympathy! That sounds like a rough situation. Hugs!
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    It sounds like a really infeasible situation to me. What a ridiculous schedule and lack of support. If you stick with it, is there a chance for change? If not, I know I couldn't do it. I'm sorry that isn't very comforting. You deserve more than the school seems able to give you.
     
  5. andyguitar331

    andyguitar331 Rookie

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    I am going to ask if I can convert the choir to a songwriting class and see if that works out.

    I emailed the principal about the pep band situation and I suggested that I substitute the pep band with the mariachi for now until the pep band grows. He simply replied "thanks for your hard work". So I'm not too sure what that means. So I think I do have potential to change some things. The scheduling though I wont be able to change until after summer, even then I have a feeling they wont change much because previous teachers complained about the schedule and no change would happen.
     
  6. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Dec 2, 2014

    Hmm. It does sound like you have potential to change some things. My initial thought when I read this whole thing (but I didn't voice it in my comment above, for whatever reason) is that the administration is most likely very clueless about music, lol...and that's ok! But unfortunately, it just means that for now they have some unrealistic expectations as to what can be done. I think that your decision to replace the pep band with the mariachi was a smart one for everyone involved. I commend you for letting your principal knowing about this change and your reasoning behind it, too...this adds to your credibility and will no doubt help you in the future when you need to go to your P with other things.

    As far as the schedule...yeah, that is awful! So if I'm understanding correctly...you have overlapping classes on a regular basis? How do you even teach that? It sounds so backwards and counterproductive. I also don't like the fact that you don't get a real lunch majority of the days. That has to be against some kind of code, doesn't it?
     
  7. andyguitar331

    andyguitar331 Rookie

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    They are pretty clueless about music. This is a small town school with a very small student body. The ensembles they wish to have (band, choir) I feel are more appropriate for larger schools. And you are correct on the scheduling, it is very counter productive. That is why I feel cutting the choir would maybe leave more room to change classes around and at least give me a lunch. I'm not too sure if it does break a code, but I'd prefer to have no prep in the morning with a lunch every day as opposed to going the majority of the day hungry.

    So I guess my best move would be: try to change things, if not bail. So I guess I should give it at least until the summer?
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 2, 2014

    Just wanted to send positive vibes! I teach at a small school (50 per graduating class). Our choir teacher has been there for five years, and the choir has grown exponentially! We have over 80 students in the three choir classes! It was a lot of work, but it's so paid off :)
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    And make sure you eat somehow. Keep granola bars, raisins, and nuts at your desk and don't worry about anyone seeing you eat.
     
  10. DCTeacher1

    DCTeacher1 New Member

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    Dec 2, 2014

    I would ask to sit down the admin and lay out your schedule period by period. Maybe you can combine middle and high school sections somehow during the overlap time. I would stick it out until the end of the year, then make a final decision.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Dec 2, 2014

    Sounds like they are basically trying to ask you to put 10 pounds of flour into a 6 pound bag. In other words, they are asking for the impossible, more than any person can do.

    I would sit down and think about what you can reasonably do and be comfortable with that. I think deep down they realize that you won't be able to do everything that they ask, and will be okay with you doing your best. Once you have a reasonable idea you may want to sit down with admin.

    Schools love their music teachers, but they also love to pile a ton of work on top of them. No wonder so many leave.
     
  12. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    Dec 4, 2014

    You should only have to teach either high school or Middle school in one day. See if your schedule could be changed to fit all high school MWF and all middle Tues and thursday otherwise I would seek another job and give my two week notice.
     
  13. kb90531

    kb90531 Rookie

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    Dec 30, 2014

    1. Check your contract because every teacher generally deserves a prep and a lunch.
    2. If you are that contemplative about leaving, don't be scared to voice your opinion. What is the worst they will do? Fire you? Doesn't sound so bad after what you have been saying.
    3. Stick it out. Do the best you can do. Offer simple solutions to the principal. If you are just going to complain, they won't listen. But if you go in with a problem and solution, most likely they will respect you and respond positively.
    Good luck!
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Dec 30, 2014

    I'm going to piggy back on KB on one thing. Present your opinions that are logically presented with observations and rationale. They may not buy it or like it. Being fired, in this situation, with all of this data and evidence to back up the situation is preferable to quitting - you get unemployment, AND, you will never have to doubt that any reasonable district will see that you tried to make an impossible situation work in spite of the administration. New employers will be impressed.

    By now, this administration should have a clue about the horrible mess they have made, and they may welcome any suggestions that will make things better. Best news? If you make changes and the program thrives, you will be a hero. Good luck!
     

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