Not sure what to do!-Advise Please

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by new2teach15, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. new2teach15

    new2teach15 Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2016

    I am a first year teacher, teaching upper elementary. It is not the area that I had always imagined myself teaching, but as a first year teacher I was so focused on landing a teaching job I didn't think that it would make a huge difference the grade level. I wanted to get my foot in the door with a district, mistake 1. Things started off pretty good but there was not a lot of support offered to me, so I kind of went in blind, and looking back very naive. I was assigned a mentor, but it was made pretty clear that this was not something my mentor wanted, rather was assigned to do. As you can imagine I have not gotten a lot of support and it has lead to an uncomfortable partnership. We don't really plan together, but I am given information. I have a very talkative class and this has lead to a lot of blurting out that I am working on (it has gotten better) and my first formal observation was not great. I was observed again, and it went a lot better. There was still some off task behavior, but overall there was a lot of improvement. During my review I felt that there was only focus on the areas for improvement and not any acknowledgement on the areas I improved in.
    I am struggling with even enjoying teaching (which is so frustrating because like many I worked so hard to get my degree and enjoyed my student teaching so much). So much so, that I have considered not going back after the holiday break. I am going to be looking for a different position between now and break, but I just can't see myself staying the rest of the school year. I have asked for more trainings on the new curriculum and have never received any followup. I have a fairly long commute at it is starting to wear on me. I guess my question is, if I did decided to not come back how would I deal with that on my resume for future teaching jobs. I don't want it to be difficult to find another job because of this experience. I have learned so much but I hate that this is my first experience with teaching. I want so badly to love teaching but I am so unhappy with my current situation. I would love advise on what to do. Thanks.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Dec 5, 2016

    I'm going to be blunt. If you are going to run from an uncomfortable situation, what will you do when the next job down the road isn't fun, either?

    It may be time for you to be proactive and go get the help you need. Instead of waiting for someone to come help you, go on the internet and look for curriculum help. I don't know any textbook companies that don't have online help.

    So,your last observation was better. That's good. Now stop complaining about the fact that you didn't get kudos for your good stuff and work on the stuff that needs improving, like all teachers.

    You can do this, and you can turn things around. You can end the year on a positive note with a good recommendation if you choose to move on to another job.
     
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Dec 5, 2016

    Generally, principals only are ok with resignations in the middle of the school year if your spouse moves for a job, you get promoted to Central office or administration at another school, or you have a serious medical reason to resign. If none of those are true, you should stick it out.

    For the vast majority of people the first year of teaching sucks. It takes until about the 3rd year to really get comfortable and find your groove. The things you are describing are going to be true most schools. In fact, having a class that's a little chatty sounds pretty mild in comparison to a lot of places.

    My advice: find some online PD, and make the best of it until the end of the year.
     
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  5. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Dec 5, 2016

    My first few years were rough, too. Some advice I'd give, ask questions. Demonstrate that you are seeking how to improve in areas that have been suggested to you. Eat correctly avoiding fast foods and above all, stay away from those quick-energy-powders in dollar stores. Get aerobic exercise at least 5 times a week; possibly taking a walk. Nutrition and exercise will do uncanny things to your brain; it's like fuel to help you see pathways you'd otherwise not notice.

    I've learned that chatty kids and kids who blurt out can be the easiest to teach. Yeah, their behavior needs redirected, but they chat because their young brains are growing in overdrive. They blurt out because they're excited. I would work with the class in finding ways to enjoy and learn from the lesson in a more socially acceptable and productive manner. I see my role as not a boss but a leader. I am in charge of positive classroom behavior, but I teach correct behavior rather than boss it around. Personally, I think students learn the wrong message when some teachers demonstrate that they're bigger than the kids so the kids better shape up; students behave because the teacher is in charge and rules must be followed for any society to thrive successfully. When appropriate and part of school procedure, penalties need to be administered, and I don't agree with the teaching style that says, "I mean it." Then two minutes later, "I really mean it." Then another two minutes later, "Listen, do you want to get in trouble?" Then another two minutes later, "I'm still waiting for you to stop that." (Etc., etc., etc.) When a teacher lies to students or is inconsistent, s/he is breaking the cooperative structure of the classroom; s/he is actually being uncooperative by lying. When students are no longer in a cooperative setting, they feel uncomfortable and some will begin to work against the classroom structure. One more quick piece of advice, I've learned to teach with my ears; listening is a powerful teaching tool. Another powerful tool is your smile. Your smile does more to assist a student than anything you could ever say.

    I would advise against quitting, but I would advise that you need your holiday break! That's a plus about teaching, the long breaks to recover. (Whew!)
     
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  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 5, 2016

    You say that you are looking for another job--what do you hope will be different at another school? A different grade level? A more supportive mentor? Administration who will praise what you do well? Students who don't speak out? Extensive curriculum training mid-year?

    Teaching is not an easy job and your first couple of years can be really tough! Changing schools isn't going to make things easier and you likely will find that leaving a school mid-year will impact your ability to find a job later on. If you aren't finding the support you are looking for at school, look elsewhere--there are a wealth of resources available online. Speak to your administrator, in person, about curriculum training if you feel that you aren't able to figure it out on your own. Ask to observe in other classrooms. Ask specific questions about areas of struggle and offer up what you have done already to solve them.

    I think that it's important to stay for the year--not to "stick it out" but to give it your all and improve your craft.
     
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  7. Education4all

    Education4all Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2016

    You need to evaluate your priority with your students. If it is academics, lessons, etc then you need to reevaluate. As an elementary teacher, your job is to teach and nurture. Your main goals should be on teaching life skills through your procedures and holding students accountable. The academic part just falls into place once this has been established. Their is a huge learning curve in teaching, but once you have it mastered, it gets real easy.
     
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  8. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Dec 11, 2016

    I can't imagine you would be able to find another job if you leave in the middle of the year. A few years ago I worked in an absolutely horrible school with a completely nutcase principal. I won't go into all of the details, but this person was so bad that she ended up getting fired mid-year and losing both her teaching and admin licenses due to various things she'd done at our school (unfortunately this took a long time and was a couple of years after I'd left the school, my year there nothing was being done about her). I really, really didn't want to go back after break but I knew if I did that there would be no chance that another school would understand the situation and hire me. I stuck out the year and I'm glad I did. I know it's really cliché, but I think the whole "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" thing is very true. My current job has some challenges as well and there has been high turnover in my position in the past, but I have much better perspective now and I don't let the small stuff bother me. I'm not sure if this applies to your situation, but one thing I did was resign (effective at the end of the school year) pretty early in the winter (early Feb.). I know there was absolutely no way I wanted to come back, and since she knew I was leaving anyway my P totally left me alone. I was free to just focus on my class and making the rest of the year the best I could. My P used to do walkthroughs every few days and leave pages of only negative comments (she told us she would leave positive comments when the school's state test scores went up). Once I resigned, I guess she figured it was a waste of time and never set foot in my classroom again, even though she continued to harass my teammates. I also just felt better knowing that I had an "out" at the end of the year and that everything was out in the open. Again, I think this would depend on your specific situation and school environment. If you think there is any chance you may be non-renewed, it would be a good step to take because if you wait to hear official word of that, then you'll have to say you were non-renewed on future job applications (or check the "resigned in lieu of non-renewal" box). That's a career killer around here.
     
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  9. TeacherCuriousExplore

    TeacherCuriousExplore Cohort

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    Dec 12, 2016

    I left my previous job teaching PreK because the director was rude and nasty. She also did not care about the learning of the young children. she was power hungry. I left during thanksgiving break. I found a position teaching PreK in a far better place.
    Do not put that postion down on your resume. Use your student teaching. If your student teaching got you the job you're on now then you can get another one just by using the same resume.
    I would also try for a position in a less competitive school district until you can build up your experience.

    I honestly do not see any reason for you to leave, but if the people do not want to work with you or not putting in team work effort then that says a lot of about the culture of the school. I would jump ship too
     
  10. TeacherCuriousExplore

    TeacherCuriousExplore Cohort

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    Dec 12, 2016

    Also there should be mid year openings. The district I am in and surrounding areas have tons of openings
     
  11. sjanew15

    sjanew15 Rookie

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    Dec 12, 2016

    If you don't feel comfortable or the district is making it hard for you, leave. If you are moving, if your husband is getting shipped out, or if other personal circumstances force you to leave your job, leave. I wouldn't just jump ship. It's not fair to the kids at any grade level. Little kids grow up without an authority figure and older kids can become resentful or hardened because of the "facts of life" or "another person doesn't want me." Stick it out, go get help, and figure out who the people are you can talk to. I never would have made it through my first year without my mentor and one other person who helped immensely in my teacher career. They are the reason I am now doing way better, planning more lessons on my own, and not feeling like I am trying to keep my head above water as much. I still struggle and have areas to grow in, but doesn't every teacher? Even my mother, who has been teaching for almost thirty years and is about to retire, says she has areas she can grow in (she speaks English as a second language). No one is perfect and teaching rewards hard work and growth. Try to figure out your teaching style, how you feel comfortable in front of the kids, and don't try to be someone you aren't.
     
  12. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Dec 12, 2016

    How did your meeting go?
     
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  13. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Dec 13, 2016

    As so many others have said, hang in there and don't quit. Seek out the help you need. My first year was a nightmare. In April I found Jim Fay's "Teaching with Love & Logic". It was too little too late for me that year, but it became the basis of every classroom management I formed in the future. Find the book, read it over break, and return with an arsenal of new ideas. This time of year is rough because break is upon us, kids are antsy, and there are a million outside stressors. If you want help, find a trusted colleague and ask them to sit in on a class and debrief you later. Ask for suggestions and advice, if not your mentor another person on the staff you trust. I advise against quitting if for no other reason than this-it can be seen as a breach of contract and depending on your state laws your license may be revoked. You don't have to stay after the year is over, but at least you will have shown that you gave your all to the kids and tried to improve your weak areas. THAT will earn you a much better recommendation should you decide to look elsewhere next year.
     
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  14. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Dec 14, 2016

    I did something very similar for a permanent contract. I accepted a job teaching grade 6, which was out of my comfort zone. I'd student taught in that grade, but even that was tough. However, I really wanted a teaching job at this particular school. My mentor was a master teacher and my former cooperating teacher. Everything seemed to be lining up perfectly.

    That was a tough, tough year. There were some very extreme needs in that class and I was daily pushed to the point of tears. My mentor kept to herself and when I really pushed for help, she still wasn't that helpful, and was borderline rude. However, I stuck it out until the end of the year and this is what I learned:

    1. I am an advocate for ALL of the students in my class - not just the ones who have the most challenging behaviour.
    2. I am my own advocate and I need to be vocal until I am heard.
    3. This too shall pass

    I met with my principals weekly to update them on what was happening in my class, what I was hearing from parents about the behaviour in the class and what I needed so everyone could be successful. It was a steep learning curve on how to work within a system of policies while still being an advocate.

    In spring I approached my principals about the possibility of a grade change in the fall and told them I would be willing to move to the early years if they needed someone. As it turned out, they were adding another grade 1 class that fall so I was able to make the grade change and was much, much happier in grade 1.

    But I am a better teacher because of that year in grade 6. I am vocal when I need to be and I learned how to seek and get support when I need it. Also, most years are a breeze compared to that year! Do not quit because this year is challenging. A few years later I had another really challenging year teaching grade 1 (my favourite grade) and again I learned SO much. There will always be tough years, but you come out so much stronger.
     
  15. new2teach15

    new2teach15 Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2016

    I am going to stick it out. I have a lot of changes that will be made when I go back. I do agree that it would look bad for me to leave now. You are right that I have to stop trying to make it perfect and just accept it for what it is. I am hopeful to hear that your second year is a lot better.
     
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  16. new2teach15

    new2teach15 Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2016

    Thank you for the blunt advise. I guess that my student teaching went so well that I hadn't really prepared myself for a bad situation. I also, as many new teacher went into this years with "rose colored glasses". As you said, I need to end the year on a positive note so that I can get a good recommendation. I do not have any plans on going back, so I am just going to make the best of the next semester.
     
  17. new2teach15

    new2teach15 Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2016

    I do plan on talking to my principal in prior to contracts renewals to let them know I won't be back.
     
  18. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

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    Dec 29, 2016

    This is exceptionally good advice. New2teach, by implementing small group activities and questioning strategies into your lessons coupled with some hands-on learning your students would be able to exercise those motormouths as well as their hands too. Of course, you will need to first model appropriate behaviors and roles for small group cooperative learning. And, use heterogeneous grouping and do not pair the talkers (non-workers) together but do pair them with the higher achieving non talkers. You should consider implementing projects, discussion prompt questions, cooperative activities, manipulatives, and possibly technology into your lessons to stimulate learning for your students. During these activities, you walk around the classroom to facilitate the learning process, monitor behavior/progress, pose questions, assess understanding, and provide feedback. As your students come to enjoy these types of engaging cooperative activities, you explain to them that it's a privilege which could be replaced with book work and non cooperative activities if behavior is poor. Or, you can use these activities as an incentive for good behaving students only such as for "Fun Friday" activities. This type of teaching, constructivist methods, do work best for older students such as your upper elementary class. You should look some sample lessons and ideas up online to get started!
    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
  19. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Dec 29, 2016

    My first year was terrible until my P came into my class and taught a demonstration lesson. It was like a light turned on in my head. Now with over 30 years in the classroom, I love my job and my class. It's not ethical to leave a class midyear unless the situation is dire. Students bond with their teacher and suffer emotional harm when a teacher leaves unexpectedly. Let me echo the advice already given that you see help. Try to arrange observations of other teachers who seem to be capable.
     
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  20. lcr

    lcr Companion

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    Dec 31, 2016

    I would say my first year was incredibly hard and the next two were just hard. It gets better, though! Check out Smart Classroom Management or the Cornerstone by Angela Watson. They both help with classroom management and procedures and once you get that down, everything will fall into place. I hope you stick it out!
     

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