Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pandora, Sep 5, 2013.
Sep 5, 2013
If there's one thing that jaded, bitter teachers do, it's complain.
Just ignore them. Sometimes I think the worst thing a newish teacher can do is eat lunch with their peers; talk about deflating, defeatist conversations.
I think some of this is just normal teacher malarkey. We have this at our school too. Students coming into 4th always have such a hard time with subtraction problems that require regrouping. I know 3rd grade does a ton with it. I know all my 4th grade students were able to multiply when they left my class, but I bet 5th grade has issues with it.
Joke with them and tell them to swap grades with your next year so they can give you the "bad" kids and let you complain about it for a few years.
Some people say so much that eventually others just stop listening.
I think others will sense their negativity and it will reflect poorly on them, not you.
Or you can say "they must have regressed over the summer. I'm sure you can work your veteran teacher magic on them and snap them back into shape in no time at all!"
I'm careful not to do this (I'm the junior and senior teacher).
But, I'm sure I've said things like, "these students can't ..."
For me, I'm never blaming the previous teacher. I trust my colleagues to make as much progress as possible. I'm not placing blame on a particular former teacher.
I've got a student who reads at a 3rd grade level as a sophomore and has very little ability to read and answer comprehension questions without somebody pointing out the paragraph with the answer...and somehow she got a "B" in English 9 last year.
How does that happen?
Teachers, like the rest of the world, are not flawless.
My first year of teaching - I had a student who was receiving "D"s in pretty much each subject. The mom was astounded! "He only got As and Bs!"
I spoke with the previous year teacher:
"Yes, he really was getting Ds, but I was afraid that if I gave him what he earned, he would feel bad about himself, and I wanted him to keep his confidence boosted."
So while I know I make my great share of mistakes, I'm sorry...but there are times when I disagree with my colleagues' philosophies.
But again...nobody's perfect.
Been there...dealt with that! Just do your best to brush it off!
The only way I acknowledge this kind of complaining is if they eventually ask for thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc. for what I did with those "tough" kids. Although, that typically doesn't happen from these types of people! So, basically, if they aren't asking you for help or sitting down and having a legit, professional conversation with you about it, just keep doin' what your doin'.
I'm sure she probably "completed the work to the best of her ability" or she was socially promoted. Before I started teaching in my current district, I was VERY anti-social promotion; now, I see some merit to it.
I have lots of kids reading on a MS level and writing on a ELEM/MS level in my HS classes and this is a district-wide problem. If we only passed or graduated the students performing on grade-level, we would be screwed.
Sep 6, 2013
I you only promoted the kids that were on grade level or within 6 months of grade level the district would have to take care of the problem that was causing that many students to be far below grade level.
The kids are screwed when we socially promote them; some students can be slightly below grade level and still show enough mastery to merit passing.
It's a travesty that students can be 4-5 grade levels (or more) below "on grade level" and still be passing. Like the poster above said, the district doesn't know it has a problem until those kids start failing. We have issues with parents still expecting kids with an IQ of 80 and reading level at a 2nd or 3rd grade level to get a high school diploma; they've had these false expectations because for YEARS teachers who "didn't want to be mean and have a student fail" kept passing them along. Now, at the high school level, the counselors and SPED teachers have to have the awkward conversation about WHY a student should be on a non-diploma track, when an accurate and honest assessment of students by prior teachers would have already informed parents to some level of their child's abilities.
I think there are a couple of factors at work here.
One is the reality that kids will change their bevhavior from one teacher to the next. Kids who are ideal students one period can morph into something entirely different with another teacher, with different kids, at another time of day or year.
Another is the fact that there's that huge gap of 2 months in which kids forget material over the summer. So lots of stuff they knew in June is simply gone, and will need to be reviewed or retaught. Likewise, behavior rules need to be reintroduced and refined after 2 months of not being in school.
The reality is that it's the job of each teacher to get the behavior they desire, not to hope that last year's teacher has instilled those patterns. But complaining is a whole lot easier than setting those expectations and following through until the kids meet them.
And i bet that the types of teachers to whine in the faculty room also have the kind of classroom persona that drives the kids crazy... so there's no desire to behave well. You know how it goes: there are some teachers that the kids try hard to please. And there are some who know it all, who blame others, who appear not to like kids much-- these are the teachers who can expect lots of problems. Kids aren't stupid; they know when they're not liked.
I bet you that your complainers fall into this category. So it's a self fulfilling prophecy: they expect the kids to be bad, and the kids are. IIf you don't like kids, they'll know it, and they won't be very likeable for you.
There is a notorious complainer in our building. She was forever belittling the teachers one year below her grade. The p moved her up to the next grade level and she was astounded at how low some of her students were ...mind you some of her students for this year were hers last year too. Reality checks are cool.
No they wouldn't; maybe in an ideal environment, but I don't work in that type of district.
Issues such as a lack of motivation to attend or succeed in school, poor parenting/no outside support, and wild/disrespectful behavior in the classroom cannot be controlled by the district because we cannot get rid of these students. Also, students can only be held back twice before high school so eventually you have to pass them along.
Our district knows it has a problem because we have poor graduation rates/high drop our rates, few students are "academically prepared" for college (if they choose to go) and many do not pass the state exams needed to graduate (the first time they take them).
Also, I think you are talking about kids that are SPED identified, whereas I am talking about all the kids that should have an IEP because they are obviously well below grade-level, but they were never given one because of various factors. Unless a student is in Life Skills, all of our students are on a HS diploma track although not necessarily a college prep track (many want to go to trade school).
I don't think teachers pass students because they don't want to be mean or hurt the child's feelings; many do it because they need to get the student out. My district has a large number of overage students who were held back sometime during grades 1 through 8 and you can only be held back twice before high school in my district. Once these kids get to high school, I think that the schools just push them out especially if they are overage or a major disruption/behavior problem. This is not about the child's feelings.
Sep 7, 2013
Yeah, what he said. Keep telling yourself you did your best and refuse to take their whining as a personal assault. Kids change sometimes and almost all of them will test the limits to which they can push when a new adult/authority figure is introduced. Personality clashes happen. I doubt this is your fault. Chin up and keep on doing your best.
Kids far behind their peers kill the high school. When we get them we are supposed to work some kind of magic that no one else before us was able to do. Get them to an appropriate reading level, teach them how to multiply, get them caught up. In 18 weeks, with 30+ classmates sitting next to them. Then, when the kids and parents realize it is never going to happen, the kids drop out and the high school is to blame. Or, we can play politics and come up with alternate graduation requirements. Can't add? here, take another home ec. course instead of math.
I absolutely disagree with passing a child just because he/she did his/her best. If the best isn't good enough, you probably need some extra time with the subject. FTR, I have never had a student who put forth effort and had an IQ above 80 fail my class. Never once. I can break material down so that even very low students can pass my class. They won't be given a high grade for effort though. The kids that fail are the ones that quit trying.
Getting a B in a class because you were nice or did your best is horrible. Shame on that teacher.
Work with those teachers- literally. Bring more collaboration between the two grades, so that you know how they teach and what their routines are and so that they know how you do it at your grade.
I'm trying to push for this with the 1st and 2nd grade science teacher since she's not really up for learning strategies and same for the 7th grade science teacher since she still teaches with Powerpoint presentations and multiple-choice testing as her main form of assessing. (I totally DO NOT teach or assess in that way- no wonder my 3rd graders have a hard time and my 7th graders are overwhelmed)
Sometimes I think teachers are getting in front of what will appear to be their lack of progress. If they are vocal in the beginning that the children were not properly prepared for their grade, then maybe that takes some of the responsibility off them.
I don't really think there's anything you can do. No matter what, there will be those who complain. Sometimes I do think people have unreasonable expectations. We have teachers now complaining that we didn't teach Kinders to bubble in scantron sheets when we had them. Not bubble answers on the multiple choice test-because we do that, but the actual scantron sheets. So we just smiled, took the note and said we'd do our best to teach them that next year.
It would depend on what the issue is. If it was about a specific skill I was teaching and they noted that there were repeated problems with that then I would reevaluate my teaching of that subject. If it is just griping because the children are little children and did not magically get a year older in two months I would gracefully ignore it and not worry.
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