Quit midyear?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by arod28, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. arod28

    arod28 Rookie

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    Nov 11, 2008

    I am desperately seeking the end of my teaching career! I am a first year high school world history teacher. I am just at my wits end with this job. I wouldn't say that I am having a horrible year or anything-- for the most part things are going pretty smoothly (except for a LOT of talking in my classes, and blatant ignoring me when I ask them not to). I just don't think I am cut out to be a teacher and am not sure why I thought it would be a good fit for me. I enjoy people, and interacting with them, I just don't like standing in front of 25 teenagers at a time, trying to be exciting and interesting all the time, and trying to APPEAR as though I am under control when in fact I am panicking inside! I didn't like high schoolers even when I was IN high school-- I just think a lot of them are irresponsible and rude. So I don't know what was going through my head to sign up to return to it once again. I am actually in a pretty good school, like my dept. head, like my principal, etc., I just don't like the JOB itself. I would like to go into school media or counseling, or something where I can work with kids one on one, not all at once, something quieter and more PEACEFUL when I am in more in control of my day to day life. I don't want to hold out until June, but I KNOW it will look bad if I quit now, in November. Has anybody had any experience with this and tried to look for another job? Finances are not an issue for me-- its more an issue of "can i escape without burning bridges"?
     
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  3. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Nov 11, 2008

    Well whenever you leave a job, questions will arise. And if you leave now, you will be seen as someone who cannot commit themselves to a job. Whether that is true or not isn't the issue, it's the appearance that will matter.

    Personally, I think you should hold out and see if it gets better. I'm sure you've heard that the first year is the worse. But hey, I know what I like about teaching, try to identify with the positives again. Hopefully they will spark a "Oh that's why I became a teacher." But then again, they may make you go "****, I don't want to be teaching."

    I would wait it out and try to make the best of it. I wouldn't want to throw away a job that may be your dream job "in disguise." You MAY just have to adjust to your settings; I know I did. It's hard to go from being surrounded by adults (I used to be a financial advisor for M. Lynch before becoming a teacher) to being with teens who are still learning what it means to be mature.
     
  4. arod28

    arod28 Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2008

    hey Soccer Dad-
    Yes, I think that in fact I WILL stick it out, because I don't want to have "quit midyear" as a part of my employment history...I'm just not sure that I see that job changing much for next year or the year after.... The things I LIKE about it (flexibility, freedom, my subject matter, being able to be around people who are happy (most students) rather than crabby (many adults) is a plus, but these things all feel outweighed by the negatives-- the students never really being responsible for their own learning, the misbehavior and disrespect, having to be the center of attention all the time (HUGE DRAWBACK FOR ME), and the hectic nature of teaching....the load of responsibility that I think may fall in line with being a DOCTOR but with less money, things constantly changing, etc. But I don't care about the money, or I wouldn't have started. I KNOW that the first year is supposed to be hard, but I hear older teachers saying that they see kids' behavior getting worse over the years. And that its Not just me...and the fact that I am in charge of 25 kids at a time? That won't change either..
     
  5. maebowler

    maebowler Comrade

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    Nov 12, 2008

    Could you do activities that don't make you the center of attention at all times? Group projects, explorations, etc. I know that could be a lot of work to prepare but at least you would not be the center of attention and give the kids more control of their learning, which is important. You can do it.
     
  6. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Nov 12, 2008

    I love being the center of attention so that certainly helps but as mae said that isn't necessary in a classroom and, arguably, isn't very beneficial to the kids anyway! If you haven't yet, read Harry Wong's First Days of School. He talks in depth about putting the classroom on the students and taking it off of you.

    As far as the behavior thing goes, I find it to be utter nonsense. Kids behaved differently years ago I'm sure but I don't see that as better by definition. I know when I was in high school 15 years ago kids were defiant, didn't pay attention, got pregnant, dropped out, etc.

    For me personally, the behavior of my students has IMPROVED every year I've taught. Here in year 6 I honestly have to look for things to discipline. My classroom runs so smoothly I now get to be picky about those little things that aren't really problems but just bug me personally. The behavior of a class is heavily related to the abilities of the teacher.

    The biggest thing I had to learn was to be myself. I couldn't be some jerk standing in front of the room telling the kids to stop this, do that, be there, sit there, etc. They knew how uncomfortable I was being like that - they read me like a book. As soon as I started opening up and being myself in the classroom the kids responded. Misbehavior isn't natural to most kids - it is a response to you.

    Try opening up a little bit and see if you enjoy yourself more. If you do, the kids will lighten up too.
     
  7. arod28

    arod28 Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2008

    Thanks for the advice Rock Guy...I do try to loosen up with them, try to tell jokes, etc, make it less uncomfortable. I think it may come down to the fact that I don't feel confident teaching them--- because I know that if they ask the wrong question, I may not be able to answer it. Probably they see that?? I've been told I appear confident, but I certainly don't feel that way.

    I am also not good at confrontation, so that when a kid misbehaves, I hate the process of telling them to stop-- I just want people to have a natural respect for each other and for me. I don't know how to go about correcting them without feeling artificial (because like you its not my natural style) but yet, I simply can't have them all chit chatting throughout my teaching and others saying they can't hear anything. I don't know how to fix that!! Giving them a lot of structure seems to help, but i still feel that things are too loud in my lectures or structured activities. I have given a few detentions, but feel like there is something else WRONG that I needed to do that-- because though I only gave a few, the behavior of the class as a whole was deplorable.

    Right now, I am just focussed on how to make it through the year, as I know I am not returning next year.
     
  8. Luv2Learn

    Luv2Learn Companion

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    Nov 12, 2008

    Can you connect with a few of your students? I'm sure that there are a few that seem more attentive. Talk with them, even have a mini-lesson and make it fun, perhaps when the others see this, they will want to be included.

    Don't worry about not knowing it all...it's impossible. The idea is to get the students to start looking for information themselves. Let them know that everyonce in a while you need to look something up, and while you are doing that, have them do the same.

    Is there anything about world history that really excites you (I'm sure there is if you majored in it!)? Share that excitement...you may not get 100% attention, but you may get more than you expect.

    As long as you have a negative view of teenagers, it is going to come through...yeah, they can be a major PIA, but they are still relatively blank slates...

    Just remember this, YOU are the ADULT and they are still children in a sense. You need to set the tone. Go visit the behavior management thread, maybe you can find some suggestions.

    Kris
     
  9. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Nov 12, 2008

    In terms of getting control of their behavior, I always tell them, "Look, I won't think twice assigning the CLASS a 5 paragraph essay on the history of (Insert something; I normally choose reeducation under Mao Zedong in China)."

    A lot think I'm bluffing, that's to be expected. But, as soon as I assigned it, they're behavior improved TREMENDIOUSLY. I hate being "that" teacher. I didn't go into education so I can punish students, I went into it to teach. And sometimes,teaching involve enforcing and even TEACHING manners (I've been over people's homes when they don't enforce 'please' and 'thank you').

    If you make "threats," make sure you follow through with them!

    And teaching is about variety. Try having them break off into groups to have a debate ("Was Columbus an imperialist? Explain.") In my school, we have 60 minute periods, so I break them down into:
    First 5 Minutes: Check HW, take roll, etc., etc.
    10 Minutes: Discuss the topic of the day
    25 Minutes: Copy notes on the discussion (I don't give a lot of notes in one period, I prefer to break it up over several days)
    20 Minutes: Reflection activites (Either we assess the notes through discussion, or do short assignments; today, for example, I had them break into groups to form their own religion---we're learning world religions at the moment. Using their own religion, we'll compare them with Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and take a class poll on the top three class religions as to who would par take in that religion.)
     
  10. ifightaliens

    ifightaliens Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2008

    God, man. I'm totally in your boat. My advanced classes are usually great, but my "regular" kids are so rude and disrespectful that it's driving me insane. I've given detentions, called parents, handed in pink slips, but nothing seems to work. One girl who I thought had been removed from my class (after her dad told me she's so out of control that he can't even deal with her) showed up again today, just as bad as before. Later in the day I had something thrown at my dome (from my advanced kids)!

    I can't talk to other teachers, because most of them constantly moan about how bad things are getting.

    I teach English, and I'm constantly depressed about how poor the students' writing abilities are. Some of them are completely illiterate and I'm expected to teach them Shakespeare!

    I do group activities but the kids don't learn because they're off task. I joke around with them, I'm always acting enthused, and I try my best to get them into it, but they just don't care.

    I feel guilty for not wanting to stick it out (I'm going to), but every day I wake up worried about how the day is going to go. I've spoken to other teachers, both young and old, and they always tell me their getting paid to babysit. I can't stand it!

    I feel like I'm whining, and guilty that I don't love what I'm doing. I realize that if I'm not into it, the kids can't learn, and I feel terrible. I wind up blaming myself for not being a good enough teacher.

    Had to get that off my chest. Today wasn't a good day.
     
  11. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Nov 17, 2008

    If you like the idea of teaching, but really don't like teaching, get out. There is a teacher out there dying to get a classroom and work through the challenges you list.

    If you actually like teaching, finish the year and look for employment at a Community College or University. The things you like about the job are the stereotypical things that ineffective teachers like. They like the flexibility, potentially shorter hours, and other perceived benefits. These people become the miserable teachers at school that look forward to the weekends on Monday. They make the teachers' room a place that others avoid and use it to recruit faculty to the Darkside. They are the teachers that the students complain about and parents attack. Based on your post, I you don't want to be that teacher.

    But maybe you are in the wrong district or geographic area?
     
  12. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Nov 17, 2008

    Chiming in to suggest you take a look at Power Teaching. A scoreboard might work wonders for you.
     
  13. ByCandleLight

    ByCandleLight Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2008

    I'm in a similar situation, though not a first year teacher, and I'm opting to stay the entire year. However, I do understand your frustrations with the job, and once you've made up your mind that you want to quit it's doubly hard to try and stick it out when these issues raise their ugly heads.

    I have known other teachers who quit mid-year, but I don't know if they regret their decision or not. I do know that in the aftermath of their quitting, the school usually dealt with having to get full time sub...someone who wasn't familiar with that particular field. In the end the students really suffered. While this fact wouldn't pull at my heartstrings for the majority of my kids who sleep, turn in work weeks later after continual prompting bordering on harrassment, and make smart little comments in class...there are a few that truly want to learn, and it's for those kids that I'm determined to stay the whole year despite the teeth grinding, ulcers, stress headaches, and constant acid reflux.
     
  14. ifightaliens

    ifightaliens Rookie

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    Nov 19, 2008

    Well, not to thread jack, but today there was a fistfight in my classroom. The entire security squad showed up, as well as the vice principal. :help:
     
  15. arod28

    arod28 Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2008

    Oh MAN. :) Well, at least you might have some of those trouble makers out of the way of the others who are trying to learn for a bit while they are suspended?

    does the "aliens" in your title refer to the students? :haha:

    we should exchange info and give each other support e-mails everyday!
     
  16. Lakenjade

    Lakenjade Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2008

    My last teacher said that a "Teacher isn't supposed to be the sage on the stage. They should be the guide on the side"
     
  17. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 25, 2008

    Yes, I think you should at least finish the year, then decide what you want to do next. Just because we've spent yrs in college to become a teacher, doesn't mean we have to stay in the career. Teaching isn't my passion, yet I still got a Masters in Special Ed & got 2 credentials: Multiple subjects to be able to teach general ed gr K-6 AND a mild/moderate disabilties credential to teach special ed up to adults. I taught elementary level special ed for a yr. The admin wasn't great.

    I'm now back in school in the beginning stage to get a 2nd Masters in the field of speech pathology. I think I'll enjoy it better. I have more job setting variety because I could work in hospitals, not just the schools.

    I'd never in a million yrs want to teach middle or high school kids. It sounds like you'll maybe like younger grades better, how about trying either 3rd, 4th, or 5th? Not that I really want to teach general ed either, but I think 3rd grade is THE BEST. They've been in school a few yrs to know what school's about, yet they're still young before they start to get attitudes & be smart a$$es.

    Well, good luck in whatever you do!
     
  18. arod28

    arod28 Rookie

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    Nov 27, 2008

    to reply to an earlier post, I don't just want shorter hours or to be able to avoid "work." I also don't go to the teacher lounge and complain. I just don't think I can handle the pressure of teaching. And by the way, I wouldn't consider myself "ineffective"-- most of my kids seem engaged. I just don't have the right temperment. For college teaching, high school teaching, or otherwise
     
  19. BerniceBobs

    BerniceBobs Comrade

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    Nov 28, 2008

    Oh man, are you playing my song.
    Last week, I tried to teach William Blake's "The Tyger" poem to my eighth graders. Last year, I taught this successfully to seventh graders in a suburban school setting. I approach it as an I do, we do, you do, while using the overhead. I could not even get past the first stanza. You know how you were told never to talk when students are talking and how to give them the infamous stare until they stop talking? Well, I stopped talking and stared at them for a full ten minutes--they didn't care.
    As you said, nothing seems to work.
    I am teaching literature while yelling, and God, I never thought I would be screaming "The World is Too Much With us Late and Soon" at the top of my lungs. I love literature, and am appalled at the way I am trying to teach it.
    You know what gets me? All these unrealistic formaltic movies about teaching with these happy endings which make the rest of us mortal teachers feel like failures. Also, have you ever noticed that in these movies the English teachers only seem to have one class? That is, they seem to have twenty-five students as opposed to ninety students, and even on their worst days, they let the teacher talk, teach and stand on their desks.
     
  20. BerniceBobs

    BerniceBobs Comrade

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    Nov 28, 2008

    I am sure you are a really good and engaging teacher, and I really think it takes a lot of personal insight and courage to reach the conclusion that you have.
    If I might make one suggestion? Try and hang in there until the end of the semester. Everyone says the first year is the hardest and most exhausting. Sometimes fatigue dictates our perpective.
     
  21. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Nov 28, 2008

    I don't do a whole lot of direct instruction in Social Studies. I have a real student centered approach where I teach the main terms and concepts of a unit, have a quiz and then the kids do a project. I give them the parametres, but they choose the topic. It works very well as I don't have to be the centre of attention all the time.
     
  22. arod28

    arod28 Rookie

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    Nov 28, 2008

    Hi Canadian Gal- I think that's a great approach. I try to use as much student centered activity as possible, and feel it works well with my honors kids, but then with the others, I feel that I need to directly state A LOT of stuff, in order for them to get the info they need for the state exams. But I do think this is a good approach when possible.
     
  23. 22teacher

    22teacher New Member

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    Nov 30, 2008

    //

    Thanks everyone. I had been struggling with a decision whether to go into teaching science or not. I'd finished 2 of the three subtests (chemistry) and working on the third and this week I am suppossed to respond to the acceptance to the unversity's credential program.

    My sister wants me to teach. I sort of wanted to take the job because of the security and huge hike in pay (I am a substitute teacher) with benefits. But I confessed I am afraid to take that job.

    I believe I am good at what i do. I truly know the subject well and love physical science but after what I've read here, just confirms what I was thinking. Who wants to put up with those kinds of kids-no manners, or class and I'll just leave it at that. I know this to be true because I've worked at 3 districts for three last 6/7 yrs.

    I was already hesitant to go into this hectic and time consuming prefession because I am preparing for the job I really want but there is so much testing involved I may not be able to rpepare adequately while teaching full time.

    As a sub that is a different matter.

    Thanks people
     
  24. AltEdTeacher1

    AltEdTeacher1 Rookie

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    Dec 2, 2008

    Sound Advice

    I wouldn't jump of the bridge quite yet, sounds like you love 'kids' which is why you are there in the first place. I would certainly look to relocate for this is definitly not the best fit for you. Believe it or not there are far better situations out there.

    Teaching is the only profession which frowns upon you quitting mid-year. Thus, if you're not planning on entering the profession again in another school, no worries. Be aware the district has legal grounds to take your license from you for an undisclosed amount of time. Yet, education law is in your corner if you can prove the job is causing undo stress in your life and creating emotional hardship.

    What about working in a 'higher education' setting such as community college courses? You might also consider mentor orginizations such as Knowledge Points or Sylvin (sp?).
     
  25. arod28

    arod28 Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2008

    Whew...I quit. I did it. They will find somebody to replace me in a couple weeks. I am SO glad i got that off my chest. They took it quite well, and there will be no "legal" ramifications, and in addition, two people have offered to give me recommendations. There is no way I plan to go into teaching again.
    Now, I just need to get through the next few weeks!
    Thank you to all of you for your advice.
     
  26. ifightaliens

    ifightaliens Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2008

    Aww man, I lost my commiseration buddy! :p

    Hope you find something more enjoyable, bro!
     
  27. arod28

    arod28 Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2008

    Haha... well i am actually a "sis" but what's the difference?? I am so relieved to be leaving the job BEHIND -- just keep in mind, if you are miserable, why do it?
     
  28. sk8enscars311

    sk8enscars311 Companion

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    Dec 10, 2008

    I'm so jealous. My husband and I both want to quit too. But we're building a house and have too much money going out to survive this crappy economy. :(

    Good luck with whatever you get into!
     
  29. hopefulnovice

    hopefulnovice Rookie

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    Hi arod28,

    Oh, how I understand you! You basically described how I feel. I also teach World History (Western Civ) as one of my two preps in high school. I constantly think of doing something else that would still keep me in school, because I do enjoy working with kids, but more so one-on-one. Are you still thinking of not returning next year? I hope you figured out a way to stay untill July. Quitting would be bad for your future if you do want to stay in the school environment.
    Can you tell me more about counceling? What training must one get to do that?
     
  30. Near Horse

    Near Horse New Member

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    Dec 30, 2008

    I did the same thing earlier this year!

    Hi arod28,

    I did the same thing at the end of the 1st quarter. I taught HS science at a school that was managed by "monkeys". Put it this way, one administrator identified known current gang members coming in from other districts while the HS principal embraced them with open arms (even ones that were expelled from this school the previous year).. Needless to say, much of the student classroom behavior was horrendous. Kids often dropped the "F-bomb" when angry with teachers. In fact, in my final days I had some kid try and choose me off (fight) after I told him to leave class for being disruptive. He said I better stop looking at him or else .... He was apparently suspended (nobody informed me until later) but showed up in my class instead of where he was supposed to be (inhouse suspension). Cracker jack administration - some kid threatens me and they don't even know where he is.

    On top of that, I had 2-5 kids that were barely able to speak English thrown in my class w/o support. AND close to 50% that read at a 3rd grade level or worse. Recipe for disaster. I sent more kids to the office for behavior in that quarter than I did in 2 years teaching elsewhere.

    Lastly, I had some kids that had over 20 absences in a quarter. A QUARTER!

    And they'll all graduate. Not with an education but they'll graduate.
     
  31. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Dec 30, 2008

    You have not really given yourself enough time to decide to quit. At least try to complete the year. You might like to teach at a lower level or at a college or Junior college level. Look into becoming a guidance counsellor,or a school psychologist.Teaching is not easy and most of us have experienced a difficult first year. Good Luck.
     
  32. mcleod13

    mcleod13 Rookie

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    This post has me a little worried. I know I want to teach. I love being in front of others and teaching them. I have never had an issue with confrontation, however, what do you do with kids that just don't care?

    I like Soccer Dad's method. Assign a 5 page paper if they are disruptive, if they don't complete it, it is 20% off of their grade.... hmmm.. Does that work?
     
  33. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 30, 2008

    mcleod-I don't agree with assigning them to do more work. They will just come to resent your class. I would recommend reading Teaching With Love and Logic. It really puts the responsibility back on the student.
     
  34. mcleod13

    mcleod13 Rookie

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    I will hae to find the book. I really want to be a teacher, but this has to be the only thing I am worried about. Well that, and finding a job. I don't want to be the teacher that always sends people to the office.
     
  35. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Dec 30, 2008

    There are many great books with different approaches & ideas to help you with those tough students. I am always looking for books with ways to reach tough kids. This website is also filled with people who have great ideas to help you. You may want to go into the search posts section & find previous threads that deal with those issues. :D
     
  36. mcleod13

    mcleod13 Rookie

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    Everytime I try to use the search function, but when I do it tells me page cannot be displayed.. I will try later.
     
  37. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    In our district, that would get you fired. We are not allowed to use homework (or additional homework) as a punishment under any circumstances. We are also not allowed to use less homework as a reward. Homework is for practicing skills, in our district anyway -- it is not something we can use as an incentive or punishment.

    I think there are far more effective methods for maintaining discipline. -- but that is just my opinion... take it for what it is worth.
     
  38. mcleod13

    mcleod13 Rookie

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    I remember when I was in High School I treated teachers with respect because that was expected. I don't know what teenagers are thinking.
     
  39. senseijoao

    senseijoao Rookie

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    Jan 7, 2009

    I'm glad you feel better, but frankly, I find your decision disturbingly selfish. Someone else is going to have to take over that classroom, and they will never get it back to the way you ran it, no matter how bad you thought it was. The students now own the room, and your replacement will be cursing you until June.

    I'm taking a week off to finish my studies after the christmas break myself, but I find myself surfing this forum with my next semester in mind (starts in two weeks, we have a whack schedule). Time healed me up from a horrible semester, believe me...but I'm getting back in there, because I'm not one of these cliches who comes in hoping to "save all the poor black kids" only to cave in after a few months and revert to their liberal-elite, megalomaniacal, candy-assed selves...

    I'm seeing too many people getting the wrong ideas about this. Everybody's thinking it, I'll just say it.
     
  40. senseijoao

    senseijoao Rookie

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    Jan 7, 2009

    Disentangling the academic performance of a student from the behavior issues is an impossibility, and it has direct correlation to the real world. Show up late to work, get stuck with bad jobs. It's that simple.

    Of course, there is going to be a lot of students who are resigned to their failing grade, but eventually you have to let it be the example that it is. After-school punishments are a good stop gap measure to keep the students from migrating to the office every day, but still, many don't respond to that either. Thankfully, our union negotiated a 2-day suspension from the teacher's desk, and I use that whenever it happens.
     
  41. ifightaliens

    ifightaliens Rookie

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    Jan 7, 2009

    Herein lies a huge problem. I can deal with the kids not caring about the subject. In fact, I expect that; part of the reason I wanted to do this was to get kids INTO the subject. The problem is just a total lack of respect for any authority figure, and the administration's poor handling of the discipline problem.

    Despite a zero tolerance towards violence policy, I see at least a fight a week. I saw one just now. Myself and three other teachers, two NTA's, two security guards AND once of the vice principals had to break it up. And I know that one of the girls involved will be in my class tomorrow.

    And on top of that, our new district superintendent's main goal is to blame the teachers for these problems! It's absurd!

    I'm sticking out my year, but I'm seriously rethinking this as a career. I would like to help kids, but it's not getting done here.
     

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