Resigned on Monday! Will I ever catch a break?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by sel6262, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. sel6262

    sel6262 New Member

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    Jan 20, 2013

    BACKGROUND
    I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade ELA/Spelling and Science, from October 2010 - May 2011. Even though I wasn't certified, nor was I planning to get certified for middle school; they offered me the job anyway because three teachers had already resigned from this position, (remember it was only October)! I stayed until the end of the school year because I did not want to be another teacher giving up and quitting on these kids. It was quite a difficult year to say the least! First off I had NO teaching experience except observations required for my teaching certification. Second, it was a private school where the parents saw their children as little "angels" who did nothing wrong! Really?!?! I am their fourth teacher and it is October! The principal REQUIRED me to use the study guide, given to the students to study all week for their test, as also their test because the parents complained my tests were too difficult. These "difficult test" were test from the manuals. Even though they had all week to study the actual test I still would catch some cheating by having the study guide under the test. However, when they were caught and issued a 0 and a school suspension, all the students parent had to do was call the principal. She would make me drop the 0, the child would be excused from the test, and she would not follow through with the suspension! The principal also gave the students answers during Standardized Testing. One night, she held a mandatory meeting about the demerits being issued by me and two other teachers. It was held at night with all the parents yelling at me about how horrible I was and that they basically wanted me to quit. I sat in the front of all these parents with my head held high, all my documentation,classroom policies (signed by them), school policies (signed by them), school board policies (signed by them), e-mails sent to the parents, phone logs, notes sent, and not an ounce of regret for the way I had been conducting my class. Needless to say the principal didn't hire me for the following year, which I had to complete student teaching so would not have been able to accept the job (nor did I want it). She was forced to resign this school year due to illegal activities regarding money for the school, as well as unethical and unprofessional conduct.

    I then did my student teaching in a Kindergarten class, from August - November 2011; which ended up being a school I truly respected. I would love to teach at this school but there has not been an opening since I since before I began my student teaching.

    I completed student teaching and found a job that same week teaching Kindergarten in a nearby parish.
    I taught Kindergarten from November 2011 - May 2012. Two teachers before me had resigned and I would be the students third teacher that school year. I was hesitant due to my prior experience with situations like this, but I figured it will at least be a good learning experience so I took the job.

    This same school, where I was teaching Kindergarten, offered me a position in first grade for the 2012-2013 school year. I accepted the position without hesitation. I had worked my tail off all summer and put in long hours to make sure my students received the education they deserve! BUT we had a brand new principle and my once comforting work environment was now a nightmare! (I was hired by the principle from the last school year). The new principle disliked me from the first day. I am still uncertain as to why she did not care for me; however I was not there to make friends and personally her not liking me did not bother me. The school was filled with gossip, lies, disrespect, people who had absolutely no morals and were unprofessional on so many levels that it is sickening to think about. I documented being observed 22+ times this school year. From mid September until last week, they came into my classroom more than 22 times to "observe" my lesson. I only have THREE copies of feedback! Which means for every other time I was "observed" they gave me 0 feedback!!!! Due to the constant harassment I was dealing with, I considered hiring an attorney last week. I unfortunately resigned on yesterday, January 14, 2013. I cried all weekend so saddened by the thought of "abandoning" my students. Several of them even cried when I told them yesterday that they would be getting a new teacher because I was moving. This made my decision so hard but I could no longer put up with the harassment. *I am the fifth teacher to resign, this school year, due to our principals harassment!

    I accepted a long-term substitute position in the parish where I did my student teaching. Although, this position is not permanent I could no longer deal with the harassment I was receiving at my other school. My first day was last Wednesday in this new position. I went in to observe the teacher I will be replacing for only one day due to the short notice. It is a fourth grade class that contains students on a 1st or 2nd grade reading level, a lot of behavior issues (that are deemed the worst in the school), a class used to being ran military style, and a teacher aide that falls asleep during the lessons. The teacher, I has shadowed did not do any lessons, didn't even explain the schedule to me, was very basic with everything even though I asked a million questions. I even made a list over the weekend of questions I would feel my long term sub would need the answers to, in order to run my class effectively. I have already had 4 fights in the classroom and I am lost already! :help::help::help:

    Teaching is my passion but I am on the verge of giving up and switching careers.
    Any advice or suggestions about this all inclusive 4th grade class with a lot of behavior issues??? :help::help::help:
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 21, 2013

    I don't think that you should have resigned mid-year, but I guess that ship has sailed.

    Unfortunately, lots of first-year teachers get placed in difficult classes. That's how it works in a lot of places--the veteran teachers have "paid their dues" and thus get the easier classes. It's not necessarily good practice, but it happens all over the place, even in otherwise good schools and districts.

    I am not sure why you were unhappy about getting so many observations. Our admin has to be in our classroom a minimum of 12 times for all new teachers; many administrators go in a lot more often. Does your union require that you be given feedback after each observation? Were these observations lengthy formal evals, or were they more like walk-throughs or drive-bys?

    What was the "constant harrassment" you felt? Was it just the observations?
     
  4. sel6262

    sel6262 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2013

    I would not have resigned mid-year if I knew that someone other than my principal would have done my formal evaluation but she was the only one doing the evaluations and she would have given me an insufficient due to her personal issues with me. This was advice given to me by the few veteran teachers that actually talked to me.

    I understand as a first year teacher you may be put in difficult classes because you are at the bottom of the ladder; however I spoke with other first year teachers on several different occasions (our school board requires of to go to new teacher meetings several times your first year of teaching) and they all had support from the principle, buddy teacher, etc to help them with their difficult class. At my last school, where I resigned, I was being set up for failure and had zero support.

    I would have been happy with the observations if I would have been getting even a little feedback to better myself for my students. These were lengthy formal evals, they would interrupt my lesson and tell me to do it a different way, come in a day later and tell me to do it differently again. I changed my Reading Centers 9 times. How can my students get into a routine and my transitions be smooth if the literacy coach keeps making me change these things. It would change then go back to the original, then change again, then go back to the way it was before that change. Just ridiculous things.

    The harassment goes beyond the observations. It was the rude text messages/phone calls left by my principal, the DEMAND I leave my grandmothers funeral because the sub instructions could not be found (which I found when I arrived at school and have two witnesses, one being the sub) and my students could not be left with nothing to do, being accused of taking another teachers manual (which we all have our own so why in the world would I do such a thing), telling parents in the community I am a horrible teacher and I am on drugs, making parents call and harass me or insist on coming sit in during lessons (which is fine but after all the observations don't you think this is a lot of distraction???), saying if my pencils weren't sharpened I would be written up (after I asked for a pencil sharpener on several occasions and ended up just buying my own), and lastly after I resigned on Monday I received a text on Thursday, from the principle saying if she could not locate the document viewer for my classroom she was going to hold my last paycheck until it was returned. Why would I have such a thing?? I never used the document viewer one time, my administration signed all the necessary paperwork saying I turned in all the school/school board materials, and from Monday-Thursday there was substitutes, other teachers, and school administration in and out of my classroom. I refuse to be held responsible for such a thing! Just another example of why I am no longer teaching at that school. Also, we are not part of a teachers union.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jan 21, 2013

    Eek...sounds tough. I have no advice for your sub job, but I wish you a better experience.
     
  6. sel6262

    sel6262 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2013

    Thanks!! It is all a learning experience I guess.....
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 21, 2013

    You've had a run of horrible bad luck with schools. Is this the norm for the schools in your area? I've noticed that certain districts all hire the same types of principals (ones who are overly protective, demeaning, or non-involved). If this seems to be the case, think about moving to a different district. Private schools can be a gamble with principals as well.

    Sometimes some principals are just hard to deal with because they are very type A and high strung. I've had principals like this, but if you put your all into it, and they are clear that you are new and taking over positions that they would otherwise have to fill with less qualified candidates, then they tend to be very supportive.

    The administration at my current school is absolutely wonderful. I completely believe that when you attend an interview you are evaluating the principal and admins every bit as much as they are evaluating you. If you don't feel like you would enjoy working under that person or at that school (based on the vibe) you should simply avoid that job. I declined one job because of the vibe the principal gave me.

    I think resigning may have been the only choice in your case (if that harassment is really as bad as you said it was).

    You seem to be working at a lot of Parishes and private schools. Have you thought about maybe joining a public or charter school? I hate to say it but as a someone who attended a Christian school, religious private schools don't always follow as rigorous academic standards, and at least in my experience, it was the students running the show. There was no behavior management to speak of.

    Public schools have been doing their thing for a long time, and they're under pressure to meet state and national standards. A lot of them have learned to be demanding behaviorally and academically as well as learned to be warm while doing it. You can find a lot of great role-model teachers at public schools (not saying you can't at private schools though).

    I also think you need to build up a support network. Find family and friends who are willing to help you through these times, and talk with teachers and befriend some really great teachers that you've seen.
     
  8. sel6262

    sel6262 New Member

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    Jan 21, 2013

    This was a public school. The only private school I taught at was when I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th.

    Upon my resignation I switched parishes and do in fact see a difference. Although the teacher I am filling in for was not very helpful, my grade level as well as admin has already shown me more support than the school where I was teaching full time has ever shown me.

    I am already making friends here and feel like they are actually trying to help me and not "setting me up for failure" like my other school.

    Any suggestions for behavior management in an all inclusive classroom?? They know I did not have much experience with students that had these severe issues and they just keep telling me to try my best. I had one student yelling he wanted to kill himself last week. The teacher who I am subbing for does not believe in positive incentives at all and everyone praises her classroom management, students test scores, etc.... I am having a difficult time keeping it military style!! I find it hard to not smile and this was the only advice I was given by her.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jan 21, 2013

    Our union has really jumped on teachers being observed and receiving no feedback. Principals are now required to leave a walkthrough form or conference with the teacher. I know that personally at the beginning of the year when admin was coming in constantly and telling me nothing, it was extremely nerve-wracking and contributed to an environment of fear at the school. As for the number of walkthroughs/observations, when you have a principal who is negative and demeaning this can be an extremely stressful experience. In my last school walkthroughs didn't bother me...here, my entire school is terrified of them. We had a 4th grade teacher have a legitimate panic attack when both admins walked in at once 5 minutes into the day after Christmas break.

    OP, I hope you have better luck in your next position.
     
  10. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jan 21, 2013

    While I'm low on experience (3rd year of subbing, mainly in K-5 classrooms) - I'd say one thing that will really help is, as much as possible, develop routines such that the students are as independent as possible throughout the day. Taking a simple example, when the day starts, if students have a routine for coming in and putting their stuff in a certain spot, grabbing their initial activity and then beginning to work on it, that will take care of most of the class, leaving the teacher time to focus on the kids who are not following directions.

    Also, I'd say do what feels comfortable to you - if military style doesn't feel right, then don't do it exactly like that. Be strict, but smile to your hearts desire - kids and adults alike I think respond best to someone who cares about them but also holds high expectations for them.
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 21, 2013

    In Oregon, your paycheck can not be held due to you "owing" the job anything. Contact BOLI if you have issues.
     
  12. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Oh man, you described a principal I once worked for so well, it may very well be the same woman, except she's still right where I left her. Even down to the rumors about drug use and talking bad about me in the community. Apparently, because I once took an Aleve in the faculty lounge, someone at the school saw me and started rumors that I'm on drugs. So many other things were like that. I was once written up for having a piece of sticky tack on my wall that had been there since before I moved to that room. I don't know where some of the parishes here find these principals, but it's like they all went to the same school of how to alienate their entire faculty! I'm so glad I've found a school that feels like home, and a faculty and administrator that feels like family.
     
  13. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jan 21, 2013

    There are 2 books that have helped me a ton with classroom management. Neither are expensive and both can be found used at amazon.com. I'd buy them today. The 2nd one I just came across this year and it has been great. I have had my best behaved class I have ever had in 20+ years of teaching. Some of it is the students, but I know the books have also helped.

    1. Tools For Teaching by Fred Jones
    2. The Inner Wealth Initiative by Tom Grove and Howard Glasser

    Good luck to you :)
     
  14. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jan 21, 2013

    How long is the LTS position? You've got to be able to run the classroom. Take some time to set up or review routines or procedures. Have them practice until they can do them. Yes, it will take instruction time, but it will be well worth it. Then you can focus on those kiddos who are having a difficult time following the rules.

    Good luck!
     
  15. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jan 21, 2013

    As a fellow Louisianian and teacher, here are my thoughts:

    1. Did you join LFT or LAE (your parishes version)? I joined LFT, and my local union presidents just about saved my life my first year (in a crazy school at which, according to the admin, I was the source of all problems)
    2. It sounds as if you have a fabulous amount of documentation. Did you save the texts? Along with your union rep, you could easily take them to the district level, along with your complaints.

    As far as the "difficult" class is concerned, I agree with the others regarding the books to read. I would add that it would be beneficial to both you and your students if you took a couple of days to teach, model, and practice your expectations. Then, once you are sure that they know what they are and how to achieve them, if your kids get out of line in any way, stop immediately, quickly reteach, and have them practice till they get it right. Smiling is not anathema to "discipline" (student and teacher self control). In fact, an honest smile can be one of the greatest rewards a child can receive all day.

    What is the background of your students? Are they from a low or high socioeconomic background? Are they receiving special education services? Do they need to be identified for said services? Do they have supportive parents?

    Just some random thoughts....
     
  16. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Jan 21, 2013

    Thanks for the book suggestions, I could use a little help in that area as well! Of course, I actually had and sold the Fred Jones book without even looking at it a few years back - was moving abroad and trying to rid my life of the extras I didn't think I needed anymore!
     
  17. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 21, 2013

    If you saw my video resignation then you know how I feel.

    I don't agree that new teachers should get the tough classes. The seasoned vets are the ones with the honed skills and accumulated "bag of tricks" to deal with the tough cases, and they should be getting their share. Newbies will be doing all they can to keep their heads above water and, after all, they they are the lowest ones on the pay scale.

    No wonder so many drop out the first year. It's a shame.
     
  18. strepsils

    strepsils Companion

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    Jan 21, 2013

    I believe students should be 'evenly' distributed among classes. It should be interchangable - a new student AND a veteran teacher (or a good teacher and a 'bad' teacher) should be able to teach both and feel that the classes are as even as possible. Don't punish a good teacher with a bad class (and do not reward poor teaching with an easy class).

    The the OP - set routines and develop a positive behaviour management plan, if that is what suits you. Reward good behaviour as you see it. You are there as a LTS and need to be able to focus on teaching.
     

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