Rough Schools - Desperate Times - & CHAMPS

Discussion in 'General Education' started by CatfaceMeowmers, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    I recently moved to NV because of the teacher shortage - and holy cow. I've already received 2 emails and 2 phone calls from principals for interviews only within the last week. I just had my first interview and I think I rocked it - considering it was my very first interview!

    Many of the schools that need teachers are in rough areas. I've been subbing for only 2 weeks and so far, nearly all of my days have been pretty bad. I know subbing is completely different from teaching though - so I know I can't use my experience so far as a comparison.

    However, before moving, I thought I would be desperate for a job and try to get whatever I could take. But now, since there really is a shortage, it seems that the principals are desperate as well. I have rattled my brain with questions of "is this a safe area?" "will I have fights break out in my classroom?" "what if they completely ignore me since I'm the 'new' teachers and they're 7th/8th graders?" "will I have support from my administration?" "how do I choose?"

    I know every school is different and you guys can't answer many of these questions. However, I could use some advice.

    It seems that I will definitely be able to get a job for next year (YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYSUPERHAPPYFUNTIMEDANCEYAY!), but I'm not sure how "desperate" I am anymore. I just had my first interview today and have another scheduled for Thursday. The school I interviewed for is a rough school with rather low academic performances (at least from what I can see online) as well as low socio-economic families. They told me they were very impressed with my interview and can contact me as early as TOMORROW to offer me the job. This is very sudden and seems too good to be true.

    I don't want to take the very first job I was offered, but at the same time, I don't want it to slip by. If they do perhaps offer me the job, how long can I ask for to give them a direct answer? It is a bit early to hire and there are many schools that I have applied to that I haven't heard anything from (then again, it's only been 2 weeks).

    I want to look at all of my options.

    I also know that my first year won't be amazing. I've already come to terms that it will be very hard and be full of ups and downs. Especially if I am at a rough school. I am excited to make a difference in these kids' lives - but I'll admit it - I'm afraid of the areas and behaviors I've witnessed so far.

    Thanks all for your time!


    Also, anyone have some experience with CHAMPS? I've looked at whole brain teaching, but I think CHAMPS would be better with 7th-8th graders. Thanks!
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    It's so early in the hiring season, and Las Vegas is desperate for teachers. If you aren't starting until next year, wait to make a decision until you are sure that the school is where you want to teach. Or are you looking to start now?
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Also make sure you ask them all the questions you need to make a decision.
    For example:
    - what are the school wide disciplinary steps and what do they entail? For example, what is the consequence if a student cusses out a teacher, if he throws something at a teacher or another student, if he makes a threat, etc. What if they start a fight?
    - somehow find out how supportive admin is.
    - what are you supposed to do if there is a fight? How many fights have they had this year? Last year?
    - is there a gang problem at the school? Drug problem? using and or selling on campus? What do they do about it or trying to prevent it?
    - what actions warrant zero tolerance?

    Ask if you could observe the school. Sit in some classes, walk the hallways, listen for noise coming from classrooms. Sit around during break and lunch and see how things are handled, how students are acting, etc.
     
  5. GTB4GT

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    This is extremely good advice. If you arrange a visit, I would introduce myself to a few teachers and ask them if you could contact them at a convenient time for further conversation. As in all cases, some will be polite and responsive, others not so much. Bottom line, interview and ask the teachers there about the school environment (although a visit, if one can be arranged should tell you a lot). trust your gut.

    You are in a situation where you can afford to be choosy and take your time. Your job selection is the most important criteria in regards to professional satisfaction (imo). Choose wisely.
     
  6. ArtTeacher01

    ArtTeacher01 Rookie

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    I think it sounds like you are approaching these situations completely honest with yourself, and that is a great way to start. I began my career in an inner city school with 97% free and reduced lunch. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. You seem like you are much more prepared!

    Demographic data tells very little about a school. Really, past performance on standardized tests also tells you very little about the school climate. In my case, my first school was a bottom of the barrel school according to a lot of numbers, but the staff and administration was engaged and supportive. This made a tough situation feel rewarding.


    I believe that getting a feel for the school is the best method of judging the climate. As mentioned, try to observe some classes, talk with teachers. If there is a climate of negativity or lack of support, it should be pretty apparent.

    Adam
     
  7. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    I had no idea I could arrange for a visit to the school! I will definitely do this! And yes, it is way early in the school year to decide. I wanted to try and sub at a lot of schools, but I haven't been able to sub at many of the middle schools. I will definitely take that advice and plan to visit the schools.

    So what do I do about this school who I interviewed for? What if they offer me the job? I don't want to tell them a straight no but I also don't want to string them along.Thanks again for all the advice.
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    The CHAMPs book is rather lengthy but it does have some good info. The upper grades use it here. I use bits and pieces myself. I think it would work well with junior high aged students.
     
  9. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    NEW UPDATE PLEASE HELP!

    Okay so, my interview went awesome and she called me today! She said it would be as early as today that she would call.

    So, she offered me the job. She said I would be a great fit here!- I was super taken by surprise! Holy cow!!! I was offered my first teaching job! I'm so happy!

    However...............................

    I asked them about your advice Linguist92021 and asked if I could come to the school tomorrow and sit in on some classes, walk the halls, and talk with some teachers. She IMMEDIATELY became very defensive and said, "Okay, I can understand if you want to substitute here but I do not understand why you would want to talk to other teachers and sit in on classes." I explained that since I have not had a chance to sub there, I wanted to take a look at the school environment. She responded with, "To be honest, if you are hesitating, I can understand why you would hesitate, but since you are, maybe this isn't the right school for you and perhaps you wouldn't fit in here." I was completely taken aback. I tried to explain more about how I wanted to see the culture of the school. But I quickly changed the subject and asked if I could have a day or two to think it over. She got very nice again and said I could have as long as I needed because she couldn't actually make it official until next week.

    So...is this a red flag? I have no idea why she would get so defensive about me seeing the school and talking to other teachers.

    She also said nothing about pay or benefits.

    This particular isn't in the best areas and they have I believe 97% of the students are on free and reduced lunch. They also very very low academically.

    Are they defensive because they think if I see the school or talk to teachers, I'll see how "bad" it is and not want to take the job? Are they trying to lure me in? (that sounds a bit bad....)

    I just don't know what to do. It was my very first job offer and it's so early in the year that I don't want to say yes to the very first job offer without even really seeing the school.

    Please please advice please!
     
  10. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Wow, I am not sure how to respond to that. It is rather weird to have someone become defensive like that. Maybe talk to Ceaser? She teaches in Clark County.
     
  11. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    But seriously, is it dumb to ask to visit the school?
     
  12. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    did you get to interview at the school? Because when I interviewed at the one I am at now, I got a tour, it is part of the reason I took their offer.
     
  13. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    No. I can understand why they may have felt what they supposedly are feeling...but I think it is perfectly reasonable. I was told about a maternity leave position, and e-mailed back my interest, saying that I'd also love the opportunity to come by and spend some time or sub in the class to ensure it'd be a good fit (and thus would provide the students the best opportunities going forward). I went in and subbed that day, it gave me a much better sense of what I was getting into, the environment of the classroom, and the dynamics of the school (I had student taught there 3.5 years back and subbed there occasionally, but didn't know the principal nor current teacher I would take over for)...and with that comfort level, and them seeing that it would be a positive fit, they offered me the position pending paperwork immediately after school that day.

    It's important on all ends that a proper fit is found - the person entering that position (you), the staff (it being a good interpersonal fit so collaboration can happen), and the students.
     
  14. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    I did interview there but I did not get a tour. I sat in the office and waited for about 20 minutes to get my interview. Then we went into one of the AP's office and they talked with me for about 30 minutes then I left. They were very nice and I felt like it was more of a conversation than an interview. The actual interview went great but I didn't get lots of questions answered about the school.
     
  15. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Erm, well that doesn't sound too good ..... is this job for this year or for next year? IF for this year, ask to sub in the building in the class you will take over to help the students with the transition, play it as all in the name of the kids.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's normal for a principal to not discuss pay and benefits. Those things are determined by HR, really by the contract, and are totally out of the hands of principals. The salary schedule is posted online and it applies to all teachers in the district.

    I think it's weird that she wouldn't let you come in and look around. If you want to PM me the name of the school, I can ask around.

    Honestly, the jobs posted now are the ones that have been vacant all year. There is a reason they have been vacant--it may not be a bad reason, but it's something worth asking about and investigating. If a principal is giving you a bad vibe, then even the best school might not be the right fit.

    Working at a rough school isn't terrible, as long as admin is supportive. It can take a little digging to find out whether the other teachers at the school think that admin is supportive, but this information is gold if you can get it.
     
  17. CatfaceMeowmers

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    I am definitely not wanting to start now - it will be for next year. So like you said, it's so early and there are lots of jobs available so far!
     
  18. FourSquare

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    Smells fishy and I'd decline!
     
  19. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    A friend of mine suggested that she became defensive when I asked to talk to other teachers because she is a new principal and that perhaps the teachers are not fans of her and will talk bad about her. But I am not sure why she is worried about that.

    I mean, if I am a "good fit" for the school, why is there a problem with me seeing the school/classes?
     
  20. CatfaceMeowmers

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    And she also suggested that I don't turn it down straight up because it's all the same district and she could possibly spread it around that I turned the offer down immediately to other schools...
     
  21. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Sounds to me like a sketchy offer at best. I would decline. You can find something that isn't so questionable on several levels.
     
  22. CatfaceMeowmers

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    Okay, so next question. How do I turn it down without leaving any bad vibes?
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Me too- HUGE red flag.
     
  24. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    boy, sounds like she is trying to intimidate you in some way! This whole story sounds very suspicious!
     
  25. GTB4GT

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    Do not outright decline the offer. Instead, tell her you need more time and want to investigate all opportunities before making a final decision. Conclude by telling her that you understand if she continues to recruit for her vacancy while you do your job search.

    this is a great strategy to buy yourself some time AND to see how mature and professional this P is.

    Trust me...if she gets angry or defensive, then this IS NOT a person that you want to work for. as others have said, this appears to be a sketchy situation.
     
  26. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    This sounds a bit like my interview scenario from the school I was at last year. The interview was in the district office and I never set foot on the school grounds before being hired. I should have asked for a tour, but I didn't. I did ask about school climate and discipline and was told "we don't have those kinds of problems here" which turned out to be BALONEY. I would personally run far away from a P who became defensive just asking about these kinds of things!

    In comparison, my current P was very honest and straight-up in my interview when I asked the same questions. I taught a demo lesson to actual students in the school, even though it was over the summer. I got to see the classrooms, some of the students, meet my whole department...and what a different world I am in now!
     
  27. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    Thanks so much!!! I definitely will take your advice GTB4GT, sounds like a great plan! But...how do I do this? Over the phone, through an email, or in person?

    I want to say in person to make it more professional, but I would rather do it through email so I don't have to talk haha
     
  28. GTB4GT

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    Do it in person if convenient...it is more professional and it will give you a chance to observe her reactions. Second choice, by phone. Lastly, by email. I always feel like this is the easiest (and slightly more cowardly) way out. But keep in mind, I am an "old guy" (50+) so I have a generational dislike for business conducted via email. And remember, if the discussion gets tense or confrontational (on her part), it is a plus for you to find out her management style/personality before you accept a job with her.



    best wishes.
     
  29. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    I have an interview today at a different school. I will see how this one goes and then perhaps head over to the school afterwards or the Friday. But I do have a feeling that it's not the school for me. Thanks again for your help! I truly appreciate it!
     
  30. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I love CHAMPs. I've been using it for many years.
     
  31. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    The only thing I'm worried about is that teachers shouldn't talk a lot, students tune them out. And with CHAMPS, it seems that you narrate constantly and talk about expectations a lot. I wonder if students tune all of that out.

    And what if middle schools, mostly 7-8 graders don't go with the whole attention signal and won't raise their hand? How would you deal with that?
     
  32. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    I would decline the offer, they had you interview without doing a demo? Then don't want you asking teachers about the school? Then she suggested if you decline she'll tell other principals?

    I'm sorry that sounds extremely shady. At the school I'm at now, during my interview, I met the AP, a few teachers and the literacy coach. I did my demo, was able to ask teachers questions and most importantly walk around the school. To me it sounds like this P is hiding something.

    How can be she be so sure you're a perfect fit without seeing you teach? But then she says you're not a good fit if you want to know more about the school. That makes NO SENSE!!!! You want to make sure the school is a good fit for you.

    Run so far away from this school and P. Don't be intimidated by her feeble attempts to bully you into taking the position. Imagine if you worked there? What else would she bully you into doing?

    Clark County is a huge district. She can't know every principal. You'll be fine looking for another position. Remember they are desperate for teachers. They have a shortage. You will find something because you'll have your pick. It's a teachers market there.
     
  33. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    There is no constant narration. :confused: There is a lot of teaching of expectations up front, but that is something they saves lots of time later. No matter how you choose to present your classroom routines and exoectations, you never do it once and students follow it from then on.

    Our middle school had no trouble with the attention signal. They don't have to raise their hand, they just have to be silent when the hand is raised.
     
  34. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    UPDATE!

    So, I went to my other interview, it went great! She told me I would hear back from then in about a week for a second interview if I made it through. I really want this school! I even asked if I could come sit in classes and talk with teachers - she said of course! Haha!

    So after that, I headed over to the first school. I was lucky to catch the principal before a meeting for a few minutes. She invited me into her office and I began by thanking her for the offer. I said, "I wanted to talk with you about yesterday's phone call. When I asked about sitting in classes and talking with teachers, I meant no offense by it, I just wanted to see the school culture in action." She was smiling the entire time and said, "Oh okay! But no, I took no offense by it." So then I continued, "Saying that, I definitely would like to substitute teach her before accepting the job. I want to see the culture of the students and the school. I am constantly on the substitute website and checking for sub jobs at your school. But I do understand that, because you are actively looking for -" She interrupted and said, "We are interviewing." I continued, "Okay, because you are interviewing other candidates for the position, I understand if the position will be filled before I can substitute teach at your school."

    The entire time, she was smiling and nodding. After I said my peace, she responded, "And oh yes, that makes sense. But you know, CCSD is a very large district. There are many schools, and with you being certified in math - you are very desirable. So you do not have to settle with [middle school name]."

    WTF, seriously?

    I responded by saying I am not saying I am "settling" for a school. She continued, "To me when you asked me to see the school and talk with the teachers - I practically handed you a job and you then said you wanted to see the school and see how it runs. I mean, you just moved here. And you need a job. I offered you one. So perhaps instead of asking to see the school, you could have just told me you needed more time to think about it."

    I was very uncomfortable at this point, because she was still smiling. I told her I was just touching base with her and letting her know what I was thinking. I thanked her once again and left. But oh my. I am so glad I did that in person to see her reaction. She was very intimidating and made me feel "bad" for wanting to see the school more rather than immediately accepting the offer.

    Thanks again everyone for your advice!
     
  35. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    I guess narration is a bad word choice. I know expectations should be constantly spoken, but when I tried it out, it seemed like a lot of talking to me! But I'm not used to it, so that's probably why. But yes, I do agree that when students KNOW what is expected, then that alleviates later misbehavior.

    I think that's the only thing I was thinking about was raising the hand. I tried this with the 4th grade students, but I didn't ask them to raise their hands, just have their eyes on me - that worked very well!
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I might be mistaken, but I read it as OP's friend suggested that perhaps this principal would tell other principals, not that the principal herself suggested such a thing. OP, can you clarify?


    Ah, it sounds like her ego was bruised when you didn't immediately jump at her offer. I have experience working with people like this. My advice is to move on; there are better administrators out there.
     
  37. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    Yes, she never said she would tell other principals. My mentor teacher suggested that perhaps if I left with bad vibes, she could pass my name around to other schools and advise them not to hire me - it was just a thought.

    And yeah...I also think that since I went into the office, she may have been expecting me to accept the job. And when I did not again, she became annoyed.

    Thanks for your thoughts and advice :)

    And yes, I definitely am moving on! Just a very strange first experience of the job hunt.
     
  38. GTB4GT

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    congratulations on the 2nd interview...and also for going in to see the first P in person. That takes a bit of initiative and/or courage on your part. Hope this 2nd interview leads to a rewarding job for you. again, best wishes in your job search.
     
  39. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Can someone please explain it in a few sentenses what kind of program is that? I tried to google, it came up with all kinds of sport stores :)

    I remember early in my subsitute career I've had this CHAMP on the list and I believe I closed it off because someone was scaring me it's autistic kids, grown ups, can be violent
     
  40. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    http://www.dailyteachingtools.com/champs-classroom-management.html
     
  41. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Wow, that P sounds like a piece of work...glad to hear you aren't going to be working for her!
     

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