School with 11% suspension rate

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sab, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Sab

    Sab Companion

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    Would you consider teaching in a school with a suspension rate that high? It amounts to over 100 suspension incidents in one single school year.
    I have an interview with this place and it would be a preferred location/grade/subject, but I've never seen a school with such a high suspension rate, and it would be my first year teaching, so I'm no classroom management expert yet.
    What in general is/was important to you when finding a school to work at? Test scores? Average class size? School hours? What else do you consider?

    I don't want to be too picky and not find a job at all, but I don't want to take a job where I might be miserable enough to break my contract and get my credential suspended for the year.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    It might be something to gently ask about in your interview. Something along the lines of asking about the student population / demographics.
     
  4. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    You know what's important? Pay. A graded pay scale that allows you to make more with each year of experience and with increased education is essential. Also important: Having a union that can bargain working conditions, pay, and benefits.

    I can say this from experience, having learned what happens when your state takes these things away from you.

    Try keeping your chin up, teaching in a lousy school within a lousy district, while your paycheck drops year after year.

    Pay helps keep your head above water. You can learn to deal with the rest.
     
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  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Or it could be that this 11% suspension rate does reflect a reduction in previous suspension rates, and this current rate represents the most egregious offenses.

    Numbers like this make me suspect that this school is a rough school with its share of behavior issues. I would expect any teacher, even a new one, to be willing to learn and implement a quality classroom management plan with fidelity at this school. If that's something you're willing to do, with the understanding that it will be especially challenging at a school where there may already be a culture of behavior problems, then you should continue with the process. If you want something easier as far as classroom management, I have a hunch that this school won't be the best fit for you.
     
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  6. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    If I was looking for a 'number 1' atribute for a school that really makes a difference to me day to day, it's strong leadership and management. You really need to find out more about the context of this 11%. Context is everything to give the big picture. Does this mean that the school is backing teachers up when it comes to delinquent behaviours? Or is this school using suspensions as the behaviour management tool? It makes a difference.
    You need to know yourself, your personality. You may not be an expert in classroom management yet, but are you tough enough to handle tough behaviours, stand your ground, follow through? If you are, I think the job is worth considering.
     
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  7. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    I'd say that us pretty close to our suspension rate. We have a really tough group of kids. To make matters worse, we have yet to find a principal that effectively supports both the students and teachers.

    Moral is low. We have some extremely rough days.

    That being said, I also have AMAZING days and I also have the best team in the world. I admit, I'm trying to find a new job, but it wouldn't be a crisis if I can't.

    I am so grateful the experience form this school. I'm prepared to handle a lot.
     
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  8. Sab

    Sab Companion

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    I'm meeting the principal as well as the other math/science teacher during my interview, so I guess I'll get a better impression then. It's for a math/science 6th grade core position. The school also has really low test scores...3% of students meeting or exceeding the math standards when they enter. And the district doesn't pay as well as others in the area, like 5 to 7k less...
    It's majority hispanic and black.

    I've improved on classroom management throughout my student teaching and subbing experience, but I feel like I was lucky to work with generally well-behaved kids! I was at super low SES schools but in a rural area, and this would be in a city, so I don't know how different it would be. All my letters of rec make some reference to me being "calm" or "gentle" or "having a quiet and steady demeanor" so I worry about how that would go over at this school. I guess I'll get a better idea of the fit after the interview.
     
  9. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Calm, gentle, quiet and steady are attributes that students respect. You can be calm, gentle, steady and not be a pushover. It's actually better than being hot headed and reactive, because that's not going help you in classroom management. I don't yell or shout, but no student thinks I'm a doormat.
     
  10. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    Wow. How long 'til I get a Report button?
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What are you trying to report?
     
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  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Another poster was able to do so.

    We do not single out racial, ethnic, or religious groups here. As for the earlier comment regarding ESSA, please do as I did and review the laws and supports for it before making any blanket statements which call into questions the work we do as educational professionals.
     
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  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    OP, take the interview, talk to admin and staff, take a good look around (if students are disrespectful it usually ends up with destruction of school property), and then decide if you are willing to spend at least one school year in this environment. If you receive euphemisms about behavior or possibilities of great improvements, consider that as well. This could be a great opportunity, or the hardest year of your life, but only you will know if it could be your job. Simply be honest with yourself before saying yes or no.
     
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  14. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    I work at a school with a slightly higher rate than that, had one of the tougher grade levels this year as far as behavior issues, and I really like where I work. I do think my school has a way to go in terms of incorporating other solutions and responses to behavior besides suspension. On the other hand, I like that repeated/ severe behavior issues receive consistent follow through from admin.

    It's tough, don't get me wrong. You have to have, or be willing to quickly develop, strong relationships with the kids and strong classroom management skills. You have to be patient and keep holding to your expectations every day all year long.

    I would agree that you should ask about it, but definitely don't write it off if you think you can develop the management needed to be successful. Working with high needs kids can be incredibly rewarding.
     
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  15. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    You know, it might not be a terrible sign. Some schools (like mine) refuse to suspend kids or have otherwise serious consequences for behavior issues, and I think it does more harm than good. Yes, a high suspension rate may show that the school has behavior issues, but it also shows they're willing to do something about it.
     
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  16. DAH

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    Sab, since it's your first year teaching, it might be a little hard on you. You may need more experience before diving into DEEP WATER like that; otherwise, in a few years you may be ready to quit teaching. But if you have prior experience with high-risk students--you know what to expect and you're ready for the confrontation--then by all means, take it.

    Working at schools like that is not for everyone.

    Personally, I would MUCH RATHER have a school district that suspends 11%, because that tells me that they are, at least, trying to GET RID OF THE TROUBLE MAKERS. I read an article that said, "The Oakland (CA) USD has decided to STOP ALL SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS." No more suspensions! Can you imagine that? In a city like OAKLAND! That means ANYTHING GOES in the classroom...and nobody gets kicked-out unless a murder takes place. And in that case THE POLICE will come and escort them out.

    Now, that's a school district, I might even have a problem working for..

    So, give it some thought, DO YOUR HOMEWORK; find-out what kind of infractions these kids are committing BEFORE you sign the contract.
     
  17. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I feel the opposite. I started in a rough school and am SO thankful for what I have now in a less difficult school. I'm glad I cut my teeth somewhere difficult. I learned how to survive anywhere.
     
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  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Same.
     
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  19. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    That's what I was thinking.
     
  20. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    I agree that a high suspension rate doesn't necessarily mean that the school is bad. It could possibly mean that the administration supports the teachers and refuses to allow students to get away with breaking rules. My old school was known to be rough and the administrators would not only allow students to get away with serious infractions, but would also blame the teachers for the students' behavior issues and delinquency. Now that I have moved on to another school, I feel as though I'm in heaven.
     
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  21. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Building administrators in my district are told to suppress discipline issues, blame teachers for student misbehavior, and excuse violence based on race. For teachers, it's a soul-crushing place to work. For students, there is no hope of receiving a quality education.

    But it makes district administrators look good on paper.

    Give me administrators with moral principles and backbones and high suspension rates any day of the week.
     
  22. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I've been perusing this thread since it started and shall finally contribute:

    It makes me wonder just what my school's suspension rate is. I had two kids suspended this year for a day or so each and I didn't bat an eye at it. They broke Big Rules, that was the consequence. Yeah, it's an inner-city school, but it doesn't seem so bad. Perhaps it does have a seemingly high suspension rate, but that's different from expulsion and at least consequences are happening regularly.
     
  24. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I want this on a needlepoint something.
     
  25. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    An aside to the OP's intent of this thread, I couldn't agree more to student disrespect and destruction of school property! Or just anyone else's property!! From my perspective, the most disrespectful students that I dealt with last year broke my stuff! Took dry erase markers apart, cracked the caps and the barrels... just had complete disregard for other people's belongings. I can never fully understand why students would do something like that. :(
     
  26. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  27. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Let me remind A to Z members of the house rules: see http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/index.php?threads/inappropriate-post-report-dont-respond.198718/.

    If one is too new a member to see the "Report" link at the bottom of the post, no worries: trust me that, if the post truly is offensive, some other member will report it (as in fact another member has done in this case).

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    I'll add that A to Z Forums may not be the right community for everyone. If the tone and approach here turns out not to suit a particular member's style, there's no reason not to move on.
     
  28. Sab

    Sab Companion

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    I went to the interview and the people I talked to seemed really nice. I didn't get a chance to look around too much but I would probably lean towards taking the position if it were offered. Only thing is I'm still waiting for responses from so many districts that pay at least 5k more than this one...

    One of the kids did ask for my number as I was leaving the school, so I guess that's one of the behavioral issues I'd have to learn to deal with
     
  29. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm sure on the outside you were incredibly polite, while on the inside..
    [​IMG]
     
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  30. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Do you look young? In Jr. High when I was a youngster, a teacher moved midyear. I went to biology and saw a new girl. Then, new girl addressed the class, explained she had been asked out three times that day and we needed to knock it off, she was married with a kindergartener, and to get ready for the lesson. She cut her hair a few days later to look older.
     
  31. Sab

    Sab Companion

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    Yes, but not Jr. High young! I think most kids just do that type of stuff to get a reaction. I've been mistaken for a high schooler when subbing there though. I need to figure out a way to look more authoritative!
     
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  32. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  33. Janeway

    Janeway Rookie

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    Without more evidence it's difficult to say what that number means. It may reflect an administration that is listening to its teachers instead of sending problem kids back to the classroom. I wish my previous school had a suspension rate that truly reflected the behavior issues. If the problems are there but on paper everything looks normal, how does anything get fixed?
     
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  34. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Dressing professionally helps. A skirt suit outfit like the ones below might be worth investing in.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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