Should I cancel this advanced class?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Marci07, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Sep 11, 2011

    Sorry if this is long. Our district offers an advanced 9th grade math class to selected 8th graders. Elementary teachers have to go through a process of qualification in order to teach this class so few regular elementary schools offer this class. Schools who offer this class must have a qualified teacher, funds for materials and afterschool pay if class is offered afterschool. At the end of the year, students take an exam that has to be honored by all high schools in the district and place students in the next level of math class in high school. Students don’t get high school credit.

    I’ve taught this class for 3 years. The first year I taught it as an after class where my current principal was my co-teacher (he was a math coordinator then). We had 70% students passing. 2 years ago I taught it to gifted students during the school day and we had 80% of students passing. Last year it was taught as an afterschool class and we had many issues with the class as students were not very responsible, the test was redesigned and made more difficult so we only had 50% passing.

    This year my principal said that he doesn’t have any money to pay me to teach this class afterschool and he refuses to group students by ability. So, he wants me to differentiate and teach it during the regular math class. The problem is that even if I differentiate, which I’ve done many times, the quality of instruction needed for this advanced class won’t be the same. It is not the same differentiating as dedicating a full period to teaching it exclusively to talented 8th graders. Now that the final exam is even more challenging, students will need more instructional time if we want to achieve good results as my principal wants us to achieve 100% this year.

    I met with him on Friday and told him that the settings for the success of this class are not there and I couldn’t guarantee good results. He ended up asking me to volunteer my time two times a week afterschool to teach the class because he didn’t have any money. Other teachers who teach this class get paid their hourly rate, which I didn’t get last year and even get a prep time for this class. Now, he’s asking me to do it for free.

    I’m a little upset that he is putting all this pressure and expectations on me plus not providing the needed support by asking me to volunteer my time on a class that a school has an option to offer. I’ve decided to tell him that I won’t teach the class as I don’t want bad results to show on my record once again. I feel horrible because I feel that I’m denying the opportunity for advanced students to really advance but I just can’t set them up for failure by not passing the test.

    Should I continue with the class and teach it on my own two times a week or should I just cancel it? This is an optional class and I’m the only qualified teacher in the school so if I cancel it the class won’t be offered but I feel that I’m really being taken advantaged of. My husband and my coworker said that it was very insulting of him to ask me to do that. The school is obligated to provide the necessary funding and settings for this class but this year the principal is not doing his part. :confused:

    Sorry if this is long. Thanks for reading.
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 11, 2011

    Personally, I feel you are being taken advantage of as well. There is a saying, "time is money" which I find very appropriate here. If you aren't being given the resources, time, or compensation to do it, I don't know how anyone could expect you to do so. As far as the advances students, there should be a program in place for them created by the school and not all e dependent upon you. That's just my personal thought on the matter.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2011

    Don't teach it. Your principal doesn't value the course enough to compensate you for it, so you don't need to waste your time doing it. It's unfortunate that your students won't benefit from taking the course, but that's your principal's call. If it matters to him, he'll find a way to pay you and provide you with some resources. Until he does, he's just trying to take advantage of you, and that's not okay.
     
  5. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Sep 11, 2011

    Do you have an union? At my former school we had a strong union...they would have never allowed a teacher to teach an afterschool class without pay. If you are not being paid, then during that time you aren't employed and there are legal problems associated with this. If you do have an union, ask if it is allowed in your district AND state.
     
  6. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Sep 11, 2011

    He is testing you. He is seeing if you will do it for free. If you agree you will be setting a precedent and will be teaching it for free for years. If you refuse he will either get bugged by parents and will then be put on the spot to pay you or he will chose not to hold the class. If any parents come to speak to you send them to talk to the principal, saying he chose not to fund it this year.

    There also is what a pp mentioned if you or a student get hurt during that time who is responsible? If you are not being paid then the responsibility probably will rest on you.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2011

    Do not do it for free. Not only are you not being paid for your time and expertise, but the program has been compromised by other changes.
     
  8. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Sep 12, 2011

    Unless you really like the students and class, do not do it for free. If you give an inch, the principal may take a foot later. If you agree it could open up Pandora's box.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Even if she loves the students and the class, she should not let herself be taken advantage of by agreeing to work for free...
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 12, 2011

    Yes! Haven't we learned anything from "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie"? Just kidding, but really! You should not be taken advantage of. I would just cancel the class.
     
  11. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Sep 12, 2011

    I told the principal today that I wasn't going to teach the class for free. He said that he didn't want the class to be cancelled but he didn't really have any money. He asked me to continue planning for the class and that he was going to try really hard to find money.

    I know I did the right thing so that I didn't get taken advantage of but I still feel bad about it. He said that the reason he didn't have much money available was because he decided to keep the class sizes small and the only way he could get more money would be by increasing class sizes.

    I really like the students and this year we have several students who are very motivated and it would be very dissapointing if they didn't get a chance to advance.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 12, 2011

    It's not your fault that there's budget issues. Let the students and parents rally for the program if there is a strong desire for it...they'll find the money then...I wouldn't spend too much time planning for the class if it's a no go, or non-paying position.
     
  13. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Sep 15, 2011

    After my talk with the principal, he talked to the area manager (kind of superintendent) and requested more money to support this class. So we are getting money to pay for my time two times a week to stay after school and we are also getting an online software license for middle school students to practice math skills 3 times a week for about 40 minutes so that I can focus on the advanced students during that time. We have block periods of 80 minutes so students will still get their full lessons. Primary K-5 students already have a software that they use 2 times a weeks so it would be fair for middle school students to get one also.

    With the extra money he will also ask another teacher to offer an advanced class for 7th graders as well two times a week. I think that things are turning out well.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 16, 2011


    That is wonderful news! I am so glad you talked to him...And interesting how he ultimately was able to come up with the money...things that make you go "hmmmmm".
     

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