Starting off badly...I'e got a predicament...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by A4Amy, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. A4Amy

    A4Amy New Member

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    I am a fairly new teacher. I taught for two years at the school I student taught at but ultimately I felt it wasn't the right place for me. I got hired at a new school and will start teaching there In August. I'll be teaching Academic US II (juniors) and AP US Government & Politics (mostly seniors). I've had a few summer in service days as well as mandatory meetings so far and I've met alot of the other teachers and all of the history department. There are only two teachers teaching AP Gov (me being one of them). I have 2 of the AP Gov classes and the other teacher has only one AP Gov class (she also has one AP US 1 class and 3 AP US II classes) while I have the 2 AP Gov classes and 3 Academic US II classes. Anyway our subjects are very similar so I've spent quite some time trying to get to know her. She was extremely nice and helpful to me. Anyway I told her I was nervous about teaching seniors because at my last school I had all World History classes (freshman) and I hadn't really worked with the older grades and asked her what she does about senioritis. She gave me some advice and then she said she was happy to teach the one AP Gov class with seniors because she's had most of the kids in her AP 1 & 2 classes and knows them well. Then she told me about a student who meant a lot to her. The girl had a troubling home situation and this teacher helped her. It's a long story but it truly was very touching. Anyway to make a long story short class schedules were sent home and I got my class list. On friday we had to go into school and there was a girl waiting to speak to me. I was a little taken aback to see a student coming in in the summer not knowing how in the world she'd know what random days we'd be in but politely introduced myself. Apparently this was the girl who the other Gov teacher was talking about. She actually emailed the other gov teacher asking when was the next time she could come in and speak to us because she'd been placed in *my* class and not the other teacher's. She's apparently very upset (almost crying) and told me it wasn't fair and she wouldn't do any work for me. I was suprised to hear this from an almost 18 year old advanced placement student (who is, I've heard, number 4 in her class of 594). And it's not like I make the schedules! Anyway you can say I was relieved when the other Gov teacher came in. My relief only lasted about 2 seconds though because the other teacher basically looked right through me and told the girl "I know it's not fair. I wanted you in MY class too honey. Maybe try complaining." Talk about support?? Without one word to me the other teacher took the girl and they walked away. I can understand the teacher was disappointed but she's adult...a professional! I didn't ask for this... Should I go to the guidance office and ask them to switch it?? I can understand their feelings, I guess but the way the whole situation unfolded I felt very embarrassed/awkward.:eek:
     
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  3. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    At this point you go to your principal. Tell him about the girl wanting to be in the other class and the relationship they have (make that part sound positive) then tell him what the girl said. Ask him to talk to the counselors and see what could be done. Tell him you want the final decision about what class she is in made either by the pricipal or the counselor and that info relayed to the student by them not you. Express the fact you are uncomfortable and want the best for the student.

    Good luck
     
  4. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Perhaps the counselor/planner thought they were getting too close???
     
  5. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    ooo yes i like the idea that the principal (or someone in administration) makes the decision. then they can't blame you.

    Honestly I think it's unprofessional on the part of the other teacher. Kids can't always get what they want. They need to learn that sometimes they just can't get the teachers they want (aka - welcome to college). Some of the lifelong skills we develop in school is the ability to adapt, as circumstances aren't always going to be utopian.

    Personally I think both parties (student & instructor) need to suck it up and deal with it. If that particular student purposely performs badly in your class, than that was her problem; she chose that behavior and she'll have to deal with the consequences (i.e. drop in class rank)

    I may be a little more stubborn about it, but this sounds ridiculous to me!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You may just want to play the waiting game.

    It's entirely possible that this student was overreacting to news she had just learned. As much as they try to convince themselves (and us) otherwise, she's still a kid.

    Of course, your colleague was totally out of line. No excuse, no explanation-- she was just WRONG.

    But wait it out until school starts. Or, if you want to mention it to someone, bring it up to the girl's guidance counselor. But I would not go to a principal who doesn't yet know me with something that may not turn out to be a problem.
     
  7. srh

    srh Devotee

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    I think you would be much better off if the girl goes to the other teacher. No matter what you do, it will be rough at the start, but this may be the one time you want to "choose your battle." I agree with Alice--I wouldn't go to the principal (the BOSS), but it wouldn't hurt to talk to the appropriate counselor or support person.

    Likely, the girl would be better off with you just because it sounds like she's too dependent on the other teacher (and maybe it's a co-dependency issue!); but you don't need a lot of negative energy to start off the year! Good luck!
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    That may be precisely why she WASN'T put into the other class.
     
  9. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    mmm yes, ok i take it back...hit up the counselor/schedule planner FIRST...this isn't a situation where you need to go directly to the top.

    I stand corrected
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nah, not corrected. None of us knows how it will eventually turn out. Your solution may turn out to be the right one.

    Just disagreed with :)
     
  11. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Well I would have gone to the pricipal first, but the counselor sounds like a better idea. But the point remains the same, let someone with higher authority than you be the one to deal with the situation....
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I would sit tight until the first day of school because it's possible that the girl or her parents will initiate a transfer request to the other teacher's class.

    If on the first day this girl is still in your class and requests to be moved, just shoot an email over to the counselor. Then it's out of your hands.

    I agree with other posters who have said that this teacher was completely out of line. Teachers need to stick together, and there was surely a better way of consoling the student. In the event that the student remains in your class, she will forever be mindful of the fact that the other teacher agrees that it was a mistake for the student to remain in your class. That's a big hurdle for you to overcome, and I'm sorry for it.

    Last year in my Latin classes there were a number of kids who had originally signed up for Spanish. Since Spanish was full, the counselors decided that they could just scoot the kids on into my class. Although Latin and Spanish are both foreign languages, they are two completely different animals... it takes a certain amount of prior knowledge to succeed in a Latin class because it's all grammar-driven, and not conversational like Spanish. Anyway, I struggled a lot with getting those kids to buy into Latin. By the end of the year, most did, but there were a few who resented me and the class for the entire school year. It was hard for me, but I'll get over it. And you will too.

    Good luck next year!
     
  13. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2007

    and again let me put this in perspective (though it is off topic)...is it really the END OF THE WORLD if that girl doesn't take one class with that teacher? Sheesh

    those people need to get a grip
     
  14. A4Amy

    A4Amy New Member

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    I really want to ask the girl's counsoler (who was responsible for creating the schedules) to just switch her because I don't want to deal with the attitudes. I'm new at this school and I don't want to make any enemies especially because this teacher and I have the same subjects...But the thing is: Should *I* be the one to tell the counsoler? I'm guessing that they already did. If I tell him will it be like I'm complaining about them? See, that's where I feel it gets messy...honestly, I am amazed that this seemed like such a big deal. She could have still visited the teacher, they are still in the same building. At the same time I have no problem with her switching if that's what everybody agrees is best. I asked one of the other teachers that was there that day if a student can request to be put in a different teacher's class because at my old school they couldn't. She said here you can disrequest (with a good reason only) a certain teacher but you could not request. Basically she can't disrequest me because I'm new so she doesn't have a solid reason (i.e. "I like this teacher better" is not good enough and I think in order to disrequest a teacher the student or a sibling had to have had the teacher in the past and had a problem with him/her) and as she can not request the other teacher I don't know if that will go over...That's why I was thinking maybe I should say something? I'm afraid to say something and I'm afraid not to say something :(. If I don't say something there's a good possibility the whole history department will hate me (the other teacher has been here a few years and already has friends here) and if I do say something I can be looked at as a trouble-maker. One of the other teachers that was in school witnessed the little situation and she just kind of like yeah she really should have not acted that way in front of the student but you have to understand she's protective of her. I was like what??? Apparently in addition to the bad home situation the teacher hold me about the mother was also verbally abusive and this teacher was the only adult that gave her positive feedback and she's told all the other teachers any opporunity where she can "take care" of this girl she will (even if that means have her near her for an extra 40 minutes). Ok, I understand all this, I really do. But I didn't make the schedule. Why does no one in this building understand that? I'm so frustrated. I had a nice job with likable colleagues and pleasant students. Why did I feel the need to change schools? I had two good years (plus a good student teaching experience). Maybe I should've just stayed where it was comfortable.
     
  15. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Ok..first. BREATHE....alrighty...don't take this quite the wrong way, but you're getting a little worked up and blowing the situation out of proportion now...and well...I'm afraid you may not be able to sleep tonight because you worried yourself sick.

    It's ok...You're between a rock and a hard place....My question is...so..this girl doesn't have a "great" home life right? Well correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it messed up if ONLY this particular teacher has the ability to give the student the encouragement and support she needs? I mean...there comes a point where this job is better suited for the counselor. That's what the counselors are paid to do. And I seriously doubt the other teachers on staff are incapable of aiding this student and helping her to succeed.

    However, I understand your frustration and not wanting to rock the boat too much since you're new at this school. It's that whole "pick your battles". Let's make this as simple as possible, and the other posters will back me up (at least I hope some will)

    At some point (maybe when it's real close to school starting) YOU should mention this to the counselor. Then wipe your hands clean of the situation. The decision that needs to be made (as mentioned by another Poster) is WHAT'S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Let someone else make that call and you just go with it either way, hopefully the rest of it should fall into place.

    And this thread has pointed out there are pros to both resolutions. you're in a rock and hard place now, but I think further down the road, you'll be in a win-win situation.
     
  16. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    I still think you go to the counselor, I had a situation where a student wanted out of my class last year, why? I made her work and held her accountable for her actions (like talking on her cell phone in class) I calmly went to the counselor and said "student x will be coming to you with this issue, and I just wanted you to be informed. I hope you can help her with her problem, she seems upset about her schedule and I am just so new, I don't know how to help her. Thank you very much for looking into this for me"

    You have done nothing to get anyone mad, you have gone to the right person (bonus points), you have let them know there is a problem with a child and you want what is best for them (more bonus points) AND You have gotten this situation out of your lap and into someone elses lap (priceless) That way if it comes up again, you only have to say I referred it to the counselor, and you will have to talk to him/her to see what has happened, I haven't been informed yet.

    I guarentee you if you handle it that way NO ONE will be upset, you are doing what is best for the child. If they don't switch her schedule, trust me she won't keep the bad attitude long, she was speaking out of emotion because she didn't get what she wanted. .... remember she may be an upperclassman but she is still a child.
     
  17. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I had a similar situation this year. A student wanted the other chemistry teacher and told me this the first day of school. I blew it off as a child wanting her way. I will never do this again--this student made last year miserable for me. She was constantly going to the Vice-Principal and "reporting" me. She could not learn in my class, I did not teach, I spent sll my time on the computer. I got called in 6-7 times because of this student. I now say go let someone know and just get them with the teacher that they want if they really want it badly.
     
  18. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    You ARE in a tough position. I imagine you feel very awkward about the whole thing.

    As much as I care for my students it seems the relationship between the other teacher and the student is a bit odd. I am guessing the counselor may have purposely kept her out of the other teacher's class.

    I would stay under the radar right now. Either this student is going to be in your class or the other teacher's in the end, but you don't have the ultimate power. If you talk to anyone, I would talk to the counselor, as pp have also suggested. I wouldn't show that you are upset about it, but would probably approach it as a, "I just wanted you to be aware that XYZ happened". In the end, she'll either be in the other teacher's class (in which case your problem is solved) or she'll stay in your class.

    If she stays in yours, my guess is she will come around to doing her work. If she has the high rank you are saying, she probably wouldn't want to sacrifice that. I think she proabably figures her tantrum and threats will get her what she wants.

    The other person I might talk to is the other teacher. It might break the tension you might feel with her right now. Maybe just tell her you were concerned about the student. Is she feeling better about her schedule now?" Maybe the teacher knew the student would get more upset and rude to you and wanted to diffuse the situation??? who knows, but bringing up the subject when the student is not around will probably clarify the situation for you.

    I wouldn't worry too much--it will all work out!! And just remember not to take it personally. Anyone could have been the "other" teacher and the girl would feel the same way--you just happened to be the LUCKY one!!
     
  19. Mrs.A

    Mrs.A Rookie

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    I just wanted to add that I think Paperheart's suggestion about talking to the other teacher was a good one. Just ask in a concerned way how the student is doing, express that you feel badly about the situation-is there anything you can do to help-maybe ask her about talking to the guidance counselor and see if she thinks it's a good idea. That way you're showing that you're concerned and care about the other teacher and the child. Even if she still ends up in your class, I doubt the other teacher would be upset with you.
     
  20. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I would probably go to the counselor and ask if the school has a policy about such situations and how they handle teacher requests. Keep it informational and professional.

    I don't think there's a chance that other teachers will 'hate you'. This is a situation most would understand. The relationship between the child and other teacher is a bit troubling, to me.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Does anyone think it's a little weird that the other teacher just happened to tell the story of this troubled student, had told the student when the teachers would be in and then the student shows up? Sounds like a manipulated situation to me.

    Maybe go to the counselor - tell what happened (without the part about the other teacher...) and tell them that you only want what's best for this student but that you wanted guidance to know where any request from the student may be coming from...
     
  22. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    in my opinion, high school is about dealing and learning to put up with stuff. it may sound harsh but she should stay put. if she chooses not to do her work, then so be it. that's her choice and her academic record that she's screwing up. i think it sounds like the teacher and the student are too close. i know i had teachers in high school that i liked, but i don't think that she should be allowed to pitch a fit and get it changed.
     
  23. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    besides, (sorry, hit enter too soon) i know that i had a teacher in high school who told me out right that it was my fault that i'd been raped my freshman year. i walked out, went to the principal, made him call my parents and they came to the school, nothing was done to the teacher and i was still made to go to the class.... of course i think that was more of a racial thing because the teacher was only 1 of 2 african-american teachers in the county. life is unfair and rough and mean, the girl should just learn to deal with it.
     
  24. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    I think what you went through was awful! I cannot believe nothing happened to him. I went through something similar, not rape, but sexual harrassment (even to the point of a student putting his hand up my shirt in front of the AP) and nothing was ever done. The only thing that makes me feel better is the fact that feelings toward that kind of behavior has changed, and maybe it wouldn't be that way today.
     
  25. munchkin

    munchkin Cohort

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    It sounds like a question of the type of classes you and the other teacher was given. ON the outside the division of "class" types sounds fair, and there was no way you, the student or the other teacher could of known that the one AP gov class the STUDENt wanted would be taught by you and not her preferred teacher.
    It was "nice" that the other teacher was able to extend a caring attitude toward the student, and she probably did NOT mean to "put" you down at all, It is a scheduling problem, not a personal afront toward you. In any case, you should of gone with the two of them to try and get the matter solved. OR
    since you said this "more experienced" teacher had been friendly and helpful toward you and even offered to teach one of the AP sessions, take her up on her offer. Go to this teacher, and explain that you felt very awkward about the confrontation/conversation with the student and what she said. Do NOT do it with the student in the same room. Ask her to explain why she worded the conversation the way she did, and tell her you would also like to "assist" the student , her and the situation by going TOGETHER to the administration and coming up with a solution.
    Seniors are an emotional group of people, especially girls. Add a bad home life onto it and it definitely gets worse. That is not your fault, and you have no control over it, the circumstance or the student.
    It was "unkind and unprofessional" for that other teacher to say those things in front of the student, but more unprofessional to not make sure that YOU were included in the process of counseling this scheduling issue with the administration as a TEAM. Not one teacher against another. Heavens knows its hard enough teaching nowadays with out the students thinking they can pit the teachers against each other to get their own way.
    Attitude problems can be a big factor in making everyone's year miserable. If the other teacher is willing to work WITH you to negotiate a schedule change where you take one of her classes and teach it and she takes that AP class and teaches it; then the two of you approach the counselor with your "proposition" , maybe everyone could leave there happy. Counselor-gets the class taught by another compentent teacher, student is happy, and you get a type of class that you are more comfortable with teaching.
    Wldywall had an excellent point. Follow through with the counselor in a very non judgemental way. Keep your cool, remember its the STUDENT that is volitale, and the situation may not of been handled in the best of ways, but if you can keep your own cool , there is a way around this. As a professional, its your job to handle what you can, and to know when to ask for assistance. This may very well be one of these times.
     
  26. A4Amy

    A4Amy New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. And czacza, I also thought it was odd the way the teacher told me the story and the student showed up on the day I was there....I don't want to jump to any conclusions, and it's probably nothing but I'm glad someone else thought it was weird too. I called up today and talked to her guidance counsoler who was already aware of the situation (he was actually told by the other teacher, not the student.) I hope I didn't come off in a bad way. I called him and I started to tell the story (I tried my best to be non-judgemental. I said I understood this particular student had been through a rough time and was upset she wasn't placed with the teacher who she'd apparently grown to trust). I didn't mention the teacher's reaction because I didn't want it to seem like I was complaining about her. He said the teacher requested the girl be moved to her class and the counsoler had already been aware of their situation and hadn't really realized the whole schedule thing. He said he approved the request (BUT it still has to get signed by both the principal (who is also new this year and has made it clear to the staff that she does not take class transfers lightly and there must be a good reason) and me. I agreed I would sign it (that was the right thing to do right?? :-/ ). Anyway I hope the principal approves it. That's where the problem might happen according to her guidance counsoler. He said this new principal said not only does she only sign transfers for a good reason she's warning the staff not to get too casual with their students and she might see their relationship was troubling. I admit I kind of do also but it's not any of my business I guess. The guidance counsoler doesn't see anything wrong with it from what I can tell. He calmly explained that the girl is still having issues but refuses to talk to him about it and will only talk to that teacher (who I guess has earned her trust) who then relays it to the guidance counsoler and that's why he felt the request needed to be approved. So now I guess all we're waiting on is the principal. I havn't talked to the other teacher since the situation so I'm a little nervous about that also...
     
  27. Jenni

    Jenni Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2007

    All I have to say is when I was in high school (which wasn't very long ago). You could only switch out of a class if you were being promoted a level or demoted a level. So AP history would become regular history. This is the only way you could get out of a class with a teacher you didn't want. My school did this to prevent students from deciding all their own teachers. As this is a mess for whoever is putting students into classes. I had a teacher who wouldn't work with my IEP it was advanced placement junior english. I had to drop down to the lower level class to get out of the class with the teacher who couldn't make adjustments for me required by law. I don't think this girl should get to belittle the system without some kind of consequences. Many have a rough home life and deal with it and don't cling to classes with specific teachers.
     
  28. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    Jul 31, 2007

    Here's my 2 cents....

    The student probably only enrolled in the class BECAUSE of the other teacher, not the class itself!No offense! Students do enroll in classes because of the people teaching the course, not just the topic.

    Next step, letting the other teacher know your in her boat, and have also went to speak with the guidance counselor.
     

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