Teaching @ Alternative HS

Discussion in 'High School' started by richyirich, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. richyirich

    richyirich New Member

    Apr 23, 2015
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    Apr 23, 2015

    I've been teaching at both public and private schools (private schools for the most part) for nearly 10 years. Back in January, I started a new job teaching math at an alternative high school. I've volunteered as a math tutor at an alternative HS when I was in college, but never taught at an alternative school. I remember vividly on the first day, I was trying to be cool...but in my mind, I was thinking "I'm not going to last a day let alone a period!" 4 months later, I'm still teaching at the same school.

    Summer is coming, which means I'll have to decide whether to renew my contract or give up my position. The past 4 months have been very hectic and stressful - Getting to know the students and earning their respect, working with students with behavioral issues, going through two formal observations, etc.

    I've been thinking about my future, and can't make up my mind as to whether teaching at an alternative school is the right environment for me. Perhaps I'm still not used to the environment...?
  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Feb 4, 2010
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    Apr 24, 2015

    I've been teaching in alternative ed for a little over 3 years, 2 years in a highschool (the other year was in juvenile hall, which is way easier).

    I find it just as rewarding as challenging. Actually the challenges are slowly going away, but the rewards get better and better.
    If you like to work with at-risk youth, if you like to be challenged by their distorted views and behaviors (which is pretty interesting actually), then don't let the chaos and all the tough days drive you away.

    I started in April 2013 and it was soooo hard. The kids just wanted to make me quit; why get attached to yet another teacher who will leave them anyways, like the rest of them, might as well be bad and make her quit, so it's over and done with.
    I stuck it out. By next year things have changed, just because they saw that when I said they couldn't make me leave, I meant it. Things were much easier, although still tough, because there is sooooo much to learn. Luckily I have an awesome P who was really taking the time to talk with me and teaching me the ropes. By spring of 2013/14 I noticed that things were getting even better. I was more relaxed, the kids started to believe that maybe I'm for real.
    This school year, 2014/15 has been so different. So much easier, I've learned so much, (although there's still tons more), but almost all the time I really enjoy just about every single class. I still have ups and downs, but much less extremes.
    I'm probably the teacher with the most rigorous curriculum, and although they still whine and complain a bit, they have all come to expect that I will challenge them, and treat them like real high school students, and not criminals whom no school wants. We had done a lot of high level work, and they rise to my expectations.

    Today, in 5th period, I took a moment, looked around, and was just amazed by what I saw: the kids sitting, each and everyone writing, and it was so quiet, the only thing you could hear was the pencils moving on the paper. And this class can be very chatty and challenging (although usually my favorite class). It was just so beautiful :)

    These are the moments you live for, when the kids are listening to you, not because you threaten them with consequences, but because they respect you and like you enough to listen to you, and do the work in a manner you expect, and actually take pride in their work. Just awesome.
  4. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

    Feb 10, 2014
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    Apr 24, 2015

    I've long-term subbed and student taught at Comprehensive school and after I earned my credential, my only teaching job has been in Alternative Ed.

    IMO, I won't ever want to leave. Smaller classes, less hours, and for the most part, the same problems you see at comprehensive schools (behavior, low achievement, attendance issues).

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