The other math teacher....(sigh)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 14, 2020

    Just to refresh y’all, the other math teacher who I had worked with for 3 years left. The P hired a new one and it hasn’t been a smooth ride.....

    A teacher’s aide who sits in the new teacher’s classroom with a special Ed student has told me that this new teacher is the worst teacher she has ever seen at the school and she’s been there 20 years!! She’s told me that he sometimes goes on 40-minute tangents about his own life and works about 4 math problems in a 100-minute class! On top of that, this teacher has actually come into my classroom to ask about math problems that he should know how to do himself.... he’s awful with technology and always needs me to show him how to do something on the computer (access google Drive, make tests, etc.....). It’s come to the point where I try to avoid him if possible because he talks and talks and talks...... so far, I’ve only held conversations with the teacher’s aide because I also have the special Ed. student. She’s told me that she has spoken with the P about him many times but I told her I haven’t said anything to the P about him and it’s not my place.

    For anyone out there, has anyone gone through working with just a train-wreck teacher like what I might have here?
     
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  3. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    Nov 14, 2020

    First, I'll warn you about listening to/trusting the teachers aide who is talking about the new teacher.

    I will say that I have worked with teachers who coworkers have thought were great and those who were thought to be train-wrecks. I will suggest offering help where you can to the new teacher. It will help all students at the school succeed.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 16, 2020

    I like the idea of offering some peer mentoring / lesson collaboration. If you phrase it that you want to make sure your students in the same grade are on the same page in case of a schedule switch, it might work. From there, just remember the kindnesses that were shown to you as you got your sea legs.
     
  5. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    Nov 16, 2020

    If I had a dollar for every time an aide mentioned a teacher and bad mouthed them over the yrs, I'd be rich! If the teacher is basically new to teaching and seems to be a decent person, I'd help them. It is not hard to copy for 2 classes once you are already in a copier room and share what you are doing. I did this for a couple of new teachers and we formed close bonds. I'd either help with the computer issues or refer him to someone who could. Do you have tech support?
    I'd have to "cut off the nonstop talking" though. That would interfere with too much work time for me. What is he talking about? I might set a time limit on myself of how much time I could afford to listen, unless it was super important. I can only imagine what new teachers face today! I'd have a totally different answer if he was rude, not seeking help, or mean. This does not seem to be the case though.
     
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  6. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 17, 2020

    Lemme me more specific. This newly hired teacher has been teaching for over 20 years.
     
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  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Nov 17, 2020

    This comes down to whatever transpired between the hiring committee during the hiring process, and is above your pay grade, which I don't say to be mean. The committee can only choose from the actual candidates who apply for the job, and sometimes you just don't get a great crop of prospective employees showing up at your door just because you run an ad. It seems like your district might suffer from where it is, perhaps size of school, perhaps the chance to advance, maybe what salary they offer - all things that may limit the number of candidates that actually submit applications when a position opens. You drive a very long way daily to and from work, if I remember correctly, which could mean that there are fewer applicants to choose from. Consider that some people interview well, but selling themselves is easier than actually being good at what they do. Just out of curiosity, how long have you been teaching, OP? I know that you have been through a few districts, and that you have grown as a teacher due to the changes in your life. Maybe this guy just failed the "grow" portion of the maturation phase of the teacher growth cycle, or he is now in the burned out phase, in which case there is little to do - he has given up getting better, and feels that he is doing the school a service because he showed up to snag a job and fill an empty position.

    I don't think that there is a great way to fix the problem. If your school is desperate enough, they will over-look many flaws to keep from having to repost the position. In the year of Covid, they may feel this is the best of what is truly available in the job market, and they just might be right.
     
  8. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 17, 2020

    This was a very last-minute hire. Even it that weren't the case, not many people apply for jobs at my school so candidates are very difficult to find. The location is not great, the salary is that state-mandated minimum, it's a very tiny school, and there's not much room to grow professionally. When I applied for my job, there weren't many applicants either so maybe I was the 1 out of maybe 1 or 2 others in consideration. From what the other math teacher told me years earlier, there are three ways to leave my school. You either pass away (a math teacher worked here until his death), mess up (a.k.a. sleep with students or don't bother showing up), or dislike it so much you find a new position.

    Now, from what I continue to hear from the aide, it's gotten to the point where she has been asking around if anyone knows a math teacher looking for a job....... Recently, a new sub with math certification came in and the P and he had a conversation... so who knows what they were talking about....
     
  9. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    Nov 17, 2020

    Oh!!!!!!!! lol Never mind! I thought he was a total newbie! Good luck and maybe he is out the door!
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 17, 2020

    This is probably a good time for you to keep your head down, keep your door closed, and carry on.
     
  11. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 18, 2020

    I could understand the situation if he were a relatively new teacher..... But, from what I've been hearing, the middle grades love him because they can distract him to the point where no math is being done in class..... Rumor has it that he will start working on a problem, then think of something totally irrelevant, go back to his desk, and spend 40 minutes there doing something else! A student told the aide that "his elevator doesn't reach the top floor."
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 20, 2020

    Respectfully, you need to stop with the gossip. It's rude and unprofessional. Would you like it if other aides and teachers said these types of things about you and your class?

    If this teacher is really as bad as you and the aide seem to think, word will spread to parents and admin. If admin is even marginally decent at their jobs, they will handle it. If you truly believe that this teacher is actively harming students in some way, then you have a professional obligation to report that to admin. Since you haven't, I suspect that you see it as more gossip-worthy than anything else. You gossiping about the situation does nothing to resolve it and only serves to make you seem unprofessional.
     
  13. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 21, 2020

    Here is what concerns me about this entire situation. The guy teaches the lower grades and those students, if the schedules remain the same, will get into my classroom by 9th grade. So from a professional standpoint, I do have an interest to see what goes on in 7th and 8th grade. But there’s nothing I can do besides teaching and helping my own students and that’s what my focus will be.
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Nov 21, 2020

    You are wrong.

    You COULD tell admin what you have shared here, knowing that something could come of it, or nothing is done about it, or you may be tasked to make sure that his teaching improves. These have options that include alienating this teacher, and therefore any type of friendly relationship, nothing good coming from your actions, or some teachers who figure it is safer to be more guarded concerning interactions with you going forward. The ball is in your court - how invested are you in what this guy is doing wrong? I have no problem understanding wanting the teacher to teach well, since you will inherit these students down the road, but I question whether it is in your best interest to be the person to "turn this teacher in" to admin, essentially putting him on their radar. This becomes a matter of what your conscience guides you to do, and then having the strength of your convictions, whatever they may be. I would consider my options very carefully if I were you, and then do whatever your strength of conviction compels you to do, fully aware of possible outcomes to your actions. You do have a choice in how you proceed, but you need to consider outcomes. I have fought the just fight in some circumstances, aware of possible outcomes, and at other times I have pulled back, unwilling to be the "tattle-tale." Only you can make these decisions regarding how you feel about the job the teacher is doing - no one here is working with this guy, going to inherit his students, or is privy to what math fallacies this guy may be perpetuating.
     
  15. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2020

    I would say that you better help him at your convenience. Though he has 20 years teaching experience, it does not mean that he is an excellent teacher. Reality shows that the experienced teachers are not always better than new teachers. New teachers don’t have classroom management experience but their knowledge about the subject is much further than experienced teachers. Those comments come from my observations at my school. Though he is an experienced or first year teacher, he needs time to adapt the new teaching environment like collegues, students, admins, principals, parents...so please help him as much as you can rather than criticize him. You know that you inherit students from him that is why you need to help him. Admin will take care his ability at teaching through the appraisal system so you dont have to worry about that. My collegue, a 20+ years teaching experience lady, is struggling with technology, instructional maximization, lesson plans, teaching methods...and I help her every day with pleasure. I always think that if I help her, somebody will help me. We need to stop rumors and gossips to keep our teaching environment positive.
     
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  16. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 22, 2020 at 8:22 AM

    For one thing, I’ve chosen not to go to the P with hearsay and rumors. However, the aide has gone to the P because she has seen what goes on in his classroom.

    We both teach one Algebra I. One time, he came to me asking for a copy of my test because he just didn’t have time (or most likely forgot) to make one. Problem was I was a chapter ahead but he chose to take it anyway. Then he comes back to me asking me how to do some of the problems!! That ticked me off... I can almost guarantee he will ask for another copy of a test when we come back from break.... if he does that, I might have to talk to the P about it.
     
  17. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2020 at 2:25 PM

    Ok. So just want to be clear that this teacher is incompetent, unprepared, and irresponsible. Why did not admins see that? Did they observe him during class for appraisals? Did parents say nothing? No complaints from parents and students? You said you inherits his students next year, thats why you raised concerns. But now you said you and him are teaching Alg1. So which one is the case? If you guys are teaching the same course, you cannot go one chapter faster than him. Usually everyone should be the same page because teachers collaborate and have the same lesson plans, same test date, same test.
     
  18. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Nov 22, 2020 at 6:57 PM

    Well, this does not seem to be the practice at your school, but at my current site teachers who teach the same class are expected to collaborate. We align our calendars, share materials, write exams together, etc. Partly because if a student has to switch for scheduling reasons, they haven't missed a unit. I wonder if you could try to create a more collegial environment at your school. Even if only within the math team, it would probably help. Do you have a department chair? Without naming names I think you could ask about how the math team can better support each other. At my former site I became department chair pretty quickly, in large part because I thought becoming more collaborative would strengthen the team and improve student outcomes. I was reasonably successful.
     
  19. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Nov 22, 2020 at 8:44 PM

    Pi-R,
    Here is my view. Your admin hired him, so if you go to them with your concerns, you are basically telling them that you think admin did a poor job. This is not a place that I, as a teacher, would want to be. Teachers are hired to teach their class, not judge or evaluate other teachers. You are not his supervisor. You are not his evaluator. I get the part about possibly getting his students later, but that still doesn't make you the evaluator. I mean, when I taught 4th grade, I got very annoyed that the 3rd grade teacher mis-taught a lot of things, but I wasn't her supervisor. It was admin's job to know that -- to evaluate her regularly and help her progress in her learning. If they chose not to do that, it wasn't my issue.

    I did try helping her, but she wasn't receptive, so I crossed that off my list. It isn't my job to help an experienced teacher with how to teach -- especially when she felt she was doing fine. Yes, it meant I learned that I had to re-teach one entire section each year, and that she never got to the last items on her curriculum, but that was not within my scope. Don't make something your problem when it isn't.

    I would also say this to you -- the next time that teacher's aide says another word about him, you need to stay "Stop! I am not his supervisor, and there is nothing I can do about this. I don't want to hear anymore gossip." A teacher's aid who gossips about a teacher is stirring-up trouble. If she has concerns, she needs to go to that teacher's supervisor (which you said she has already done) not involve other teachers, making it a much larger problem than it needs to be.

    When I moved to a new school one time, my teacher's aid (who had been there for ages) was highly critical of me, and constantly told anyone who would listen that I didn't know what I was doing. That was completely unprofessional of her, even if she believed it. It would have been fine if she told my supervisor of her concerns (which she did, and the principal told her she didn't know what she was talking about, and to keep her opinions to herself!) So she chose to gossip about it to all of the other teachers, and it really made it hard for me my first year. However, my class had the highest state-wide test scores that year, and I actually won teacher of the year!

    My advise is shut-down the gossip and just don't let yourself be involved in it. As a teacher, we have enough things to do in our own classroom, without taking on other people's issues and other people's responsibilities.
     
  20. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Nov 23, 2020 at 12:37 AM

    It happens. And if they don't know they did a poor job by now, well, looks like they will continue to do a poor job. The fact that you are teaching the same class and admin has not made collaboration part of the process adds to the evidence that admin has some difficulty in the competence department.

    Given that, what to do? Not a very good situation. Seems like if you wanted to continue the battle you would have to go above your immediate administration. Can you do that effectively?
     
  21. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 23, 2020 at 10:29 AM

    The Algebra I class that we both teach are at different levels. He’s got the “lower” ones. So my being ahead would be natural.
     
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 23, 2020 at 10:34 AM

    Honestly? I hate to say it, but your best bet is to wait it out and stay clear of anything. It sounds like trying to work with this other teacher on curriculum is a no-go, so maintain your own standards and your own students. Let those who are in a less... lateral(?) position take care of the matter, especially since you have no firsthand information to help or hinder.
     
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  23. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 23, 2020 at 11:53 AM

    What usually takes place to start it is when I ask the aide, “How was Algebra class today?” just to see where the students are.,,Then the aide starts to go off and other students chime in. I’m gonna stop this and see what happens.
     
  24. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 23, 2020 at 3:41 PM

    Good idea.
     
  25. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Nov 23, 2020 at 3:42 PM

    It's a tough situation, but I'm not sure how much you can do about it. I would weigh the likely outcomes before saying anything. If it's not guaranteed that they'd get rid of him or force improvement, that's a different kettle of fish. You said in the OP that the aide has brought this up to admin, so there's already some awareness. IDK how much this person has gossiped/complained before, so who knows how much weight that has. If it were me, I might say something casually like, "I've been hearing from the kids that. . . and I'm not sure to what extent it's true, but I figured it best to bring it to your attention and let you decide if it warrants looking into."

    What I would do for sure is start a plan to get his students back on track when they become yours. That's the one inevitable thing in this situation. Even if he is gone after this year, they're behind schedule. The most interfering thing I'd consider would be offering a resource list to *all* students (wink, wink) or maybe open your office/tutorial time to his students too.
     
  26. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 24, 2020 at 7:59 AM

    After reading all the comments, I think I wrote a lot of it out of frustration and also how I would think of myself if I did what he does. Here’s the deal... He is not a bad guy... He’a not going around hitting students or anything like that.... He’s what I would call a very talkative grandpa-type of person. He can stretch out anything you mention, whether it’s my left sock, a bag of peanuts, or a half-filled bottle of Gatorade, into a personal 15-20 minute story!

    I will definitely not go to the P as I believe things will take care of themselves. I also will steer clear of gossip because that takes time away from teaching my own students. And, I will also be willing to help him on certain conditions. I’d hate to be in a situation where I needed help and no one came to help me.
     
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