This year has sucked

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bella2010, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Jan 31, 2015

    Totally, completely, utterly sucked. It keeps getting suckier.

    I went in 100% excited (new district I've looked at for a couple of years) and optimistic, but I'm done with that attitude because it's just giving me a rose colored glasses outlook. It is, what it is, and it just sucks. I've gotten great evaluations telling me I'm doing a good job and how appreciated I am, but it doesn't make it better. It used to, I was holding on to those words on paper, but I'm over it. They don't even make up for this crappy year.

    I have about 6 out of 23 parents who are completely and totally crazy, nutso, drama-thriving people who gripe about anything and everything, but haven't given a poop about anything until this point in the school year.

    I scheduled a P/T conference, and the mom sent a note back with her daughter asking if I could schedule it closer to her other daughter's time. Fine, no problem. So, I sent another note. She didn't show up on Thursday. We had P/T conferences on Thursday until 7:00 and Friday until 12:00. I got a FB message on Friday at about 3:45, which was the time she was scheduled for on Thursday...the time she requested. She said I wrote down Friday on the note. If I did, I take responsibility for that. However, if she sent a note and asked for a new time closer to her other daughter's which was at 3:30 on Thursday, if I did write the wrong day, maybe she could have walked the short distance to my room and double checked when she was at her other daughter's conference? I mean, me scheduling it for a more preferred time, but the next day wouldn't make a lot of sense.

    And my state has the law of if the kids don't pass their 3rd grade reading test they don't promote to 4th = more paperwork and stress.

    It's like at every turn I find out about another paper trail I should have been keeping, but wasn't told about, and now I have to take care of it...for the last 5 months of school (the time I should have been doing it but didn't know about it). Then, there's the drama with teachers #1 and #2.

    I'm tired. I'm beyond tired, I'm exhausted. I'm stressed. I'm depressed. I'm second guessing my decision to come to this district. I need to suck it up and move on, I know. Hopefully I'll get that mantra stuck in my head when Monday rolls around.

    It's stupid, stupid, stupid because even though I'm totally second guessing coming to my new district, I don't to be at another district and feel I'm at the right place. My head is spinning, and I'm beyond confused.

    Rant over
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jan 31, 2015

    It might just be bad luck that your first year at this district that you got such a high percentage of helicopter parents.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 31, 2015

    Don't let a few parents get to you. Seems as if you still believe in your current school, your admin likes you and that you are motivated to help your students succeed.

    Start keeping emails, records of communications, notes on phone calls and conferences. Reschedule the parent's onference if you haven't already done so. Truly, parents just want to believe you have their kids' best interests at heart.
     
  5. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Jan 31, 2015

    It is, along with two others who "forgot" theirs. :mad:

    I understand they want to know that. :( It just really irritates me there hasn't been a "problem" up until now, regardless of progress reports sent home, the grades viewed online, the STAR reports sent home, etc. :|
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sometimes parents are in a bit of denial. You are covered with the history of progress reports and other communications. At this point your best plan would be to communicate the supprts and modifications you've made thus far and how you will proceed next...and always, always reiterate your best interests in their student's learning
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Whatever other things you do, you should definitely start blocking parents who contact you via Facebook. Don't reply to anything they say, just click the Block button.
     
  8. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Yeah, in the back of my mind I was thinking about how bad I didn't want to respond, but I didn't want to not respond because her messages sounded kind of irritated. :( She asked me twice to call her. Um, no. Not going down that road.
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Feb 1, 2015

    I teach 4 grade levels. I haven't heard anything from my 3rd or 4th grade parents. My 6th grade parents know me by now since I've been teaching their kids for 4 years, so they are low drama.

    But 5th grade... dear God... I don't know how this group of parents got together, but we have some seriously BAD parents in that group. Thankfully since they have a reputation, my P is pretty understanding if they come in and rant to her. And if there's something that we can change- for the good of the students- we will but some of these parents basically just want their kid to get an A, no homework, no stress.

    And that's the thing about parents.... listen to what they have to say. If it is wrong, remember YOU are the professional, forget it, get rid of it, ignore it. If their advice/feedback/demands make sense, listen to it and make the changes. I keep a parent email folder to quickly dump out stupid emails that I don't want to sit in my inbox.

    Parents are honestly- imo- the worst part of teaching. I thought it would be the students who don't behave, but I can't deal with helicopter parents who need to be in therapy for their anger and anxiety.

    If it's really bad, have your Admin set in. We have one 3rd grade parent- I've had her before and so I know how to talk to her to get her off my back at this point. She's clearly harassing one new teacher at my school, so my P called her in and told the new teacher that if the parent contacts him, he is not to respond at this point. Not sure what else came out of that meeting, we haven't had a time yet to meet with the P, but I think that really helped the new teacher. The pressure is off of him and the P has his back.

    Paper work- there will always be MORE paper work that we have do. Perhaps see if there is a time you can schedule yourself to work on it. Do not do anything else during that time but organizing your paper work, records, etc.

    When I'm feeling down about being a teacher, I choose some really fun activities to do with my students. They have a blast in class and I get to destress with my kids. (My 5th graders were creating balloon rockets and I decided to teach them how to use balloons as a musical instrument. :) Might not be 100% academic but they loved the lesson and they learned some good engineering skills)

    Just my 2 cents... try to really enjoy the good parts of teaching and remember: you can ONLY change yourself, so don't worry about parents (you can't change them) or paper work (has to be done, it will get done when it can).
     
  10. magister

    magister Rookie

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    Feb 1, 2015

    Set time limits w/parents before the year starts but do it in a business-like manner so that you come across as professional and confident. Say that your "calling hours" are at such and such a time and that you're not available anytime before or after. I wouldn't have any FB stuff going on; email, phone, or in-person only.

    I once had a parent who was so neurotic and controlling. She was undermining her son's confidence and making him into another version of herself. He'd get nervous about anything. At a PT conference she actually bought in a copy of the school's manual and was citing passages like it was the Constitution: "Well, in article 3, section 4, paragraph 1, it says...."

    Anyway, give thanks that you have a job. I don't.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I generally don't friend parents on FB and ignore their friend requests. My FB account has all the privacy features enabled and though I know someone can 'find' me there, I don't have to interact with them.
     
  12. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    I think this might be some of it. Since we're tested in math and reading, we are told not to teach any other subjects other than these until testing is over. I feel like I am the most un-fun teacher this year. I'm trying to get in all the stuff they want us to get in, which seeing as how we only teach two subjects (basically) should be easy, but there are so many little random things that take up time. I usually do a couple of book report/project type things by now, and I haven't done any this year. I've started subscribing to the KISS theory and trying to keep my head above water.

    I'm sorry to hear that.

    I know I should't have. I'd just already been griped at by a couple of parents, it was like I felt like I needed to make her happy and not add another one to the list. The only parent I have as a friend is one that I've known for a couple of years.

    I am sending out a note next week for a couple of different things. I'm thinking about adding an "availability" reminder. Politely stating the times I am available and that if they need to speak to me outside of these times to please leave a message at the office, and I will return their call. Thoughts?
     
  13. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Feb 2, 2015

    I think it's a good idea. I definitely echo those who have said to block parents on facebook. I would even go as far as to unfriend the parent you are friends with. It's not a good idea.
     
  14. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Feb 2, 2015

    She and I have been friends for a few years. We hang out during the summer, our husbands know each other, we have a few mutual friends, and we taught across the hall from each other at my first school. I wouldn't do that.
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Feb 4, 2015

    This is really sad to hear- I know it's happening, but as a science teacher it bugs me to no end. Education should and MUST move past the "Math and English ONLY" issue. :mad: This is one of the reasons I chose not to work in public schools though- I would love the pay raise, but I wouldn't make it as a teacher in public school.


    I have a teacher page for each one of my classes and on there I have my extra help schedule. I'm pretty open for extra help- 7:40 to 8:15 in the morning, at recess for about 20 minutes (when I don't have duty), and after school from 3:00 to 3:30. So a kid- who needed help- could get about an hour and 25 minutes with me if they needed in one day.

    I tell students and parents that I do check my email until 8:00 pm if I am able to. That's mostly so they're not sitting around and waiting for a response that evening- if it past 8 pm and you haven't heard from me, you're not going to until the next day.

    Something that I'm doing with one grade- because of boundary issues- is that I (and the other teachers) are only answering emails from 3:00 to 3:30 pm. But that's with an extreme group of parents- I think the parents are getting it though and the emails have been much nicer with less pressure on us.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Feb 4, 2015

    I've had to do something similar with one parent--I'll only answer emails between 8 and 4 (our kids are in class from 8:30 - 3:00). She was routinely emailing me at 11:00pm or so and then complaining to the P the next day when I hadn't answered her. She got the message fairly quickly.
     
  17. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    It should go without saying that if you want to be available to parents, use email, with the expectation that you only answer email during school hours. As far as Facebook, and any social media, you need to lock it down. You are at risk by exposing too much of yourself outside of school hours. Our HR people said if they could get the teachers to shut down FB, they would be almost out of a job putting out brush fires my miscommunications. Just what I was told, and I followed what they said.
     
  18. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    It is very rare that I will answer a parent email from home. I have used my home computer to email a parent in the evening or weekend but only if it's something I forgot to say to them previously or something that needs immediate attention like answering a question (what does suzy need for the special event on friday?) but only if it's something that will make my life easier in the long run (if suzie forgets this item it will be a big pain!!).
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I actually think this is one of the reasons why so many teacher's students do not do well on the test. Administrators (former teachers) who tell their teachers not to teach social studies and science because of a test were very very poor teachers.

    I always laugh, social studies and science is devoid of reading, math, critical thinking, problem solving..etc...funny stuff. I mean all the non-ficition reading in those subjects, on the test, reading the Great Horn Spoon for social studies...etc. What craptastic teachers those administrators were.
     
  20. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Feb 4, 2015


    I completely agree with this. Especially for reading, background information is so essential and is the part that is lost with reducing "reading instruction" to drill-and-kill "skills-based" instruction. I'm sure math teaching also improves when it is applied to real-world situations -- science experiment, mapping and charting in social studies -- and not kept in a dry box of worksheets.

    Please understand: I am NOT trying to say that the OP is doing anything wrong! I was also in a position last year where I was supposed to be teaching ELD Reading using a "skills-based" program, and I saw how it sucked the life and joy out of reading. I tried all year to bring in my own ideas and was shut down at every step by the admin. I had to leave the position because I just couldn't keep doing it.

    I am now in another public school where I feel no pressure to teach to the test. None. With the new SBAC on the horizon, we are talking about ways to familiarize students with the format, but my admin has the wisdom to let teachers teach the way we know works best and to trust that the test scores will reflect good teaching.

    So there are public schools out there that are not obsessed with "the tests," but I am sure it varies state-to-state, district-to-district, and even school-to-school. I am sorry to hear that the OP is having to deal with all of this! :hugs:

    Also, just a thought --- I wonder if some of the parents' frustration has more to do with what they are experiencing from the school and not with you as the teacher, and you are just ending up as the scapegoat? I wouldn't be happy if my 3rd grader wasn't getting to do science and social studies because the school is cramming test prep on her.
     
  21. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Feb 4, 2015

    AMEN!!!!! Mrs. Irene AMEN!!!!!
     

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