Unsure about accepting teaching job

Discussion in 'General Education' started by February24, May 31, 2020.

  1. February24

    February24 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2020
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 31, 2020

    So I’ve been a teacher for two years in a wonderful district that really aligned with my values and philosophy of education. This month I resigned because my SO was relocating.

    I was offered a job last week at a school. I really liked their staff and administration, but many of their philosophies and policies did not align with mine (their grading policies, grade weights, retake policies, common assessments etc). I just don’t agree with them. I would also have to follow them as they want their departments to all be on the exact same page. There are many aspects of my teaching that I am very passionate about and having to follow these policies would mean compromising many of these beliefs of what I believe is right, fair and equitable.

    Other aspects seem great: the collaboration, the community, the administration, the classes I would teach.

    So basically I have two questions, is this difference in philosophies enough of a reason to decline? Is it unwise to decline any teaching job during this climate (ie will there be any more jobs)?
     
  2.  
  3. JimG

    JimG Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    149

    May 31, 2020

    I think that any time one changes jobs, there are bound to be some philosophical differences between the old and new. How important is it for you to have a teaching job next year? Based on your answer, are these philosophical differences really deal breakers?

    If you take the job, do things the way they want for sure. After a year, if you still feel strongly about the differing philosophies, you can advocate for change from within.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,027
    Likes Received:
    1,620

    May 31, 2020

    I’m curious which direction the policies fall: are they tougher than you’d like, or looser than you’d like (no retakes! or, everyone can retake as often as they’d like!)?

    For me, I’d be okay with the policies as long as they were school-wide and clear. Even if you don’t love them, it’s nice that you don’t have to figure them out for yourself. It’s hard when every teacher has their own policy and can create opportunities for parent arguments. If one teacher accepts late work and one doesn’t under any circumstance, for instance, it can cause problems. So I generally respect when schools have these policies in place.

    I have found that teachers sometimes fudge these lines a bit though, and then they’re pretty worthless. If the school policy is no retakes, but Ms. Smith not so secretly lets kids retake if they ask, it skews data and makes the policy pointless. It happens a lot.

    A few examples of my own school: we give out a LOT of homework. Personally, I think it’s too much. We also place huge importance on test scores, and I think test scores are a piece of the puzzle but should not be the end all, be all thing that matters. I’m willing to deal with those things though. We have had a few really good teachers who’ve fought these things every step of the way. By their choice or by our administration’s choice, they will not be returning. It’s probably for the best, honestly, even if I did agree with them often. If it’s causing the teacher that much stress, it’s not a good fit on either end.

    If you can follow the policy even if you don’t like the philosophy behind it, I say go for it. If your gut tells you that what you’re doing is wrong, though, and you don’t feel like that will go away, it would be better to look elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
    Caesar753 and bella84 like this.
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,800
    Likes Received:
    1,750

    May 31, 2020

    I agree with what has already been said. It all comes down to what you can personally handle and what would be too much for you. I've often had a difficult time working in schools where my own personal values and beliefs were not in alignment with the philosophy of the school or district. I've also had difficulty working with people (colleagues and admin) who I didn't mesh with, for one reason or another. I haven't stayed in those schools long. When you're dealing with a struggle on both of those ends, it's just demoralizing. I'm currently in a district where the philosophy is not totally in line with my own, but there's enough crossover and flexibility to make it work. I also work with a great group of people who are willing to learn and grow. So, I can feel free to share my philosophy and insights, even if it means that change is very slow or, sometimes, non-existent. This has made a huge difference, and I've stayed in this district longer than any other. So, my advice would be that you reflect on how big of a deal-breaker the differing philosophies is for you. Does it seem like it would be worth giving it at least one year to see how it goes? If so, you might as well go for it. You don't have to stay for a second year if it's really that bad, and you might learn something or develop valuable relationships in the meantime.
     
    Tired Teacher likes this.
  6. February24

    February24 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2020
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 31, 2020

    Their policies are extremely traditional (at least in my view). They follow weighted grading, give homework, they allow very limited retakes, they grade in-class work and formative assessments etc. A teacher must follow the department grading plan. If i want to make a change, the entire department has to agree and it has to be board approved.

    I am very progressive in my teaching. I’ve spent years researching, being a apart of book clubs, attending PD, and forming a curriculum around standards-based grading practices (ex: no homework, retakes are encouraged/allowed/full-credit-earning, assessments are frequent and small, in class work is not part of the grade -only assessments, etc.) I just know what I feel is right and equitable, and I’m not sure if I am willing to compromise these beliefs yet (but that answer may change if I’m still unemployed in July/August). I just don’t know how picky I should be. If I should hold out for a better fit, or if because of our current education/economic climate there will be very few teaching opportunities.
     
    CaliforniaRPCV likes this.
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,800
    Likes Received:
    1,750

    May 31, 2020

    I understand your concerns. If I were in your shoes, I would likely be having the same internal debate. Ultimately, I think that I would still accept the job, so as to not be jobless, knowing that everything else about the district seems great and knowing that I could leave after one year if I was unhappy. I would likely also try to be a change agent during the year, if possible to do so without being overbearing.

    I will tell you that I have stayed in my district for four years now, not always agreeing with the policies but appreciating many other things about the district. And slowly but surely, things are moving more and more in the direction of my beliefs. It took me being both patient and willing to share my knowledge and beliefs on what I consider to be better practices.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,949
    Likes Received:
    1,141

    May 31, 2020

    From my point of view, the benefits of this job outweigh the concerns. As it's been mentioned already, with a new job come changes and often they're not good ones. In this case, in my opinion it's not terrible. Hearing your own preferences, I could have a problem with those if they made me do them, but I could accept and do my job.
    In this situation, as it also has been mentioned, the great thing is that the entire school follows the same policy. I can't tell you how important that is. When I first started this job. 8 years ago, I couldn't believe how everyone had their won way of doing things and how lax most teachers were. I held my students to high expectations, and not just grading, but with rigor and quality of lessons and most students resisted it, and I wasn't liked too much, since I had more requirements than other teachers. It wasn't until year 3 when students figured that's just how I teach and they finally understood that I had high expectations because I knew they could do it, because I thought they were smart.
    I wished the other teachers changed their ways, but they didn't, of course. I wished there was one way to do things even if it's not my way, but everyone would follow it.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    4,027
    Likes Received:
    1,620

    May 31, 2020

    Honestly these policies sound pretty normal. I agree there are different, better ways to do things, but I imagine you’d find many of those policies in place at a lot of schools you apply to, except for needing board approval to change things. That sounds a bit extreme. If you want more progressive expectations, those schools are definitely out there, but they may be harder to find.
     
  10. MiamiCSTeacher

    MiamiCSTeacher New Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2020
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 31, 2020

    I would remain flexible. I guess it depends on what you are teaching and how much in demand your job is but my experience was it was not easy to find a full time teaching job. Now that I found it I am super happy but it took me a while.

    Schools are generally inflexible when it comes to policies. The administrators, the department chairs and the teachers with more seniority usually weigh a lot in decisions. And sometimes it’s not even these people making the decisions, they come from the District!

    What I see during COVID-19 is guidance to implement a lot of flexibility in grading (which makes sense).

    One other aspect when it comes to the fit with a new job is to ask these questions during your interview. If it does not sound like a fit, keep interviewing with other schools.

    Good luck!
    Adrian
     
    Tired Teacher likes this.
  11. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    651

    May 31, 2020

    If you like the staff and admin, you can probably work in the system. I don't think anyone ( just from my experience/ reality) is going to find a school district with policies, philosophies, values that they 100% agree with all of the time. Actually, I don't think I have ever seen that! :) Sometimes districts have such crazy ideas and you are stuck a year or longer until changes are made. Changes are made often in schools too. As a teacher, you have to be flexible. Even if you found a school you agreed with, all it takes is a new P, and all can change.
    My philosophy on that is : Do the best you can with what you are given.
    I don't like giving homework either. It was policy for years. You find a way to work around it by making it something fun and letting them come up with choices of what to do. Then grade it as done or not. Celebrate the fun things they did. Also, you could give a time for kids to do some type of homework in/before/ after class while the others did enrichment IF you have to have a grade.
    I think there will be a lot of surprise openings in Fall and more jobs will be open than expected. If I needed the job, I'd take it and do the best I could. If I didn't need it, I would wait and see if I could find something more aligned with my style. So I guess for me, it'd come done to my financial situation.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,029
    Likes Received:
    1,975

    May 31, 2020

    I don't agree with taking a job if you plan to work the system to your viewpoint if you know that is the school culture and you are the outlier. Take the job if you need the job and there aren't any other options, but plan to live with the school policies for the year until you find another.

    If this is a larger district, you may struggle to find what you want, especially if the area to which you move is more conservative over all. You may even struggle if there are many small districts near one another but have similar philosophies.

    What I would weigh:
    Can I survive without the job?
    Is there opportunity that fits my philosophy close by?
    How badly does wanting to teach students outweigh having to adhere to the policies?

    You may find you will not find what you want in the area you relocated. Then you have to decide if teaching is right for you.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    4,398
    Likes Received:
    1,300

    May 31, 2020

    [​IMG]
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,000
    Likes Received:
    861

    May 31, 2020

    In my area there is little to no hiring going on right now. Our school budgets have been decimated. If you were here I would tell you to take the offer because it's highly unlikely another will come along. Other parts of the country seem to be doing much better than we are though. If you have a way to ask locals about the market and how things are looking you might have a better idea. Or think about the job postings- are there tons of recent postings? I emphasize recent because I know in my district, they had a bunch of postings up, but decided not to fill a lot of them. HR isn't great about taking filled jobs or jobs they've decided not to fill down.

    I also agree with the pp that if you take the job, expect to fit in with their philosophy for the year. Sure, you may have opportunities to share your ideas, but don't go in expecting you can change the school as a first year there. That's more likely to get you non-renewed than anything.
     
    a2z and otterpop like this.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. vickilyn,
  2. waterfall
Total: 203 (members: 4, guests: 181, robots: 18)
test