What am I doing wrong???

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by ksjh3, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. ksjh3

    ksjh3 Guest

    Nov 26, 2016

    I am in my fifth year of teaching and I'm pretty confident that I'm the only teacher I know of who has never received any sort of recognition or even a kind thank you note, and I don't understand what it is I'm doing wrong. Obviously recognition and thank you's aren't necessary or even remotely important but it's becoming so difficult for me to ignore their absence when all of my colleagues are constantly talking about theirs. They post the thank you notes they receive on social media sites, they hang all of their recognitions, like Teacher of the Year nominations for our school, around their classrooms, and they make casual mention of kind emails they've received during lunch conversations.

    I've observed other teachers to see what they're doing differently, but see nothing different. I've had teachers observe me and they have no critical feedback. I spend countless hours reading borrowed books and online to get some insight, but still nothing. I just don't understand what I'm missing. As I teach and interact with my students and their parents I feel like a good teacher and like my students are learning and that they like me - we connect, we have fun, they respect me, they work hard, they seem engaged and have told me at various times how much they enjoyed certain lessons/books/assignments - but then I see that my colleagues are getting tangible recognition that I am not and I'm starting to think that maybe somehow my perception of how I'm doing is totally off. And maybe I shouldn't be a teacher if I'm that off and no one feels compelled to thank me or nominate me for Teacher of the Year like they do the other teachers (which is honestly the case - most teachers at my school get nominated for Teacher of the Year and get a certificate - so it isn't as silly as it sounds to sort of expect a nomination). The thought of quitting breaks my heart because I love teaching so much and I love my students, but nothing I've done to reveal my deficiencies has actually revealed anything except that I seem to be doing everything that my colleagues are doing but somehow I'm not getting the same results.

    The only thing that I can think of that might play a very small part in my situation is that I'm a part-time teacher (we do what we call block schedule at my school where you have classes 1-4 on "A" days and classes 5-8 on "B" days, so I teach "B" days) and I don't teach any honors or AP classes, which seem to be the classes where students typically are more interested in education and their teachers. But I don't think that can explain everything. So, even though I feel sensitive and heartbroken about this, I would love some insights. What am I missing? What am I doing wrong?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 27, 2016

    I agree that your part time status may be affecting your social recognition. Have you ever noticed that the majority of teachers receiving accolades are the teachers that are really involved in school activities? As a part time teacher, you aren't around for many of the school activities, so there aren't a lot of opportunities to get your name "out there".

    What I liked about your post was your success in the classroom and your good rapport with your students. That, to me, are the hallmarks of a "good" teacher.
     
    Secondary Teach likes this.
  4. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Nov 27, 2016

    You are obsessing over what some may consider a teacher popularity contest. I only say this because I was once doing the same thing (never been teacher of the month...what do I have to do for students to nominate me, etc.). Thank goodness my school stopped that award last year.
    It can be hurtful not to feel recognized for the hard work you put in. We are a part of the instant gratification culture and want instant validation.

    You WILL be thanked, but it will be more personal and private in nature. Old students will come back and share how prepared they are for college or some other experience...because of your class and expectations. Or they will encourage others to take your class. Or they post something on social media and you may hear about it. Personally, I think this type of recognition warms my heart, fuels my teacher drive, and is much more meaningful.
     
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  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 27, 2016

    I would definitely not be thinking about quitting just because I don't get thank you's or nominations.
    You have described success in all other aspects of teaching - if you read the forums, a lot of teachers can't say that.
    I'm curious, who are these thank you's and special emails are coming from?

    And I also agree, that somehow your part time status plays a part.
     
    Secondary Teach likes this.
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 27, 2016

    How much recognition you get from students depends very largely on the students. The majority of students and parents will do nothing to provide teachers recognition, but every now and then you get lucky and get a student who was raised right! These students are the only ones that provide gifts, and thank you notes, and they're also usually the students that make themselves almost completely invisible in the classroom behavior-wise. As long as you protect students' rights to learn, and make learning fun even for your highest level students, you will eventually get some recognition. If you focus too much on bringing up the lowest level students and neglect the higher-level ones, you'll likely build great relationships with the kids that really need it, but the higher level students will notice your focus on lower-level students and probably won't develop much of an admiration or relationship with you.

    The best recognition I got was from a student who wrote a review about how much I cared about her education and the students in my classroom. When she first started, she immediately thought I was going to be yet another young ineffective teacher who prioritized lower-level students, but I was able to make my instruction reach ALL students that year, and she ended up being one of my favorite students, and I one of her favorite teachers, even though we rarely ever talked, and she never stayed behind in class or visited at lunch time. She just did her work and took the opportunities to be challenged and appreciated that she was able to do this in a calm and productive learning environment.

    But it is all about getting lucky and getting that right student or parent in your class.
     
  7. NewTeacher2016

    NewTeacher2016 Companion

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    Nov 27, 2016

    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 27, 2016

    At our parent-student-teacher conferences last week, I got the only recognition that matters to me--many parents told me how much their children enjoy being in my class and that they are happier and more interested in school than they have been in the past. That really is all I need. I do work with teachers who actively seek out recognition and validation from the administrators, but that's not my style. I tend to keep my head down and just do my thing.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 27, 2016

    Let it go.....I worked at a school years ago where at a faculty meeting the principal said "Raise your and if you haven't been teacher of the year yet ". And then one of the teachers in that group got it...it was kind of a 'it's your turn' award.
     
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  10. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Nov 28, 2016

    Kinda loses its true meaning if you get it because you are last on the list. :/

    Teaching isn't a popularity contest. Just do your job the best you can and then some. If you get some kudos then awesome. If not, then don't worry about it.

    I teach SPE in a self-contained class. I will never get any kind of a teacher of the year award and I'm not really concerned about it. This is year 19 for me.
     
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  11. PunctuationPanda

    PunctuationPanda Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2016

    A thank you can go far because it shows that people have considered what time/effort you have put into something, but one thing I would suggest is to find a "thank you" in what you do get.

    As an example, I have a few students who are disrespectful to many other teachers in the building. I've built a relationship with them and I don't receive the same sort of behavior from them. It's not a formal thanks, but I look at it as them seeing and appreciating me as a teacher. Maybe I'm overstretching though. I don't know.
     
  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Dec 9, 2016

    I know it stinks but I wouldn't take it personally. Just do what you've been doing. At my school we used to have "awards" where you were nominated by staff members for any exceptional work. They would give the winner $100 (this happened every month for a while). We don't have it anymore but it was really nice recognition!
     
  13. chris duryea

    chris duryea Rookie

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    Dec 19, 2016

    You are doing NOTHING wrong. I went 14 years without formal or public recognition. It does not mean that you aren't doing important and meaningful work. The earlier poster who said it was a popularity contest hit the nail on the head. Stay focused on what really matters--your students. And it sounds like you've already got that locked down.
     

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