Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by abat_jour, Sep 4, 2014.
Sep 4, 2014
Sep 5, 2014
Hm. Do you have control of your class(es)?
You have not mentioned anything about student behavior problems or dealing with disrespectful students. Since this is my biggest daily headache; I, personally, would not quit over the things you have mentioned.
I've felt like you feel for most of my short, seven-year career. My fear in quitting is that if I wanted to continue to teach in MD but in a different district; I would be breaking my contract so my district could suspend my license (which they have a right to do). That is something to consider. Also, my district pays very well for 190 days of work; this is the main reason I stay.
In regards to getting a good recommendation; my P often says that she doesn't want teachers that don't want to be here or know that our school/district is not a good fit for them. Some Ps will give you a decent recommendation if you talk to them and explain why you have to quit. Although replacing a teacher can be a hassle; so is having to deal with a disgruntled or ineffective teacher all year long.
Every year I have been in this district, I have seen at least 2 teachers quit before October but none of them (that I know of) planned to immediately continue teaching. Depending on what you want to do next and what you can afford; quitting may be best for you.
No advice, just saying sorry to hear this. Good luck on whatever you decide!
It's awfully early in the year to be considering quitting. I think I need more details.
The south, especially the rural south, can be very tight knit. They don't typically take outsiders well. You have to grow on them. Give it time. It gets better. I've lived it before
Sep 6, 2014
It doesn't matter how likeable you are at first. You are from the north. They'll eventually get past that and things will get easier.
I remember a conversation that I had with my P after a particularly rough day. She was from NJ. She reminded me that practically every person in the town, except the two of us, were related somehow- whether by blood or marriage. They are going to talk. She said eventually the talk will change and where I am from will be less important. It happened. It was slow, but it happened.
I am in a city. The back stabbing and cliques are common at all the schools i have worked at. I have interviewed in areas of the city where people looked at me like, "what are you doing here?" I am not in the south.
Didn't you think there would be a learning curve? Forget about the office politics and concentrate on teaching your students. That is what you are being paid to do. Making friends with the staff, sad to say, is not mandatory. Do a good enough job with the students, and the other teachers will find you! I would like to add, with sincerity, that you are working to make yourself more miserable with the what if's, and not like I imagined's going on in your brain. If you were a waitress, you know how to suck it up and get the job done. The truth is that you can be a good teacher without ever truly loving any coworkers. Get over your fairy tale dreams of what this would be like and get on with making your classroom a rousing success. Get online and get resources, ask for help from contacts you made last year, whatever it takes. First year is hard, period. Thinking about bailing is not the answer, unless you are going to leave teaching without trying any more. You are suffering from the condition known as "the grass is always greener somewhere else." It might be, but that's usually because it is growing over a septic tank!
The plans, etc., that you brought for your interview showed you can create them. They simply want you to continue to create in the manner that pleases them. All jobs do the same, trust me. You are taking it personally, when they are just trying to help you be in step with that school's expectations and their culture in curriculum. Please, for you and your students, lose the pity party and get busy learning the required styles, adapt, spend free time finding interesting and fun ways to make your lessons rock, and no one will care where you are from, trust me. Look less for friendship and care more about being the best teacher anyone has ever seen, being careful not to rub that in anyone's face. You are looking three moves into the future and letting your present day go down the drain. Worry about these students, their problems, and how you can help. Don't be putting down the system until you have invested energy trying to make it better.
I could tell you about all the ways that you can change the culture, but I think you are better off changing yourself into the superb teacher you intended to be from day one. Feeling sorry for yourself will not get you to that lofty goal.
Yes. It is crazy. I was told to avoid the lounge. One of the best tips I was given, "do not drink the kool-aid at your school." The cliques tend to be Us vs. Them mentality.
I have noticed that as federal, state, and local mandates put more pressure on teachers and decrease teacher satisfaction the cliques get worse.
I definitely think you should stick it out. My first year my P got a lot of "but this isn't how mrs. Old teacher did it". He just reassured them that I was new but very good. He told them I would definitely change things but it would be good changes. This happened to the other new teachers too. I've settled in well and I continue to love my district.
Also, I'm a sorority girl but nothing like the stereotypes you're talking about There are many great sorority girls out there (and pageant girls), so don't write us all off!
For the record, the biggest back-stabbers and gossipers at my school are from the North. You're right, locals are a bit wary of Yankees. Because often they prove the stereotype to be correct. Thankfully, not all people are this way. Regardless of their state of origin.
To paint this issue as a Southern thing is quite offensive.
So you want people to talk about things that YOU find interesting. So YOU can be friends with them.
Exactly why do you want to associate with people whose interests are so different than yours? Is it written somewhere that you must be buddy-buddy with your coworkers?
Why not focus on your craft, take their suggestions to heart (and dismiss them if they don't apply) and realize that you are the newbie. They might actually have something worth listening to.
Is your school small? Mine is and we do spend a lot of time chatting about what former students are up to, how everyone is doing, etc... Nearly everyone is related.
Last year I worked at a school (which I miss terribly) where all the teachers pretty much grew up together--I did feel like I was intruding somewhat, but everyone was nice to me. No one ever came to hang out with me on teacher workdays, but I also didn't attempt to hang out with them either--so it goes both ways. I reminded myself, my job was teach the students, and the more time I wasn't cliquing it up with people, the more time I could devote to my purpose for being there in the first place.
If I were you, I would modify the lessons and fit the school's vision. Incorporate project-based learning intermittently, but give them what they want--at least for now. It sounds like maybe you particular group of students can't handle PBL. I have one class whom I already know won't be able to handle much group work without getting off topic (you know "pretending to work" but really using the opportunity to socialize and let one person do the work kind of thing). So, less fun and more independent stuff for them. I hate group work anyways, which is something I need to get over---I am one of those people who hate any talking at all during class. I am working hard to move past that this year.
I worked in the North and now the South. These problems unfortunately exist no matter where you are in the country. The first school I worked in up North was awful. On the first day, it was obvious many of the teachers were upset that I was hired instead of their student teachers (which I don't understand why they thought the P would have hired one of their general education interns for an Autism classroom). While I was there though I did make friends with 2 teachers and that made everything a million times more bearable. I stayed their for 2 years and went to another school as soon as I could transfer and was much happier. The school I work at now is very rural in North Carolina. Everyone has been very welcoming, but that doesn't mean it's that way at every school in the district. My best advice is just try to tune out others and do your best. Try to follow whatever lesson plans they want and incorporate your style when no one is watching. Just know most people are unhappy their first year and things will get better. You still have a whole career ahead of you.
Adjusting your own attitude about the situation might help a lot. Whether you mean to or not, you seem to have a serious amount of disdain for your coworkers and bosses. You look down on them for being less worldly, "5 years past retirement", not having as much training as you, being Southern, etc. If you think they can't sense that you think you're better than them, you're wrong.
You contradicted yourself. You said locals are wary of Yankees, then that southerners discriminate against northerners is offensive.
Personally, I find the term Yankee offensive. But I am going to let that go because I have no desire to argue. I'm not the gossipy type. At all. (Plus, I am from the midwest, which IMO excludes me from being a 'Yankee'. I still find the term offensive though.)
The OP asked a question. I simply said that I had a similar experience, as did my P. I should clarify- the teachers at the school (with the exception of two very catty women who I would never associate with anyway) were fabulous and accepting. The parents are the ones that I had to win over. And it took a couple of years to get them to completely accept me.
Can we honestly define who the undesirable co-workers are based on where they were born or raised?? I am also from the Midwest, and I claim no allegiance to any specific area, nor am I offended by any that easily come to mind. I do resent people who think that they can "tell" what another is going to be like based on the state or country of their birth, their mother tongue, or the color of their skin.
Let's be honest - humans tend to categorize others as either "us" or "not us" even as infants. Yep, that is science for you. But as we age and mature, our distinctions are no longer clear cut or even very useful. I can understand that in smaller towns with a less mobile population, the categories may not blur as fast as they might in a larger urban area where people come and go routinely. I also understand that if we enter a new locale with preconceived notions, a little scared, and our hackles raised even a little, the experience may not go smoothly.
Giraffe raises a valid point that many times it isn't our colleagues, but the parents who we have to win over. If you are the new teacher, you may be wonderful, but mostly you are unknown, and that freaks many parents out. Parents want the best of everything for their child and you are an untested variable, so they may be skeptical; I, as the parent of a young child, was no different at one point in my life.
I do believe that there is always a learning curve to any new experience, and that at least initially I will be doing all of the learning. But in truth, I am showing what I am made of, what I can do, with each passing day, and soon the learning is going in both directions. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that someone is doing something the way you do, or that they are backing your idea because it intrigues them, but you have to be open enough to recognize these shifts as the bonding that they are.
FYI - I am from the Midwest, with parents from the South, long time resident of NJ, and great friends all over the world. People can be good, bad, or indifferent regardless of location. Less bashing, and more acknowledgement that we identify other's actions based on our own conceptions that may or may not be accurate, and maybe we gain more tolerance. Be above reproach and let the chips fall where they will. I have yet to meet a person with zero positive contacts, but I have met people with no idea that others find them interesting. Go figure!
It comes down to this (for me): if you can afford to quit, why be unhappy? If you can't afford to quit, suck it and keep it moving.
This is the pep talk I give myself every morning. Trust me, it works. How do I know? I make it to work everyday.:lol:
Sep 7, 2014
If you quit as a first year, you'll never learn from the experience. You are also likely to never come back to teaching if you quit your first year. People around you can suck, but a nice thing as a teacher is that you can lock yourself in your room with your students and not talk to anyone else the entire year if you don't wish pretty much.
While this isn't recommended as a long-term solution, for a particular environment in which you don't enjoy interacting with the adults, this can get you through the year. In addition, the kids will have an adult that has stuck through the year with them and for some students that means so much.
Also, and this is slightly unrelated to the rest of this thread, but it's REALLY hard to be doing project-based learning your first year. I don't know how it's working out for you, but I found it to be a very advanced strategy to just start using last year after I had most of my systems in place, and I couldn't imagine doing that and attempting to survive my first year at once.
Also note, that one reason they may be critical of your lessons is that they simply don't do theirs the same way. There is a teacher in our school who is critical of anything involving group work, collaborative and hands-on learning, etc. And that's because he's basically just had kids read and answer questions from the book silently for decades. Luckily he is retiring soon.
If you get past this year, things only get better, even if you have to find a new school or teach a new grade. I would stick it out, take the experiences that you can with you, and do your best to get your P's recommendation by the end of the year before you move on to other things. Be unfailingly polite even to those who are gossiping about you. You shouldn't care about what they say anyway. You are new, and your methods won't be amazing this first year. Who cares. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if those teachers are going to hold it against you, they're not worth another second of thought.
Just wanted to throw in here - I believe that certain styles of teaching are more effective because of the people that are using them. I would never be successful having students complete worksheet packets all day, every day. But my son's teacher did just that. And when he took the state exam for the same class that I teach, he did awesome. When I tried to review with him before the exam, he knew everything he needed to know. And he was more than prepared for the AP version of that course two years later.
A former coworker used to have the students read the text and answer questions. The kids hated it. Her department members used to rag on her constantly. But her state exam scores were the highest in the department.
I would be very wary about insisting that one way of teaching is better than another. I think it comes down to one way is best suited for some teachers than others.
I am sorry to hear about your rough situation. I do know that having a gossipy and unkind faculty is rough. I have great colleagues now, but while probably not as rough as you have it, I have had some really rough colleagues many years ago.
For my own sanity and for my own well being, I have found when there is gossip, I spend much more time away from the lead gossipers and more time with students and by myself. I also find a couple of teachers who are not as gossipy to hang out with. There are two things that are magnets for gossip--lunch time and the teacher's lounge. I'd avoid the teacher's lounge like the plague.
The only way I have been ever to slow down gossip and gossipers is with honest compliments. If I compliment their classroom, their bulletin board, or new outfit, they often will be caught off guard, say thank you, and then they might continue the subject about their classroom, bulletin board, or outfit. Do I change these people for good? No way, but for a moment there is peace.
Fair enough. However I would like to point out, that while teaching to the text may be effective (I mean it is basically drill and kill the entire time, so your time is being spent very efficiently), research generally points to this method not producing high levels of retention, and generally leads to a dislike of learning and education. Again, not saying this is the case for all students. Your son may have experienced something different. Just saying that this is what the research tends to suggest.
And I have found very few educational research reports to be founded in actual scientific methods. So I don't put a lot of weight into references to research.
At least that is the way it was when I was actively trying to find scientifically sound educational research during my graduate studies. Maybe something has drastically changed in the last ten years, but I have my doubts.
What I would see is one teacher convinced, let's say, that PBL was THE way to go. Because she was so enthused and put in so much time to her students, her students were successful. But who is to say that it was the style of learning or the enthusiasm? Find me a school full of teachers who AREN'T thrilled about utilizing PBL but ended up with better results when they were forced to switch methods, and I would be more likely to think it was the method, not the teacher.
And, as I said, my son, two years later, did very well in his AP class. So the worksheet packets served him nicely. The I don't see it as drill and kill, however. I'd like to think that the worksheets I create cause students to think beyond basic facts and vocabulary. Until you know what is on the sheets that teachers use, you can't dismiss them as "drill and kill."
Interesting. I think this merits it's own thread. I will make one in the Gen. Ed. forum later. I need to get berkferst. (intentional)
I'm sorry you are unhappy. I would not quit. Just avoid other people and try to learn as music has you can so you waste your learning curve year on a school you have not future.
It sounds like you are bitter other districts have decided to pay more since you turned them down. You need to let that go. You made the best decision you could have at the time.
I taught 2 years down south, one year in North Carolina.
When I came back home and people asked me what it was like down there, I summed it all up in one sentence: "I would NEVER treat them the way they treated ME."
Everything we hear up north about the south is a lie. "Southern hospitality," etc. No matter how nice you are or how much you try to dispel their conceptions of northerners, I'm afraid they'll never warm up to you.
...and all Notherners are stuck up
...and all blonds are dumb
...and all women can't do house repairs
...and all men can't change light bulbs
c'mon (some) people...aren't we just generalizing a tad too much?
Perhaps the OP just hasn't adjusted to a new situation yet. She (I actually thought she was a man up to this point!) may just need to give it some time and stop generalizing about her peers in the school.
I teach with multiple people from up north and out west and never seen what some are claiming happens.
I used to have a prejudice against Texans. During a PD, I met some of the sweetest people I ever met, and they happened to be Texans. I try to catch myself when I generalize based on states, or for any other reason, but I'm not perfect and will get it wrong sometimes.
I think we should all try to be more aware of the prejudices we bring with us against other people, even if we meet people who embody those prejudices.
Oh, Abat-Jour, It sounds tough. I wish I had the patience to learn how to quote other responses because I think some of them were so spot on about just focusing on your students and what is going on in your room. It sure makes it easier and more pleasant when there is somebody on the staff you can relate to really well, but when that isn't there, it doesn't need to mean that everyone else is an enemy. Hang in there, focus on the students, and see how you feel as time passes. You are there for your class.
thanks I will do exactly this
Oh and BTW just click on "rely with quote" instead of the regular "quick reply" and you can reply with a quote simply
yeah, I'm not so sure I would want to chat with you either, given what you've posted. You clearly think you are better than your peers so you are probably best off by yourself anyhow. And, since you're so awesome being you, why don't tackle that pesky issue of illiteracy yourself and show them all how easy it is?
FTR, most of the time, when experienced teachers dismiss "modernity" it isn't because they are afraid to change. Very, VERY little in education is new. Trends come and go. And come around again with fresh little bows and new names. Chances are your colleagues have been there, done that, and have picked what works for them in the classroom. Go ahead now and accept the fact, FACT, that you have far less to offer them than they have to offer you. I promise your school year will be much better if you do.
I'm not the gossipy type, and I try to avoid that. (Unfortunately, I'm right next door to one this year!) Anyway, teachers get very little time to speak with other adults. A lot of times when they get an opportunity, they don't want to talk about school. They need a mental break. Not saying gossip should be the topic of conversation, but I know that I'm not eager to discuss teaching methods when I get an opportunity for adult conversation. My old team would usually say-" I need help with this/I need an idea/etc... can we talk about it after school tomorrow?" It set the stage for a more professional conversation.
I mean this in the nicest way possible and am truly not trying to be ugly, but I would be careful/cognizant about how you are coming across to others. You seem to be very judgmental towards your peers based on what kinds of discussions they choose to have or not have. Just because you are into the latest 'trends' in education does not mean that everyone is. My guess is that your colleagues are picking up on your feelings towards them and are distancing themselves accordingly. No one wants to hang out with someone who thinks they're better than them. *shrug*
Let me clarify, although it seems pointless, the concern is with 3 individuals that are in roles that directly impact my first year requirements beyond the classroom. It is beyond the discussion they choose to have. When I talk to one it is clear they have shared information amongst the others and they do not serve the roles they are supposed to. For example, I get yelled at by one for knowing the things another is supposed to share with me. I get yelled at one for implementing what another did tell me to do.
And yes, none of us would be probably be friends. You don't get to be one of the lowest performing districts in the state by everyone doing their job the best, do yo?
But you chose this district, turning down other jobs, didn't you? Maybe I misread that earlier. If you feel the students will be better with you than without you, be the teacher you think you can be, and the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak.
Separate names with a comma.