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renielen's Message:

I'm sorry you are going through that. Make sure you document everything. Every time the principal comes to your room. Note what you were doing, what the kids were doing and the time.
Document any conversation. You never know if you will need it. A teacher I used to work with, had this type of documentation and it helped her win her case when she sued the district.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
time4fun 06-18-2018 07:12 PM

I ended up transferring to a fantastic school for this fall and will be working for an amazing teacher-friendly principal!

Parents have been complaining to my former P and saying they had wanted me to have their child in class. Iím glad she is feeling the heat!

Maceola 01-22-2018 04:41 PM

Saying that she expects to be "dazzled" every time she walks in a classroom is downright silly. And you're right, she was totally being low-key sarcastic as a jab at you for having a solid reputation. This administrator is really not about student learning. You know you're worth, so hang in there!

katelaine65 01-22-2018 04:17 PM

In our state we can say we don't agree and ask for a different person to do another evaluation.

McGarrett 01-22-2018 01:18 PM

My situation was a power move on the admin's part. He picked on me basically. If you show signs of independence admin might bug you. If a teacher's lessons are satisfactory but ordinary, they could get criticized. Young, fresh, and new admin do not want ordinary. Some need to be impressed, otherwise they might intervene. They want to show you off to others, and they want to see how high you will jump when ordered. It's a game. I have played it several times with a couple of administrators who were sadistic. Your situation could be different. Anyway, I tried to do what they wanted, when they notice that you are trying to fix your so called problems, they often move on and find another victim. If you don't bend and stand up for yourself, be prepared to have a strong back bone. Free thinkers and independent minds are often discouraged in education. If you believe in these things, be prepared to fight. I left education for other reasons, but if you play their little game, you should he okay. It's all a battle of egos, but leadership will try their best to put you in your place. Much of education is about following orders and directions and has little to do with what YOU feel is right for the kids

Cloud99 01-21-2018 06:16 PM

Have you considered dressing up to entertain the children?

I went through what you are going through. The principal actually suggested I dress up to entertain the children and had me write lesson plans for a scripted program.

It is not fair but it happens. All I can do is echo the advice of others - do what is required and try to flu under the radar.

time4fun 01-21-2018 06:13 PM

That's probably what bugged me the most about everything! How dare a P say that to any teacher who had obviously planned a solid, skill-based, and engaging lesson? It wasn't like she walked in and I was sitting at my desk texting on my phone!

I did take someone's advice and spoke to her about that particular comment. She said that I am "talented and have a great reputation," so she expects to be dazzled every single time she comes in the classroom, yet she was underwhelmed. This is a P who can insult you while giving you a "compliment."

Regardless, I am still on a professional development plan until the end of the year. I'm flying under the radar, but you can bet that I won't make a secret of why I am leaving when I do! I owe it to my fellow teachers to let her know that she can't get away with intimidating them.

renielen 01-21-2018 04:43 PM

I'm sorry you are going through that. Make sure you document everything. Every time the principal comes to your room. Note what you were doing, what the kids were doing and the time.
Document any conversation. You never know if you will need it. A teacher I used to work with, had this type of documentation and it helped her win her case when she sued the district.

mrsd5 01-21-2018 07:05 AM

The year before I retired, I was put on an improvement plan. It was ridiculous. The principal (who I adored) LOVED my lesson. But one group finished early and was chatting. This was during a 3 minute quick read and discussion/sharing part of the lesson. Plus, he was told that I missed some of my duties. Nope. I was late a couple of times, as duties change monthly, and I didn't remember to change, so got to my duty a couple of minutes late. I wrote a response showing how I was dealing with some of the low marks. AND they changed their policy on duties by coming on the intercom with reminders each month on the day of duty change.

I think he was under pressure, because I was an older teacher. They had gotten rid of two experienced teachers the year before, along with some younger teachers in a real bloodbath. This is a smaller district, so it affected us all.

I finished out my final two years with no more observations.. I think he was following administration/school board directives and just bucked the system on that. Politics in small districts can be brutal. Illinois is notorious for politics and poorly funded schools, especially in more rural areas.

amiga13 01-20-2018 08:32 PM

Iím so sorry this is happening to you. I would be constantly upset. Iím thinking of you.

Maceola 01-20-2018 07:48 PM

to hear that this happened to you, but I'm more annoyed by the principal stating she was "underwhelmed". Are you kidding me??!!! She doesn't need to be blown away by some amazing lesson, but rather, concerned that the students have learned the objective. I've heard of many newbie administrators having resentment towards veteran teachers, and engaging in this petty behavior to take them down a peg or two. The best advice I can give you is to write a strongly worded letter expressing your pain, (perhaps some anger) and disappointment in her actions. But do it as therapy for yourself. Don't mail it. You'd be surprised at how much better you'll feel after you let this out.

Tiamat 01-20-2018 05:22 PM

My husband was sick of hearing about it, too. He got a double dose too because she chose to treat my daughter (who was an aide at the school for many years) in the same bullying way, eventually not giving her a contract for 2018 without cause. That's with the union, as the policy is "last on, first off" and she was the second longest serving aide in the place. All the other aides got full contracts for 2018.

I survived four years by gritting my teeth, doing exactly what she told me to, not being afraid to involve the union at every meeting she requested and documenting everything. And by knowing it wasn't just me - there is a subversive underground in the school consisting of all teachers over the age of 45.

It used to be a lovely school to work at. Now I'm just glad to be out.

elmo33 01-20-2018 04:23 PM

My husband got tired of hearing about it too....
But it is such a horrible feeling to be ‘thrown under the bus’ so to speak... unless you have had it happen to you - you really can’t understand the feeling...

time4fun 01-20-2018 04:07 PM

Illinois, near Chicago
4th grade

time4fun 01-20-2018 04:06 PM

But, she doesnít seem to care if it is or not.

time4fun 01-20-2018 04:05 PM

I donít know how you put up with it for 4 years! This has taken a toll on me. Bless your heart! I hope your admin gets what is coming to her. Iíve heard of 5 people who want to leave our building because of our P, too.

time4fun 01-20-2018 04:02 PM

I love how you said that weíve ďforgotten more than they know!Ē That is the truth!!

time4fun 01-20-2018 04:01 PM

I am devastated and my husband is tired of hearing me whine about it.

time4fun 01-20-2018 04:00 PM

It is a professional development plan, not an improvement plan. Like there is any difference!

Summerwillcom 01-20-2018 03:54 PM

observations....I am sorry this happened to you. I can totally relate. I went from many yrs of being evaluated at the top of the scale until we got a new, young, inexperienced P who I think was biased by age. Also, he always said something like: We all have room to grow. ( I agree w/ that, but he did not even understand teaching.) Do not let him get to you as much as possible. Remember you have probably forgotten more than she ever knew in the 1st place! That really is wrong too for her to make you get evaluated so much too. I might ( probably would) pull the union in if I felt it could impact my job. I think young P's can be intimidated by older teachers w/ a lot of experience. Even if they try to act confident, they often do not know much!

elmo33 01-20-2018 03:40 PM

She is out to make u look bad for some reason- but it has nothing to do with your teaching. Donít let it make you think bad of your whole career..
I had this happen to me once, I stayed under the radar did what was asked, now I am fine again ...
It is so political - I used to really value the observations and now I know that are not important because they can be swayed anyway...
I know u feel devastated though, I am sorry for you ..

School Time 01-20-2018 03:29 PM

An improvement plan after one observation? How totally unfair!

stephenPE 01-20-2018 02:52 PM

I have zero help all day and manage 33 kids in my high needs gen ed classroom
You must be a savant with powers most do not come close to. 33 is criminal.
The whole ordeal just makes me question if my whole career wasn’t as good as I thought it was.
The only question is why an idiot like this was allowed to lead a school. Do not question yourself. Your body of work, peers and the children are all the proof you need that you are worthy.
Find a new school if you have to but they move on usually.
What grade and state? Public school?
Tiamat 01-20-2018 02:31 PM

Except I did manage to avoid the iimprovement plan (which is seen as the first step out the door here). I have finally got a transfer and start at a new, much smaller, school on the 29th. Can't wait - I'm finally excited about teaching again.

My previous principal was extremely good at bullying and gaslighting and making snide little comments until you didn't know where you were or what you were doing. And she only did it to older teachers. She had very little classroom experience and had moved into admin way too early in my view, and that of most others.

She is under scrutiny at the moment as at the end of the year, seven people have fumped ship, five to move to other local schools (one moved away, one retired). That is an unheard of statistic in this isolated area, and apparently DO are looking carefully at it.

We will see if anything happens.

time4fun 01-20-2018 11:06 AM

Yes, I am one of the older teachers, but Iíve got another 10-15 years until retirement. Iím just not one of the suck-ups that she prefers. She lets her pets get away with anything and I bust my butt every day and get treated like crap.

The whole ordeal just makes me question if my whole career wasnít as good as I thought it was. I believe everyone has areas to improve, but I donít believe I deserved this.

time4fun 01-20-2018 10:55 AM

Our observations are always unannounced, so there is no way to plan a big horse and pony show for them. She expects a big show anyway. I did a whole class Close reading lesson and then broke up into small groups. I had little magnifying glasses, highlighters, sticky notes, and it was a very high interest passage. The kids were engaged, except for my two severe/moderate kids. I have zero help all day and manage 33 kids in my high needs gen ed classroom. She pointed out that the two severe/mod kids weren’t participating, but made no comment that the rest of the class was paying attention.

time4fun 01-20-2018 10:44 AM

Scripted plans, which took me 12 hours the first time. I had to write out everything that I would say, what I expected as a response, follow-up questions for incorrect responses, and spell out every standard I covered. She also wanted me to write 5 summaries on some educational articles and go observe other teachers and write a summary on what I saw. The union got her to drop the written summaries and observations of other teachers. The rep actually told her that she should be sending other teachers to watch me. She gave no reasons for why she didnít like the lesson, other than to say that I might add even more wait time than I do.

My close peers said she is intimidated by me. I am a ďfly under the radarĒ kind of person and avoid the office at all costs and handle my own classroom behaviors. I donít know what I have ever done to her, but I am getting exhausted. Iíve had 15 walk-throughs, two shorts, and one long evaluation this year. Other than the very first one that she decided to ďpunishĒ me on, the rest have been really good. I donít get it. I put in a transfer request with other principals in our district, so I hope something opens up.

c6g 01-20-2018 09:42 AM

When I was a regular teacher with about 20 years of experience, I had a principal like that, although she was older and close to retirement. She had been at our school for a couple years, but she wanted to replace me and some of the other older teachers with younger ones. I had always had excellent evaluations, but she gave me a rough time. I tried to play her game, with some success, and fortunately, she retired at the end of the year.

When I started subbing after taking early retirement, I worked a lot one year in one elementary school. I got to know one of the older teachers well, and could see she was excellent. The teacher trusted me and knew I'd keep my mouth shut, and often vented. The principal (in her early 40s at the time) was out to get the older and more experienced teachers. I knew some of them and sometimes subbed for them, and could plainly see they knew what they were doing. For some sad reason, this insecure principal felt threatened by them, and over the course of a few years, pushed all of them into retirement. This principal later moved to another school and did the same thing to an excellent 3rd grade teacher (who also quietly confided in me).

Your principal might be very insecure, and she might believe she is improving her school by going after experienced veterans. Perhaps her bosses are pressuring her. If you're planning to retire in a couple years, you could file a grievance with your union and/or complain to the school board, but I don't recommend either if you'd like to teach for several more years. In today's climate, there's no way you're going to win. It's ugly and unfair, but it's the sad reality.

You're clearly in a no-win position, but there are a few things you can do. For the time being, smile and pretend to play along. If you attend professional development sessions with teachers from other schools in your district, try to hobnob with administrators from these schools. This could be your ticket to a transfer out of this toxic environment next fall.

Good luck!

FashionGirl 01-20-2018 09:37 AM

Age discrimination in teaching is running rampant. The admin wants to get rid of older and effective teachers and because of tenure it was very difficult to do. However thanks to tenure reform in most states teachers who receive ineffective evaluations for 2 consecutive years are effectively forced to either resign or retire. My school uses the danielson model and it is awful. I used to be effective and highly effective but now I am partially effective. I wish I had the answer but you can't quit but maybe ask for a transfer. I would also call them out on age discrimination. Just play along and do what they want to prove that you are listening to the admin. Make your union fight and seek legal counsel.

anna 01-20-2018 09:22 AM

We have had clown admin try that in my district but they can't go too far without written documentation over a long period of time. A one time observation is not enough documentation that a problem exists. This way of punishing random teachers is on its way out in my district due to a strong union push back. I would leave that school or hang on until the princ leaves. How outrageous that such incompetence is rewarded by an admin job.

eagles23 01-20-2018 08:44 AM

The phrase 'she was underwhelmed' stands out to me. What was she expecting?? Admin always says they don't want a dog and pony show when they come to observe, but it sounds like she was expecting to be entertained. Did she give you any specifics from the lesson that needed to be improved? I hope you got more feedback than 'underwhelmed'!

Song of Joy 01-20-2018 08:33 AM

Oh no! How hard are the punitive punishments? I agree, this just doesn't make any sense, but I would start looking for a different placement, especially if jobs are not scare.

You sound like a professional, competent and well-liked educator. Hold your head up high and try to find some joy behind your closed door.

time4fun 01-20-2018 07:36 AM

Iím having a tough year.

A little background...

By all accounts, I am a good teacher. Highly effective, requested by parents, asked to present numerous times at conferences, etc. Iíve always had great evaluations (20+ years) until now. The young, new P (who has maybe 5 years of teaching experience) observed me during what most would say was a really good lesson. She wrote that she was underwhelmed and proceeded to put me on a professional development plan full of punitive punishments. The few people that Iíve told flipped out and said that I was the last person who should have this happen to them. Iíve talked to the union and got some support from them, but nothing can fix the ďkicked in the gutĒ feeling I have had this year. I just always go above and beyond for the whole school and to have this happen is depressing, disheartening, and discouraging.

Anyone else have a P like this? I am open to any suggestions.

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