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How do I grow a thicker skin

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How do I grow a thicker skin
Old 01-04-2018, 06:16 AM
 
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Hello, I teach 3rd grade in low socioeconomic school... "Inner city". In our state, if a 3rd grader can't pass the state reading test (they have 5 opportunities to take it) then they won't be promoted to 4th grade. In the past 5 years that I have taught 3rd grade, most of my students passed. So I am considered to have a very good track record. This is why I was hired to teach at my current school. My principal wanted me in 3rd grade because of my track record.

But now she and her assistant are micromanaging me. They tend to do that with everyone, but since I'm in 3rd grade and it's the grade the school will be judged on, they are in my room nearly every day. I am not doing well with this. They are trying to get me to do things that I am not used to doing. Then when I try to do these things they don't give me a chance to perfect it before telling me that I'm not doing it the right way. Now I am nervous all the time. Like petrified. I have talked to the principal and her assistant many times about how this is affecting me, which will of course affect test scores, and they say "oh don't worry, you're fine!" And then 2 days later she gives me an "improvement needed" review, which I have never received before from any previous principal.

I know what to do to teach kids, esp low readers, how to read and comprehend, and therefore pass the test. But they have been meddling so much that I can no longer do what I know works, which means kids aren't learning to their full potential, meaning low test scores.

I figure I have 2 options: 1. Try to do what they want which will likely result in lower test scores and more importantly, low reading or 2. Do what I know works and ignore them. She can't fire me if I do what I want. But my problem is that getting bad reviews and being constantly critiqued is seriously affecting me. If I could just let it roll off my back I'd be fine, get the scores they want because I'm doing what I know works, and then maybe next year they will back off because I came through. But I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown because of them. How can I just not care what they think??



Last edited by PindleLou; 01-04-2018 at 06:17 AM.. Reason: Typo
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Welcome to PT!
Old 01-04-2018, 07:37 AM
 
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You seem to be between a rock and a hard place, but I'm glad you've joined us! I am in a non testing grade, but I see the stress that the tested grades are under.

Do you have an instructional coach? That would be someone to get on your side.

Can you write out your plan for teaching your students and present it to your P and AP? If you show them why you are doing what you are doing, maybe they'll back off. Use this line with them, "We are in this together- my success is your success."

It sounds like you are open to tweaking your instruction to accomadate their ideas. Can you fit in what they are suggesting with what you know already works? Let them know you are willing to listen to them (as you really have no choice!) and what you plan on doing to make it work.

It sounds like they are stressed about the scores, as they are being held accountable. Good luck- you can do this. Be proactive, set up a meeting, and have your plan in writing. Just a suggestion, but it can't hurt!
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:36 PM
 
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I have no advice. I love it. They hired you for your expertise and success and they’re changing everything you did to be successful. Amazing. I do think pp gave you good advice. I’d also be looking for a new job at the end of the year.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:01 AM
 
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And as I would be looking for a new job, I would definitely have a meeting with p and assistant to discuss why they want to not give me a chance to use what works to do what I know how to do. I like Munchkins suggestion about putting plans together and taking it to them.

I don't think you need thicker skin. The only way to do that is to totally give up any respect you might have for your boss so that you can disregard anything they say. . That might not be the best solution. But you do have to have enough confidence in your abilities and skills to ignore it.

All this observation and critiquing really isn't doing much to improve teaching, is it?
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Old 01-05-2018, 01:18 PM
 
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Thanks. The instructional coach is her assistant. And she's really not to be trusted that's why I call her an assistant to the principal. I have to go back to school on Monday and I'm dreading it. I've already talked to them about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it... wrote it all out and everything. And they said oh okay, but then they were back in my room 2 days Later bothering me. Oh well. I'm going to have to start meditating or something so I don't have a nervous breakdown. Them meddling with me is going to make me not as effective I think, and then they're going to say "see, she needed help. She didn't get the scores!"

With my students, I learn about their personalities and what works for them and tailor my approach to help them be successful. I don't understand why I can do that, but administrators don't do this with their teachers in order to get the best results out of them.


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Old 01-05-2018, 01:20 PM
 
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I know I've been thinking I might need to look for new job. But then I think hey if I get the scores maybe next year she won't bother me. And she's pretty good with discipline which the kids really really need.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:02 PM
 
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Does your contract allow them to come in so frequently and unannounced? You might ask a union rep for suggestion. I probably would look to another job. Could you request a transfer to another building? That can sometimes be a political mess though. Are they this active in the other third grade classrooms?
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Old 01-06-2018, 12:41 AM
 
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I don't think they're technically allowed in our rooms that much, but the union rep and everyone else treads carefully around the principal because she's very intimidating. I'm the only 3rd grade reading teacher. They are pretty active/annoying in most of the other teachers' rooms, but some of them are newish teachers. Last year they were constantly in the 3rd grade reading teacher's room, bothering her. She moved to 5th grade this year. She said that it was horrible doing 3rd. But I had done 3rd for 5 years at my other school (which was off the hook behaviorally, way worse than this school), so I figured it couldn't be any worse at this school. At the end of last year the principal asked me many times if I would do 3rd this year since she knew about my previous 5 years scores at my other school. It doesn't make sense. I don't know if they think they're helping me by doing this (micromanaging) or what.
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:25 PM
 
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I have had principals who thought they were not doing their job if they did not give suggestions for areas of improvement. Maybe this is the case here? Some principals are just more into micromanagement, it may not be a personal thing...just thinking out loud. It is possible that next year they would back off more when they have seen your end outcomes. The principal I was talking about changed tremendously after my second year, but I was in my first years of teaching back then. Best of luck
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:22 PM
 
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Thanks Lilacs. Hopefully you're right!! Thanks for the message!


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