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Old 01-01-1970, 12:00 AM
 
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It sounds like professional jealousy to me. I agree that in the absence of a written curriculum (and even if there were, there is no law against enrichment so long as it isn't infringing on someone else's curriculum), you should be free to instruct your children as you see fit. I hate when teachers are forced to all say and do the same things. If you felt comfortable teaching more of the actual language and were prepared to do so, there is no reason why you shouldn't. I think she acted childishly when you tried to apologize. I don't think you had anything to apologize for, but it was very big of you to attempt to mend the fences with her. I wouldn't feel I had to send her a note. It is she who should have to apologize to you for her rude behavior. She sounds very insecure. Didn't the principal have to approve the 4 kids who were added to your class? She shouldn't have taken that as a judgement against her, unless she felt guilty that she had not done enough with the class she had. You sound like a motivated and enthusiastic teacher. We need more like you.


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opinions needed--REALLY LONG
Old 04-06-2006, 08:50 PM
 
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I teach sixth grade in a middle school, and I just found out today (the hard way) that my content partner has a problem with me. We are both language arts teachers who also teach one French class each. Ms. L. taught French last year and there was such a demand for French this year, that they added my class second semester. Ms. L teaches mostly French culture and food, and some conversational French. She teaches them to count to twenty, how to say basic stuff like how are you and tell time and she taught them colors and clothing. They spend quite a bit of time talking about French food and she gives them that vocabulary and family words. They color maps of French-speaking countries and give a report on that country.

I got a class of 25, and 20 of them are gifted! The others are two high achievers, A students, one student who is average, and two kids who were slackers and behavior problems from day one. Those two immediately sank like rocks. I told their parents at conferences, in February, that if they were still flunking at the end of the quarter (end of March) then they were out and would have to go to another elective class that period. I cannot justify a student taking a second quarter of a foreign language they're failing. If they can't do the basic stuff, how can they do the trickier stuff? The end of the quarter came, they were flunking, and I moved them on out.

My other kids, though, began devouring this French stuff from day one, and you would not believe how far we've gone! We are reading, writing, and speaking French. For anyone who speaks French, we did what Ms. L did in less than one month. We've been conjugating verbs for a long time, and we're ready to learn to ask questions, then it's passe compose (past tense). They also know their pronouns, and I copied the glossary from the back of my college French book and gave it to them--they REALLY took off then! I should tell you that this is an elective class and there is no curriculum, no scope and sequence, not even a book. We use our old French books and the overhead. Really. There is no stopping-point except the end of the semester. No one ever said go this far and stop. They just said teach French. I was, however, aware that my class was going a lot further than Ms. L's class.

Well--In return for my teammate taking those two kids who were failing, I took four who had had Ms. L's French class the previous semester, but felt up for the challenge of going further. I should tell you that there had been a lot of complaining from the kids that she didn't teach them enough--too much culture and too many slides and not enough French. So I took them in, spent about a week tutoring them while the class did the warm-ups and then the new kids caught up with us, and we continued on. Everything was fine. The two kids who were disrupting and failing were gone (if they flunked the first quarter, then I really can't even OFFER them the chance of passing second quarter. Foreign language is like math. You can't suddenly tune in halfway through the class and be okay). Four kids who were sitting in a literature class that they didn't even need, bored to tears, got their wish to learn more of a foreign language and were DELIGHTED to get the chance. I thought this was a win/win situation. I thought I was so smart. I thought this was a great profession decision, made in the best interest of the most children.

After our grade level meeting today my content partner asked me into her room to speak to me and then she really let me have it. She told me she was so angry with me that she didn't know what to do. She said how dare I take those kids who had already had French with her into my class. She said that I was sending those kids a message that she hadn't done a good job. She told me I had overstepped my bounds and that she was going to the principal about it. She told me I was arrogant and rude. And when I told her no, no, that's not my intention at all, and tried to touch her hand (we've always been friendly--not hang-around friends, but friendly at work), she jerked her hand away and said, "Don't be condescending toward me!" I said okay and I left, but I feel really terrible. I really didn't mean to make her angry. I'm not teaching them anything she already taught them. It's all new ground. I thought I was making the best move for the most kids, but she's really, really mad and I'm really, really sad and upset.

So I need to know if I was out of line. I feel so bad. Would someone tell me honestly what you think of this situation? I am going to just croak if I am in the wrong here. But tell me honestly.
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This happens everywhere
Old 04-07-2006, 01:41 AM
 
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Heaven forbid that inspired teachers actually teach, or someone does a different unit, or a different project. This has been my biggest problem with teaching (I came in after 20 years in business). In business, creativity is rewarded and encouraged. In teaching, if you are creative, you get snippy little minds tattling to try and keep the status quo.

With no curriculum to guide you, you let the class lead and they wree all ready. Are we really supposed to dumb down everything for those 2 kids? And I am a special education teacher. I have received nasty looks for incorporating tactile and kinestectic (sp?) activities to help kids read. You would think I was inducted the children into a cult or something.

Sorry I'm not much help, but really, will your principal be upset for you actually teaching and inspiring the kids to want to learn? Give me a break.
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:29 AM
 
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I agree that what you did was great for the students. They were ready and willing and motivated. I hope that the principal is behind you on this, because I think your partner won't stop with complaining to you. If so, and if you are to continue with French, why not have yours designated something different. Her version can be French Culture and Conversation, yours can be French Language Acquisition. It's the politics that I hate in teaching, and if I'd had a clear view beforehand of all that can happen between teachers, I wouldn't have chosen teaching. People who are supposed to be the most caring can be the most vicious.
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What's right isn't always popular...
Old 04-07-2006, 03:10 AM
 
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What's right isn't aways popular; what's popular isn't always right.

The brie stands alone.

Any other slogans to support your situation?

I am sorry that your zest for teaching and your unwillingness to phone it in or dumb it down met with hurt feelings and status quo. Your kids were/are lucky to have you.

This too shall pass away. Hey cliches just roll out of my mind this morning! I better go to work.

Thank goodness it's Friday! (That's one more for ya!)


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awwww
Old 04-07-2006, 06:24 AM
 
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I hate when things like this happen. Reading your side of the story makes you sound very much in the right. If you wrote her side of the story, what would it be? I guess if you put yourself in her place, she is very embarrassed and feels like a terrible teacher. It is too bad. Really, it would be a great partnership if she taught a preliminary class and then you taught an advanced class.

Please do not be sad about the situation. I think her hurt feelings will go away in time. Congratulations on your great class!
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:47 AM
 
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Mary, your class sounds so tantalizing...I wish I was in it! You are a gem and seem to have ruffled the feathers of a one trick pony. Don't let the green-eyed monster ruin your good work. ;p
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don't give up
Old 04-07-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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when you tried to explain, she was very upset and feeling belittled and insulted. Send her a nice card and briefly explain that you think she is great and really meant no harm and that from now on you'll discuss things like that with her first (if that's the case). This would be my suggestions if this is the first issue you've had. ON the other hand, I know I've had to deal with one dept. member who has an issue like this every time I turn around. It's gone on for years about every little nit picky thing you can imagine. This year I finally said enough already. I'm too busy trying to teach to tiptoe around the fragile ego all the time. Build a bridge and get over it!
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:54 PM
 
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From your post, you sound like a great teacher, and I wish some of your enthusiasm could rub off on me too. I think your coworker was feeling like you were doing a better job, and it's turned to jealousy. If I were her, I would be happy that I had fewer kids in class. Unfortunately, she is probably comparing herself to you and feeling like she's doing a bad job. I think I would talk to the principal first if I were you and give him/her a heads up of what is going on and what might come down later.
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I don't get it!
Old 04-07-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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I'm trying to see both sides of this, and I suppose I can see why the other teacher feels threatened that your students are so advanced and thinks that taking 4 kids who have already had French into your class was a put-down that they hadn't learned anything in their previous French class. But, honestly, unless there is something I'm missing, I don't see how she has a leg to stand on. There's no reason to be upset because a class has "taken off" and things are going so well. Every class is unique and it would be wrong to hold a class back if they were ready to move ahead.

It sounds like your students are thriving in this situation--you have a gifted class that has loved language learning--what a gift for you and them! I don't think you have any reason to feel you are doing anything wrong in your teaching by letting them move ahead when they are so ready. We're here to teach--not make our colleagues feel good! Your kids are lucky to be in the class they're in.

I think the advice to go to your principal first is excellent. I also like the idea of giving the classes different titles sinces your focus is different. (The two of you are not really teaching the same class.) That could help with some of the competition.

When the "dust settles" perhaps you can find out what is upsetting your colleague. Is it because you have your own curriculum or because you accepted students that had already taken a French course? That may help you in resolving the conflict. Just know that good teachers won't always make their colleagues happy.

Perhaps the "take-home lesson" for you here (there's usually something to learn in most situations!) might be to communicate more with your colleague ahead of time about what you are doing and why you are doing things differently. But honestly, even though we all would love to please everyone, I don't think this is a situation you should lose much sleep over. Just keep up the great teaching job!


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I'm sure it'll be ok
Old 04-08-2006, 05:49 AM
 
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If the kids and parents are happy, there shouldn't be a problem. It sounds like the kids are really learning a lot.
I think your collegue is just worried that you DO do a better job than she does and the principal might get on her case about it. She may not actually go to the principal at all as it will call attention to her shortcomings.

I don't think you are out of line at all. Its not like you snatched these kids out of her class.. they had to go willingly.

Please keep doing what you're doing.
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Teach away!
Old 04-08-2006, 04:52 PM
 
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There's no cap to enriching *your* students' potential. Why slow down because another teacher isn't up to par? Keep on keeping on!
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Thanks to everyone
Old 04-11-2006, 06:27 AM
 
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who responded. You really helped me clarify this situation. I honestly didn't know what to think. I feel much better now, so thanks to everyone. Proteacher is the best!
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