Hi all. I logged out for this because I think I have a coworker on here. Long story short, I couldn't do anything right last year to please my new P. My P has worked in my small district the same amount of years I have. I had the roughest class ever last year, and no matter what happened in class, lunch, in specials or on the playground students were always right and were allowed to ignore what teacher said and tattle to him instead. Every year we have to read through our policy and procedures book and sign that we understand the rules. He got upset with me a couple of times for sticking to long standing rules. He's my 5th P, and I've always scored highly proficient on decals. Last year I made barely proficient on both evals. (There's only one other person who has been at our school longer than me. I'm starting year 18 in a week.) At the end of the year he said he'd like to start fresh this year. My plan is to stay on the down low, shut my door and teach. Here's the problem I've been thinking about all summer. It has to do with math. We have 28 students in a small portable. Three days a week, my students work on a Saxon problem set of 30 questions, and one day they work with a partner. I encourage them to work the problem independently, use the Glossary,, or look back to a lesson if they get stuck. If they can't figure it out, they will come to my teacher desk and I will help them figure out where they went wrong. Sometimes we will redo the whole problem together, and sometimes its a small enough mistake they go back and rework it on their own. As they work independently, I will circle the room a few times to see where students are at with problem set, make sure they are ok, etc. My P said that I shouldn't ever have students come to my teacher desk, and that I should be among the students for an hour answering questions. I knew it wouldn't work, but tried his way for a week. When I walked among the students the whole time, they didn't want to put in effort in looking things up if they needed help. It was to easy to for them to ask me. I was worn out the week I tried it. It slowed down our math block so much that students were no longer finishing their problem sets in allotted time before we checked problem set. I talked to my P about this. He said that there is research proving that his way is better. I teach 5th, and my state math scores are always really good. Is there research out there show I g he is full of bs?! I've taught many years. I know what works in time allotted, and whatnot doesn't work.

I don't know if there is any such research, but the fact is that you already tried it his way and it isn't working for your classroom. This you already know. But, he's still the boss. Personally, when this kind of thing happens, I just tell the boss that his/her way is going great, but just continue to do it the way that actually works inside the classroom. If he happens to stop by, act like you were just at your desk for a moment, and start circulating again the way he likes it.

If you have to roam the room answering questions for the students make sure that they have put in the effort to solve their own problems first. Have a problem-solving rubric on their desks that they must follow and then insist that they are ready to tell you what they have done to solve the problem and exactly what part of the problem is difficult. If they can't do that tell them you'll come back and help them when they have that figured out.

Do you have a signal for them to use that indicates they have tried the recommended procedures are ready to WORK with you? Maybe a sign they flip over on their desks would work.

If they are responsible for thinking and know they will have to work to explain their thoughts processes they may decide its easier to find the answer on their own. You can follow the P's advice but make the kids think first.

It's so easy for P's to give advice and leave the room letting you deal with reality.

When do you teach new skills? I would never get away with students only working independently. I teach whole group mini lessons, small group, and learning stations. Also, a week is not long enough to see if something is working or not, it takes time and direct teaching of how you expect the students to act with the new routine.

Of course I teach the math lesson first each day and follow appropriate steps before we get to independent work. I've taught for 17 years and changed my teaching method numerous times until I found one that works well. A week is enough to know it's not working. BTW....my P is a former PE teacher. 🤔

In the real world students will have to be able to sit quietly and complete their work indpendently. If this is working for you then stay with it. Can you position yourself in another part of the room and use it as a check in for students who need assistance? Or post on the board the exact time frame that the students should be working on. For example 10:05-10:22 independent work 10:22-10:47 teacher check in etc. Then place a bunch of I can statements around the room such as, " I can try 2 methods to solve the problem correctly before I go to teacher check in." I've worked wtih the Saxon program and I reallly like it.

Im sorry your P is an idiot. I taught PE for a long time and have math certification. Your way sounds excellent. I hope you can eventually close he door and do your job well or he moves on. I always outlasted my bad principals.........Or when he (just one) tried to correct something I knew better I stood up to him and he backed off.

I agree with those who suggested a different spot. I have a high podium with a stool that I can sit or lean against so it looks like I am standing. It has a different 'feel' and 'look' than actually sitting at a desk. I would continue to do what you do - circulate a few times and then they could come to you at your new spot.

I do what hiker suggested- I have a table in the back of the room. It is called the "work with the teacher table"-not at all inventive, I know.

I pull kids back who I can see by their work dont understand(which I observe by circulating for all of 5 minutes). I put an orange pass on their desk, Then kids can choose to come back for a question. I am not at my desk, I am at a small group reteaching table,but it serves the same purpose.

I also have the flip cards that say "Its all good, movin and groovin-4", "I have a question but I can keep working -3", "Please check my work, I'm not sure about it -2", and "I cannot move on, I dont get it at all -1". We use them sometimes but they tend to go to straight to #1 and want to be spoon fed the answers like you said so I usually only use them for ELA, science, or social studies. There is so little independence and perseverance in math these days.

Thank you all for your responses! Unfortunately, I can't lock my door. My P, Title 1 and parents are able to come in at any time during the day. I always have people in my classroom during the week, but generally not very long. I think my P will continue to watch me closely, but I am going to move to a different location in my room and give it a try. It angers me though that I have to do this! I share a classroom door with another 5th grade teacher. She uses the same system that I was told not to use. As a matter of fact, 3 out 4 of us use the same system. 🙄

There is evidence to show the importance of preservering and thinking to learn math.
I have had kids that were used to giving up early and then saying I don’t get it. I’d reply what is your question what have you tried? I don’t get it isn’t a question. Sometimes I found that they hadn’t even reread the directions.
I was going to say to use a different place for checkins as well. At a table, have manipulatives for them to use too.
Too bad principals don’t have to be certified in what they evaluate.

(mine included) enable kids. The kids become helpless and it actually hurts their self esteem when they can't or don't learn to figure things out or take the time to try strategies before asking for help.
Constant wandering and over-helping is detrimental to kids. I don't know about studies, but I have taught many years and have observed when kids won't bother to look at an example, read directions, problem solve, or stick with it if adults are right there to go through it step by step with them or do it for them. ( Preaching to the choir, I know!)
A PP mentioned asking them what they have tried and for them to be able to explain where they are stuck. To me, you both are 100% right and your P is an idiot. My P actually comes into my room and wanders...practically giving kids answers at times. It is 1 of my pet peeves that makes me want to scream at times. He has done it while I am trying to test kids even. So much for checking what they know how to do! If you find a solution to this problem, pls let me know. I haven't found 1. If a kid can't do a problem, the P will say it is too hard for them pretty quickly. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

I also had a principal who had been a P.E. teacher--FOR TWO YEARS. I was flabbergasted that he was allowed to take charge of a school with so little teaching experience. There is definitely a negative connotation to sitting at your desk, but sometimes it just works best to park yourself somewhere and let kids come to you, especially if they're working independently on something like writing, where they will need your support and feedback periodically as they work, and it's not really a good time to pull a small group, either. I usually just roll my chair to a table to sit with the kids. I'm still doing the same thing, letting them work until they're ready for feedback, but if anyone walks in, they're not going to automatically assume I'm behind my desk all day on Facebook.

Emily26

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