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teachmom2013 teachmom2013 is offline
 
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surviving non renewal
Old 02-04-2019, 06:13 PM
 
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I am a fourth year teacher and I found out last week that my contract will not be renewed. Luckily I was able to resign with a job offer at a private school but I really do not want to work there because it pays half the salary. I have been in 3 school districts in four years. Every school, I have not been renewed for some reason or another(luckily, I found jobs immediately so I could resign without any non-renewals on my record). My teaching observations at this school were good. I just made a couple of professionalism mistakes because I honestly did not know that I was making them. When I caught them myself, I corrected them. But the principal still found out. After the fact, the assistant principal told me that I she was happy with my progress and how I work on everything they suggested. I am in a field that I have no formal training. Special Education. Everything I learned has been on the job. My original degree was Middle Grades ELA and Social Studies. I do extremely well in my own classroom. Most of my issues have been in co-taught classes with other teachers. I know I am not perfect. I am still learning. I was told by state RESA reps that I can teach. But why I am I struggling so much? It seems the more I try not to make mistakes, I make more. Then I question every move I make. I am thinking I that I will not find a teaching position without red flags due to the number of positions I had in a short time. Its embarrassing. Need advice on how to overcome the embarrassment and move forward.


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Old 02-04-2019, 06:53 PM
 
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The only advice I have is to just keep swimming. I just saw a commercial for Finding Nemo and that part came on. However, Iím in a somewhat similar situation and that phrase hits home with me. Nonrenewal but due to issues that are out of my control and not really about my teaching skills. Co-teaching is difficult. Sped is difficult. Youíre doing a good job if you keep getting hired. Donít let this get you down. The right position will eventually come along for you!
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:27 PM
 
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As I'm coming to the end of my career, I'm seeing a lot of this with new teachers. When I first started, we were given more support. You can't blame yourself. When I first started teaching, if a teacher quit or got fired, it was a mad dash to find a replacement. Now, there's hundreds of applicants for every spot.
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A Little Unusual advice
Old 02-04-2019, 10:50 PM
 
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My first teaching job was in a public school and I would have been renewed however they closed five schools in the district that following year due to low enrollment in the community.

I worked in an office setting for almost 2 years and then a friend referred me for a position in a Catholic school.

29 years later I was still in a Catholic school. At first I did not want to remain there because of the lower salary. I found out that there are a lot of benefits teaching in the Catholic school, at least for me. The parents wanted to be involved. There are a lot of other types of bonuses that were included in the job including a very good pension and also what insurance coverage that we did not have to pay for unless we added a family member.

Either way, if you are ready have another offer others will come. Good luck.
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Hang in there!
Old 02-05-2019, 02:26 AM
 
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First of all, welcome to ProTeacher! It’s the best place to hang out on the internet!

I agree that if you keep getting hired, your skills are good. I would learn as much as I could at your new position, get as much feedback as possible, and stay a couple of years. It may be your new home, or it may be a respite from the craziness of public education. After a couple of years, see how you feel and make your plans.

Good luck, you’ve done very well with very little support. Hope you love your new school family!


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Old 02-05-2019, 04:50 AM
 
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You said something very interesting when you mentioned co-taught classes with other teachers. As a regular teacher I was never in that position, but I've experienced it as a sub (in both roles).

I honestly don't know what goes on in the minds of teachers when a special ed teacher comes in to co-teach. My impression is that some welcome the extra help and are very happy to share the teaching responsibilities. Others, though, appear to view the special ed teacher as an intruder. The attitude sometimes seems to be (I could be wrong) that I'm the "real" teacher, and you, the special ed teacher, are here to keep quiet, help out a little, and stay out of the way.

I think some teachers feel threatened when another teacher is in the room watching them.
I'm now at that point in my career where it doesn't bother me, but when I was younger, I might not have felt the same way.

If you're going to be doing some co-teaching in your new school, have some friendly and honest discussions with the teachers you'll be working with. Ask how you can help them. If they want you to do a lot of active teaching, that's fine, but if they want you to stay in the background and support them, that's fine too.
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Old 02-05-2019, 05:40 AM
 
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The only thing is the private school is half the salary.
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:24 AM
 
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That's fortunate that you were able to still get hired at the right time with 3 jobs without yet having to put non-renewed! Well, I guess go ahead and try this private school out until you know you want to work somewhere else since you got hired already. Hopefully, you'll like it more than you think.
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They need you more than you need them.
Old 02-05-2019, 12:37 PM
 
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I have been in this profession for 19 years now, and I feel like I've seen the good old days come and go. At this point, our nation is going to have to start begging for people to even consider going into this profession, let alone stay in it. Life is too short, and unfortunately I tried to hang in as long as I could at the price of my health and sanity. Get out while you still got your youth. You are worth it! There are way better opportunities out there! Seek and you shall find!
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
The attitude sometimes seems to be (I could be wrong) that I'm the "real" teacher, and you, the special ed teacher, are here to keep quiet, help out a little, and stay out of the way.
You're not wrong. This was my experience as a "co-teacher" (insert hollow laugh) in ESL. I was an aide. An unwanted aide. It will be a cold day in hell before I sign up for that sort of job again.


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Old 02-05-2019, 06:11 PM
 
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You wrote, "But why I am I struggling so much? It seems the more I try not to make mistakes, I make more."

This jumped out at me. Ever heard the expression, "You don't know what you don't know."

It isn't that you are making more mistakes, it is that you are now aware of things that wouldn't even have made it onto your radar before.
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Keep your options open
Old 02-05-2019, 06:55 PM
 
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I know that taking a huge paycut can be detrimental. Does your job offer at the private school have an "escape clause"? I can't think of the real term for it, but my contract has always said that I have 30 days before the first teacher work day to, essentially, change my mind. If you have that kind of wording, then keep looking until you find something that pays what you need it to pay. That may mean stepping out of SpEd for time.

Teachers make mistakes. We're human. I still screw up from time to time and I've been at this nearly 2 decades. The thing is that you seem to be learning from your mistakes, so always be prepared to tell an interviewer how you've grown, what you've learned, etc. That is ALWAYS as important as what you know content-wise.

Also, being non-renewed, even a few times isn't always a red flag to a hiring committee, especially if you are approachable, teachable, and a hard worker.

Have some faith in yourself. Good things will come.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:48 PM
 
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I think you have some options on not looking bad since you were hired outside of your credential and it would be reasonable that you decided that sped isnt for you.

You can always keep applying until the date of whatever notice is required under the contract.

I would also crunch the numbers though and see if subbing would pay you more since half of what was already low pay is pretty darn low indeed.

I spent 5 years in private schools while I worked on earning my credential and the pay was poor but we got a lot more support, had smaller class sizes, and the parents were way more likely to work with their kids and be invested so it wasnt all bad, and it sure beat having no job at all.
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:28 PM
 
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Iím curious if youíve gotten the same feedback at all the sites youíve worked at. You clearly have no problem interviewing and getting the job. So whatís going wrong with the actual teaching?

Teaching is hard. It does not come naturally. What are you doing to improve? Have you thought about getting more formal training so you will be better prepared? Four nonrenewals is a lot. That would be a huge red flag to me if I was unable to stay in my position for more than a year. Changing schools is not a solution to this. I understand that you must move on if youíre nonrenewed, but I hope youíll get some honest, constructive feedback to help you improve.
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:33 AM
 
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I can teach on my observations I get all threes. Its the things outside the teaching aspect. Communication with co-teachers and professionalism. I have good professionalism. But the communication aspect is that I was trying to get lessons and information about student growth. my last mistake was that i misunderstood what the teacher was trying to say. I didnt clarify because I thought I knew what she was communicating. It caused a rift when I wrote the info in an IEP that General Ed teacher was a part of and called me out in front of the parent.
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:55 AM
 
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Two of the non renewals were due to cuts in staff. My very first was a limited contract. I found out that was the case at my current position. Not enough students that need the support of sped. rumor has it that the county is cutting back in co-teaching classes that are not state tested. So my grade, seventh does not get tested in science and social studies in ga. so they are pushing para support in stead of co teaching for those classes.
Yes I did have some performance issues. But I had gotten great reviews from my observations as classroom goes. My thing was me making communication mistakes with co-teachers and professionalism with that. I caught these mistakes and corrected them but it was too late. This past year I had students say I helped them cheat on a test ( which is not true, they failed). This would happen alot at my second position. I left because I was tired of them lying on me. I am a christian and do not believe in cheating.
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:21 AM
 
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The private school is "at will" meaning I can leave whenever I want. The director knows my situation and is holding the position for me until august. she said she understands if I find a job with a higher salary between now and then. I have been with this private academy part time as a tutor for three years. She really will work with me. She wants me full time but knows that she cant afford pay me what I can make in pubic.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:52 PM
 
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Has a lot of great resources, advice, and support for people facing non-renewal. It might be worth your time to do site-specific Google search.

I know it may seem insurmountable at the time, but so many people in your position have survived it repeatedly.

Also, in education, many of the evaluation instruments are so subjective that they usually just reflect workplace politics instead of actual performance. From my experience, the same teacher could change nothing at all, go to a school down the road, and end up getting stellar reviews. I wouldn't be too down in myself, though I know it is hard not to be.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:55 AM
 
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Things that I am not aware of. I know my personality flaws. I know where I messed up. I worry so much that I am going to make another mistake that I mess up and second guess myself. I guess admin sees that
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Keep on working
Old 02-09-2019, 11:32 AM
 
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Sometimes the school or district is just not a good fit. That doesn't mean that teaching is not for you. Was Special Ed the only job available? It is really hard to teach outside your credentialed area. Personally I would take the private school job, if you can afford to at all. You may find your niche there!
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:41 PM
 
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I don't think you have anything to be embarrassed about.

Quote:
Two of the non renewals were due to cuts in staff.

In my district, there is a big difference between a non-renewal and a reduction in force. A non-renewal is when they keep your position, but decide not to renew your contract and give your job to someone else. "RIF" means they may have wanted to keep you, but couldn't because your position was eliminated. And usually, the last hired is the first to let go, so it is common for newer teachers to have a lot of positions on their resumes during their first few years until they find a good, stable position.



Moving forward, during job interviews, if you are pointedly asked why you have not had a teaching job for longer than a year or two, I think it would be reasonable for you to explain that twice, your position was eliminated (not your fault), and this last time, you knew that special education was not a good fit for you. They don't need to know any more details than that. Since you do not have a degree in SpEd, that explanation speaks for itself.


I understand how difficult it will be to take the pay cut and work in private school, but I would encourage you to take this job and try to make it work for a year or two. Yes, the pay sucks, but in my experience, the stress level of working private versus public is so much less. I know I'm speaking generalizations here, and every situation is different; but I have found, in private school there is usually less paperwork, less micromanagement, more supportive parents, more supportive administrators, and less pressure to teach to the test. I also found my coworkers to be extremely helpful and supportive of me during my first years of teaching, willing to mentor me and help me improve professionally.


It sounds like this principal likes you, and if you do well there, it will help you to have a good reference on your resume. It will also look good to say that you tutored there for several years and they liked you so much, they wanted you full time.
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