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Not a Team Player
Old 07-20-2019, 10:31 PM
 
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Ok, I am signing out for this one because I have colleagues that come to PT.

Last year, my grade level got a new teacher...when I say new, I mean to our school, however, she has only taught a couple of years which was before she had kids...ten or more years ago. She seemed to be a team player, was upbeat, and eager in the beginning. However, that changed. I think education had changed so much from when she actually taught that she was totally stressed to the max! My other cohorts and I believe in working as a team, so we tried really hard to help her...but she wouldn't listen to our advice, and would seek the advice from others in the building that wasn't even in our grade level...as well as, other teachers in other schools in our district. It really started looking like we weren't helping her...and we were!!! She just wouldn't listen! It was weird! Then she stopped eating lunch with us. That surely isn't a requirement, but we enjoy that time to just talk about other things and that's how we have gotten to know each other...but not her. By the end of the year, none of us wanted to help her. Her mentor teacher (in our grade level) was just done with her. She would tell her things, but she would do the opposite or hang out in the office at lunch seeking other's advice.

So this summer, my other cohorts and I decided that we were not going through that again this year. We thought we could all go out to lunch, and just talk about how we needed to be on the same page so none of us were stressed this year...we had it all planned out so that it didn't seem like we were attacking her...that's just not us! We WANT to work as a team! So with having to work through everyone's summer schedule, we finally got a day and we all promised to mark it on the calendar. The night came before our lunch and I sent a group text just confirming we were all good with the next day. That is when she said, Oh I can't make it after all. yada yada yada...ok, were you just not going to show up the next day??? SO frustrating! So school will start in a couple of weeks, and we are back to where we were...nothing has changed. I just don't know if we can have another year like last year... you can only be pushed so far, no matter how nice of a person you are, until you blow. I do not want it to get to that point!!!!

HELP US!!! We need advice!!!!

Thank you for reading! I look forward to any input you can give!!!


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Old 07-21-2019, 12:40 AM
 
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The only advice I have is to continue working as a team with the existing cohort, and let her close her door and do her own thing. Document any and all attempts you make to collaborate, and don't get in a knot about it. She's making a choice; you don't need to upset yourself about it.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:06 AM
 
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I agree with Tiamat
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:19 AM
 
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I agree to continue to work as a team. Another price of advise, inalways make an agenda for my team meetings and pass them out to team members. On mine, I always have everyone sign in. This is my proof that they were there for the information and asked any questions they might have had. I take notes on mine and file it in my yearly file. That way if Iím questioned, all I need to do is pull it out.
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:24 AM
 
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I agree to have an agenda that gets signed by all for each team meeting.

The other thing I would do is send an email after the meeting with brief notes about the decisions that were made at the meeting. Carbon copy the email to your principal. Then there is no way this uncooperative staff member can go tattling to the principal because you will have documentation.

If the principal should ask about these emails, you can have a short talk about the uncooperative staff member.

I would also make an effort to do things the way the uncooperative staff member wants to do them once in awhile even if it is not the way things have been done in the past. Give her a chance to shine or fail. Try it her way.

At your team meetings, be sure to use the words "what are your ideas for this project/lesson/field trip/etc." Make her feel included.


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Old 07-21-2019, 04:27 AM
 
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Keep working as a team even if she chooses not to join you. Let her do her own thing if she doesn't want to work with you guys. I would stop offering her advice because she apparently doesn't want it.

Good luck with it all.
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Collaboration
Old 07-21-2019, 04:35 AM
 
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I'm not a big collaborator. I admit it. I LIKE to do my own thing.

I work with a team that gets off on tangents. For a long time. I hear about one team members children. I hear about another's drama. And I'm ready to scream, "Let's get to work!"

I have no idea how your team works together. You've been working as a team for a while until she joined you. She may just not mesh. Or she may be a pain who wants to do her own thing. Either way, keep inviting her, keep track of when she comes, and keep an agenda. No need to share with her if she's not joining into the work.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:43 AM
 
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Cinderella00, I am much the same way, especially with the way that things are currently set up to collaborate. I am almost always more efficient on my own and the times where I have collaborated in recent years, things get off on tangents of random discussions or things that are helpful to my classroom.
To the OP, I am jealous of the fact that most of your team works well together....seriously. And I am so sorry that this one teacher is such a pain. That's frustrating.
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Team player
Old 07-21-2019, 06:36 AM
 
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Is she complaining to others about the rest of you? If not, just continue to work as a team, include her but let her decide if she wants to work with you or not.

I do like the idea of doing something her way now and then. Is it slightly possible she feels she canít break into your group?
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:53 AM
 
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I agree with all that was suggested, but I would also send an email to the whole grade level to document when the grade level would be meeting together. If you are planning to meet every day, I would just send one email at the beginning of the year documenting the time and room that you will be meeting in. If you are meeting once a week, I would send the email at the beginning of the week stating the time and place. That way she can't say she wasn't invited or she didn't know.



Last edited by Seriously; 07-21-2019 at 07:53 AM..
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For formal meetings
Old 07-21-2019, 07:02 AM
 
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I agree with previous posters that you should definitely document when meetings are, agendas, and meeting notes by email. We work with Google, so meeting agendas and meeting notes are shared documents.

For informal lunches, I would not be so concerned, but I would try very hard to not discuss important school issues at lunch.

We were in a similar situation a few years ago, but ours was a young teacher who thought she knew everything in spite of the fact that she had only been a substitute. She was not hired back for the position for a variety of reasons.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:43 AM
 
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Don't give up on her. It is tough fitting in with already existing teams of people who get along and do things a certain way. Sometimes you can never please them. Can you all meet and discuss team dynamics and expectations during work hours when you first return to the school? I hope things get better this year. And remember that some people like to have time to themselves. Lunch is definitely one of those times for me. In her case, it sounds like she likes to spend her lunch mingling with others. Again, don't give up on her. You guys sound like an awesome team.
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:25 AM
 
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I agree to document and cc the principal. I have been in this situation. At least, cover yourself in case she complains. Obviously, try to include her, but you can't control where she eats lunch or who she talks to. I would have a weekly team meeting, make sure you email to remind everyone, and the signed agenda is a great idea. File those so you can show that you met and she was included. Unless you are required to do the same things, let her go her own way after that.
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:58 AM
 
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Iíve reread your post a couple of times because I wanted to get a good idea of what the problem is, and I still have some questions...

Other than asking for advice from other people and not taking the teamís advice and stopped eating lunch with the team, is anything else going on? You didnít say she was skipping meetings or complaining or anything, so I was curious.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Then she stopped eating lunch with us. That surely isn't a requirement, but we enjoy that time to just talk about other things and that's how we have gotten to know each other...but not her.
Just this piece alone doesn't mean she is not a "team player." My contract states I am entitled to a duty-free lunch. That means I don't have to attend meetings during it. Lunch is my time and I am not spending it with my grade level...or anyone else. I go home every day on my lunch. I need to be alone and re-charge for the afternoon. And the same goes for scheduling meetings during summer. We have contracted collaboration time and I attend every one of those meetings. If she is meeting the requirements of her contract, just let her be. You're not her mama and if she has made it clear she doesn't want/need advice, then move on and do your thing.

Is she badmouthing the rest of the grade level? If so, that's different. Talk sh!t, get hit.
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:05 AM
 
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Y'all have some great tips and I like the signing in at meetings. That has been an issue. We tell her that we need to meet about something, and then when it's time to meet, she is no where to be found! We have to either go looking for her or just start without her until she finally joins us.

When I was saying she wouldn't do what she was told, it wasn't really about HOW she teaches. We all do things differently and we embrace that wholeheartedly. We all shut our doors and do our own things...and that's fine! The things I'm referring to effect us/our students...they are things like...

* her husband shows up and she lets him in the backdoor instead of telling him to check in at the office, which her mentor told her several times.

*She won't change classes when it is time and we have to wait to start our classes bc our kids aren't there...and our schedule is TIGHT!

*She will not be on the same page with our grading system...practically everyone is given good grades even when they miss most of the questions! I don't know if she feels that is a reflection on her teaching if they get bad grades, not wanting to deal with parents...IDK! But students that clearly have a C or even a D in some classes have all A's in hers even though there work clearly doesn't show mastery!

*She doesn't have discipline so she decided she would rearrange her class so that the ones she could control were in one section and the ones she couldn't were all grouped in another section. Then she basically yells at the ones that she can't control.


Our P thinks she is wonderful, and she is a nice lady, but she just won't work as a team. We nicely mention things to our P but she says, she has so much enthusiasm. There have been some people that act differently toward us now, so we have to think that she has said something to make them feel that way...

I appreciate your tips and advice! We will just keep on doing what we know is right...and maybe the P will finally see things...IDK...I guess I was just needing to vent.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:33 AM
 
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I think it's hard being a newbie on a team. It's a very fine line to balance. You want to help, share your own ideas, etc. but you don't want to do too much that it makes it look like you think you are better than the other teachers, make it look like you are trying to up them or change things all around. By the same notion, if you do what your team says, you worry they think you are a "mooch" and also not a team player because you don't contribute. It's a double-edge sword. I'll be honest, I struggle with this as well whenever I'm new.

I'll also say that I personally prefer to work alone. Even when I was a student, when given a choice to work independently or with a partner, I always chose independently. It's my preference. I just work better that way. I don't mind sharing ideas and helping people out, but when it comes to planning for my classroom, I prefer to do that on my own.

How do her years of experience teaching compare to other members on the team? I remember when I first started out, I was still trying to develop my own "teacher identity", which made collaboration more difficult. I wanted to develop my own style and see for myself if things worked or didn't work. Sometimes we say things won't work, and sometimes that's true and you know ahead of time, but sometimes you have to try it out to know for sure. You also want to try it out because it helps determine how to modify the lesson to make it work.

You said other people are starting to notice and it's making you look bad. Is that just you/your team's perception of the situation, or have others commented on it? You may think that's the case, but it might not be the case at all.

I know I didn't give any advice, but maybe this is just some insight into what is going on.
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:54 AM
 
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Just this piece alone doesn't mean she is not a "team player." My contract states I am entitled to a duty-free lunch. That means I don't have to attend meetings during it. Lunch is my time and I am not spending it with my grade level...or anyone else. I go home every day on my lunch. I need to be alone and re-charge for the afternoon. And the same goes for scheduling meetings during summer. We have contracted collaboration time and I attend every one of those meetings. If she is meeting the requirements of her contract, just let her be. You're not her mama and if she has made it clear she doesn't want/need advice, then move on and do your thing.

Is she badmouthing the rest of the grade level?
Can I respectfully ask you to consider looking at this from a very different point of view? I'm sure your group is very nice but you want her to act like you. Everybody is different. If she is doing her job, then there shouldn't be a problem. If she's not meeting her responsibilities, that's up to an administrator to deal with. That's why they get paid the big bucks.

Consider: she wants to get to know other staff and eats lunch with different people. I do that. She asks for different opinions outside of your group - isn't that a good thing? She has friends at different schools. We can all learn from each other. We have staff development with other schools to encourage collaboration. And finally, who is talking behind someone's back and gossiping about a person? How do you think that makes her feel? It may not be your group's intent but that would hurt my feelings. I would not feel safe.

Quote:
She seemed to be a team player, was upbeat, and eager in the beginning. However, that changed.
Your assumption is that she is behaving this way because she became overwhelmed. But that might not be the reason at all. Something may have happened that made her change so drastically. The only one who knows is your colleague.

I truly hope you can stop trying to fix her and just accept her the way she is. It may take time for her to trust your group so consider what you are doing and how that may make her feel.

These are my observations from what you have shared. Obviously I don't know any of you. But I tell my students to celebrate their uniqueness and individuality, because it would be so boring if we were all the same. I will always stand up for that.

Hoping for a good year for all of you!

Teacherbee was posting when I was still writing. Yes, yes, Teacherbee!
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:54 AM
 
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Could it be that she feels being part of your team overwhelming and just wants to forge her own path? Are you all Type As that dominate the discussion? It's really hard to break in to an already established team, especially when your needs are different.

You said that she is back in the classroom after being away for a long time and a lot has changed (understatement of the century). Is there also an age difference? It sounds to me like she just wants to find what works best for HER.

I think you definitely should keep planning together. Document what you do, and let her know she is always welcome and invited to your meetings. Be sure not to diss her at the meetings, however difficult that may be. She will either come join you, or continue to find like-minded colleagues. Don't sweat it. Teaching is too stressful as it is to add drama!
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:38 PM
 
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As far as not eating lunch with everyone every day, I'm with Zia. Some people need some down time with peace and quiet or want to prep for the afternoon.

Our K team is quite diverse-wide range of ages (mid-20s to late 50s), single/newly married/married for years/widowed, no children/young children/teenagers/adult children, newer to teaching/experience, but new to grade level/lots of experience.

We get along well because we respect our differences. Some are early morning people and arrive early to get things accomplished. Some work through lunch so they can leave right after dismissal time. Several have long drives home and deal with rush hour traffic if they stay too long afterwards. Everyone has family, friends and a life outside of school.

I live five minutes from where I teach. I take my time in the morning-I am not a morning person. I need my quiet time in the morning-to sip coffee and chill, listen to music/watch the news, take care of my dog and gather my thoughts. I arrive about 15-20 minutes before I have to be at school most days. I found if I get there too early, I end up chatting or not being productive.

My classroom is set up and ready before I arrive in the morning because I like to stay after school. It is quiet after the mass exodus. I don't have to stand in line waiting to use the copy machine or laminator. I can pull things out and spread out around my room and not have to rush to gather things up because it is time for students to enter the room. It is a matter of preference and what works for me.

My teammates and I do share ideas and ask questions via email, on Google and through text messages. We can see each other's lesson plans. We chat with each other after dismissal for a few minutes. If there is something that requires a group discussion and decision, we'll get together. Sometimes it is before school. Other times after school. When we had the same lunch schedule, sometimes we'd opt to do it during lunch-maybe even meet in one of our classrooms. Last year we were split between 3 lunch schedules so that wasn't possible.

I remember my first year teaching K years ago. I only had one teammate at that time, instead of 5 or 6 teammates I've had for the past 9 or so years. That teammate was very controlling. She wanted to meet every morning before school. She demanded that I eat lunch with her. I had to check in after school, too. She sucked the life out of me. I just wanted to work in my classroom and get things done. She wanted us to do everything the same and use the exact same materials. It was so stressful and so stifling. I told my husband that I was going to resign at the end of the year. Fortunately, she decided to move to a different grade level so I didn't resign.

We are a strong solid team. We get along well, but we don't feel the need to have to do everything the same way. Someone will share an idea, but there is no pressure to do it. No one looks down on someone or gets offended if she opts out. As teachers, we have different teaching styles and comfort zones. We also deal with different groups of students. What works for my class may not work for yours. We don't have to meet weekly in order to be a good team.

What is it that you want her to do? Is she not attending required meetings or have you agreed amongst yourselves that you want to meet weekly? What is the purpose of your meetings? How long do you meet?

Be careful about assuming anything. You said that she took time off to stay home with her children. So you know that she is having to balance school life with family life. When she gets home from school, she might need to juggle getting her children to different activities/practices, get dinner ready, help with homework, spend time with husband...She might be taking care of parents, too. She might have been trying hard to do everything for a couple of months, but couldn't keep up the pace. Something had to give. To have a proper balance between work and home, her time might be better spent working on her stuff in her classroom so she can get things done and not attending meetings.

Please consider how difficult it is to join an established group. You have history together-private jokes, shared experiences, stories which she was not part of. You could be making her feel like an outsider without realizing it.

She might have social anxiety or feel socially awkward. Your team might have strong personalities. You might inadvertently overwhelm her. You might be making her feel like her opinions don't matter so why should she bother trying.

I have social anxiety. It takes me a long time to feel comfortable around new people. I am definitely not going to share-especially if I have a different opinion if I don't feel respected. Maybe some responses and teammates' reactions are giving her the message that she doesn't belong or that her ideas are stupid.

I know that your intentions were in the right place when you planned the lunch, but it would be hard for someone with social anxiety. She would be in that situation again where you might start doing inside jokes, telling stories that she wasn't part of. If you confront her as a team, it might feel like an attack. It might be easier for her and less threatening if you just asked her to lunch. Get to know her. Build that relationship and trust individually before requiring it as a team.

Please be kind to her. Don't write her off. Consider that she might have a different personality, different teaching style, different comfort level. Meet her where she is at. Don't try to fix her. Look for positives. Allow her to grow into the teacher she is meant to be. Don't require her to be a clone in order to be part of your team. Teaching is hard enough.

I hope that you have a great year.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:39 PM
 
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My grade level was known for working well as a team through the years. What this looked like was we met during common planning times to go over the objectives we would cover the next week in each subject area. We would be typing the parent newsletter as we did this. We would discuss possible activities and assessments. Sometimes one or two of us turned down using something, and there were no hard feelings. We would often come across something fun or useful and make a single copy for the other teachers for them to use if or how they wanted. Some chores were ďdivide and conquerĒ like who would run copies or who would communicate something.

Please try to get to know that teacher on a personal level, give her some praise, and maybe invite her to your classroom for lunch with just the two of you. Keep the conversation light. Maybe ask her to do something for the team and then make sure to thank her. I bet you see some differences, but remember, not everyone is a team player, yet you can still be friendly.
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Old 07-21-2019, 03:52 PM
 
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Ok, I see where you have posted some specifics about this teacher that make it more clear...

Quote:
Her husband shows up and she lets him in the backdoor instead of telling him to check in at the office, which her mentor told her several times.
This is not acceptable. Even though she knows it's just her husband, everyone needs to follow protocol. This is not being a good example!!!

Quote:
She won't change classes when it is time and we have to wait to start our classes bc our kids aren't there...and our schedule is TIGHT!
If her door is shut, maybe you can nicely open it so she can see the classes are changing.

Quote:
She will not be on the same page with our grading system...practically everyone is given good grades even when they miss most of the questions!
Since she is a newbie, perhaps you are right that she thinks it is a reflection of her teaching. Assure her that you all have students that aren't A/B students

Quote:
She doesn't have discipline so she decided she would rearrange her class so that the ones she could control were in one section and the ones she couldn't were all grouped in another section. Then she basically yells at the ones that she can't control.
Ok, clearly she needs some PD on discipline.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:22 PM
 
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Ok I appreciate the clarification. Vent away if you like as it sounds frustrating. Your answers make me understand your frustration. Iím sorry about it! Let me know if you want sympathy or advice as I can go either way.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:00 PM
 
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Except for the changing classes on time thing and not being around when you want to start meetings, the rest off what you describe is really up to her mentor/the principal to take care of. It's their job to take care of.

I can understand it is very irritating to witness the other stuff, but it really doesn't affect you. Plus, if her grading and discipline is so poor, it should be obvious to the principal. There really isn't any way for you to address it without looking bad.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:58 PM
 
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That has been an issue. We tell her that we need to meet about something, and then when it's time to meet, she is nowhere to be found! We have to either go looking for her or just start without her until she finally joins us.
Are you required to meet? If so, then yes, this is bad. Even if you aren't required to meet, if she didn't want to meet, she should at least say something. As I said, if it's not required, she may not want to meet because she may work better alone. However, she should at least tell you all instead of making you wait, track her down, etc.

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her husband shows up and she lets him in the backdoor instead of telling him to check in at the office, which her mentor told her several times.
That's not good either, but I think this is something the principal should address with her, especially after her mentor tried.

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She won't change classes when it is time and we have to wait to start our classes bc our kids aren't there...and our schedule is TIGHT!
I think this one depends on the why. I'll be honest, my second year teaching, I had math workshop right before lunch. My students LOVED sharing new insights and learning. They asked questions. They were very inquisitive. However, they were also loud when it was time to line up. It took forever to get them ready to walk in the hall correctly. Many a day, the 5th graders beat us to lunch. Well, these teachers got mad and complained to the principal that my class was late for lunch (even though it didn't even affect them!). I explained the situation to my principal and he agreed with me and didn't think it was a big deal. Is she refusing to switch classes or is her class super engaged in something that she loses track of time? Are kids having a hard time transitioning properly? There could be lots of reasons. With her being new to the profession after only a few years experience and then many years away unless it's because she is refusing to switch, I think this is natural for a newbie.

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She will not be on the same page with our grading system...practically everyone is given good grades even when they miss most of the questions! I don't know if she feels that is a reflection on her teaching if they get bad grades, not wanting to deal with parents...IDK! But students that clearly have a C or even a D in some classes have all A's in hers even though there work clearly doesn't show mastery!
This is frustrating, but again, I think this is pretty common for a newbie. I know I was a much easier grader, too easy, my first two years or so.

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She doesn't have discipline so she decided she would rearrange her class so that the ones she could control were in one section and the ones she couldn't were all grouped in another section. Then she basically yells at the ones that she can't control.
I don't agree with how she is handling that. However, again, she doesn't have much experience and it does take time to develop that experience!
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:34 PM
 
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Make sure she knows when you’re meeting, and start it in time. She either shows or she doesn’t. If she shows make her feel welcome, but it’s not your job to monitor her. Let it go. Give her some space, and only give her advice when she asks you for it.

Last edited by apple annie; 07-21-2019 at 08:56 PM..
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:21 AM
 
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She will not be on the same page with our grading system...practically everyone is given good grades even when they miss most of the questions! I don't know if she feels that is a reflection on her teaching if they get bad grades, not wanting to deal with parents...IDK! But students that clearly have a C or even a D in some classes have all A's in hers even though there work clearly doesn't show mastery!

*She doesn't have discipline so she decided she would rearrange her class so that the ones she could control were in one section and the ones she couldn't were all grouped in another section. Then she basically yells at the ones that she can't control.
1) Grading system. If she pads the grades, that is on her. Make sure you can justify yours.

2) Discipline. That's up to your Principal to take care of. However, you say the P likes her, so don't expect anything to change there. Close your door and teach the way you know how.

You also mentioned that she doesn't stick to the time to switch students. I am assuming that puts you in a difficult position, because you can't start your class and have it be interrupted by late-arriving students. Have you thought about maybe not switching until everyone is standing in the hallway? I don't know if that would work, because I don't know your school configuration. You could also call her/send a student to tell her it's time to switch, as it doesn't sound like you will get backup from your admin.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this. It's frustrating. You really don't have any control over her behavior, and that is difficult. i have been there.
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