Advice Needed - ProTeacher Community




Home Join Now Search My Favorites
Help


      The VENT

Advice Needed

>

Reply
 
Thread Tools
mean
 
 
Guest

mean
 
 
Guest
Advice Needed
Old 09-14-2019, 06:39 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #1

Advice needed. I have been teaching for 20 years. I am at a new title 1 school this year. I have already been in the principals office twice since school started a month ago. The first time I was called in was because I was told that my voice carries and that I have a dry sense of humor with the kids and that some people might misinterpret it. So...basically change your personality!

Last week I was called in because "several" people have gone to the principal to say I am "mean" to the kids. My principal came in unannounced to observe me because of the complaints. This is the only tangible things he could find. I called a seveer ADD child to come up to the carpet to refocus, and be closer to me. (research shows that proximity to the teacher helps...). I also asked a student to stop fidgeting in this desk. My third "offensive" was that I told the kids that it had taken them 5 minutes to transition (they are very LOUD during all transitions) so I would be taking 5 minutes off their free time.
Hmmm, none of those things I believe are wrong or MEAN!!!

I am just so over being held to such an impossible standard. Students have NO consequences anymore and I'm at my wits end! I know I should enjoy the kids more, but with impossible expectations, having to keep up with my drill sargent team mate, having to give pre and post tests and the subsequent data for weekly data meetings, not to mention I am in a new school, a new grade level, and entirely new curriculums that I have never taught before, as well has receiving no training, I'm ready to throw in the towel.

My school is a title one school, and it seems the buzzword of this schools is "trauma". These kids have experienced trauma, therefore change the way you teach. Hmmm, how do you suggest I do that? I'd like to know the percentage of my class that has experienced real trauma. We have several at least 4-5 social/emotional specialists in my school. Has any of them given me ANY information about my classes background, no!

My principal also mentioned that the teachers these kids had prior to me are all soft spoken and not like me. So, now I need to be like them?? I come in early, stay a minimum of 2 hours after school, and have come in every weekend since school started. I'm just not sure what they want from me.

The only think I believe I can do is forget at the B.S., not push the kids to do their best, and enjoy the kids more....suggestions????


  Reply With Quote

SuperMeanToo
 
 
Guest

SuperMeanToo
 
 
Guest

Old 09-14-2019, 07:38 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #2

Mean is synonym of strict now days.

Quote:
enjoy the kids more
Do kids come in flavors now? Are they food, clothing, TV show? Enjoy the kids more!!! means let them play, be friends and so on. I don't agree with this be friends with the kids and such.

When you demand students follow procedures they are not accustom to, they have a hard time. They will complain. It is not you, it is them. The P will make it sound like it is you.

Sorry, I don't have any magic pill for this. I have been called mean really mean before. I never ask my st. anything impossible or unreasonable but keeping students happy now days is goal number one. A happy student doesn't complain. Happy student, happy parent, happy administration, praise and admired teacher. This is really the expectation now days. I failed terrible at this. Good luck.
  Reply With Quote
Savvy Savvy is offline
 
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 3,270
Senior Member

Savvy
 
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 3,270
Senior Member
How frustrating
Old 09-14-2019, 07:44 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #3

Stay true to yourself. It's not ok when people attack your personality. Just because you're different than previous teachers, that doesn't make you bad. I hate when people are treated like this. I hope next week is better.
Savvy is offline   Reply With Quote
teacherwriter teacherwriter is offline
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 4,903
Senior Member

teacherwriter
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 4,903
Senior Member
My experience
Old 09-15-2019, 01:31 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #4

I don't mean to be alarmist, but be careful. Two years ago, I went to a new school that serves students with learning disabilities. Almost immediately I was being criticized for being mean. I had a student who had difficulty controlling herself in class. Among other things, she would take her "fidget" (a huge foam toy) and pound it on her desk repeatedly during instruction. I would ask her to move the fidget under the desk and squish it quietly, and that made her mad. Or I would have to ask her to stop talking to a friend across the room. Like you, I moved her closer to me in the front. Well, she went home and told her parents I yelled all the time; I also think she encouraged a buddy to do the same. So that was the first thing I was called into admin for--"Don't yell. These children are sensitive." I was told that they've faced so many challenges and failures because of their LDs that I shouldn't be "yelling" at them.

Then a few weeks later, I was called into admin again to be told that a student (I'm assuming her) told her mom that I had called another student stupid in front of the class. My mouth dropped open when admin said that. Huh? I never did anything like that in my life! Again, I was told to change how I interact with the students. "They're sensitive." At that point, I knew that at best, I was going to be a non-renew or, at worst, a midyear firing. Luckily for me, I'd already contacted my prior employer and asked to return, and the stars aligned: A week after the "stupid" complaint, I was offered a good job in my old district and took it immediately. I had to finish another month, including teacher conferences, where the angry student's mom told me, "To be honest, she hates you." By the time I left, I was at that school for only three months.

What do they want from you? Exactly the same as the teachers before you--soft-spoken, no discipline, don't ruffle feathers. Do the teachers around you handle their classes this way as well? Model them. Yes, you will let the discipline lapse; I did. And yes, it will cause problems. But that's what they want. They don't want complaints. I doubt they care whether you're there on the weekend or hours after school, so I wouldn't bother. But I would be really careful about your classroom demeanor. And I would start laying the groundwork to get a new job for next year.
teacherwriter is offline   Reply With Quote
Violets2's Avatar
Violets2 Violets2 is offline
 
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 2,622
Senior Member

Violets2
 
Violets2's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 2,622
Senior Member

Old 09-15-2019, 05:48 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #5

Uggh. What a situation. As a PP said, I'd be careful. Mean is now code for they've been told something they don't want to do. Not sure how to change that until they get used to you because you're new there. I'd try to tone my voice volume down so it doesn't carry into other rooms, if you can. I'm a naturally louder person so I know I have to retrain myself to not always be loud. Dry sense of humor, not sure about. I do know if you're dealing with second lang. students, they don't get sarcasm so we don't use it but those 2 are not necessarily the same.

I'd seek out the specialists for advice with how to deal with your class. This shows that you've made the effort. Some advice that we've been given in training for trauma kids isn't too much different that what we've been doing. Be open to seeing new ideas that may already be in your wheel house. The severe trauma is out of our league.

Good luck and keep us posted.


Violets2 is offline   Reply With Quote
elepen's Avatar
elepen elepen is offline
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,348
Senior Member

elepen
 
elepen's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,348
Senior Member

Old 09-15-2019, 07:06 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #6

Iíve never understood that behavior of running to the principal and tattling on another coworker
Thatís not me, it would have to verrrry serious, life threatening for me to do that.
Itís not going to stop, theyíve shown you who there are from the get go.
While youíre there lie low, comply and get the h.......l out of there as soon as possible with another job. Hugs and keep venting here
elepen is offline   Reply With Quote
Mshope's Avatar
Mshope Mshope is offline
 
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,059
Senior Member

Mshope
 
Mshope's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,059
Senior Member
Ridiculous
Old 09-15-2019, 09:33 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #7

It sounds like you are doing a phenomenal job.

I also work at a school where they won't stand up for teachers and want us to best friends with the students. The real rules are: keep everyone happy, don't fail anyone, and don't bother admin. I've learned to do these things though in reality, our students are not held accountable or taught real responsibility. However, in order to keep my job, I have caved in.

My suggestions would be to keep doing what you are doing, but also spend some time getting to know kids a little better. I try to figure our through previous teachers who I need to "watch out" for. I just had a co-worker tell me that a certain dad was a "nightmare" and to expect a litany of emails. I haven't received any yet, but do I treat Jr. a little more with kid gloves? Maybe. It's nothing to be proud of but in this day and age, I feel like we need to do what we can to survive.

The admin. preach rigor and growth mindset, but give everyone a good grade and entertain them so they don't go home and say, "I'm bored." Sorry, they can't see that you might be exactly what these kids need to be truly successful.
Mshope is offline   Reply With Quote
broomrider's Avatar
broomrider broomrider is offline
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,807
Senior Member

broomrider
 
broomrider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,807
Senior Member
You must feel very frustrated
Old 09-15-2019, 09:40 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #8

and I suspect the prince is frustrated too. I would take the suggestions about working with the social/emotional specialists to heart, choose the least touchy-feely one to ask to come into the room and offer suggestions for addressing some of the behavior difficulties of your students. And I'd also be looking around for a better situation.

I agree that accepting bad behavior because of a stressful environment is dooming children to unemployment and poor relationships as adults. There needs to be a middle ground between undisciplined freedom and outside control. Creating an environment of guiding children to self-control is part of an education. I'm not saying you don't do this, just saying that some current theories are a disservice to the future.

You mention a "drill sergeant team mate" I don't understand how you aren't soft-spoken in comparison to this person who apparently has been teaching there longer than you and feeling successful. Are you being spoken to so you don't imitate the team mate or to send a message to that person?

I do have a specific suggestion, which may or may not be agreeable to you. The whole "don't apply punishments" thing makes me gag since administration does it to teachers while saying don't use it on students. Anyway, rather than take away equal free time, perhaps it could be "since this is taking so much time, we'll practice doing this smoothly during fee time today. I'm sure you can master it quickly." Something like that. There's no removal of free time as a punishment, just a student opportunity to do some planning and try out the transitions later. A tweak that might give a principal pause for thought.

This is a maddening situation. You are likely feeling like a first year teacher trying to get control of a class, a curriculum, and a school culture but after 20 years of actually doing the work. Having your experience discounted must be grating. Perhaps giving the preparation less of your life and doing things to make you feel better would be helpful. They don't seem particularly grateful or even aware. So take care of yourself so you can take care of the rest.

Feel free to disregard any or all of this. But do keep venting. You need a release.
broomrider is offline   Reply With Quote
logtimeteach
 
 
Guest

logtimeteach
 
 
Guest
Hold your own!
Old 09-15-2019, 12:00 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #9

I am friendly to my students, but I am not their friend. I am the alpha dog in the room, and they know it. Some push back, but I stay firm. Students do not learn anything if the teacher can't enforce order in the classroom. If they complain I am too strict, I tell them that I do what I do because I care about them and want them to succeed...and then I give them every opportunity to do so. Yes, I already had a complaint against me (principal sided with me) and an angry email from a parent, asking me if I even taught the material before giving a test. In my answer I included a copy of the student's test, pointing out that he didn't follow any directions. At that point the parents became upset with their child. But of course, we teachers are now guilty until proven innocent. Since I will retire in a year, none of this really gets to me any more, but many teachers I knew have left teaching altogether after facing constant and relentless scrutiny of any and all of their actions. I have taught high school for more than three decades and have loved teaching overall, but I don't know if I would choose this career again if I started out now.
  Reply With Quote
Mrs.Lilbit's Avatar
Mrs.Lilbit Mrs.Lilbit is offline
 
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,802
Blog Entries: 1
Senior Member

Mrs.Lilbit
 
Mrs.Lilbit's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,802
Senior Member

Old 09-15-2019, 12:16 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #10

I understand your frustration. It is so difficult to teach a certain way for years, and then to be suddenly thrust into an environment with a different school culture and different expectations, but not to be explicitly told what those expectations are. I have been there and it was beyond frustrating. So I hope you take my advice as what I have lived and learned and not as more criticism.

As far as childhood trauma is concerned, it is very real for children living in poverty. Their stress levels are extremely high and they often don't have any kind of healthy outlet for it outside of school. Their experiences may not rise to the level of warranting any kind of special services or interventions; but many of these children are functioning in "survival mode" because of the stress they endure in their daily lives.

These children can be easily triggered by the volume of our voices, the tone we use, and by our body language. Many children can hear a sarcastic comment or a stern command and appreciate it for what it is; but others cannot. They hear it as aggressive, challenging, or dangerous; and it automatically triggers the "fight or flight" response system in their brains. They either shut down and become unresponsive, or they become angry and disruptive.

Since you asked for advice, I recommend you google "Responsive Classroom The Power of Teacher Language," and consider reading The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton. This isn't about changing your personality. It's changing the way expectations of behavior are stated and using key phrases to redirect your students to meet those expectations. One of the key components to using this kind of language is to use a neutral tone of voice--completely removing any emotion, positive or negative, out of your voice. You don't want to come across as angry or sarcastic, but you also don't want to sound mealy mouthed.

I also recommend you take the time to observe your coworkers, and listen to how they talk to their students and what they say to them. Be sure to pay special attention to teachers that seem to have good classroom management. I'm not saying to change your personality to become more like them; but if they are modeling what the culture of your school expects from its teachers and what your principal wants, then it is in your best interest to learn what those expectations are.

You might try making a video of yourself teaching a lesson--for your eyes only. Try to observe yourself objectively. If you didn't know that teacher and what she was thinking in the moment, how would you interpret her words, her tone, her facial expressions, or her body language? Perhaps something is coming across that might used against you that you never intended or realized.

I suspect the principal's criticisms of your lessons were a direct result of the complaints he's received. He went in looking for something to criticize, and of course he found something. The things you mentioned that happened during the lesson probably would not have even registered with him had he not been looking for "evidence of meanness." A target has now been unfairly placed on your back, and unfortunately it's up to you now to avoid any semblance of "being mean."

I would hope he would have given you alternative strategies for what he wants to see instead of what you did. If he didn't here's some things you might keep in mind. Anticipate misbehavior before it happens. Have the ADD kid already sitting close to you when the lesson begins so you don't have to move him in the middle of the lesson.

Use nonverbal signals for students who fidget. Teach them how to twiddle their thumbs under their desk, or wiggle their toes, or to tap their fingers on their upper thigh so they can satisfy their need for movement without being distracting. Gently place your hand on their shoulder as you walk by their desks, or use some kind of hand signal to let them know what they are doing is disruptive and they need to use one of the acceptable fidget strategies.

Make class-wide consequences immediate and logical; and use both positive and negative consequences. If the class is too loud and taking too much time during transitions, then use a stop watch and a bell. Set a goal, and explain it explicitly. "Class, I want you to put your books and supplies away, and be seated on the carpet in two minutes. There should be no talking. If I hear any talking, I will ring this bell. If you successfully transition in two minutes without me having to ring the bell, then you will earn an extra two minutes of free time. If you don't, we will have to spend that two minutes practicing the right way to transition. Go!" If one or two particular students are consistently ruining it for the class, then only those students should face the negative consequence. They practice transitioning while the rest of the class gets extra free time. Make it clear that this is not a punishment, it is a learning opportunity. They have not lost any free time. They either get extra free time, or extra practice; and the choice of which they get is theirs.

My final piece of advice is to watch your back. Like others have said, any teacher who would go tattling on you instead of talking to you face to face about their concerns is not to be trusted. I would also make sure your principal knew of your efforts to solve this problem. Since you are new to the school, ask him if there is another teacher who could serve as a mentor and help you better acclimate to the school. Perhaps if you show that you are being proactive and receptive to his feedback after his observation of you, it will take the target off of your back. Best of luck to you!


Mrs.Lilbit is offline   Reply With Quote
School Time's Avatar
School Time School Time is offline
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,471
Senior Member

School Time
 
School Time's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,471
Senior Member

Old 09-15-2019, 01:18 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #11

I also am loud when I teach. Not necessarily yelling but my voice carries. I had a principal mention it to me but didn't tell the other loud teachers so I understand the frustration.

It sounds like it might help to get parents on your side. After a very bad year with parent complaints, I started a quarterly newsletter that had pictures of the kids at work and information. It helped. (I get permission to use student pictures).

Another thing that I have used to get parents on my side is an occasional phone call to a parent or two to tell them something positive about the child. They are shocked if you call and it does wonders for getting them on your side. I have mentioned it afterward to the student whose parents I have called so other kids know about it. Sometimes I speak to them up at pickup time. It also makes me feel better, noticing something positive.

Good luck!!
School Time is offline   Reply With Quote
1tired 1tired is offline
 
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 25
New Member

1tired
 
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 25
New Member
Having moved schools before,
Old 09-15-2019, 03:15 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #12

I have learned what you are saying the hard way..
At a couple of schools, I was well liked by parents and staff. Then when I got to the 3rd school after many yrs of teaching, I realized that my humor was not understood by most people in the new community/state. It was hard, but I had to stop joking.
It took yrs, but I finally met 1 fellow teacher who has a similar style of humor. We laugh quietly together now behind closed doors.
I had spent years in a school that held different expectations and values. I was considered "the mean teacher" when I 1st moved here. I truly wasn't mean in my opinion.
I had just been in a school that had way higher expectations. I had to learn how to adapt and conform in some ways. Where I came from academics and test scores were seen as important.
In this culture, a child's happiness is considered the most important. It sounds like you may be at a similar school. Yes, enjoy the kids more. I have not lowered my expectations, but as the yrs have past, I am no longer public enemy 1.
If a softer voice is considered more appro there, you may need to practice if you want to get along. I know how hard it is to change. I have had to make jokes in my own head and not let them come out of my mouth for a long time now. Best of luck to you!
1tired is offline   Reply With Quote
mean
 
 
Guest

mean
 
 
Guest
Thanks!
Old 09-15-2019, 03:55 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #13

Thanks for all the advice! I really do take it to heart! I think I'm more upset about being tattled on that what the message was. Would it be too direct for me to approach each person who comes into my room (i.e. the tattlers) as say something like "if they hear or see something that doesn't sit right with them, they I would appreciate them speaking directly to me, as we are all professional adults here", and I welcome any CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Nothing more, I won't say a thing about the tattles.

I have also heard from my para that the Dean has approached her twice trying to get info about if I am implementing the school's PBIS practices and if I'm badmouthing her. Yes to the first, and NO to the second.

Also my principal is going to set up me observing other teachers, and I will swallow my pride and go...gotta play the game. It's just that it wanted it to work out at this school, and I feel as if the writing is already on the wall...
  Reply With Quote
happygal's Avatar
happygal happygal is offline
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,465
Senior Member

happygal
 
happygal's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,465
Senior Member
Impossible
Old 09-15-2019, 05:51 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #14

To change one's personality. Not impossible to call your union rep. I would not at all accept the treatment you received.

Voice carries? That is a good thing.

Soft spoken types often dislike any other type. People starved for a sense of power love to mess around in the business of others.

Your job isnt fun. Pretests tests and post tests what misery. Admin wants junk to pore over to justify their job.

Kids screwing around does equal less choice time later.

STAND YOUR GROUND

IF it were me i would become even louder and open my windows and door. The nerve!
happygal is offline   Reply With Quote

Join the conversation! Post as a guest or become a member today. New members welcome!

Reply

 

>
The VENT
Thread Tools




Sign Up Now

Sign Up FREE | ProTeacher Help | BusyBoard

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:21 AM.

Copyright © 2019 ProTeacher®
For individual use only. Do not copy, reproduce or transmit.
source: www.proteacher.net