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Browneyes13 Browneyes13 is offline
 
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Browneyes13
 
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First Year Teacher Blues
Old 07-05-2014, 09:21 AM
 
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I started teaching in January at a Title I Elementary campus in a large city in Texas. My experience was so horrible, I wanted to resign after my first week. On my first day I was given my keys, a class roster and told to meet my kids in the classroom. I was given 22 kids with the worst behavior in the school. 16 were SPED, 3 were 504 students and 2 were labeled emotionally disturbed. I am Not a SPED teacher, so of course I did not feel qualified to teacher students with extreme behavior problems. I spent about 95% of the dealing with behavior issues, stopping the kids from fights and encouraging them to stay in the class and 5% of the day trying to teach. I was so overwhelmed that I began second guessing my career choice. I spoke with the Principal and Assistant Principal several times requesting suggestions and help. All I got was, "It'll get better, hang in there." I asked the other teachers in my group for help, (my entire team was new to the school) they felt they were experiencing extreme behavior issues also
and were unable to help. I hung in there with the hope of getting a new start with new students in the fall. That hope is now lost. I received an email yesterday, (Yes, on the 4th of July), from the Principal stating that she had decided to move me up a grade and that I would have the same students from last school year,(The horrible class). I am so upset. I feel like I was just thrown in a lions den with no way out. I want to resign, but the last day to resign from the district was June 30th. So if I want to continue teaching, I have to stay at this campus. I have always wanted to be a teacher, and given the opportunity late in my life(I am 40ish), I don't want to tuck my tail and run. I can't afford to be without a job, but I just don't feel I am qualified to give these students what they need to be successful. I am praying that someone out there can give me some advice. What should I do?


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Cleo88 Cleo88 is offline
 
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tough situation
Old 07-05-2014, 10:08 PM
 
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I'm sorry you had such an awful first year. My first year was also very difficult. That was 25 years ago. After moving to another district, I began to ask questions. Believe it or not, some principals purposely assign difficult students to beginning teachers. I am angry for you that your principal didn't notify you about your reassignment until AFTER the deadline to resign passed. I think that was cruel and manipulative of them. Have you spoken to your principal about how difficult last year was for you? If not, then set up an appointment to talk to them. It wouldn't hurt. Did your teammates also get moved up, or was it just you? I would respectfully ask about that situation. Will you be looping with all of your students? Were any of them placed in someone else's room? The only advice I can offer is to try to convince your principal that you need to stay in your present grade level to improve your teaching skills. It would be too much to learn a whole new curriculum, along with the discipline problems you mentioned. I am a strong believer in prayer, and I will be praying for you and this situation. God bless!
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Browneyes13 Browneyes13 is offline
 
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Thanks for your prayers
Old 07-06-2014, 07:38 AM
 
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I plan to speak with the principal tomorrow. I did find out that she moved two other teachers from my team up also. One of those teachers decided to resign and return to her former job. The other teacher is angry also, but she said that she is going to hang in there.
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msnewone msnewone is offline
 
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How about...
Old 07-11-2014, 08:49 PM
 
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Omg. It sounds extremely difficult and I cannot even imagine what I would do in that circumstance. First of all have you considered going back to school for a special ed extension? Although it will take time maybe during the process you will learn a lot of valuable information. Secondly although the kids are quite difficult at the least you know them already, strengths weaknesses interests. Try planning with their interests from now. Come up with a classroom behavior management plan now and stick it out as much as you possibly can. Positive behavior support is amazing. But make sure to create all your rules, guidelines, and motivations from now create a system that you think may work and then test out every possible way the system could fail. I know it's hard but you said it yourself. You wanted to do this. Yes it's hard but imagine how amazing you will feel as you see these children change and grow. Good luck!!!!
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lovingsped lovingsped is offline
 
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:18 AM
 
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It sounds a bit like my first year, only I am a sped teacher and it was what I signed up for. I went in focusing most of my energy getting the behavior under control and any planning for teaching was done considering behavior ( pages copied from book since they are cheaper to replace than ripped books and hurt less when thrown at me ....). Since 16 kids are sped you should have a sped teacher pulling out/pushing in and consulting. Has that been helpful?
I find that group dynamics can really make or break the class. Since you already know the kids and know how they feed of each other you have an advantage. Who needs to be separated ? Who is a helper? How is everyone's pacing? Who does best when being a mentor and who needs no distraction whatsoever? If there are some really toxic combinations of students that tumble the whole class, maybe get together with the co-teacher who is staying and see if you can trade some students.


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ElemSped13 ElemSped13 is offline
 
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:47 PM
 
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I agree with this and have had a similar situation in sped. Is there a sped teacher to help you? They should be able to give you strategies and resources. Since there are multiple sections in the grade, I'm assuming some kids will mixed up? Either way, you have the benefit of already knowing the kids and they will be a little older now. You already know where they are academically and their individual behaviors. I assume you have tried some strategies that may or may not have been successful.

Since the entire team was new and one has already left, it is an accomplishment that you completed the year and didn't leave at the end. Don't put yourself down - you are completely qualified in that you are possibly considering taking this on again where others have quit. I'm guessing this might be an on-going problem and possibly the P told you after the date on purpose to keep people there.

I know it's incredibly stressful and not ideal, but can you find ways to survive the year again? You have a year of management experience now and already know most of your class.

Figure out your teaching strengths and use those to the best of your ability. It will be a little different this year since you are not coming in mid-year. You can set firm boundaries and procedures early on and stick with your decisions. Show them they can feel safe and structured in your room, get to know them, and get them on your side as much as you can.

How did you end the year with the kids? Did you have a good relationship with some of them? IMO, that is half the battle. They may still fuss and create chaos but if they know you and trust you, it can make it a little easier.
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Teach_Again Teach_Again is offline
 
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:20 AM
 
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Hello,

I know I am replying to your post a bit late, but as they say, better late than never!

I completely understand your frustration! Been there, done that! I am as well a sort-of new teacher working in NYC. First of all, it is great that you have support from your admin. If I had same issue, went to the admin and said I need help, I'd be fired right there on the spot. I had similar requests and was told to deal with it, since I am a professional and went to college. Yes, they questioned my college degree! In any case, you should have at least a para in your classroom or a Sped teacher that you can team-teach with. That is so popular here in NYC. But if you have no para and/or Sped teacher, you can do the following:
1. Learn as much as possible about the lives of your Sped students (home culture, home languages, interests, abilities);
2. Study their IEPs, because IEPs have valuable info as to how you can relate to students and what you need to do as a teacher to make sure you address student's personal and academic needs;
3. Integrate Sped students with general ed students. Do not let Sped students feel any different - all behavior problems stem from them feeling 'special', 'different.' Develop a classroom culture of acceptance. For example, read books with such themes as friendship (among different cultures, ethnicity, SS statuses, etc);
4. Read to students as much as possible;
5. Develop and establish routines and procedures from day 1;
6. Model positive behavior:as a few students to act out and others to observe;
7. Involve students in hands-on projects in and outside the classroom - community service;
8. Most importantly, employ supportive rather than corrective behavior management techniques - learn about PBIS.

I hope this helps!
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