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heartmyjob heartmyjob is offline
 
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Could you handle being a new teacher now?
Old 11-05-2019, 08:12 PM
 
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This isnít really a vent, but more of an outlet for my current thoughts.

I often serve as mentor for new teachers in my building. This is the second year in a row where several are simply out of their element. They are overwhelmed, miserable, and ineffective. I am their cheerleader and try to give helpful strategies as well as be a sounding board. But this job is too much for many to handle. I struggle to help with all the things we are asked to do. Are colleges preparing them? Are colleges misleading them?

Then I think back to the classroom I started in 15 years ago. While I have grown into this fast paced, rigorous, world of testing and data, it did not exist when I started. Could I have handled it? Would I be in a different career now?

Could you survive being a new teacher in todayís world?


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Old 11-05-2019, 09:28 PM
 
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No. I couldnít survive it. Iíd get out very quickly if I walked into it as a newbie now. As you said, weíve slowly grown accustomed to the changes.
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Old 11-05-2019, 09:36 PM
 
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After 15 years of teaching, I can barely keep up with the demands now. They just keep putting more and more on our plate and take away nothing. My grade level teammates and I talk about ďUnicorn TimeĒ. ó the mythical time they think we have to do more.
Donít get me started on the the behaviors that we are now forced to endure ó and I teach at a pretty good school.
No, I would definitely fail if I was a newly-minted teacher now.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:28 AM
 
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33 years ago, my memory of teaching was fun. I felt I was a better teacher because I had the "time" opportunity to establish relationships with the students that I taught. It was not a hurry up and drill the skills, and test, test, test. We did not have the high stake testing that now trump the educational progress. Data was important back then, but it was not nearly as lopsided as it is today. Today there seems to be a desire/an expectation to assess and get new uodated data all the time, and data gathering "time" seems to trump the act of actually teaching and working with the kids.

It is sad. I just heard a new teacher say she loved assessing students because that is the only time during the day she gets to work one-on-one with a student and she feels that is the only time she gets to know them.

That is so sad. I am sorry, but getting to know me as an individual during a stressful testing situation is not getting to know me at all. You will never know what I love most about life, what I like to do during my free time, what movie is my favorite, what games I love to play, what I love to do most at school is, what my fears are, what I think I am really good at, and all the other cool things about me that make me special and worth knowing.

Back 33 years ago, I really knew each student and their families. I feel I still got the skills taught, but in ways it was fun and engaging. I didn't assess every week. I used the data and gave my "teaching lessons" time to do their job before I assessed again and it seems now a days, lessons/activities are thrown to quickly in the trash because we don't see fast enough growth between our 5 day assessments. We didn't give our lessons time to work before we jumped out and bounced into another strategy which we only give 5 days to show growth. Sometimes you have to give the students and the strategy time to do its job. We should teach basic skills, slow and consistency and repeat in many different ways, to put those general knowledge skills in permanent storage in kids' minds - so they can easily assess that knowledge to apply it in higher level skills.

Today the curriculum that is "thrown" down our throats isn't necessary fun. It's like being sick and pretending nothing is wrong, and as a teacher, ones is continuous trying to make each lesson in the curriculum student friendly and engaging. Teacher creativity is killed, because the choice of curriculum and the expectations to follow the day to day lessons/established activities is demanded. Teachers are continuously "fixing" and trying to improve and make these canned lessons livable and usable with the kids in their rooms. It is like building a house. One would rather have the house built correctly and just make the few repairs for used and worn out parts. These curriculums we use are throw together to make big bucks. It's like a house that was throw together quickly and that's foundation has cracks, and the teacher is continuously finding ways to fix the cracks and keep the house standing. Sometimes it is easy to just tear down the house and rebuild it. But no one trust teachers to know how to teach anymore, the powers to be feel that teachers need a day to day directive lesson plan telling them when to stand, when to walk, and in what direction to walk, and when to sit down, when to cough, sneeze, and when to blow one's nose.

When I started teaching, I did not have much in terms of an established, bought curriculum in my kindergarten room. I created my own curriculum and activities and I had a blast. I still taught the skills to learn to read and problem solve in math. And amazingly, kids went on and graduated from high school and graduated from colleges with honors. Some kids also graduated from high school and successful jointed the work force as valued employees.

Now I turn pages of a curriculum teacher guide book and I attempt to figure out what exactly is the activity that has to be done and how it meets the "goal" that the curriculums says it does. The activities aren't that motivational to me, but I have to make these activities sound exciting and I have to put on a performance with the kids that what we are about to do is fantastic! Deep inside, I have a well of activities that teach the same concepts in a more exciting, motivational way, but no, I can't do that because every kid has in my grade level has to have the same experiences as other kids at the grade level. If I do an activity that teaches the same concept and it might also be addressing higher level skills, I can not do it for the other rooms in my grade level teach the canned curriculum as written. And if I did,, oh. lordly, we are not providing the students the same, equal education. One group is getting a different education and a different experience than another room and some how we CAN'T allow that. All the classrooms have to provide the same experiences, same activities. same everything.

I am looking at retirement with excitement. I loved teaching during my first 15 years. The last 18 years with the changes has slowly decreased my love of teaching. I had always had the "hope" the pendulum would swing back to "common sense" teaching, but I know realize that those early glory days are gone and I will never get to teach like I once did.

If I was a new teacher right now, I would not last very long. My passion to teach, the desire change a child's world for the better, would be cut away a little every day.
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Old 11-06-2019, 02:29 AM
 
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With about every profession the job has become much more complex. Technology allows some processes to be streamlined and faster, but it also allowed for many more things to be piled on because individually the technological task seems small, but so many get piled on that it becomes overwhelming just to keep up with it all. Also, the busier the teachers the less likely they are to help a co-worker.

And, yes, I do believe colleges are failing to prepare upcoming teachers for the reality of the job. They may do well with the theory, but the application in many cases is still lacking. In addition students are in a very different environment. They care caught between "mistakes are ok - everyone makes them" but "you must be perfect and make no mistakes otherwise you are worthless". Crazy mental place to have to be especially if there is a sink or swim environment. Then add to that the profession's new mantra of we are so downtrodden, treated so poorly, and everyone is out to get us puts them into a mental state where they are less likely to be willing to try. I think many new teachers are just stuck in fear along with lack of preparation.


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Old 11-06-2019, 04:52 AM
 
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I said this a few weeks ago. I am in my 31st year of teaching. My school has three primary teachers with less than three years teaching. We have a new math and science program/curriculum, a phonics program in its second year, and are starting DRA testing in k to 3 for all students. Iím overwhelmed! I donít think I would make it as a new teacher. Thereís too much to do besides teach.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:57 AM
 
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I think I must be one of the lucky ones. I teach in a public school, high achieving, mixed socioeconomic.

We are free to teach as we see fit. We do have a math curriculum we are to follow, but my P does not micromanage, so I can add/delete/adjust as I see fit. If I didn't differentiate, then there would be a problem! We are to meet each child where they are at. No "one size fits all".

My P encourages relationship building. He knows how important that is. He also knows how important engagement is. If a child is not engaged, they aren't going to learn. Following a scripted curriculum is not engaging. I am very thankful I do not have to do so.

I do not have to teach exactly like my teammates. I am allowed to be creative and make learning fun by creating my own lessons/ideas.

The data we collect can be collected in any manner we see fit. This includes anecdotal observations. We do have to do I-Ready testing 3x per year and DRAs are highly encouraged. The math program has far too many pre/posts, so I skip many of them. Data collection (thankfully) does not rule at our school.

If I had to teach in the manner in which was described in the post above, then no. I could not last. It goes against everything I believe in. However, because I teach where I do, then yes. I still love teaching and as long as things don't change drastically, hope to teach another 10+ years.
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Old 11-06-2019, 05:23 AM
 
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I'm serving as an unofficial mentor to the new teacher on my team. I couldn't do it. I loved teaching 16 years ago. I couldn't teach as a first year teacher now, but I also would actively discourage anyone from going into teaching now. Between the behaviors, insane expectations on teachers, ineffective admin, etc. it just isn't worth it.

My new team mate talks about quitting regularly and I seriously question whether or not she's going to make it until winter break.
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Old 11-06-2019, 05:35 AM
 
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Teaching was fun when I started as well. I looked forward to going to work just about every day. Testing was ONE day! Would I begin a career as a teacher now? I do not think so. Iíd probably look for something else. None of my kids went into education and all made more money at the beginning of their careers than I made at the end. Not that it is all about money but I feel they are appreciated for their hard work. Glad the insanity is behind me...
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Old 11-06-2019, 06:55 AM
 
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I was a mentor for newbies at my old school too. It was hard encouraging new teachers to stick with it. But on the other hand, if they came in at a time when testing and data were king....they didn't know anything was different. They complied without complaining which is all admin wants anyway. I'm amazed at the turnover in my school since I retired. 80 percent are new hires. The admin has been so abusive to the seasoned, experienced teachers, that many have retired early. It's not good...and things seem to get worse each year. Hats off to happy, dedicated teachers who are so important.


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Old 11-06-2019, 11:15 AM
 
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I know a few people from my cohort/subject area who have already quit. One lasted a year, one quit after three and moved onto something involving more social justice oriented work. She was supposedly a great teacher.

I know younger people who were all about working in low income schools and many of them have switched to much wealthier districts. I know the numbers for enrollment declined at my grad school in most of the subjects too.




The general feedback is that grad school doesn’t really prepare you for what teaching will be like, nor how hard it is to find employment. I encourage people to not get into teaching unless they are going to do a subject that will get them hired in multiple states.
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Then I think back to the classroom I started in 15 years ago. While I have grown into this fast paced, rigorous, world of testing and data, it did not exist when I started. Could I have handled it? Would I be in a different career now?

Could you survive being a new teacher in todayís world?
My answer is NO! Back when I started in 1984 it was NOTHING like this! Our tables were in rows not groups, when I w as tenured I didn't even know it...it just happened because I taught for 3 years. I never thought about it until all the new teachers now were struggling to get their tenure binders together. , I dont remember being observed, maybe in the very beginning for a year or two but that's it. No data collecting, never heard of the word rigor, no spreadsheets, what's a rubric?? We didn't teach to a test altho I remember s/t like this on the test: foot is to toe as hand is to _____. lol Scores were given out as grade levels/months.. for example 3.8 or 6.5 etc
I'm not saying that some of these things aren't okay, but most are not. But new teachers now don't know any different. However, from what I read here its terrible. I would never in a million years encourage my kids to become a teacher. NO WAY. Retirement is close
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Old 11-06-2019, 02:34 PM
 
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I could survive, but I probably wouldn't love it like I do.


I've found that the problem with many teacher programs (at least the ones we see) is that they teach what you should be doing in an ideal classroom, not how to teach in the reality of today's classroom. They are taught all sorts of great teaching strategies and projects and ways to use technology and DAP and come in very excited, and then are completely blindsided when they are told they don't have the ability (or time) to teach what they have learned.
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Depends on how new you mean.
Old 11-06-2019, 02:47 PM
 
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This is my 5th year teaching - 4th full year.
I work in a very low socio-economic school where trauma is high, transiency is high, half the school is ELL or Sped (or both).

The first few years were tough, because I didn't have a supportive admin. The kids ran the school, and the principal did nothing.

Things are better now. I am in my element. Very little phases me, I reach most of my kids, and am thriving.
Is it easy? NO! But I love it.

However. I am 46 years old, and had a whole other life before kids. I had high pressure job, and worked in a hostile environment that was predominantly men. I went toe-to-to with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
I don't get intimidated by anyone: Parents, admin, district admin, doesn't matter.

I do what's best for my students, and everyone else can kiss off.
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Sad but true
Old 11-06-2019, 03:35 PM
 
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I feel the same as many replies, as sad as it is.
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Old 11-06-2019, 03:56 PM
 
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Teaching was stressful 32 years ago when I started, but I had a great mentor and help from two departments. Teachers were in charge of curriculum, books, and teaching assignments. After three years of getting great evaluations, I was not evaluated for the next two decades. Teachers and administrators were in it for the long haul, and people knew and trusted each other. We were successful with our students, and I have fond memories of some great kids I taught. Some work oversees now, some for google and other tech companies. Some are successful lawyers now, engineers, and plumbers. Now our students learn and achieve much less. Many of these computer programs that are supposed to lead to more learning often don't work well at all, and many just waste valuable time. A presenter for a new computer program today was frustrated because the website we were using wasn't working right. The students have also changed. Lack of work ethic would be an understatement, and the lack of cognitive ability among juniors and seniors is astounding. Of course, we didn't have cell phones 32 years ago, a major reason for students' lack of attention. I still have colleagues I am close to, but it's nothing compared to the friendship among teachers who taught together for 35-40 years. Teaching is a revolving door now, and most of our young teachers are working on administration degrees. Administrators come and go as well. Every time I think that this is my last principal, we have a new one. In the past we had summers off to spend with family. Now we have PD even then and other stuff we are supposed to volunteer for. During the school year we have more morning meetings in one year than I had in my first two decades. Would I hang in there for three decades if I started teaching now? I doubt it. I may have joined some friends teaching overseas. They seem much happier in China and Singapore than they were teaching at a US public high school.
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I'm a substitute who gets asked this a lot.
Old 11-06-2019, 04:53 PM
 
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This will be long, sorry in advance. I've given this a lot of thought and have never been able to provide an honest response except with close family members, and even then I was ranting out loud about it so I couldn't put my thoughts into actual words. I'm better when I can write.

I already know I wouldn't be able to handle it. I sub and get asked often if I'll ever get my certification and become a fulltime instructor. I used to say "that's the plan" back when I started, but a few years have passed and I've seen enough to say ... no. Not anymore. Not even if the salary were tripled.

Whenever I took on long term teaching jobs, I used those moments as a way to more accurately gauge what it would feel like to truly teach. I took pleasure in diving straight into the deep end of things, embracing the role with enthusiasm because I'd always heard from "real" teachers that subbing and teaching were a different beast. And I'd believed them. I still believe them. But damn, dude. Damn. One of the jobs I took was at the end of the year; it was a two month assignment set to end on the final day of school. And the amount of pressure I was under, every single day, from admin and parents to pass their lazy failing kids was actually so intense that I almost considered just making #### up on their grade reports so they'd pass.

I'll give you an example. On one of those days in that 2 month period, I received a neon pink letter in my inbox. On it was simply "THESE STUDENTS CANNOT FAIL" and underneath that were a list of names of students who were failing my class, and had been failing the class all year, long before I'd ever met them. According to previous substitutes (this teacher had been out on medical leave for a very long time), these students had no drive and no willingness to learn, and were hostile towards anyone who tried to get them to work. They had spent the year goofing off and misbehaving and being openly disrespectful, and now they all had very low Fs in the 30% range. However, they were also seniors, and this was a core class necessary for graduation. The school realized that a higher graduation rate meant better funding, and so they sent me a letter warning me against... failing kids who deserved to fail. Okay. So every day I gave them work. Lots and lots of work. An incredible amount of work. I made them work like hell. Every day they were writing stuff until their hands cramped and every night they took home more work, and did big projects and all this end of the year cramming bull#### to try and boost their grade to a D- so their principal would stop hovering around my classroom every ####ing day asking what *I* was going to do about the failing kids, like it's my fault they didn't snap to action until the final hour. But you know what? That didn't kill my spirit. Because at least I was controlling the assignments they were given. I made sure it was rigorous. I made sure they earned every point they got. I didn't give them some Mickey Mouse assignment, and I kept it relevant to the content, even if it felt like I was just piling work onto everyone's plate for the sake of a few failing kids. Was it completely fair? Not really. But at least I was able to control how they earned their grade, and they would have failed if they had done nothing.

What really killed teaching for me was what happened last year. A similar situation took place, except the students refused to work, and were openly disrespectful until the bitter end (final 2~3 weeks) where nothing short of actual fraud would push t heir 17% up to a passing grade. All year I'd told them this would be the outcome if they continued to do nothing in class all day and all I ever got was "bruhh I don't CARE, bruh, #### school bruh." Well, here we were. And now they weren't going to graduate because of it, and suddenly reality set in and they were begging for work and I was telling them no. No, I'm not going to stop making lesson plans for the end of the year/making a final exam/grading everyone else's work to come up with 2 months worth of makeup #### for you to do when you've been a thorn in my side all year and you wouldn't even do the work anyway and even if you did it wouldn't make up for the last 8 months of nothing that you've been doing. Not doing it. So what'd they do? Whined to a counselor, who went behind my back, gave them math assignments that weren't even related to the topic we were doing in class (it was actually several grades lower), and then gave them the credits they needed to graduate. People clapped and celebrated her actions like she was helping somehow.

That was the moment I truly realized how ####ed the teaching situation has become in America. And I won't be a part of it. It was a terrifying decision to make. Every notch in my resume led up to teaching full-time, and now I have no idea what I'm going to do for a living since I can't sub forever. But I know it can't be teaching. As long as the administration doesn't even let me fail a student who deserves to fail, I can't be a part of this system. I'm not going to spend my life worried that behaving in an honest way and failing students who deserve it, might actually cost me my job. I'm not cut out for dealing with that BS, sorry. And I know I'm only at the tip of the iceberg here; the amount of administrative bs that goes on is truly remarkable. Kudos to the people who can do it without losing their minds.

On a sad note, one of my friends recently began teaching. He loves history and enjoys talking about it and teaching us (his friends) about it, so it seemed only natural that he'd go into teaching. He got his first fulltime teaching job in a high school somewhere and it's already beaten his enthusiasm down so much -- and he didn't go in with high expectations to begin with. Dude was a realist about it; he knew it wasn't gonna be like Stand and Deliver or something. But even so, every week he vents to me about how the tests he makes are basically a joke so they won't fail, yet they still fail because they're too apathetic to even try, and every day is a battle with the phones and the distractions and the apathy.

I hear that sentiment echoed everywhere. Every school I work at, I see the same exhausted faces. Every time I walk past a room, I just see kids on phones and teachers telling them to put the stupid things away. Hell, one time I subbed for a guy and a parent called his classroom phone directly. I was shocked. I didn't even know people could do that until then. I picked up thinking it was the office or something, and sure enough it was a parent. She didn't even give me time to say "I am not your child's regular teacher" before she went off about "my child has an F" and "we need to set up a meeting" and blablabla like it was his fault her precious-little-boy was failing 7th grade history (sure enough he turned out to be very lazy when he actually arrived, and attempts at getting him to work were met with visible disgust, like I was out of line for asking him to take out a pencil and write his name down), and just everything about the way she spoke implied that she had the system by the balls and knew it. And she was probably right, since I've seen this administration cave to pressure immediately.

Just, the more I work here, the more it seems like the only teachers who seem to excel in this environment have all turned into assholes who don't mind being really tough on kids 24/7. Like, I've seen teachers who run their classrooms like bootcamp, and everyone's whisperquiet or borderline scared to talk, and when I'm there as a sub and I see that, it's like staring at a beaten dog. That isn't what I want. And I tell them, like, "I'm not gonna hit you or anything," and they warm up a bit and start acting like people. But it feels like it's either that, or absolute unmitigated chaos. I'm not a drill sergeant, but being relaxed causes so much more trouble than it's worth in the current teaching environment. Frankly, I don't want to become that kind of person. And I'm sick of all the admin bs as well. So I'll just do something else with my life. Again -- kudos to the people who can do it every day. Stay strong. Nothing against the teachers out there every day doing what they have to do to survive. But I can't do that, man. I should be allowed to tell a student who's behaving poorly that he is behaving poorly and then give out meaningful consequences without fearing for my job or parental pushback afterwards. I shouldn't have to parent your child for you. I shouldn't have to turn into someone I'm not just so I can have a good ####ing day at work because you decided not to parent your kid. Ugh.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:56 PM
 
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No. No I could not.
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Not very well...
Old 11-06-2019, 06:26 PM
 
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The things I loved about my job were slowly being stripped away. We were micromanaged, over-coached and administrated, expected to all be teaching the same things in similar ways, documenting our own performance as part of our evaluations and on and on. The job was never 9-3, but now takes hours more for a salary that in most cases does not compensate for all those hours. The stress is real. Many enter teaching for the love and passion of working with kids, but often, it isnít those relationships that are valued. So sad...
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Old 11-06-2019, 06:41 PM
 
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Well, I kinda am "surviving it" like a new teacher.

The first 10 years I taught I worked in a private school teaching pre-k or K. I was not certified for public elementary.

Then I decided to make the jump to elementary so that I could work in public school and make more money (still not a lot...but more). So, I taught all day, had a weekend job, then went to school full time as well. I wasn't fully credentialed until 1/14. Then in 8/15 I moved districts and went up to third grade. I was new to the school, new to elementary teaching, and in a testing grade, and since my credential was preliminary I had to do another 2 years of "new teacher induction and data collection and reflect activities along with more evening training at the district office, where we went over stuff everyone already knew. Thankfully I had my classroom management stuff and my "soft skills" down from my 10 years in private pre-k/k but everything else was new. Its rough but doable.
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:41 PM
 
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My school has a significant number of 1st year teachers/teachers in their first couple of years this year. I am going to be very interested to see how many stick around. Like a pp was saying, my admin picked them because they're "easily trainable." As far as the data and things like that, I think they're doing okay because they honestly don't know any better.

And I will say that when I started 10 years ago, I had a ton of freedom, but I didn't know a fraction of what I know now about teaching struggling readers. Yes, the constant data/assessment etc. is a lot of work, but I see it working with my students. I've always said my first year was my easiest year because I was so naive to all of the things I should/could have been doing.

The thing that I see getting more and more challenging every year is the behavior. The things we are supposed to put up with are insane. Couple that with a first year teacher who hasn't built up management skills yet and you have a recipe for disaster. I've always said that if my first year was in my current school, I would have struggled. My first year was in a rural school where behavior issues were slim to none. I learned general management strategies and then I at least had a base to build from when I came to my current school and had to deal with severe behaviors/all kinds of behavior interventions and plans, etc. That's the thing that I can see driving out our current newbie teachers.
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Yes
Old 11-06-2019, 07:46 PM
 
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But i would probably get fired because i know where my efforts are best put.

Rows were better. Groupwork is good but so is learning to go solo.

Data and testing...total BS. Non educators try to ruin what was a job for passionate and creative people.

I say take back your classrooms!!!

I think colleges are out of touch and part of the problem.
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:32 PM
 
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I see a lot of great first year teachers. I think in a way its easier for them because they start out with all the demands and just accept that's the way it is. I keep feeling I can't keep up, and have to keep changing everything I do and feel like they are just piling on, because I know it wasn't always this way. Just one example, when I started, it was one one observation every three years, and that observation went no further than my principal's office. Now it's three observations per year, and that's only part of my state evaluation. First year teachers just accept three observations as normal.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:27 AM
 
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Absolutely NOT. High stakes testing, data obsession, and over zealous inclusion are ruining our public schools. I would not become a teacher today. It makes me sad to say that.

I taught for 35 years in a very high needs district which was one of the first to be negatively affected by the idiocies of NCLB. I loved most of my students and was well treated by my district but I am very glad to be retired now.

Last edited by Ruby tunes; 11-07-2019 at 08:48 AM..
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Old 11-07-2019, 02:39 PM
 
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No... absolutely not.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:04 AM
 
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I'm not sure. I'm a seasoned teacher who feels as many here do. Things in the education field have changed so much over the years, and not all for the good. I just know that all the new/younger teachers ask me "how have you done this so long?" I never asked that of my older colleagues when I started out because it wasn't that type of a pressure cooker job. It was the type of job we had for "life" unless you moved or had children and decided to stay home. I don't honestly recall anyone leaving for another profession.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Could you handle being a new teacher now?
Nope. - I'm an "occasional sub" and that's plenty for me! I'm good at what I do, but I know I couldn't handle the demands that full-time teachers are under.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:24 AM
 
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My first job was total hell in 93. If I didn't have a positive long term experience the year before I would have walked away.

We live in an age where there is more information available. People are no longer entering the field. Schools can't get away with higher turnover thinking someone else will come along. People no longer wait to finish a contract and bail out early.
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