I am trying not to vent here, but this is really bothering me....
At our school, we have a few "older" teachers who have been teaching for 30+ years. Then, we have a few "newbies" who have different ideas on the way things should be taught. I am considered one of the newbies, on my 6th year, and looked down upon by the older teachers.
I do things my own way, but cover the curriculum. I do a lot of hands-on work, instead of worksheet after worksheet. I try to do reader's workshop, 6 traits of writing, webquests for Science, scrapbooking for S.S. etc. One of the "older" teachers thinks I am doing things the wrong way. She is all about having the kids practice until it is beat into their head...so our standards are different. (We obviously have different personalities. She is very structured and I am pretty random).
The reason I bring this up is because we are doing curriculum mapping and we are both on the reading committee. We do not have state standards so this may be our problem.
Is anyone else having this conflict at their school?
I have had to work in some groups with teachers who have had 30+ years experience and I have 4 years. We have disagreed on many levels, so I understand your frustration. You don't have to plan your lessons right? So just say what skill you will cover and then it can be up to you how to make the lesson.
the older guys. I really don't think you mean older I think you mean not flexible they really are not the same. As a person with 33 years of experience I have never thought you new and exciting teachers were not doing it the right way. I love learning and sharing new ideas - and hopefully my new teaching peers love learning and sharing from me. Using words like "OLD" can be hurtful --Get a copy of your standards first, before you try to do any curriculum mapping. There are many teaching styles. Good luck.
At my current school my team is very young. We average 3 years of experience, so there is a lot of "thinking out of the box" so to speak when it comes to lessons and styles of teaching. We share a lot of ideas, but I don't think anyone feels "competitive" due to more experience. It seems that teachers have realized there is more than one way to do things and that you can learn valuable teaching styles from others.
However this was not the case in my first job. I was a "newbie" (1st year) working with teachers who averaged 27 years. I was the bottom of the pile and they made sure I knew it. It was a hard year. Finally towards the end of the year I was more confident in sharing what I was doing with my teammates and they were actually receptive towards me and my ideas. I tried some things their way, and I think they tried one of my ideas. Basically it came down to we were teaching the same thing but not in the same way.
Maybe you could search other states standards and come to the table with something to show what the ultimate goal is for the students. Once you have a general idea of what is expected to be taught, others will see you can allow for the freedom to teach it how you see fit. Just an idea.
While your activities/philosophies/methods may be different, you should all be attempting to cover the same curriculum. That shouldn't change, even if you go at it differently. While our grade level consists of "veteran" teachers, we all have different styles and ways of doing things. The "older" teacher shouldn't be passing judgement on how you approach things. It isn't a question of right or wrong, it's knowing your kids and what you feel works for them. I have 30+ years in the classroom, but there's always something new to learn from the people around you. You never know all the answers, no matter how long you've been in the profession.
I never really thought of myself as one of the "older" teachers until I realized the teacher in the room next to me was young enough to be my daughter!!! Yikes! It really hit me.
I have always been one to seek out new and better ways of doing things. Heck, I am not THAT confident that I know the best way to do anyything. When I started in a new building I always asked other teachers "how things were done". Of course, I added my own twists.
In my current building I have noticed that the "younger" - ok- newer teachers sometimes have a "know-it-all" attitude. They seem to think anything that the experienced teachers do has to be old hat, boring, or ineffective. That is simply not true. I remember one of our "newbies" complaining about attending professional development because "she was fresh out of school and just learned all this stuff". I just had to laugh.
I think as professionals we need to constantly grow and change. However, when you have been doing this long enough, you begin to see certain trends come and go and resurface again with a different name or a slightly different twist. Honestly, I can say that I am a much better teacher after 20+ years. Not too much surprises me anymore and I have encountered many different types of students, parents and situations. Does this make me inflexible or infallible? Absolutely not! I am just not as quick to jump on every new bandwagon that comes around.
You newbies will one day become the "older" teachers. Your "out-of-the box" ideas will probably seem antique and strange to the "newer" teachers you will one day work alongside. I think the best thing for all of us is to be respectful of what everyone has to offer and glean what we can from each other.
I'm in my 12th year, and I feel somewhere in the middle of the newbie and very veteran camps. I am constantly looking for ways to improve instruction and learning, but have experienced enough to have a pretty good handle on what works and what doesn't, as well as what is practical. I tend to agree that it's not necessarily just the veteran teachers who are inflexible. Some of our newer teachers are very much the same. I think it's more a personality issue than an age issue. Also, I think some people need to realize that new does not always equal better. There are fads in education just like everything else.
Let's just be glad WE are all open minded here, and will never be like those "older" teachers.
Hi, I have been teaching for 15 years. I know how hard it is to work with all ages of teachers. At my school, we have 14 classroom teachers. Most of them are young... ie. taught for 5 years or even less! Then there's me, a 44year old then a big gap... women in their mid 50's. The women in their 50's are really different in comparison. They haven't worked on the same grade, but one always is open to new ideas and has grads come into her class frequently to learn, the other has old fashioned ideas and is always grumpy. She has had a previous reputation as a 'yeller'. We are different in our styles!
I worked with this woman on the same grade for 2 years and often we agreed to disagree. I used to say nothing and be so quiet and polite, now I say something if she has a go at me (or another staff member- she gossips big time). It was SO hard to work with her in the first year when I knew little about the grade I received. She didn't share one thing, didn't help and completely ignored me. I will always remember that but it made me stronger and I found resources by myself.
I get along with her fine now after being at that school as long as she has- 5 years. As much as she is not my type of person, I will say this- SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE IS DOING!!! She drills the kids and they finish the year SKILLED and CAPABLE. Better than my class used to be. The younger teachers at the school now don't work too hard, I know. They do not teach with 'substance' if you know what I mean. The young teachers want to be Miss or Mr Populars with their students. (I know that one regularly chats online with one of her students at night- yikes!)
Their classes have lots of free choice time, drawing time, computer time, etc---- but they can't spell. They work hands-on with things, make sculptures, have art parties---- but they can't multiply or do maths facts accurately and quickly.
The kids learn in a fun way then forget the true content of what's still so important, so test scores are low and the teachers wonder why.
At the end of the day, you have to first get along. But don't be afraid to disagree, and share some new ideas with her. I wish I could have had the confidence to just speak to that teacher I was working beside more and offer MY little ideas.
You might be doing cute stuff, but I disagree with you being more 'random'. With all the state standards you can't afford to be random!! At the end of the day, you've gotta teach the skill, have the kids practise and practise--- and much of what they might need to know might just have to be done in a conventional way (this might sound boring to you) BUT learn how to do have a solid teaching structure where intensive learning is happening! Teaching staright up with the chalk in the hand is still part of good teaching practices.
I say, share with her and have fun times and group work etc with your class, but take a leaf out of her book too and try to take something from her. Her disciplined approach sounds like it is needed and kids today might learn in many different ways, but believe me, their brains have not disappeared. Get that content into those kids and make it STAY in.
I'm a "veteran" teacher and if there is one thing I've learned, it's that you have to have a balance. Also, I work hard at sharing my ideas and also listening to the new teachers' ideas. We're all in this together and it shouldn't be new versus old, but rather learning to work together.
I have found that I need both hands-on and practice. I'm sorry your older teachers look down on you but it might be a problem with attitude as well. I tried hard as a new teacher and now as a veteran not to give the impression that I know it all. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that in order to be the best teacher I can be, I have to be willing to look at new ideas and adapt as necessary. Goodness, what works one year with a class will bomb the next year, so good teachers are constantly changing and looking for new ideas. It doesn't mean you jump on every bandwagon that comes along. In my district there are certain buzzwords you need to use in order to be considered a "good teacher". ALL worksheets are looked down on. Well, somewhere, sometime, students have to be able to apply what we teach them with hands-on activities. So, although I don't use a lot of worksheets, I do think there is a place for them.
As for the mapping, hopefully you can all come together for the good of your students and put differences and personal opinion aside. I know that is easier said than done, but try to give them a chance and overlook their criticism. You will be the better person for having done so.
You should have state standards somewhere, if you can not find any, then there should be some National standards by which to go. I know Illinois just put state standards for kindergarten within the past two years. Go to your states government site and they should have something for education and the standard should be listed under that.
Once you get the standards, then how you teach them should be up to the individual teacher. If you are comfortable with teaching in centers and hands on, teach that way. If for you worksheet give the children the practice you want them to have, then by all means teach that way, as long as the children are understanding what they are doing.
Good luck getting this covered. I know it can be a pain.
Sorry if I offended anyone by saying older...I didn't mean to say that ALL older teachers are inflexible...it just happens to be those two or three teachers in my school. All of the teachers that are in my grade level have been teaching over 30 years. So, to me they are older. I know they are not synonymous.
I'll give an example to show what I mean by being random and structured. I believe in the Mosaic of Thought/Reading Workshop approach to reading. I teach other direct language skills through 4 blocks and 6 traits of writing. I believe that I reach each child at their own level. I do worksheets when I feel they are the best practice for the students, and a lot of graphic organizers through guided reading. I feel I can reach more of my students this way. I do cover the skills that are expected of 3rd grade, according to our district standards, but I do it with a different approach. Maybe our approach is where we aren't seeing eye to eye and where I am looked down upon. I don't tell her I don't agree with her way that she does things, why does she let me know her thoughts on the way I teach?
She, the other teacher from the reading committee, goes straight from the basal. For Mondays, the children read the story from the basal on their own, then write a summary. Tuesdays, the children read the same story from the basal with a partner and share their summaries. On Wed., the children again read the same story with a small group and make a story map. On Thursday, the teacher reads the story to the class. On Friday, they take an AR quiz on their book. Their language skills are from the lab books, which they do EVERY page. This just seems like over-kill to me.
As for standards, we have the national standards and district standards. We do not have state standards. I suggested looking at another state's standards as a guide, but this was given a big NO! When that idea was deserted, my suggestions for comprehension skills dealt with these skills: predicting, making connections, activating schema, being able to come up with and answer thinking questions, summarizing and determing main idea of the text. From there, we could come up with grade level expectations.
Her ideas were specific skills from the basal, like being able to locate a homophone, being able to write a paragraph about the story. I said that these wouldn't be under comprehension skills, but rather language and writing skills. Wouldn't that be right? Also, wouldn't those be grade level expectations, not standards?
I think teaching in the new style and being "standards based" is more difficult for experienced teachers than it is for new teachers. I had teaching strategies that I felt were effective and I was comfortable with them. Therefore, it was difficult to ditch these tried and true ways for new ways. Using worksheets is easier to grade than authentic products like scrapbooks and such. Now I try to have learning experiences for the kids that address varied learning styles, but really the assessment all boils down to the state test--which is a multiple choice test! That's not learning-focused, but that is the way it really is.
I did find some Iowa Tests of Basic Skills standards. These aren't state standards but they are core content of the ITBS, our state test. I'll take these to our next meeting...but now our grade level expectations will be off with the two of us.
This is the Reading standard:
Students can comprehend what they read in a variety of literary and informational texts.
Benchmarks for grades 3-5:
1. Students can understand stated information they have read.
2. Students can determine the meaning of new words from their context.
3. Students can draw conclusions, make inferences, and deduce meaning.
4. Students can infer traits, feelings, and motives of characters.
5. Students can interpret information in new contexts.
6. Students can interpret nonliteral language used in a text.
7. Students can determine the main idea of a text.
8. Students can identify the writer’s views or purpose.
9. Students can analyze style or structure.
She doesn't teach any connections or schema...she said that at our last meeting. Maybe she does, but she doesn't understand what I mean by these terms. Now, if I feel those are important skills that need to be put under our 3rd grade expectations, how do you think I should approach this? I think they need to have higher order thinking skills like this. Or do I just fold, not put them in the grade level expecations, and teach them anyway because they seem to be under benchmarks 3+? I know the 4th grade teachers would like this at least introduced by the time they get to them...they all teach with a guided reading approach too. Hmmm....more to ponder!
I can remember feeling and thinking the same way when I was a new teacher. Ha-ha..that was over 15 years ago. I bet teachers have been sharing this same vent throughout history. I used to express the exact same thoughts myself.
It seems like yesterday, I was in my 20's. However, when I look back..I didn't hurt anybody, but I was not even close to being as effective in the classroom as I am now.
Thank you for finding them...I knew there were the ones for the ITBS core, but didn't know there was anything for Grade level indicators with them. That will help a lot! Do you think we will need to be more specific than those when we do our grade level indicators, or will the problem resolve itself when we keep it that general and we teach our own way?
I can relate . . . although I don't know if it really is an "Old" vs. "Newbie" situation or simply teachers passionate about "their" way and not willing and/or able to fully consider other viewpoints.
I'm on my school's language arts committee and we are doing curriculum mapping also (for writing though) and I and a couple others are feeling equally frustrated because our viewpoint of how to teach writing is coming from an entirely different direction than the other half of our language arts committee.
I'm for Writer's workshops and teaching the skills very intregratedly, but on the other side, we have teachers who want to teach the elements separately...seeing Grammar and Spelling as completely separate subjects from Writing and therefore needing time and resources devoted just to them. I hate using Grammar textbooks and lots of practice worksheets, and rather teach the skills through writing and hold my students accountable there --- but I am working with a few who feel it's imperative to have and use a textbook and worksheets daily, and to test them with regular grammar tests.
So it is frustrating sometimes and it certainly is making it hard for us to focus on this curriculum map when we're coming from separate directions . . . so I can completely sympathize!!! I'm running into the same conflict, although again I don't think it's only a "newbie" vs "old" thing. A couple of the teachers on the "opposite side" than me are pretty close in both my age and teaching experience.
I am in total agreement with you. I have three years of experience and are working with a group of more experienced teachers who feel that everything needs to be practiced over and over by worksheet after worksheet after worksheet. Some of these teachers are still teaching the same way I learned, as they could have been my teachers. Unfortunately they will not change and I know how I learned reading... I didn't. I struggled as a reader who was taught by the Basil. Therefore I am a firm believer in Readers Workshop and refuse to go back to the Basil way! I agree that change is sometimes hard, however as a teacher you HAVE to change as education changes. If you are not willing to learn from the new and adapt to the changes times, then it's time to get out and retire!