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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Revelations

Thanks to a number of comments on some of my previous posts, I've done some research on the school I'm at this year and discovered some shocking things about my administration that I'd gotten hints about from current colleages, but had never gotten the full story on. There are a number of blogs and articles in the WaPo about my school's teacher turnover rate last year. That has me seriously considering whether I'll remain at the school past January.

I thought it was cool and exciting when I got to the school in July and discovered that the new staff came from all different parts of the country and even the world. I guess that's largely because nobody in their right mind in DC would ever considering working at this place.

I have to say that these remarkably bleak discoveries come at the same time that I'm really learning to let the stress slide off my back. I don't hate Sunday nights the way I used to. I'm beginning to look forward to going to work again because I'm focusing on the kids again instead of the administration. AND I just finished both my master educator and adminstrative evaluations with above average ratings on both. However, I do NOT want to work at a school where administrators have no problem treating their staff poorly.

I have some SERIOUS thinking to do. The question is what I would do with myself between the end of January and the next teaching job I could find. Maybe I could get some educational policy intern gig in downtown DC.

This will be an interesting next couple of months.

9 comments:

  1. It is a shame about your administration. Adminstration can make or break a school.

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  2. If you don't hate actually going to school, I'd say stick it out to the end of the year. Administration can be brutal, but your kids go through enough turnover as it is. Try to stick it out and then get the heck OUT in June.

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  3. I have so little to do with the administration in my school. They're busy and so am I. I don't run to them for support or ask for anything, I just teach my classes and keep my focus on my students. I know they have enough to do with what their assistant superintendents and Rhee have them to do. And now with IMPACT, 3 principal observations for teacher plus huge reports to write in one school year, they're under a lot of stress. Don't quit and be just another young teacher who thinks he's too good to put up with what we suffer day in and day out. And an ed policy place? What a useless bunch of people who also think they're too special to be in the classroom, yet kid themselves into thinking they're working in education.

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  4. Hmmm - yes. I think these comments are valid, but I also think there are better places to make a difference. I don't really think an ed policy place would be one of them. That would just be a hold over and learning experience until I found a new job. I definitely don't think I'm too good to be a teacher, and I don't think what I'd call what I do on a day-to-day basis suffering. I just think people need to be respected by their superiors not only so they can feel valued in such a demanding environment, but also in order to create a culture of respect among all staff. When staff spend their time bitching and complaining about their jobs, we're certainly creating a toxic environment for our students. I can see that in my kids on a daily basis. I'm not sure I want to be a part of that. The reason I pick January is because that would have the least impact on students. All my classes will turn over in January and I'd get all new ones.

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  5. One other thing I should mention: I wish I had nothing to do with my administration. If I never had to deal with them, that would be one thing. But I have meetings with them EVERY DAY, often during what should be my planning period. They are placing more expectations on us daily and not living up to the same expectations themselves. I should admit, however, that their level of involvement has diminished somewhat since the beginning of November. If that trend continues, I might be just fine. Either way, I don't see myself making any decisions until after the winter break.

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  6. hmmmm....this is a tough decision. i think you have it right when you say you will be waiting until after the break. I can definitely see both sides of this option. Now would be the time to do something on the Hill if you are going to, since you are right there, but it would be hard to leave in the middle of the year.

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  7. Effective school leadership is absolutely essential for effective classroom teaching. If you are uncomfortable with the leadership in your school due to incompetence, rapid principal turnover, etc. etc. GET OUT. Remember-sewage runs down hill and a weak leader will blame teachers because it is the only solution for him/her to explain poor school preformance. A school leader should be an expert in data/assessment and adept at creative problem solving. He/she should be in front of the problems- not behind a rushing snowball. When the blaming starts a young teacher is often an easy target. Trust your instincts and GET OUT-before a disaster occurs for you. There are lots of incredibly terrific and needy kids all over the country. Your talents can be better utilized elsewhere.

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  8. I wouldn't hesitate to get out. Don't be guilt-tripped by the idea that you think you're "too good" to put up with suffering.

    The world needs fewer self-effacing teachers, so there will be fewer teachers getting kicked around.

    Of course you know that "downtown" knows exactly what's going on at your school and allows it to happen, so they're obviously not committed to improving education and the longer you stay in the more you'll get used to being abused and think it's normal.

    Better to get out and try to do something about it - for yourself and all teachers - even the ones who have put up with this kind of abuse for years and think you should to.

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  9. I wouldn't hesitate to get out. Don't be guilt-tripped by the idea that you think you're "too good" to put up with suffering.

    The world needs fewer self-effacing teachers, so there will be fewer teachers getting kicked around.

    Of course you know that "downtown" knows exactly what's going on at your school and allows it to happen, so they're obviously not committed to improving education and the longer you stay in the more you'll get used to being abused and think it's normal.

    Better to get out and try to do something about it - for yourself and all teachers - even the ones who have put up with this kind of abuse for years and think you should to.

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