Just received my Christmas Break paycheck. Just learned a few things. First paychecks for teachers is for one week. Paychecks are usually two weeks behind the time you have worked. Last paycheck is also for one week only. And finally Christmas Break we are paid for one week. Now understand I am not complaining about the pay just wish someone had told me especially since my handbook is 2 inches thick and I just don’t have the energy to read it.
There are a lot of things I wish I knew prior to my first day. I wish I knew I would have students who are suffering through events that would make the toughest person on Earth break down. I wish I knew just how many parents and students don’t care about education or if they do it’s all about the grades. I wish I knew from day one how to maintain focus on the students who do care. It’s hard to help them when you are dealing with 5 students who decided to bully another student for befriending a new kid. I wish I knew alot of things so I could be better. But that’s on the job training and I should have this down in about 10 years. 😁
Finally met with my student’s parent. She is still insisting her son go to another class. She states her son doesn’t want to work with me. Ok. She states he has never been off track. Not true. She says her son has had no wins and is failing reading. Again not true. I told her I have implemented several changes to help all the students. The problem with her son is he doesn’t pay attention and he doesn’t work to his fullest. Case in point, he completed his state assessment in 30 minutes. This proves he is rushing and not following directions. Mom states she will talk to her son but is still upset son doesn’t have all As and B’s. Well unfortunately this happens when your child doesn’t submit their work. I’m still waiting for his science project that was due 10 days ago.
Was in the middle of my review. It was going pretty well. Then the principal walks in. A student’s grandmother was furious because she was told I said “Your crazy mother called me at midnight.” My brain screamed “That did it.” I was now livid. I did not say this and was at a point where I couldn’t take it any longer. This student knowing he is in trouble, I made the mistake of telling him I was meeting with his mom, created a situation where I would be yelled at. I told the vice principal I am doing everything I can and I have students creating situations that are disrupting the community. In that moment I decided I have done all I can to set up the resources the students need to achieve success it is now on them and the parents. I cannot drive myself into illness and fatigue for those who refuse to put in the effort.
I do care about the success of my students. I want them to have every opportunity and want for nothing. I have a Google Classroom account, I email out my lesson plans, I create study guides, I take notes in the class and post them for the students, I review the quizzes with the students and encourage them to take notes. I send out reminders and offer tutoring twice a week. Unfortunately it’s not enough. Students told the principal I refuse to help them, I pick on them, accuse them of being thieves and I don’t lead small groups. Hearing that I was sad and then very angry.
There are nights I can’t sleep, I spend 6 days a week working on something related to class. I go into work 90 minutes early to make sure I am prepared. I adjust my lessons and assessments. To hear people say I don’t care almost broke me. It’s heart wrenching and makes me wonder what do they want?
We live in a social media world. Every part of our lives are posted for others to see. We want the accolades and to post how great our lives are. This includes proud parents who post about their honor roll student. Each year they expect their child to obtain this honor. And when it doesn’t happen they become angry. Anger is fine however no one seems to ask their self why. Why is my child performing poorly? Second question, what. What can we do to improve the grades?
I spoke to a mom who works late and her eldest child is helping my student with his homework. Ok, that happens. Second, the child is use to high grades he “flips out” if his grades on a test are low.
Mom stated she wants to transfer her son to another 3rd grade. Well we don’t have another 3rd grade and that’s a horrible life lesson. Life gets tough find an easier path. I explained if she and her child don’t inform me there is a problem I can’t help. I asked why she never called before. No response. I asked her son if he was trying his hardest. He was not. So many families want to rest on past laurels rather than strive further and grow. This expectation of continued success leads to parents and children not trying their hardest and low grades.
As a child field trips are always awesome. Didn’t matter where we went I always had so much fun. As a volunteer my only concern was making sure I had my charges in my sight at all times. As a teacher it is a scary animal. First can you find a trip that is affordable. Anything above $5 will receive a fight from parents. And as I am learning so will free trips. Second will enough students bring in their permission slips. Without at least 80% of students attending the trip you have to cancel and start all over again. Third, will you raise enough money without dipping into your own pocket. Yes sometimes the teachers have to cover the gap. And fourth will you have enough of the right chaperones. I attended a field trip during my student teaching, the parent chaperone lost her own child. Not another child, her own child! My cooperating teacher and another teacher had to search for the child. It was a tense 4 minutes, he was on the wrong bus.
Today’s trip was awesome. Small group, manageable museum and awesome chaperones. Whew!!. One down, two more to go.
This was a difficult nine weeks. Change in school, curriculum and grade. For quite awhile I felt completely overwhelmed. Between preparing the classroom, lesson planning, grading papers, differentiating student work and multiple assessments I felt I was so far behind. Add to this a multitude of student behaviors ranging from the typical talkative or inattentive students I also have the quite violent a little scary students.
I have two students who are prone to causing harm to others. This has led to changes in my teaching and the seating arrangements in my classroom. Now in week 9 I feel a bit more in control and able to adjust. Unfortunately I am already looking forward to the summer. I don’t see that as a good sign. My hope is that as we continue to move forward the students and I will get into sync and progress fairly well.
This year feels the same as the beginning of last year. I question if I am providing the best education for my students. I am running around like mad trying to get everything set-up in the classroom, planning lessons and weekly quizzes. The past two weeks I noticed my students are having difficulty even with differentiation. I’m not sure if this means they are not trying, if maybe I’m gong too fast or if the tests are really too hard.
Next week we begin small groups and I am hoping for more successes.
In regards to my last teaching job, there was a bit of drama. During the summer I attended a teacher’s training at the school. I was a bit vocal during some of the meetings and the principal called me into her office. She began the meeting by saying “I’m not putting up with any of your mess from last year.” This immediately established this meeting as non-professional and a time for me to be dumped on. I was confused because if I did something wrong I would expect a supervisor to talk to me last school year not before the new school year. As the meeting became less a meeting or more a screaming match I realized in that moment I had to leave and I had to make some changes.
I submitted my resignation and began an inner exploration. My best friend and my mom helped me realize my troubles at the last school were a recurring issue in my life. I found some books and began looking closely at how I respond to issues. At my new school I try to smile and remember why I’m there. It is a journey and I am working on it everyday.
So after I left the last employer I waited patiently for my final wages. I was told I would receive my final pay and to be patient. I waited, I waited, I waited and I waited. I sent emails with no response from anyone; not the principal, not HR nor the payroll clerk. Finally I wrote an email and told them we would settle the issue through a 3rd party. Now I receive a response. I’m told I will be paid (well legally you have to 😦 ), and to be patient. So again I wait and wait. No response to my emails. I send another explaining I will send my complaint to the Dept. of Labor. Oh, wait your check will be ready by Monday. I go in on Tuesday, no one is there. I send an email, oh sorry we closed at 4 pm. I go in on Thursday, oh let’s see where did we put that check. Finally I receive my final pay. I go home and stop by the local grocery store and who do I see, my former principal. I turn and walk away because despite all my self work I am not ready for that face to face.
Labor Day came and went and that means the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. I am now at a new school, with a new curriculum, new grade and a new set of issues. I feel like it’s my first day all over again. I am forever grateful I have an experienced teacher who took me under her wing. I am also grateful the prior grade teacher left me her lesson plans. It has made the first week alot easier and calmed a great deal of anxiety.
The first week I saw my grade change to a split classroom, a change in the schedule, two students transfer to another school and one transfer to a new class. We have had tears, spills, lies, power struggles and bored glazed looks. Which means I’m right on track. And the best news of all, the new season of Teachers will be here soon. Yay!!!!
My mother told me I do not suffer fools. My best friend told me I need to learn how to fit inside the box. And my instructional coach told me I have lived a life free to speak my mind. All three of these things get me into trouble…frequently. And unfortunately trouble returned. This summer I attended several PDs and many were excellent and I can’t wait to use my new skills. Two trainings were not so great. The first the issue wasn’t the material but how it was facilitated. I felt the facilitator was knowledgeable my concern it seemed she wasn’t prepared. My face unfortunately expressed my inner dialogue and led to some awkward moments. The second training I was confused about a path to take. I asked for advise and was inundated with too much information. Too many voices and it became confusing and frustrating. I became defensive and this led to my recent trouble. I was called out for my behavior and it made me pause for reflection.
I became a teacher because I believe all children deserve the best education. I believe all students need to be seen as capable of great things. When I hear people say, the kids can’t do that I get angry. How do you know? Have you made several attempts? Have you talked to the students? When I disagree with something I will say so. Blame it on my liberal education. But this behavior can cause huge problems and label one as unmanageable, disrespectful, just plain unpleasant. So this summer, what’s left, I need to make some changes especially as I move on and forward.