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Topic: Advice for a new teacher...

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Subject: Advice for a new teacher...
Date Posted: 2/1/2008 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 5,297
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I would like some advice as I can't talk to anyone at school about this. I am a first year teacher and I do not have my own classroom because our school has 1600 kids and was only built for 1100 so there are about 10 teachers who "travel" (use other teachers rooms during their planning period). I teach 7th grade reading and I was teaching 6th grade Language Arts until December (I had my own classroom then.) I now have two veteran teachers (I use both of their rooms during the day) wanting to "help" me with classroom management. I understand wanting to help me and I have no problem with that but over the last week, they have both yelled at my students for talking (I do not mind talking and one of the days, they were doing group work!) and one of the teachers grabbed one of my students arm to move him where she thought he should sit. She did not give a reason to me or to the poor confused kid for why she literally dragged him out of his seat to another seat. Both teachers have commented, while I am teaching, on how bad my students are. When they leave, my students laugh and ask me why they always interrupt our class. I never have an answer because I do not know why they do it either. I love my job and I am a strong believer in learning styles so I have some kids who move, some who talk, and some who are "ideal" students. They all get their work done in their own way and I address discipline issues when they arise. I have heard both of these women call their students idiots and they call their students "little shits" and "juvies" when talking to other teachers. I feel very uncomfortable taking advice from these ladies but my VP has told me I need to accept their help. They both have been teaching for over 30 years and most of that time they have been at the same school with each other. They ride to work together and socialize outside of work. They also opened the school where we teach 8 years ago so administration will let them do whatever they want. I don't care about any of that, I just do not want them chastising me during a class or touching my students ever. I have basically set my mind to the fact that I need to just make it through the school year and I will move to another school next year but I'm really not sure I can deal with this everyday. Has anyone else dealt with this from older teachers? If so, how did you handle it?

Date Posted: 2/1/2008 10:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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Vanessa, I feel for you.  It sounds like a tough situation.  Are there other teachers around that you can talk to about the problem?  You may find that other teachers notice the same problem.  I would get fed up and tell them that during my class time, I will manage the classroom as I see fit.  A terse, "I will handle this," said in front of the students should curb the problem.  It is not their job to tell you what to do or to manage your class, but being teachers, they are treating you as a student. 

Date Posted: 2/1/2008 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 5,297
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They are very much treating me like a student. I realize there is a huge age difference but I do not see how that gives them the right to say something IN FRONT OF MY STUDENTS! I do need to speak up but you are right, it is a tough situation. If anyone else has any other advice, I'm open. Thanks, Sheena!

Date Posted: 2/2/2008 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,546
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The only way you're going to get through to these teachers is to stand up for yourself.  Be firm, but professional and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that this is your classroom time and you will handle the disciplining of your students.  Your students seem to understand that these two only interupting your time with them, so let them know you're going to fight for them.  Your VP means well, but may not understand the extent of the problem.  Document the interuptions if necessary and the reactions of your students.  Sounds to me like you have a good handle on how to run a classroom full of diverse learners, don't let a couple of disgruntled and lazy old bats beat you down.  Teachers who act like you described need to retire because they're poisoning their students and are the reason so many first year teachers leave the profession.  Stick to your guns, we need you!

Date Posted: 2/3/2008 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 5,297
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Lazy old bats is exactly what I have been thinking, haha. Thank you for your encouragement. I did not think to document the interruptions, great idea!

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,546
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I teach special ed and we always like to say "In God we trust, all others must provide documentation. "  *g*

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 5,297
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I definitely will be writing it all down. I had a sub today and she said one of these "helpful" teachers assigned MY KIDS 8 pages of homework for talking. This will stop. Thanks again for all the support!

Date Posted: 2/20/2008 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
Posts: 2
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Vanessa,

Do you have a grade-level chairperson or a lead teacher? If so, (hopefully it is not one of these teachers!),  go to that teacher and ask him/her to intervene with the veteran teachers.  Also, as others have said, you need to tell them firmly that you are in charge of your classroom.  I would do so privately first and ask them NOT to intervene during class - explain that it undermines your authority and you have to handle things on your own.  Tell them you welcome their suggestions, but that you have to decide how best to manage your classroom.  It WILL get better when you have your own space - others will be reluctant to barge into your room.  Hang in there - we need caring teachers!

--Rebecca W.

Date Posted: 2/24/2008 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2007
Posts: 236
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Hey girl!  I totally know what you are going through.  I travel too.  It sucks, but its what you have to do.  I have talked with the principal about the other teachers remaining in the room with me.  I didn't appreciate having someone sitting there watching my every move and I had huge issues with it.  He moved me to different rooms that the other teachers could leave out of.  I would talk with the principal about what is going on.  I know that you are the new kid on the block, but this is an issue that cannot be resolved between you and the other teacher and have it end well.  I know, I've tried. 

I also thought that as long as the work was getting done, it didn't matter how during my frist two years.  I have become stricter in the classroom, and it has made all the difference.  I know that they may be the old bags that should have retires at 20, but they may be seeing something that you aren't.  I had issues with this same thing.  I didn't think they were so bad, but the principal raked me thought the coals, and since I have become pointed with the students about their behavior and specifically pointed out things that are distracting, the room flows much better and I seem more in control. 

Keep up your great work.  I hope I have been helpful.  It's never easy being on the bottom and the other teachers don't understand at all.

Jessica

Date Posted: 2/26/2008 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 5,297
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Thanks for all the great advice. It has gotten better but only because the teacher's father died so she has other things to worry about. One of the kids hit the nail on the head when he said, "It's sad when Mrs. ____ dad dies and all everyone thinks is that they are glad she is gone for a few days." That is exactly how it was too and not just with my kids but I heard it all over the school. I heard at least 15 kids in the halls saying, "Mrs. _____ is still gone. Yes!" She's a very unhappy woman, I guess.

Subject: Keep at it
Date Posted: 3/4/2008 11:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2008
Posts: 1
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Vanessa,

Last year I had to travel from classroom to classroom, and I also remember the joys and frustrations of classroom management early in my teaching career.  I still struggle with it sometimes in my 6th year of teaching and I think it is a process.  The kids are different, other circumstances change, etc.  You have to find a classroom management plan that works for YOU and your kids.  Seek out techniques and do some research.  There are lots of creative ideas out there and something will be right for you.  Maybe you will find someone like you - who is okay with noise and kids being active - and find out how they do it. 

Only you know your situation, so whether you have a conversation with your administrator, (be careful of politics and who is already aligned with whom), talk to the teacher(s) outside of class or what is up to you.  But address it somehow so that you don't have to continue to be terrorized by these teachers.  If you do this and they continue, I would have no problem telling them in front of kids that you have everything under control, thank you very much.  If they are unprofessional enough to grab your kids, undermine you in front of them and to act this way, then maybe they need to be told.  Again - only if that fits with you.  I also second Special Ed (I've been there, too) - document, document, document. 

Stick with it; I wish you didn't have to jump over this hurdle in addition to the other hurdles a new teacher has to tackle.  Just as you are trying to help your students find their voice, you must also find yours.  There are other folks out there who are in your camp, even if you don't see them every day. 

 

Date Posted: 3/22/2008 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2005
Posts: 3,005
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Vanessa,

I remember having a teacher follow my class back from lunch, then stick his head in front of my class to tell me that A and B were misbehaving at the back of the line.  The first time he did that, I disciplined A and B.  How futile; I didn't see what they did.  The next time he did that I said, OK A and B.  Go with Mr. X right now and he will discuss with you what he saw.  Well, the guy started to sputter.  It was obvious he wanted to show the new girl on the block that I wasn't catching everything.  He did not expect what I did.  And, he kept his head out of my room from then on.

I suggest that you tell those teachers that you need to work with your classroom management, and you would appreciate their suggestions after school, not during class.  You can't establish yourself if the kids think you need help all the time.  Hopefully, that will be polite enough, but informative enough, to get them off your backs.  You must speak up to them!  They will probably get offended, but too bad.  They will not treat you like a kid anymore.

A retired teacher (not burnt out and good to my last day),

Barb