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I Don't Like my Current Job At All



I'm in my 2nd year of teaching (considered first by state b/c I switched school districts last yr and thought it would be tough to do BEST portfolio my 2nd year having switched school districts and grade levels). Last year I taught in a prek special ed class 45 mins from my house. I enjoyed the position about 70% I'd say. What I didn't like was this - the prinicipal felt I wasnt that suited to teach prek and I worked only part time and shared a room with another teacher. Plus, i didn't want to teach prek the rest of my life. The teacher I shared room w/was great, very nice, and let me use everything she had which was awesome for a first year job. However, I didn't get hired again b/c principal felt I'd be more suited for a position in 2nd grade or 3rd. To quote her she said "I could see you having little or no trouble teaching 2nd or 3rd grade." Also, I left b/c the school was too far a commute. Anyway, this year I got a position teaching in probably the exact opposite kind of district. My job last year was in a middle class/high class population, parents were very supportive, and there were mostly older teachers teaching. I graduated 2 years ago and am a younger teacher. Last summer I looked for a new position and received an offer to work in a town 35 mins from my house as a 2nd grade teacher. In the beginning I enjoyed the freedom of having my own classroom to decorate and my own space. However, now I have found many parts of the school climate I don't enjoy. For one my students are extremely challenging. They defy me, are disrespectful, and seem to argue w/me a lot. My principal also isn't the most personable or approachable person. I hate to admit it, but a few times I was a min. or two late for work and she yelled at me. I now am no longer late b/c of this. Once, I was late dropping my kids off at lunch and she yelled at me in front of my students. It was my students who were causing trouble and making us have to keep stopping. I feel funny even approaching my principal. Also, my school has a school-wide behavior plan (traffic light system) and if they get on red for repeated negative behavior they get sent to a classroom nearby for 1/2 hour with work and to the support center for lunch/recess. I feel like my students(the 5 repeated offenders) are immune to going to nearby classrooms so with a teacher's permission I sent them upstairs to another teachers classroom. This teacher is very tough and kids are threatened by her. However, my principal found out I was sending kids upstairs and in front of my students she told me that wasn't right and she'd get them and bring them next door. They seem to enjoy being next door which isn't good. I feel the same with the support center. At yesterday's staff mtg another teacher asked the principal if children were playing games at support center (I heard my children once saying they played w/puzzles) and principal's response was that the children in that grade were onces that were there for 1 month that needed to be weened off punishment hence why they played games. My philosophy is that if a child is punished they shouldn't have any fun. Anyway, the other day my principal wrote me this note and left it in my mailbox. The note said that this log we have to fill out as a new teacher in district (when we meet with our team members to plan or other staff) wasnt done properly. She said I only put down since Nov. that I met with my team 5 times when I have 3 hrs of planning each week. The log only has about 10 spaces and I filled more than the 10 spaces allotted. I told another new teacher this and she showed me her log and it didnt have all the times she met with her team but she didn't get called on about this, I did. Principal also required that my mentor observe me and I observe her next week. So I casually asked my mentor if she knew whether other new teachers in the building were doing same thing. My mentor told my principal that I wondered if other new teachers were observing and being observed by their mentor (i didn't expect her to do this) and my mentor said my principal said no in a concerning way. Mentor said it could have to do with how many children get removed when on red(b/c teacher has to fill out sheet and send to principal when this happens). So, I feel like my principal doesn't like me now and I doubt I have a job next year there. On top of this I feel like I don't get all parent support I need to help the children succeed. Often, parent's phones are turned off due to not paying bill on time or they dont show up to mtgs and such. Part of me really really wants to try for another job in a diff. school district (I would love to teach kindergarten - right now I teach 2nd), but I also know I have to do BEST portfolio next year and ppl say it's hard to do it in a district you have been with for a year. So, for me to do it in a school where I'm new would be even tougher. I feel as though I'm really trying, but not getting support of prinicpal. She even said in beg. of year she doesnt ever want the kid's in her office b/c she's not there to babysit. So, we can't even send them there if they repeatedly misbehave. I don't know what to do for next year. First off, I doubt I have the job again after what my principal said about me. I feel my team members(2 other teachers) are helpful sometimes, we plan together for the most part, but I find that they aren't helpful in terms of how they are such good friends(they're older teachers-many young teachers are in the school but not my grade level) that I feel funny talking with them about my concerns too much b/c they may talk behind my back. I am really confused as to what to do next year esp since I have to do state portfolio no matter what. I don't want to have to look for another job for 3rd year in a row(it's hard to know when a job will work out too-which job to take,etc) and I don't want to stay with this principal (assuming the small chance I'll get rehired). I go to work everyday miserable and not wanting to go. What do you think? Anyone have suggestions, or similar situations? Thanks for reading this long message.


elementary counselor

It sounds like your situation might be a combination of tough issues, including a principal who may not be consistent in following the school-wide discipline plan. Remember, every teacher has room to grow in their skills, so don't be ashamed of your growth areas. At the same time, remind yourself of your strengths because those are things you'll take with you if you leave. I've learned that once a principal has concerns about a teacher's skills, whether it be teaching skills or classroom management skills or something else, it's tough for that teacher to redeem herself with that principal without making major changes in her teaching and classroom environment style. You may have to crack down on your classroom management--get tough if you have to, set up clear consequences and have some no-tolerance rules, and set up rewards for good behavior. Also, make sure you know exactly what your principal expects, get advice and ideas from other teachers, and spend more time at school if you need to in order to get well organized and be more prepared than you need to for the next day. You might ask your principal for more specifics on what she is concerned about and tell her what you're doing to improve. You could even ask her to do another observation of you and have a followup conference to go over what she saw. If you don't feel comfortable having her observe you again, ask another teacher in one of the primary grades. Take their advice seriously, even if you don't agree with it. It helps to remember that the teachers who have been in that school, under that principal, have been retained for a reason, so emulate their methods as much as possible--at least until you get your career established in the district.