Job Dilemma

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Apr 17, 2019

    I spoke with someone else (one of my friend’s moms) who works in the district said that her school is closing and she has colleagues that are moving to the school. She said that she has heard good things about the school and that getting a job in this district is very competitive because the pay is so high and the union is so strong. She also said that behavior is tough at this district but you get used to staying calm + managing it.

    The school has not been taken over by the state but has an external operator as a partner.
     
  2. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Apr 17, 2019

    I spoke with another teacher at the school who said that the meetings are sometimes the most difficult part (once a day, you meet with your content or grade level teams and have PD after school on Wednesdays.) With the current schedule, he said that he gets two preps on two days a week and just one prep the other days. He said that the deans always follow through with behavior but they are sometimes stretched too thin. He likes the external operator since they provide tons of supports. I asked about things like the uniform policy and he said that it isn’t enforced much because of the lack of staff buy in. I told him about the behaviors that I am used to and he said that the behaviors are similar but I would see them on a smaller scale since I wouldn’t have anywhere close to 30 kids.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Apr 17, 2019

    As a newer teacher, I can understand why you are hesitating because of behavior. As an experienced teacher, I can tell you that you are going to have behavior problems in any school you work at. I think as long as you make your expectations stated right from the beginning and show that you will give consequences, you will learn how to control those behaviors. Everything else about the school seems positive.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Apr 17, 2019

    I would ask to observe at the school and meet with the team you'd be working with before making a decision. The external manager thing would make me extremely nervous. I previously worked at a district that is now being taken over by an external manager and I am very glad I'm not there to deal with it. The behavior in that school was atrocious- much worse than anything you've described at your current school. We had kids throwing violent tantrums all day long- constant screaming, running out of the room, destroying materials/property, tearing up an entire classroom, significant violence against others, etc. I honestly would not go back to that environment for a 20K raise...the money wouldn't be worth it to me. They've also had a string of horrible admin because the good ones don't want to get involved in all of that and don't apply there. The woman I worked for was certifiable.

    I have some former teammates who are still in the district. They tried to fight for another district to be their external manager to avoid privatization, but the state said no. They have to pay something like 600,000 dollars to this outside company who will run their schools like charters. Now I know schools in MA are way better funded, so maybe not a huge deal, but here that's a crisis situation. I would be very concerned about the expectations for teachers and job security moving forward. While you may be grateful to have a curriculum, I would bet that there is an expectation you teach it word for word in lock step with other teachers- no freedom of any kind allowed. The pressure to improve state testing scores there must be unreal. What happens if the school doesn't improve?
     
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  5. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    Apr 17, 2019

    I get that part of this is streaming from being a fairly new teacher which is why I will share some wisdom that somebody once shared with me. Don't get played because you sit down at a different poker table when it's the same game. Meaning that regardless of what school you go to, the act of teaching doesn't change all that much. You're always going to have challenges that you have to overcome. Be it discipline issues, the snarky English teacher, whatever. I get that. But don't let F.E.A.R. stop you from being great. It has two meanings: face everything and rise or forget everything and run. Only you can decide where you stand on that. When you decide, make sure it's an educated decision.

    And trust me I get what you're feeling right now. I'm experiencing the same thing. As it gets closer and closer to May, my heart is filled with thumping excitement and wrenching fear. It's a hard thing to leave the comfort zone, and sometimes you cling to it and make reasons to stay. At the end of the day, only you can decide what is right for you.

    Like someone else suggested, see if you can have a day to observe how others interact and how things function.
     
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  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Apr 17, 2019

    I get what you mean by this, but I have taught at four very different schools (private inner-city, online charter, rural public, suburban public) and my experiences at each were vastly different -- the reality is that your experience as a teacher can vary wildly depending on admin and school culture. And yet, there's no way to know for sure whether or not it's a good fit until you give it a shot. That said, do your homework, which it sounds like you are, and try to get a real picture from talking to teachers on the ground -- observing is better than nothing, but even that isn't the same since admin can pick & choose who you observe.

    From what you describe, the low class sizes would be a huge plus, along with a strong union -- my worst experiences have been at non-unionized schools where teachers were basically treated like machine parts. My current school has a strong union and our classes are capped at 32 -- less than 30 is amazing!
     
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  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Apr 17, 2019

    Are you making a change as well? I would love to PM you to talk more!!
     
  8. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Apr 17, 2019

    Take the new job. So many positives! Behavior issues come and go and the more experience you get the more well equipped you are to handle. Nobody enjoys the behavior issues.

    Try it for one year and see what happens. You can look again if you need to.
     
  9. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    Apr 17, 2019

    I am I'm moving into the vice principal role. And sure.
     
  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Apr 18, 2019

    I’m moving into the Dean for Academic Affairs role. I will continue doing what I’ve been doing, but in a lesser capacity, plus my new admin duties. I will be working alongside the vice principals primarily and report directly to my principal and CEO.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  11. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    Apr 18, 2019

    What exactly is the role?
     
  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I will: 1) supervise the registrar’s office, 2) oversee the transcription of historical letter grades, 3) help decide valedictorian and salutatorian and academic awards/distinctions, 4) manage the college counseling department, 5) help with hiring of certain staff in HR, and 6) maintain and continue to strengthen the extensive STEM program at my school.

    The position is very much multifaceted and it appealed to me over the VP position. As Dean for Academic Affairs, I’m also the acting STEM director on site, which is mainly what I want to do as I’ve largely been involved with and ingrained within the STEM department already.
     
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  13. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Apr 18, 2019

    Take the job!!!

    Kids are crazy everywhere. Might as well deal with that somewhere with a huge raise and shorter commute.
     
  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Apr 18, 2019

    Personally, if I took this job I think I would try to stay. I just don’t want to switch jobs every year.
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I am still not sure what to do!!
     
  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Apr 18, 2019

    I am leaning towards saying no but continuing to job search. I do not think that I want to take this job for a few reasons.

    -The principal who hired me is leaving, so I am not sure who the new principal will be. I was not told that she was leaving in the interview?? It seems very strange.

    -Like I said, the school is operated by an external operator to avoid state receivership. I heard that it means you get extra support, but I'm not sure if I would like that.

    -The test scores are very low so it is a turnaround school. I don't think I want to deal with the stress of teaching at a turnaround school. It seems to be a lot of work and I don't think it's worth the salary.

    -I get the sense that the behavior is very challenging. For example, someone I talked to told me that they don't enforce uniforms because there is too much other stuff to deal with. At my school, uniforms are something that I actually have time to enforce :) and admin backs us up always.

    -The commute is shorter but I hear that there is only limited parking for teachers (40 spots). It is not the safest area and taking the bus would take me too long! I am not comfortable street parking and walking in this area. It’s in the city so parking is tough. It seems like too much stress. I wouldn’t want to have to worry about getting there early enough to get a parking spot.

    I am still going to keep job searching but I don't think this opportunity is one that I want. I feel good about this decision.

    I am waiting to hear from a 5th grade job in this district that seemed really great. They asked for my references so I hope that I get it :) I will know by the end of the week.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  17. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Apr 18, 2019

    Do what seems right for you. You are the one that knows what your head and heart say.
     
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  18. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Apr 20, 2019

    Last summer I requested and was granted access to the OUR curriculum through Illustrated Math. My district did not adopt the curriculum; I did this on my own. I did not use it exclusively, but took parts from various units. I am also part of two Facebook groups for support on that curriculum: Open Up Resources Grade 8 Community and Open Up Resources Grades 6-8 user community. Both are fantastic.
     
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  19. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Based on all that you've posted I personally would not take the job. That doesn't mean it's the right decision for you, but it seems as a math teacher you'd have a lot of options and I'm not sure if makes sense to me to take a job in a turnaround school.

    While the pp is correct that you'll run into behaviors in any school, the implication that behavior is going to be the same everywhere and is easily managed with some experience is 100% wrong, IMO. Sure, you'll run into high needs students anywhere, but the turnaround school I worked in was NOTHING like the other title 1 schools I've worked in. My first school was rural and the behaviors we thought were "serious" would not even be on the radar at any of the other schools I've worked in. I literally had a kid on a behavior IEP at that school who may have been considered a "behavior model" at the turnaround school. There is a definite difference between "regular kid stuff" and a class comprised of at least 80% of students who have experienced significant trauma, are very academically behind, and are constantly setting each other off.

    Besides dealing with all of that, the pressure to improve state test scores is going to be insane, with very real consequences if the scores aren't improved. No one is going to care that the kids you're getting are years behind nor about all of the other factors in their life that make performance on standardized tests difficult. It'll be your fault because you're the teacher. The district I worked for had a habit of simply non-renewing the vast majority of teachers they hired each year, so they could scapegoat the poor test scores on them (they were "dealing with the problem" by firing the "bad" teachers). Then they'd also fire admin every couple of years. I wasn't local when I applied to the district, so unfortunately I had no idea of their reputation. Even if you were thinking of just sticking it out for a year or two to save up money with the higher salary, consider that you might have a high chance of being non-renewed, which is a major career killer around here.

    The external manager also means that many teaching decisions will be out of your control. They'll have a standardized way they want you to do everything. I just can't imagine why anyone would want to voluntarily go into that sort of environment.
     
  20. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Apr 20, 2019

    You make great points, Waterfall! I think that Ms. Holyoke will find your insight very valuable. Being a math teacher also puts a different light on all this.
     

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