Comments for ConversationED Mon, 29 Feb 2016 02:27:58 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Why half of the nation’s new teachers can’t leave the profession fast enough. by Jae Mon, 29 Feb 2016 02:27:58 +0000 Mike:

As you, I am an accountant. But, I always wanted to be a teacher. So, I decided to take the risk to transition before it was too late (in life). And, what I found and frankly do not understand is why teachers are expected to jump from college into a solo leadership role in the classroom rather than transition like any other professional. As you mentioned, after graduating with a degree or degrees in accounting one enters a firm or organization in a supportive role. That time builds competence and confidence. There is no guarantee that the Jr. Accountant will advance. Only performance and other related factors determine when and if an individual moves into an independent leadership role after a period of doing foundational grunt work and ‘paying one’s dues’ – the very things that need to be mastered before moving into the next role. That experience provides the base upon which one can build a career. Everyone learns by doing. Yet, with teaching, after completing their college education the student is immediately transitioned to an independent leadership role in the classroom. Given the complexity of regulations, legislation and the diversity of demands in in the modern-day classroom it seems wholly inappropriate to thrust a new graduate into such a role. It takes time to translate knowledge to skill. Lawyers don’t graduate law school and start representing clients or dispensing legal advise. They do research for senior associates and partners. They prepare documents and take on increasingly more valuable, but still supportive, roles. It can take years of experience before a lawyer advances to chair in litigation or provides direct client consultation – unless one opens up a practice of one’s own. But, most people would not hire that person. Experience matters. The demands and unrealistic expectations put on new teachers today has to contribute to the high turnover. Class management, lesson planning, assessments, grading, continuing education, 504 accommodations, IDEA requirements, . . . How could anyone be reasonably expected to effectively juggle all aspects from day one. Mentors help, but that still leaves the new teacher in a largely unsupported lead position. Teaching is a profession that requires a trajectory. It would seem that no matter how intelligent or how well-intentioned a new teacher may be, time in a seat and some student teaching hours does not adequately prepare a new graduate for carrying the mantle of such essential responsibilities without being given adequate time to practice and perfect critical skill-sets. I understand that much is an issue of economics, but what is the true cost of dropping new graduates into the deep end of the pool and letting them sink or swim? Teachers and the teaching profession needs to be given the same as any career – time to walk before running (though teaching is more like doing a crossword puzzle while balancing on a unicycle and juggling watermelons.) Any thoughts anyone? Tradespeople have apprenticeships, working under master craftsmen. Chefs start in the prep kitchen and work their way through the ranks regardless of what school they attend. And, as indicated earlier, accountants, lawyers and other professionals are afforded the opportunity to learn and grow into those roles. There are few professions which are more essential than teaching. They shape our children’s futures. Yet, they seem to be treated as if what they do doesn’t require a vast spectrum of complex skills which need to be developed. I would love to hear from teachers in this regard. And, I thoroughly respect anyone’s right to disagree – hopefully, not disagreeably,though.

Comment on Why half of the nation’s new teachers can’t leave the profession fast enough. by Lena Sun, 24 Jan 2016 04:24:33 +0000 I just finished reading most of the comments, and I am in tears. On the one hand, I am crying because I realize I am not alone. So many of the comments reflect my own thoughts. I began teaching in 1991, but resigned in 1997 to raise my children. I returned in 2014 to a middle school art position. I also have a Master degree in Exceptional Student Education. Art, however, is my passion, and I was thrilled to be back in the art classroom. I love sitting with my students while we think critically, problem solve, and create art. I even love the way my room smells of art supplies!

Unfortunately, all is not well. We are severely limited on the number of detentions and referrals we can write for any student with an IEP or a 504 plan. The same limits are put on African American students. In fact, writing any detention, much less a referral, is seen as a serious lack of classroom management skills. I happen to agree, somewhat, because the students do not bother to show up anyway, so these forms of discipline are seen by the students as empty threats. But, I do not think this would be the case if Admin backed us up. Most of the teachers at my school do not mention any discipline problems in theirclassroom so that they are not labeled incompetent. Admin was so happy after the detention/referral data was published by the county and we had a huge reduction in detentions and referrals (of course we did, because we were strongly discouraged from writing any). Admin was so happy, in facts that they had pizza brought in to celebrate. I could not eat it because I felt sickened by the whole farce.

At the beginning of this year, I was told I cannot give any Ds or Fs as grades, no matter how well deserved. Isn’t this illegal? Admin said it did not matter because it is just art class, after all (gee, thanks).

The second reason I am crying is because I was asked to resign earlier this week. One of my students (I usually have between 35-40 students per class) began regularly calling me “Cracker”, “Whitey”, “Frosty”, and “Green-Eyed Devil”. I called her mother several times, and she said she would talk to her daughter. This child is constantly in trouble, yet they just dismissed her from her 504 program. As I mentioned, I was afraid to tell Admin because they want us to deal with our own problems and not bring them to Administration (which my Dean said is a sign of a well-managed class). After several days of racial slurs, this student then began calling me “Whore”, “Bitch”, and a “Smelly Cunt”, among other things. I had enough, and I did the unthinkable; I yelled at her, and said that every nasty name she called me was like giving herself rope that was going to end up with a serious consequence. I said this to a black child, and it was filmed by another student without my knowledge. Of course, the student took it to mean lynching because I am white. I took it to mean exactly what the idiom means: allowing a person to continue with a behavior that will result in negative consequences so that a lesson wil be learned. But, how stupid could I be? I would not sign the resignation papers, but I will be fired nonetheless. My Principal sent out a synervoice message that was received by almost 600 households. The message included my name, the city I live in, and that my racist attitude will not be tolerated in this county or any county in this state. She assured the parents that my certification will be permanently revoked. Three teachers were forced to resign for matters similar to this last year, so what was I thinking? Actually, I was not thinking because I had enough of the racial slurs. By the way, I was blamed for making it a racial issue. I have a very good lawyer, and many of my rights were trampled on (the police department came out to take my statement, and then escorted me from the building, sans handcuffs, but in front of the students and staff which was more than embarrassing. He told the person from HR who was pretending to conduct an impartial interview that, “these ‘Angels’ are usually not held responsible for their actions, but he said he will make sure society knows who to blame when the ‘Angels’ grow up and Become society’s worst nightmare”. He said he would make sure it is known that it is rarely the teachers’ fault, rather the lack of leadership. I don’t know if he hurt my case with that statement, but I was glad he said it!

Had I known teaching had changed this much, I would have never returned. Now my life is ruined. Sorry for the length of this post, and if you were able to get through it all, thank you. I worry about this county’s children, but it can no longer be my problem. The wonderful state of Florida has decided I am unfit to teach. Perhaps they are right, and I was the adult in the situation. But, how much is a person supposed to take. When did educational “leadership” start condoning disrespect? My heart feels like it has been torn out, for I did love teaching.

Comment on Why half of the nation’s new teachers can’t leave the profession fast enough. by NoNameBecauseI'llGetFired Sat, 02 Jan 2016 20:44:40 +0000 Here is a summation of what I’ve experienced as a 2nd year teacher (Computer Science, CTE in Graphics, Movies, Animation…)

1. Pay is lousy
2. Teachers who wanted to become admins (Principals, VPs, Finance, Supers, etc.) only wanted more money. They really don’t give a crap about you, PERIOD
3. Attendance is really what matters ~ that’s what truly brings in money
4. Behavior issues cost money ~ money public schools don’t have, so they throw those students with issues in the regular mix as ‘Spec Eds’ and ‘504s’. Deal with it or lose your job…
5. We work more hours than any job I’ve been in.
6. Even if they get bad grades, you still have to ‘make adjustments’ to make the school look good; ya really. What does it matter if you can’t teach them?
7. Overall, this is the worst job I’ve ever been in.

So it doesn’t matter if you get summers off, holidays, etc. Working from late August to early June seems like you’ve worked 400+ days during that time! And what do you get out of that? Appreciation? Rewarding Career? Keep telling yourself that while the other people get bigger paychecks and wonder why you’re still there…

I’m leaving this year….sorry. My solution to fix this issue: Home School or a major overhaul of the public education system.

Comment on Why half of the nation’s new teachers can’t leave the profession fast enough. by Anon Fri, 18 Dec 2015 06:15:11 +0000 Yes. This. There are many factors in promotion/retention.

Regarding the main issue My synopsis of needs from my vantage point (SPED teacher, inclusion model):
1. Increase teacher/student ratio in gen ed as well as special ed.
2. Provide additional planning times where no meetings are scheduled, especially for gen ed.
3. Support via administration as detailed in previous posts.
Salaries are adequate but demands on time are insane and unhealthy and preclude achievement of social and academic wellness for both students and teachers.

Comment on Why half of the nation’s new teachers can’t leave the profession fast enough. by JCAT Wed, 25 Nov 2015 04:33:03 +0000 I’m currently a first-year teacher. I started a week and a half after the actual school year started. I have a BA in Anthropology and couldn’t find work as an archaeologist. Before I decided to teach, I worked in an office within my hometown’s school district which funnels federal and state funds to all the rest of our county’s school districts mostly to the SPED program. Anyway, I gave my all to this first “school” job and got rewarded with a cut in hours and in pay. I’m a single mom (Hispanic) so this was devastating. Meanwhile the white, older woman who received a stipend to clean our office (and didn’t do a good job btw), who was rude and obnoxious as well as humiliatingly judgmental of all of her coworkers (she loved insulting me especially), got to keep her stipend and hours as well as got to move into a small office. Somehow all of this was justified (I don’t know how, but it was).

Needless to say, the only opportunity in our mono-economic societal town (oil and gas) was a teaching job. I was hired enthusiastically. After the first week I realized this was simply the stupidest decision I have ever made. I got stuck with every single ADHD/Bad attitude kid in the school (it’s more like an 95/5% for me; I would have liked an 80/20%), I have at least 5 SPED kids in each of my 6 classes as well as 7 ELL students all in one class; two Pre-AP classes. I was told by one teacher to grow a back bone; funny, before this I thought I had one. I love my kids, even the challenging ones, but the one thing I hate about this job is that my own principal has a clique in this school. I had completed a teacher observation on a teacher from another school who is considered a good teacher. I was asked by administration why I picked this specific teacher (he has a grudge against him). Really? I thought that as adults we had left the high school popularity crap behind? I guess not.

I’m in debt right now. Student loans and stupid credit card debt for moving expenses that I haven’t been able to pay off just yet. I have at least three and at one time had 4 jobs which is hard considering that I have a now 6 year old daughter. I’m going to stick it out until the rest of this year, but I am not going back. The hardest thing for me are the stupid parents and this administration that picks favorites and a superintendent who is as big an idiot as they come. His only concern is how good he looks politically; meanwhile, the scores are bad and he wants to know why.

Comment on Why half of the nation’s new teachers can’t leave the profession fast enough. by Elaine Sun, 15 Nov 2015 18:07:04 +0000 I am 55. I was in the military, have a B.S. in dental hygiene have a physician assistant degree. I also have a music degree. i taught music for 5 years in a private school (having no previous teaching experience in a classroom )and it was the best 5 years of my life. The kids thrived, I was fulfilled and parents were happy with the kids’ performances. I had to resign to take care of aging parents. My parents passed, and this year I heard of a music teaching job available at a public middle school. On an impulse I applied and got the job a week before school started. My husband makes a great living so money wasn’t involved, I just wanted to share my passion and give back. It has been 3 months and I gave my notice. I have had 3 meltdowns in school. I cant get out of bed in the morning and I sleep the minute I get home. I have a knot in my stomach all the time, and got diagnosed with an ulcer. I have frequent headaches. My blood pressure is up. As part of my provisional license I had to pass a basic competency exam. Naively, i assumed it was basic competency. I failed the math part, largely because there was complex geometry on it and I was unprepared. I couldn’t re- test for a month. In the mean time, a few meltdown laters and having a parent tell me I killed her child’s spirit of music, I resigned. I told the principal I would stay until the end of the semester; 4 weeks beyond the 30 day notice required. The assistant superintendent called and said that I would get cut to sub pay from the end of the 30 day notice until the end of the semester. But first I would have to get a sub license. I asked, If I don’t, what will happen to the kids’ scheduled Christmas concert? ” He said, “They’ll have some kind of concert.” Sure they will…
My biggest complaint is I was hired to teach guitar choir and theater. I don’t play the guitar, I’ve never directed a middle school choir and I have been in a few plays, but have no knowledge of the technical aspects of theater. I was up for the challenge. I am learning, the kids are learning and we’re progressing. But, not ONCE did anyone ask me to prove my competency in the subjects I am teaching. I am 2 lessons ahead of the students in guitar! I was grossly naive to the workings of a public school system and it is awful. Mostly, because they want you to check your brain at the door and follow a rubric. My hats off to teachers who have been teaching for years despite this broken system. I hate that I am disappointing the 30 percent of kids who want to learn, have supportive parents and who are decent kids. The other 70 percent of them, who are depressed, addicted, abused, neglected, entitled, indifferent, or suffering from a multitude of psycho- social pathologic issues, I hope they get the help they need at some point in their lives. I decided not to finish out the semester. I feel sad and broken.

Comment on Why half of the nation’s new teachers can’t leave the profession fast enough. by Ross Sun, 25 Oct 2015 14:03:19 +0000 I’ve worked as a School Psychologist for 20 years. I am in-between teachers and administration and see both sides. I see more and more work and “accountability” being poured onto teacher via NCLB, teaching evaluations tied to student achievement outcomes… teachers are NOT the problem. After 15 years of service, I started a business of my own (Arborist) and within 3 years was financially independent and I now make more money in one weekend than I do “after topping out the salary schedule” in an entire month. Why do I remain in the School System with ineffective administrators who pile work and additional “accountability” requirements on me and teachers in an effort to draw our attention away from their obvious lack of effectiveness – that is why they do it to us all by the way it’s a diversion technique… give us more and more “busy work” in a effort to keep us diverted from telling them to “fix what’s wrong” with the system and we all know what that is… teachers and administrators alike – as each group demands accountability from the other the administrators’ response will be “let’s pile even more busy work on them to keep them busy” in lieu of looking in the mirror and doing something about the real root of the problem.

Comment on Why half of the nation’s new teachers can’t leave the profession fast enough. by Tom Sun, 25 Oct 2015 13:45:36 +0000 It’s nice to read I’m not the only one.

Comment on Two moms, and their kids said no. by Kathleen Jasper Sat, 10 Oct 2015 00:17:03 +0000 Larry, the FSA is required for graduation. However, you can also take he ACT or SAT for a concordant score. The ACT and SAT are at least normed, reliable and valid. But a score is required for graduation. Does your child struggle with reading tests?

Comment on Two moms, and their kids said no. by Larry Best Sat, 10 Oct 2015 00:03:06 +0000 My kids go to school in the Lee county school district. Now they are telling me that in order for them too graduate that they have too take the fsa test. Now is this true or is it not?