Sunday, December 4, 2011

Letter from hunted teacher- an all too common occurrence

The principal acts on rumor & innuedo, calling in my entire class to ask if I’ve done anything wrong. It’s a fishing expedition with, according to concerned students, leading questions. Usually these come when I write a referral for a behavior problem, so there are one or two students who will say anything to try to get back at me, particularly when they well understand administration is against me. However, one of my writeups (I’ve had three in two years, there was not a single collaborator in the class, yet the principal went forward with the action against me, stating, “You have to be aware of parent complaints.” When I told him no one had told me of the complaint and the accusation had been roundly refuted by an entire class, the principal simply shook his head and said it was going in my file.
Last time I wrote a referral the mother complained and I ended up getting a “Professional Improvement Plan,” kind of the first step toward being terminated. As a new and non-tenured teacher, I am in tremendous jeopardy. My union’s view is to just allow the abuse and hope it gets better. There is some sort of weird rumor mill at this school, and now virtually no other teachers will even talk to me. I am confused and angry and feel very much betrayed. Worst of all, I am totally unempowered by the process. The union rep says administration doesn’t have to follow their own rules of procedure because they get to make them up and even change them as they go. Does anyone have any advice???


  1. I have plenty. You are ro ably being discriminated against. But do yourself a favor. Do not use referrals. The deans complain and it is considered weakness by students and admin, and start looking for another school, possibly another district before its too late.
    The kids are hipper to the system than teachers and they know you compromise yourself by sending them for discipline. Deans say they are busy with serious issues and will complain bitterly if you send a kid for anything less Han attempted murder. In the end, you will see handling these issues yourself is empowering. Tudents respect that. So you may not get much teaching in for a bit. But this is what you go through . It's trial by fire.
    You must divorce yourself from the emotions kids wantonly provoke. They're testing you. Now you need to win them back.

  2. This is not so easy. First, make it a joke when your trigger kid acts out. If you feel like you can't deal with the kid, find out which teacher they fear or hate the most. Ask this teacher to be your swap partner. If she has a problem she sends it to you and visa versa. Most importantly, make the lessons fun. Debates, art projects, stuff outside the box. Get to know the kids. Onnect with them one at a time. Know their names!!! Make names up if you must. anBeavis &d Butthead. princess. They eat that up. Soon they'll be defending you. Cut them some breaks on due dates. That Weil, make them grateful. Have contests and games. Bring prizes they want. Feed them a little food and info about you. Make them laugh. My students adored me, but it didn't save me and I had tenure. But if I was you, I'd win these kids back and if that isn't working apply for new jobs now. Feel free to contact me if you need to talk.

  3. Your career is over. The principal is god, and you are nothing. Even if you had "tenure" or, more accurately, civil service protections, your career would still be over with because school districts manipulate administrative law to their advantage.

    Look for another job and prepare for another career. I am not being flippant about this. You are about to join me and tens of thousands of teachers who had their careers ruined by asshole administrators.

    1. Thanks for commenting Susan. I hope things will begin to move in a positive direction. It seems like we are hunted antelope and the rest of the herd just kind of look on when one of us gets taken out by the lions (maybe snakes is better analogy). I hope we can raise awareness as I believe that much of the dysfunction we see in schools depends on this hypocrisy and the travesty of justice it supports.