Thursday, May 22, 2008

Give me your opinion!

I hate to return on such a foul note, but I'm angry and bitter and need some outside perspective to my situation.

TAKS scores came in on Monday and they were AWESOME! 94% of my students passed the 7th grade Math TAKS (97% if you don't include my inclusion students)... overall 7th grade had a 93% passing rate and a 36% commended rate. We raised our scores 5% from last year.. and that is with having 100 more students on our teams. So we are all on cloud 9 til yesterday. My principal calls in me and one of my other two teaching partners, T, and tells us she is moving us to 6th grade. Why? Because their commended scores were the lowest in the district and she wants us to move down and work with the other 6th grade teacher to raise them because our scores were so good as 7th grade teachers, we will know how to challenge the 6th graders to meet the commended standard. On paper it sounds reasonable right?

The problem is that the schedule was already ironed out (for the most part) and we were told that 7th grade math was not going to be changed... so we weren't worrying about it. In our school, there are a lot of strong personalities within departments and within grade levels, but me, T and K have NEVER had that problem. Not once. We all have similar teaching styles and personalities, we have this unspoken balance of who does what work and when, and we just get along. We just have this flow that is very unusual for a group of 3 people. Everyone pulls their weight, helps each other out, and we honestly like each other a lot. So now this cohesive group is being pulled apart for the sole reason of raising test scores.. forget the fact that we are being thrown with another teacher, a new adjustment for all 3 grade levels, and having to hire a new 8th grade teacher to fill in a hole. I'm sorry.. all of this to fix one thing? Where is the logic in that? I am angry because I was told one thing, and now am getting another. I am angry because I am having to move to a grade level where I do not like the curriculum, and really most of the people who work there. I am angry because she made this decision on a whim (2 days after TAKS scores were sent) without consulting our math coordinator or us. I'm angry because I am having to leave people that I absolutely LOVE to work with,.

Not only that, but we were basically told (by our AP who is leaving for a different school) that we are the ones getting the shaft because we all have very flexible personalities and don't wreak havoc on our other co-workers. So they chose to move us instead of having to deal with moving someone else who would put up a fuss. So basically if I'm a B at work, I get my way, but because I do my job and do it without whining that I get shafted. His response? "It's not fair but it's that way at any school." I'm sorry.. but I really find that hard to believe. If you have a principal that is good at his/her job, then that type of crap won't fly. None of this "I'm too afraid to shake things up because (insert reason here), so we'll pick on the ones who won't cause the problems."

I realize that I can only see one side to this situation, and I have no clue what goes into all the decisions that are made as an administrator, but this really seems low.

Now I'm afraid of next year. I am good at what I do. So if/when I do well this next year and raise the commended scores, she is going to want to keep me there but I do not want to teach 6th grade. Granted I may like certain parts of next year, and make friends with my new team members, but I am bitter now about being moved down and am probably going to resist any sort of pleasure from this change. The point is, I like the 7th grade curriculum better, I like the 7th grade students better and I like the 7th grade teachers better. Will she listen to me if I go in there and say that I'm glad to go down for a year and help raise commended scores, but when our numbers balloon back up to 1200 kids again in 2009 that I want to be put back into 7th grade? Probably not..

I am mad... and I'm going to be mad for a while. I've heard many different things from many different people, but they are involved in the same type of BS I am day to day working there... so if you can offer a fresh perspective that I can't see, please do. Just don't tell me it's a compliment that she is moving me. I've heard that too much and I don't view it as a compliment. She didn't do it because she thinks highly of my teaching abilities or cares about my feelings, she did it because she wants the TAKS scores to be higher.


100 Farmers said...

I don't have a fresh perspecive but I am sorry. You know my situation. When I was moved from 7th grade to 8th grade one year like that I actually stood outside the office and cried because I was so mad. Find a buddy and fight against the tide next year.

Maestro said...

Yeah, this kind of thing happens all over the place. You get punished for being effective and cooperative. There is a strong vindictive part of me that wants to say "Well, there it is... start being a difficult heel to work with and you'll get your way."

But I know if it were me, I wouldn't be able to do that to my colleagues. I wish I could give you some advice... or a fresh perspective, but it is what it is: an insulting predicament brought on as a result of you doing things right.

I feel your pain.

jenn said...

Does T and K feel the same way?
Your admin, needs YOU.
I would take T and K to the office with me and explain what a great team you make and how you all get along, and how much you love 7th grade curriculum. etc. etc. etc.

Make sure to mention how wonderful your test scores were this year, and how this is partly due to such a great team.

by the way
i teach the 5th grade "inclusion" (IEP kids) and "ESL" (Spanish speaking kids) for 2 reasons
1. I am good at raising test scores
2. I am a wimp and never complain about always getting stuck with it.

Joel said...

I understand your point and I also understand that this post was written right after the event also.

Give it some time and maybe things will clear up.

That being said, I think this change may end up being really good for you. Take what you have learned this year in 7th grade and use it with the 6th graders. 6th graders are a lot easier to entertain than 7th graders too. :)

Use your "expertise" as a 7th grade teacher to inspire them to learn certain concepts that last year's bunch should have known better but struggled with.

Ultimately, the year has to be fun for you, or else you'll be miserable.

When I took a job in my current district, it was only teaching 6th grade band. I didn't get to go to contests or any of the fun stuff that I wanted to do as a band director. But I made up my own personal challenges and it turned out to be the most fun job I had to that point.

I got moved to the 7th & 8th grade campus last year and got to work with most of the same kids for two years. Talk about exciting!

Of course, another option is to look for another job, interview, get an offer, and then go to your principal and see if you can enter into negotiations.