Tuesday, June 12, 2007

YOU'RE FIRED! (Or, why I haven't written lately)

To make a long story short, the new principal tried to fire me. Don’t worry, I still have my job…I just wanted to let things cool down before I wrote a post about the fiasco. (I even contemplated glossing over the whole debacle and not mentioning it at all)

The principal was very friendly when she pulled me into her office (i.e. smiling, complimenting the top I wore) so I didn’t automatically think I was in trouble. When I heard the news, my face fell.

“You don’t really fit my vision for the school,” was what the principal said, citing that my classroom management needed polish, and that I may be too young to teach the population.

After her spiel she had the grace to say I looked surprised. Since I had gotten S’s in all my observations, and no one had remarked on my management skills before, needless to say I was very shocked. Diplomatically, she offered to score me an interview with a principal from her old middle school, since I’d “work better with younger kids.”

I was choked up. I spent my whole year working hard, getting better, and learning…and only to find out that the principal wasn’t willing to give a first year teacher a shot at putting what I learned into practice. Who expects a teacher to be perfectly on game the first year they teach? I was told from everyone I spoke to that the first year was the hardest…but it really broke my heart that some people “weren’t willing to wait.”

You may ask why I didn’t stop the meeting, get up, and get my union rep in the room. My only excuse is that I didn’t know I could leave a meeting, and I was also terrified. But you can bet your sweet behind that I went straight to the union after I left that office.

My chapter leader was ready to fight, and told the principal so. However, the next day I was asked to meet with the AP. I grabbed the union rep, and was told by the AP that the principal had “reconsidered” and that I could keep my job. It’s my theory that the principal assumed I would just cut my losses and go to another school…roll over and die without trouble.

But I like my job, and I love my kids…I’ve built relationships with people in the building. I know who to go for to get quick copies and who to sweet-talk for extra supplies…But it took me a year to build that.

In the few weeks that passed it’s been like nothing had ever occurred. On the one hand, I’m relieved and happy to know I have a job to come back to in September. But some of the joy has gone out of the work, as I imagine I’m being watched closer. What happens if the administration really wants to get rid of me, and they start a paper trail early next year? I feel like slogging through the political muck is harder work that teaching ED students!


Blogger Ms V said...

I'm sorry that you had to go through that. I know the principal that you're talking about. I don't particularly care for her as I have known her to be rude and very condescending. I hope everything works out for you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 1:24:00 PM  
Blogger 17 more years said...

First of all, the principal can't fire you. She can, however, intimidate you into leaving, and I'm glad to see it didn't work.

Did you get your rating sheet today? Read it over carefully and make sure there are nothing but satisfactories in even category. If not, talk to your chapter leader.

Hang tough- I've worked for a principal like that- he tried in countless ways to get me to leave. When push came to shove, he couldn't get me on ANYTHING- and lord knows he tried. And guess what? He's gone and I'm still in my school- and you will be too, just dot your i's and cross your t's.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 4:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Schoolgal said...

Sorry to hear about this.

Hopefully you will be able to show her how wrong she was. And believe me, any other new teacher would not be any better. You have a rough group of kids and showed up each day ready to help them.

Your principal should have just told you that you had a difficult first year and that she knows you will grow with experience.

Good luck.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 4:09:00 PM  
Blogger Proverbs16three said...

I don't know what school districts are like in NY, but down here getting rid of person on contract is very difficult. Maybe she hoped that with her intimidation, you would transfer to another school. But why? She knows that ALL first year teachers have classroom management issues and have a difficult time. I say there's something more to this. But don't worry about it. YAAAAY for your union rep!

I wish that I could offer more encouraging words. I know that you are used to your school, but are you sure you want to stay even if she doesn't want you. She could make your life hell or NOT. (Just a thought). If you stay always cover yourself.

From what I am reading, you are doing a good job. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 4:30:00 PM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

Oh, please. The principals and their "vision." I've seen many principals who wouldn't have vision if they ate three pounds of peyote.

That's a buzzword the chancellor's got them trained to use. Your principal hasn't even got the wherewithal to deal with the felons who assault you.

You handled yourself well. Keep written records of all your dealings with this boob and her subordinates.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 5:21:00 PM  
Blogger Peter A. Stinson said...

Keep at it. Keep the dream. Make every day count... & when you're the principal, remember...

Make the summer count.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 5:49:00 PM  
Blogger Ms. C said...

It was an awful way to end the year; after I worked my butt off and really stuck with it...even through the worst of it.

I can only imagine it had something to do with the new principal coming in January, and not wanting a new teacher the old principal hired.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 5:52:00 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

i went through something similar at the end of my first year (i'm currently finishing my second year as a teaching fellow); my AP wanted me to transfer to a high school or an "easier" school because i had so many management problems.

but this year i was about 1000% times better. you'll get the hang of it, and you'll love it when you realize that your first year kids taught you most of your strengths and weaknesses

keep at it. make fun and have fun with the kids.

also, don't forget that you're a teaching fellow, and no one can get rid of a teaching fellow during the first two years since we're still learning the ropes

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 2:54:00 AM  
Blogger Jules the Crazy said...

oh no! I'm so sorry you had to deal with that terrible principal. GOOD for you for sticking up for yourself, you have clearly worked so hard and only deserve praise and good advice.

next year will be so great for you--keep up all that dedication to your kids.

also--TWO WEEKS TIL FREEDOM! that's gotta make you feel good. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 7:44:00 PM  
Blogger Lorraine Woodward said...

I'm considering the NYC Teaching Fellows program, and I've been a bit apprehensive after hearing that the union doesn't always like to go to bat for Teaching Fellows . . . but it sounds like that wasn't the case for you.
I'm glad you didn't back down . . . I am watching your adventures very carefully! ;-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007 7:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Em... I'm sorry you had to go through all of that. Give me a call and we'll figure out a time to get together and do something! (571-330-5486). I'm out of town this weekend, but after that, weekends and M, W, F evenings are good. (You probably have class on M-W don't you?)


We did it girl!! We did it!!

Friday, June 15, 2007 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Pissed Off said...

My principal told me I didn't share his vision and that I should think about transferring. Luckily for me I've been there a long, long time and there is nothing he can do to me. I did walk out of the meeting and don't speak to him anymore unless I really have to. I'm sorry for you. It is hard enough teaching without working for a jerks like these.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 8:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My principal gave me the same spiel... and unfortunately had the power to kick me out and make my life difficult trying again at another school. I'm glad to hear it worked out better for you. Not once did I get any specifics about what was wrong with my teaching, just the general "you don't fit."

Monday, July 02, 2007 8:56:00 PM  
Anonymous School Teacher said...

Oooohhhh! I was seething while and after I read this.

While I haven't been told that I don't fit in, I did have to stand up for myself to both the Executive Director and the Director of Education of my school. Things were very tense after some sharp words were exchanged with them. And I even purposefully made comments around the E.D.'s assistant, the resident queen of gossip, knowing that she would go back and talk. In the end, I think it helped me. Being that I was then and still am the youngest teacher on staff, small in stature and relatively laid back and quiet, I think I sent the message that looks can indeed be deceiving and I will not let anyone, I don't care what your title or position is, run over me. I think the E.D. respects me, she's even trying to create position for me outside of the classroom, and I speak to the DoE only when absolutely necessary.

Yes, I think you will have to watch yourself and watch this principal. Continue to be yourself and send clear messages (like you did by going to the union rep) that you WILL stand up for yourself. I rooting for you! Hang in there!

Sunday, August 05, 2007 7:45:00 PM  

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