Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reponding to Ms. George

Yikes, a long weekend this is turning into. My poor Rosie the bulldog has a nasty bladder infection so I'm been taking care of her (and the mess she is leaving around the house) and trying to work on my 2nd term grades which are due a week from tomorrow. But I wanted to take a moment to respond to some questions Ms. George had left me on her extremely helpful and enlightening post

So here we go:

Are you happy in your position? Yes and no...I love the 7th graders because they still respect (and fear sometimes) their teachers so in terms of classroom management I'm happy. My team members and principal are amazing and supportive. I also enjoy my student's enthusiasm and drive (they haven't lost it yet!!!)

The things I don't like is the content. I want to teach more novels and love the fact that high schoolers have more life experience to use when reading literature. I also miss that at the high school level I would be teaching multiple grade levels and ability levels at the same time and the constant change in courses each semester and year. I don't feel challenged sometimes at the middle school level because I'm teaching the same class three times a day. I do like that I learn from my mistakes and improve my lessons as I go through the day.

Are you happy with your team (if you have one)? My team is great! I'm part of a three person team and we are diverse in terms of experience, personality, and age. I feel like it makes us a more balanced team and the kids really respond to us because we get along so well.

What makes you wonder about the HS position? I student taught last year at two local high schools and loved it. The only things I had a hard time with (and I'm wondering if time will help with these) is classroom management (my seniors made my life a living hell but it was the last two months of the year and they didn't want to do any work anymore) and all the prep (I taught four different classes with three mentors). Although it was exhausting at times doing all that prep work and reading all those novels at the speed of light, I felt such a sense of accomplishment at the end of the units. I've only felt that way once this year and that is because of the play I just taught.

Is it something you could do next year? My unofficial game plan (which could change with this economy) is to keep my eyes open for any local opening at the hs level and apply but also assume I'm returning to my current school. If something does come my way, I will give my
resignation and move on from there.

Is there a way you could observe a few classes in the HS to see if you are a fit for the culture/department? See my response on student teaching.

Do you see yourself continuing in the MS for one, five, ten years? I could see myself doing ms level for a while but I don't know how fulfilled I will be. Believe me, I realize how lucky I am. I'm having one of the smoothest first years and I'm afraid that my experience at another school or district could be completely different. For example, my school is pretty casual. They trust us. I don't turn in my lesson plans and I don't have administration breathing down my neck. If I was to get pregnant (and that is something in our future to think about), my principal would hold my job for me and let me take as much time as I needed.

Do you plan to keep teaching or do you want to be in Administration? At this point, the only interest I have in administration is to one day be a department head (again, this was my daydreaming of my career as a successful high school teacher). But I can't imagine myself being completely out of the classroom.

So there you go! Hopefully that is more helpful, Ms. George. I also have a few more things on my mind (is it better to stay at your school a couple of years in terms of your resume or should I make the jump before I'm labeled as a ms veteran? Also, my husband and I are looking to start a family within the next couple of years... how should that affect my decision to leave my school and start in a new district?). Thanks for taking the time to listen to me and for all your help!!!


Ms. George said...

Hey there,
Great response. It sounds as though you are happy to be teaching MS, but if the chance comes up, would move to HS. Well, wait and see. I don't know about your district/state/budget issues, but it is a challenging time here in NY. Many districts are going to be laying off teachers, cutting programs, etc. just to make the tax impact easier in May. I would never presume to tell you about the whole family-teaching thing, having had mine before I actually/finally got into a classroom. I would say this though: if we waited for everything to be perfect (house, money) we might not have had two, or even one. I can't imagine life without them.
I have a friend in my school who is due in April. She will only be out as long as allowed without losing her place on the seniority list (if we have cuts -the lowest on the list is the most vulnerable). That is a decision she is willing to live with, as she and her husband will need her job. In my district, if you are out over a certain time, you will lose your spot on the list by being dropped down to someone who had more 'time on the job'. I don't know how your state/school district works it.
Take care. I'm looking forward to your continued adventures.

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