What’s the bottom and top salary in your district?
How does your pay increase - credits, years, good reviews, etc?
Do you think it’s adequate to cover living expenses in your area?
My first private school I made $26,000 a year [WITH a Master’s]. It was not enough to live on [and pay my loans back]. We got one raise, but it was a cost of living raise and it was the first one they’d had in 13 years.
I got a 5 figure raise when I came to my current school because it’s a better school by far.
I got a raise from my first year to my second here based on experience. I believe we should get raises every year if enrollment stays up.
Starting pay here in Baltimore City is 48k. But, hey, then you have to work in Baltimore City.
With the kids all excited about ending their two day week, I capped yesterday with a discussion/lesson on Thanksgiving.
They had five minutes to recall everything they knew about the story and put it on paper. Pilgrims, Squanto, religious persecution, starvation/help from the natives,…
Now, I teach SECOND grade (7 and 8 year olds) and I also decided now was the time for them to learn the truth. We did a whole investigative reporting assignment and made research notebooks and fact checked and read all kinds of stuff and it was awesome. I told them that a lot of books and stories end with the feast but that there is more to the story, and then we researched and my kids were amazed that books could be wrong and lie to them. We had a really interesting and enlightening time during this mini-unit and I personally really enjoyed it.
Some people might think that second graders are too young for that kind of harsh reality (I didn’t go into specifics really as this teacher did (appropriately, of course) with older students), but I told them what happened and most of them were pretty shocked, dismayed, confused, but over all took it well.
My students are only 7 but they have been through a lot. We’ve talked about things like Newtown, 9/11, systemic racism, and the fact that they attend a disadvantaged school and are not receiving as good educations as others their age. I try to be as honest as possible with them and I like to think they appreciate it. I wouldn’t want my students to look back and their teachers and feel betrayed that someone had kept such a fundamental truth from them, especially because they are all highly impoverished and live through their own tragedies on a daily basis. One of my students came in the second day of the unit (on the first day, we filled out the “What I think I know” page of our notebooks) and said, “I told my dad we were learning about Thanksgiving and he told me that the Pilgrims were white and the Native Americans were black and the Pilgrims came and they killed all the Native Americans and stole all our land, and that’s the true story.” I was a little annoyed (haha) with her for the spoiler, but I was really happy that at least one other person felt that my kids were at the appropriate age to hear the truth behind the story. I haven’t had any complaints from parents yet. (I highly doubt I will.) Of course we also did all the cutesy “Run, Turkey, Run!” activities and stuff, too, to balance it out…
Here’s a picture of one of the more innocuous pages we filled out, done by my star artist of the year. He uses color amazingly. I love him (and his artwork) so much. His mom is a tattoo artist and his drawings and paintings seriously make this job worth it to me.
At Sultana High School in San Bernardino County, a teacher says she was fired for helping LGBT students who were being treated unfairly by other staff.
English teacher Julia Frost is suing Hesperia Unified in San Bernardino Superior Court because she believes the school engaged in “unlawful retaliation” when they didn’t renew her contract. She is openly gay and helped GSA members file complaints against teachers and administrators who treated them poorly and made homophobic comments. She’d also had nothing but stellar reviews as a teacher before this incident.
Of course, the school district says that they did nothing wrong.
California law allows non-tenured teachers to be fired without cause, although all public school teachers must be informed before March 15 if their services will not be required in the coming school year. Frost’s attorneys — Los Angeles-based Lambda Legal and Pasadena-based Traber and Voorhees — allege that she was fired for illegal reasons, however: retaliation and discrimination against Frost, who is a lesbian, which she said Sultana Principal Larry Bird brought up in their very first meeting after she became one of the GSA’s advisers.
"Ms. Frost’s performance as an English teacher at Sultana was exemplary. Nevertheless, she was discriminated against, harassed and retaliated against during the course of her employment at Sultana," Frost’s legal complaint reads in part. She was reportedly accused of “teaching homosexuality” and “gay things.”
It is seriously messed up that we’d rather fire supportive, talented teachers from their jobs than face the institutional homophobia that STILL permeates schools. (Also: “gay things”?!?)
i LIKE teaching but i don’t like being a teacher. i like imparting knowledge to students, working with kids, and having a job that is interesting and different every day. i hate working with incompetent administrators operating in a vastly dysfunctional and corrupt system. i like forging relationships with families and members of the community but i hate seeing the amount of horrible things that happen in the community i work in every day that i have no control over and very little influence on. i like when my kids learn new things but i hate being at the whim of politicians and people who have never set foot in a classroom to dictate exactly what kinds of things my students should know, and how they should learn them. i like standing in front of my class and goofing around with them, helping them learn new and amazing things they didn’t know before they met me, but i hate being observed and rated by people i feel are incompetent or who are in it to protect financial assets (such as rating all teachers as developing so no one can apply for a raise) and who have no investment in protecting the interests of the children they are supposed to be serving.
i love the respect my students and i treat each other with, but i hate the disrespect that virtually every single other person (administrators, coworkers, some parents, politicians, average people with big mouths) shower upon me and other teachers all day, every day.
i love having a job that has given me so much but i HATE having a job that has taken so much from me.
I have no idea how that instagram pic posted to my tumblr!
I wouldn’t have normally posted it because it has my student’s name on it, but I guess the damage is done. Also, Destiny must be one of the most popular names at any inner city school.
Things haven’t been going so great—or maybe they have—I’m kind of hitting the November Numbs as I like to call them. I love my kids. Already 1,000 times more than I did my last class (for a combination of reasons). I’m adjusting to second grade, still, but it’s going pretty well. I’m kind of getting into the swing of things.
I have one student who has had a severe mental break over the past few weeks—she is heavily medicated for a series of mental illnesses which is something I was always aware of (taught her sister last year, know the family very well, know her first grade teacher, etc). I guess her meds have stopped working and she’s basically had a break from reality. She is scary when she is like that and dangerous for the other students to be around (and me, and herself). She is supposed to go to the doctor on Monday to be reevaluated so I’m hoping things will be okay after that. Thank god her mom is super supportive and on board with me.
I referred her to the University of Maryland social work/psychology program that has interns at our school which was a huge mistake. This 20-year-old intern who has worked at our school for like 2 months came in basically accusing me of not caring about my student and just trying to get her put out of the classroom, and being “out of touch” with the realities that our students face. I’ve never been in a physical fight before I seriously could have launched myself across the table at her. First of all, I’ve worked in that school almost longer than any other teacher and I actively involve myself in the community in more ways than ANY other staff member combined, not to mention I live about 5 blocks away from it. But also, with this particular student, I’ve always been extremely close to her and her family. I put her in my class on purpose, I conference with her mom literally daily, and I even used to walk her to daycare after school last year so she could stay after and do art with me. I was so mad.
I cannot wait to not work in my school anymore. This will definitely be my last year. I still don’t know what’s in store for me after, but I’m tired of being continually disrespected and having my motives and professionalism questioned. My “frustration level” was high because I LOVE my student and I don’t know how to help her myself, not because I hate her. Not every teacher in the inner city is some evil, lazy, know-nothing scumbag in it for the really-not-that-great salary.
I know I don’t post on here too much lately, but I am definitely still alive and breathing and just taking a minor tumblr hiatus (induced mostly by how busy I am these days). I’m still teaching second grade and surviving, although sometimes I miss my pre-K babies (but more so quiet time and having a para more than anything). I sometimes feel like a first year teacher all over again, and feel sad and anxious about that. I know I would be making more of a difference if I were teaching a third year of pre-K instead of a first year of second grade because I’d know exactly what I was doing and have everything together. I feel like I’m failing a lot. I don’t even have centers organized and functional in my classroom yet, especially with so much energy focused on administering Dibels and Wireless TRC testing for like three weeks. Math has been really difficult to teach, with the first common core unit on decomposing and composing units of ten (harder than it sounds). Now we’re on measurement which is slightly less painful. Literacy is okay (we are doing a fun fairytales unit right now) and I hate SFA (our phonics reading program for which I have a special ed class instead of my own students—no I am not special ed certified or trained). I still really dislike the majority of the people I work with and feel depressed and disheartened every day at the work environment I survive in…
Yesterday was my birthday. At the risk of sounding selfish, and very unlike many of the tumblr teachers I know, I wish I had stayed home.
In some ways, starting a new grade level for the first time is kind of like being a first year teacher (except not quite so frantic or, dare I say, manic). It doesn’t help that the other second grade teacher is completely new, and my school makes no pretense at training or helping anyone do anything. So far, things have been okay, but I have a vague anxiety that permeates my days (and nights). I’m afraid I’m going to lose my students, while I struggle to gain my footing. Honestly, I’m a little afraid of my students. I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to handle them in a few weeks. After all, the second graders last year set the boys’ bathroom on fire. It’s not considered one of the easier grades at my school. These kids are so much bigger, physically and mentally. They have true autonomy and willpower. They can choose not to follow my directions, and unlike with pre-k, I’m not sure I know how to get them to change their minds. As of right now, they do their work, they’re nice enough to each other, and respectful enough to me. But I can’t shake this feeling that I’m going to lose them.
I survived my first week of teaching second grade!
I still like it. It’s quite different from pre-K (obviously). Although I taught a pretty academic pre-K, second grade is inevitably more planning intensive and requires a lot more advance preparation and copies to be made. I’ve floundered a little in this regard, but as the first week was mostly for setting procedures, that isn’t a disaster. It’s just something I need to work on professionally.
The main adjustment I’m learning to make is that, suddenly, everything doesn’t take 5 million years. My students can be DONE in a matter of minutes with tasks I thought would take longer given my experience with little people who take 15 minutes to walk from the classroom to the cafeteria even though it’s only one hallway away. Second graders are much more efficient. The amount of times I heard “I’M DONE” this week is enough to send me to an early grave. I’m slowly learning to prepare more for this by allowing them some agency in choosing activities to do quietly once they’re done with whatever they were supposed to be doing.
They also have a lot more agency. Like, I can’t really stop them from talking. Oh my god do they talk. All the time. All the time. It’s nonstop. They are a good group of kids, could be a great group, but good lord are they talkative. Of course, I don’t much mind them talking, but it’s something to get used to. The class, on the whole, is slightly below grade level, which is really good for my school. A few are a year or so above grade level, and I have 5 IEP students in my class (21 kids so far) which is also something new, because typically pre-K students don’t have IEPs other than speech.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the switch and my transition into it. The fact that I already knew 19 out of my 22 students from previous years and Art Club really helps. I just hope it continues smoothly because I am already so exhausted. And, of course, in typical me fashion, I’m already sick. I have a sore throat. Go figure!
I just LOVED my first day as a second grade teacher! It’s so nice to have students who can read and write and be somewhat self sufficient, plus I already know three fourths of my class from previous years. Yippee!
Today was truly one for the books. And by that I mean, I need to write it down, because it’s definitely going to end up in my book some day. Some of my dear followers will remember that I decided to resign from my district at the end of last year—a decision which I later rescinded for reasons that seem, um, fuzzy, at best, at this point in time, but which I won’t get into. So I decided not to resign under some kind of vague plan that I would teach for another year, enjoy the raise I’m now getting due to my newly minted master’s degree, and then pursue employment (whether it be in the education profession or otherwise) after a location switch (at this point, probably New Orleans).
Let me preface this by saying that school starts on Monday.
Let me also preface by saying that, under the condition of me returning to my school, there was never any mention whatsoever of a grade level change. I’ve only ever taught pre-K, I get along extremely well with my para (or so I thought), I’ve been rated as proficient in pre-K, and my student benchmark scores are excellent. I mentioned to my principal that if she had filled the pre-K slot when we thought I was moving, I would be open to first grade—just first grade. Because there was supposed to be an opening in first grade anyway, and I taught those kids two years ago and loved them, and would like to teach them again (that’s the only reason).
Anyway, the summer passed and I had very little interaction with anyone from the school (which I think is normal, and healthy). I did speak with my para as well as the other pre-K teacher over some logistical stuff. In fact, I spoke to both of them last week. There was an optional week of PD last week that I declined to attend because I was busy and knew it was bad PD anyway. But I’ve been trying to get in touch with my para to figure out what we might need this year and I haven’t been able to get in touch with her since the PD started last week which I knew was weird but I thought was for another reason.
Fast forward to today, which was supposed to be pre-K and K orientation. I walked into the school at my assigned time to my own classroom to see with some surprise that my para and her son and sister had basically set up the entire room. This was really, really odd because she would never go so far as to set up our room without consulting me because we’re a team. She came over and hugged me and then she asked me if I had spoken with an administrator yet. I said no. She showed me the sign on our door which just said pre-K, with no teacher. She asked me if I wanted to know why she was setting up the room without me, and said it was because she “wasn’t sure” I was going to be in there with her this year. *Edit - I feel like I need to say somewhere that I would later find out 100% beyond the shadow of a doubt that she knew for a fact that we would not be together this year. She was, as a matter of fact, quite sure that we wouldn’t be together, and that’s why she was avoiding my phone calls.
Enter the assistant principal, who has seriously given me hell for the past two years, honestly over nothing other than boredom, I believe. She said, “Would you like me to show your classroom, because this isn’t it.”
I just found out (with less than a week before school starts) that I’ve been reassigned to second grade. I’m not as opposed to the switch as I am to the fact that apparently all of my coworkers (even my para, who I’ve been with for two years) knew. I’m the last to find out. Not to mention the fact that I know nothing about second grade. Nothing at all. In for a bumpy ride, again, as always.
One week exactly til school starts (for teachers)...
I’ve been wondering all summer how I’d feel once I got to this point, with just a week left of vacation, and I’m happy to report that I’m feeling pretty good! This is the first summer I’ve felt more excited than anxious about back to school.
It’s one thing to be told by the person who is supposed to know you better than anyone that you live in a delusional fantasy world all the time and you “need to work on it.” But it’s another thing to have this continually reiterated (in less harsh terms, of course!) but everyone else in your life.
Like, how does one “work on” that? There’s no “work” to be done. Either the world can realign itself to my expectations, or I can simply die the gradual, unremarkable, inevitable death of my ancestors in a world that was simply not enough/too much for my over stimulated mind and my unpredictable heart.
So I’ve been snail-mail pen-palling with itssnix this summer and in her latest card, she asked me what advice I’ve give to my 25 year old self. It really made me think (and I’ll write a little about it after I hear from you).
So I’ll pose the same question here with a variation: if you’re older than 25, what would you tell yourself about the life that is to come? If you’re younger than 25, what would you want your older self to remember (or what are you looking forward to growing out of?)
I’m officially a resident of Pigtown (once I sign my lease tonight)!!! Mary and I found a really nice, quiet, safe little spot with 4 bedrooms, a complete basement, 3 bathrooms, a fireplace, a nice kitchen, a backyard, a deck, a stoop, and ample street parking with a lot across the street. Plus, the landlords are really nice and like us because we have two rescue cats and they also run a cat adoption service.
We are so excited! I hope moving to Pigtown isn’t a mistake! Move in day is July 31st. And now, we pack…
I think I haven’t been blogging too much lately because I’m all wrapped up in moving (worst, worst, worst thing ever), but also because this is mainly an education blog now and I’m off for the summer. Also because I tend to get severely depressed in the summers*** (which is happening right now) and that makes it hard for me to do normal functional things like… blogging. I am sorry to disappoint you, followers! But I am hoping to achieve stability at some point in the coming weeks. Probably after my move (July 31st), that is, if I find a place.
Right now I’m eating hummus out of the tub with my finger (I am on a diet, so that makes sense, right?) and sighing to myself as I consider all the ways I have wronged people over the past few weeks.
*** If you don’t believe that summer depression is a real thing, google it, it’s reverse seasonal affective disorder. I think it tends to affect those already predisposed to depression, but yeah, my roommate in college had SAD and once I sat in front of her sun lamp and actually got depressed. Science.