I'm thinking of quitting teaching

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by andyns, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. andyns

    andyns New Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    Halifax, Canada
    I haven't really posted much since the summer. I've been teaching English to grade 8 and 9, and it has kept me busy. The kids drive me crazy, but that's not why I am thinking of quitting. The reason for that is I fundamentally disagree with education in Canada (and other like minded ones), and I don't really want to teach somewhere else. Here's the deal with one of my grade 8 classes:

    27 kids.
    - 2 Autistic
    - 1 with Asperger Syndrome
    - 3 ADHD (on meds)
    - 3 ADD (on meds)
    - 1 visually impaired
    - 1 hearing impaired

    With the exception of the visually and hearing impaired, these students are all on IPP's, which stands for individual program plan. Basically it means I have to develop a plan for each of them, for each day, because they can't do the same stuff as the other students. So want to do a class novel? Well they can't. They sit and do grade 2 grammar sheets. There are also discipline issues with all these students, everyday.

    For the hearing impaired I wear a microphone thing, and for the visually impaired I have to make him special copies of handouts, which is fine, but for books, all my books are normal and the print is too small for him.

    For the other 16 students
    -3 extremely good workers, no discipline trouble
    -3 good workers, rare discipline trouble
    -5 very lazy, won't do anything, discipline issue everyday, never shutup
    -5 very lazy and very dumb, discipline issue everyday, never shutup

    So that's my class. One class of four. Others are similar. And by the way, all 27 students will pass this year and go into grade 9, regardless of their year end mark.

    This is my basic complaint: Those students should not all be in the same classroom. One size does not fit all.

    It is so annoying because many people I know seem to think, and flat out tell me, teaching is an easy, bird job. This is compounded by the fact that the school day is over at 2:30. Little do they know my work day just starts at 2:30.

    It's now 1:51am, on a Friday night. I finished my work just before I typed this. Alarm is set for football tomorrow. Goodnight.
  2. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Arrgghhh! My sympathies.

    Let us know. They probably need you, you know.
    - - - - - -- - - - - -- - ADDED- - - - - - -- - - - - - - - -
    This has turned into a great and IMPORTANT thread. So I gave it a banner on the index page.
    And I'm keeping my comments in this pane, because the other responders are more directly involved.

    I think we all, as adults, look back on our classroom years with a certain affection to those teachers who made an impression on us.
    Even the 'class clowns' and 'bad actors' reminisce at reunions on the very teachers whose lives they tried to make miserable.

    There are exceptions to that, of course, but I think the one or two who carry their attitudes about those certain 'mean teachers' into adulthood say more about themselves than the teachers they scorn.

    There ARE bad teachers but often - and I think more so, now- when the good ones give up through frustration and fatigue, it's the bad ones that are left. Because the ones who dont really care find it relatively easy to short-cut their job duties, simply by requiring less of their students.
  3. Spencer

    Spencer Active Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    Well you've got my sympathy. I don't know how much of it has anything to do with Canada. That class sounds like just about every class I had in high school, this in Minnesota constantly one of the top five states in education by every measure.

    Teachers teach to either the middle or bottom of the class, and really they don't have much choice. The result is the middle or bottom don't give a &%&! and progress is slow, anyone with a brain quickly loses interest and cruises to the A or B. None of the students gain anything from the class. Its just a process a maze you go through everyday. And then they go to college and people(their parents, the media, ect.) wonder why they can't make it one semester, why they can't hold a job, why they live at home until their 28.

    With yea on the one size does not fit all for sure. The lowest common denominator drags the whole class down, whether its because they have ADD, ADHD, can't speak English, are autistic, or just a #&^%ing dumb ass who can't pull it together enough to read three pages in a book. Its so terribly politically incorrect to suggest that everyone is NOT equal and that they shouldn't be in the class room, and so the same problems persist.
  4. GaryBarnettFanClub

    GaryBarnettFanClub New Member

    Sep 29, 2006
    Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey
    The whole world seems to head for inclusive teaching, I am profoundly dyslexic and was diagnosed at 7. I spent time in special units to enable me to have strategies to cope with my dyslexia, while encouraging my other tallents.

    The unit I attended was shut down 20 years ago and the staff dispanded. Kids like me now get left in main stream education to fight for attention with the behaviourally disruptive kids. I know that if I was not give the opportunity I had I would be in a bad place, with no self esteem and little education. I am greatful I was born 33 years ago and not 10.

    However, the world needs good teachers. You can make a difference and you can touch the lives of students who in 15 years will sit at a bar and say "Do you remember Mr....? I was a good guy", but more than ever I think teachers have to accept that there are groups who you cannot help and cannot reach. The world is a more unpleseant place now with selfish parents and broken families that leave a lot of confused and angry young people teachers cannot and should not be a substitute for a family

    What ever you decide I wish you well.
  5. SteveM19

    SteveM19 New Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    Cleveland OH
    Thanks for the post, b/c teaching will be my future occupation. At age 38, I have an opportunity to go back to school, and I am aiming for special ed, hopefully at the junior high level. and hopefully history down the line. (Can't let the liberals have the whole education system. :lol: ) What happened was rather interesting -- I was in banking and the bank I was at plain old fired my ass. That's the blood, guts, and feathers of it.

    While getting fired sucked, being a wartime vet of this country's armed services came back to me in ways I wasn't expecting. I definitely came out ahead.

    In some ways I miss leading young soldiers. Being around young minds was a better fit that corporate America in any event. Sergents (I was a Staff SGT E-6) and teachers have a lot in common in that you don't know where your influence stops. ANDYNS, I know your situation is difficult as is dealing with any bureaucracy, but please remember that if you do well with a student now, they will remember you 10 years down the line. I remember my better teachers (about 3-4, from high school and college) the same way I remember my drill sergeants in that both teach a skill and by virtue of their efforts, how they influenced and led me and my peers during that time.

    Of course, my teachers weren't nearly as fearsome as my drill sergeants :wink: . But I feel both of their influences today, 15-20 years later.

    Andy, keep at it and I wish you well
  6. terrinh73

    terrinh73 Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Andy...I am a teacher in an inclusion classroom (ninth grade english) and I can tell by your post that there are somethings you must address with your administration (I am assuming your system may be similar to ours).

    The demographic for your class is very similar to mine; however, I am in a team teaching environment where I work with a special education teacher who helps me adapt my curriculum to the needs of the students on IEPs and 804 plans (same as your IPP). Since I do have students in my class who should be in honors literature as well as students who need very specific accommodations, we treat the class as if it has two teachers. She will handle some lessons and I handle others. We both attend parent conferences and hold study sessions. I work almost exclusively with the students who will be tracked to Advanced Placement and she works with those who are special needs; however, we do this discreetly to maintain the integrity of the inclusion environment.

    To have as many kids in your class who require accommodations is a detriment to their education as well as your sanity. You cannot do that alone and be successful.

    This is my ninth year as a teacher and I have often thought of leaving. We are in a unique profession. I have never been a banker or a drill sergeant or a lawyer, so I cannot tell them how to do their jobs. I don't even have an inkling of what they do (maybe lawyers...I am also a Mock Trial coach!). However, everyone has been in a classroom and somehow people feel they know what we do because they know teachers. Few people realize how difficult it is to do what we do. I graded papers all day Wednesday, Thursday morning before Thanksgiving chaos, Friday, and Saturday morning before my run (and after the Arsenal game). I woke up early today to grade before the Fulham match. Still not close to completing the 130 projects, tests, essays, and quizzes I have littering my office. I will be at school until 7pm tomorrow before I meet with my Mock Trial team. My commute is about two hours round trip, I grade from the time I get home until the time I go to bed (becasue my school day is clogged with answering parent queries, planning lessons and attending meetings). The idea that we have all this time to do what we do is so far from reality. It's brutal...and the only real holiday is usually summer vacation (or those brief, beautiful days between summer school sessions!). Let's not forget, it is the only job you have to PAY for in order to receive a pay raise (in the form of Masters, Professional, and Doctorate degrees).

    But I love it. I can't think of anything else I would rather do...but it does take time. How long have you been a teacher? Many who enter the profession leave after the second year because of everything I've just mentioned. Sadly, it takes about three or four for you to figure out how to balance such a schedule. I would investigate the requirements for a special education inclusion classroom. I am particularly concerned with the fact that it appears YOU are not receiving any accommodations...we need a hand as well.

    Good luck :)! Sometimes teaching may not feel like it, but it is worth it!
  7. andyns

    andyns New Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    Halifax, Canada
    Thanks for the replies folks.

    Terri, I do have someone that helps with some of the kids. It's not a team teaching thing, she's not even a teacher, she just comes in once in awhile to work with the kids that need it.

    This is only my second year teaching, and it is a lot of work, but that's not why I would quit. I would quit because I don't agree with the system, I don't agree with basically everything that is done. Such as:

    - I don't support the so called "inclusive classroom". I support streaming students
    - I disagree with the huge emphasis put on learning French, especially when a child is struggling badly with English
    - I disagree with flooding the curriculum with African-Canadian courses
    - I disagree with putting a huge emphasis on Canadian history
    - I disagree with the push for an African-Canadian only school
    - I disagree with out of school suspensions
    - I disagree with forcing kids to stay in school to 16 or 18
    - I disagree with passing kids who fail
    - I disagree with our new discipline strategy, which is to give little "Gotcha" stickers to kids who are "caught" doing something good
    - I disagree with our phonecall protocol. I don't do this, but we are required to phone 5 parents per week to report on their child's progress. At least 3 have to be positive.
    - And I disagree with our strategy to handle bullies. I.E. do nothing.

    That's all I can think of now. Maybe I will try to teach internationally, because there are a lot of schools and countries that I do support and admire. There is an international job fair in Toronto in February, so I might go to that. I think my girlfriend and I are going to break up soon, so I would be able to move without luggage.
  8. PaydayC4

    PaydayC4 New Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I feel you Andy. I'm also a second year teacher. I came into teaching gung-ho thinking I could change the world and I saw a lot of what you are describing (not so crazy as your situation though). I'm not so enamored with the world of education now.

    Currently, I teach high school so we can fail students especially if they put in no effort. The high school teachers blame the middle school environment (passing kids when they have no business moving on and a lot of the babying that happens) and we in turn get blamed by colleges and universities for the same thing. I am not in any team teaching class but they have started more inclusionary classes as they got rid of our lowest levels recently so I get all the lower-end and middle-end students in one class and the scores/effort levels are so wide that it drives me nuts in the classroom.

    In addition to all that, I'm a social studies teacher which means in order to get my current job, I needed to coach something (I get to coach cross country and Academic Decathlon). I have no life in the fall (i.e. the beginning of Fulham's season, which I dread missing).

    Anyways, I hope times get better for you. I am also looking into something international if there's nothing to keep me in Atlanta. I hear they are looking for people with three years experience and a masters degree at the minimum so good luck with that.


    (I'm currently working on lesson plans and grading assignments right now. We need our summers...thank you very much.)
  9. Spencer

    Spencer Active Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    Wow thats brilliant!
  10. terrinh73

    terrinh73 Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Let's not forget who is making such ridiculous policies we teachers must follow: mainly people who have never been in a classroom or have not been in a classroom for years.

    Andy- I do feel for you. Let me know if you want any strategies to make your life a little easier...at least until the end of the year.

  11. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    andyns, if you disagree with so much about the system then I think that you should quit and quit with that message. Enough teachers may do the same and things will have to change. Go teach in a private school where you dont have to deal with the inclusive classroom. You will still be teaching and influencing lives. Yes, it would be more rewarding to influence the lives of more disadvantaged children, but maybe not if it's in a system where you would feel you are failing to help too many of them.

    I never thought that I would advocate someone quiting anything but I do fear for public education in the US (sounds like your system in Canada is similar). In my children's public school, the teachers are everything - teacher, parent, social worker, nutritionists, coach, etc. We all understand why this has happened but it has gone too far and is ridiculous. Why make teachers and schools play the role of parent. If we have parents failing their children, this is our society's problem, not our schools problem. Teachers are second only to parents when it comes to influencing a child so let them teach. Help the children whose parents cant or wont do their job through boys/girls clubs, churches, culture, media, etc.

    Our local school district has failed to show adequate improvement with its African American students and special needs students so it has been given a continuous improvement rating. If this rating doesnt improve by next year there will be consequences. Never mind the fact that our African American students score significantly higher on tests than the state average for African American students (i.e progress required for a group that is already better served by our district than by any other district in the state) and never mind the fact that our special needs students are mainstreamed with students who learn differently. Our school district will put a lot of resources into fixing these test scores over the next year, and the only thing that I can be certain of is that to some degree it will drag the entire school district down.

    Instead of trying to improve our science and math education so that maybe we can address the need for alternative energy sources, we have decided to concentrate on making our schools work for every single student. And to do this we impose an environment where everyone is to be treated like they are equal and special at the same time. Tell me anything in this world that has ever worked for everyone.
  12. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Why is everyone tiptoeing around the 'elephant'?

    "We all know why" does not describe the 'elephant'.

    THIS describes the ELEPHANT

    Battle-scarred LAUSD ’sub’ speaks out

    Edited Jan 2016 to update Link, author had moved Blog sites
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  13. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Well that is not the "we all know why" that I was talking about. The "elephant" is one because there are a lot of reasons why our schools are taking a nose-dive. It is not Republican vs. Democrat or Brown vs. the Board. Those reasons are too black-n-white/good vs. evil
  14. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    The 'elephant' is the politicization of the schools, the influences and intransigence of the teachers' unions and the use of 'victimhood' to subvert any pretence of discipline in the schools.

    Tell me... how influential is PTA/PTO in your districts, and who is it runs them?
  15. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Yes PFog, I cant disagree with those reasons. I would include them among my many reasons for the problems in our schools.

    PTOs have been replacing PTAs for the sole reason that they are not supposed to be political and partisan the way PTA's were becoming. I dont think that our PTO is political or influential in our district, but it does plenty of annoying stuff. One year they tried to cancel the science and math fair that I organize because very few of our African American kids attend - they considered it an unfair way to spend our money. Then the PTO gave my son some free books from a book fair. They felt sorry for him because his stingy parents prefer to check books out at the library rather than destroy trees so that he can have every book that he wants.
  16. Bracey

    Bracey New Member

    Sep 12, 2007
    Reading South East England
    I have never met you and I have never been to Canada.You sound like the person i wanted to be my teacher when I was at school.I'm in my late 30's and went to school in the north of England in the 1980's.Depressing is'nt the word, people in my class openly smoked drugs, 2 mates of my got beaten up and ended up in hospital, in the end i just stoped going-I was 15
    You sound like you care about the kids big time and you care about the job-that sounds like a bloody good teacher to me!!
  17. Jensers

    Jensers New Member

    Apr 18, 2007
    Royal City, Wa
    I have mentioned many times that I teach. So much of the battle is finding the right district with the right staff and the right administrators.

    Problem is - all that changes over time, but if you have enough core people you can keep the same policy and vibe going - as long as the students perform.

    It doesnt need to be said because it is an obvious fact - but yes - the educational system is jacked and it has been for a very long time. I dont know that there will ever be systematic change.

    For me - I love the kids, I enjoy the interaction with them - I love the subject matter (Science), and in the end... I shut the door and say - "To Hell with our Government," and just try to do what is best for the individual students in my room.

    A good district, and a good administrator will do that as well.
  18. terrinh73

    terrinh73 Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Amen, Jens...
  19. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Great attidtude Jens and Terrinh73. Best of luck and hopefully some of us complainers can bring about positive changes.
  20. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Here's an interesting read on the subject

    It supports many of the views expressed on here, plus has some rather glum statistics... indirectly showing WHY the NEA is such a malign influence.

    Yes.. the bottom continues to be: "Teaching is a Calling" like being a missionary. Which is WHY 'Credentials to teach' is such a stupid STUPID idea.

    Edited Jan 2016 to update the link address {site reindexed it content}
    - pf
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
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