School politics irritate teacher

Career Confidential|

   Q: I’m a second-year teacher, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around school politics. Several of my colleagues vie to be our principal’s favorite, even if that means tons of kissing up and self-promotion. These teachers are the quickest to volunteer for after-school clubs and take on team leader positions despite the fact that there’s no stipend. They actually compete  for these [...]

School board member feels unfairly attacked 

Career Confidential|

   Q:  I’m a member of a school board in a town in Massachusetts. I was in a grocery store last week when a woman confronted me. She got right up in my face and practically spit at me as she asked, “Why wasn’t Mr. Hull’s contract renewed?” I was taken aback. I said, “I’m [...]

School counselor’s hateful tweets worry principal

Career Confidential|

   Q:  I’m a principal who uses Twitter to share school news. Our student body is diverse, much like our district as a whole, and we have a lot of immigrant families. I’m always looking for ways to make students and their families feel welcome, and I train my staff in issues of equity, social justice, implicit bias, and [...]

Gossip has teacher nervous about returning to her last school 

Career Confidential|

Q:  Two years ago, I decided to leave the middle school where I taught English. I was happy there but a little stale, and I wanted a better commute. I also thought I might prefer teaching high school. After a year working in a high school closer to home, I knew I wanted to go back to [...]

Compliance specialist to principals: Call before it’s a crisis 

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a compliance specialist in a large district in New York. I’ve worked in my department for years, so I’ve learned how to handle a wide range of issues. Some of the same scenarios pop up year after year, and very few things stump me. And yet, the same principals reach out to me over [...]

9 ways educators can fight corruption

Career, Career Confidential|

Q:  A teacher I work with was shaking as he told me a senior had failed his class — one he needed to graduate. My colleague knew his supervisors were upset with him even though he had given the student plenty of chances. I said, “Look, I’m sure you did what you’re supposed to do [...]

Teacher feels threatened by colleague’s public recognition 

Career, Career Confidential|

Q:   I’m a teacher in a district where the central office recognizes outstanding educators at the elementary, middle, and high school levels with an annual “best educator” award. There’s a big hoopla and ceremony involving the Board of Education and County Council members and even local businesses, and the chosen teachers get a stipend for continuing [...]

Principal upset by staff response to school climate surveys

Career, Career Confidential|

Q:  I’m your typical “open door” principal. I have a parade of teachers coming in and out all day long to share concerns or solicit advice. I don’t think I come off as arrogant or unyielding. I’m very personable! (At least I think I am, based on my stream of visitors.) And yet, whenever my [...]

Burnout prevention: 3 ways teachers can recharge their batteries

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a seventh-grade teacher, and I’m so fried. This year kicked my butt, though I can’t put my finger on any specific “why.” Today is the last day for students, and I’m already dreading returning in the fall. I love teaching, and I really love my students, but I feel like I’m a living to-do [...]

What can principal do about aggressive parents who attack him, his staff? 

Career, Career Confidential|

  Q: I’m a principal, and there are two or three parents that attack me or my staff regularly, often on email. They threaten to call the police, sue us, beat us up by the flagpole (kidding, kind of), etc. We’ve had countless face-to-face meetings with them, I've engaged my boss, tried to get help from central [...]

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