Teacher resents being told to assign antiquated work

Career Confidential|

Q: I’ve been teaching math for four years but will be new at my school this year. I’m also about 35 years younger than the head of my department. He assigned his incoming students pages and pages of summer math problems. They’re pretty brainless, rote stuff. It’s the kind of antiquated homework I did as [...]

Teacher wonders if she should give in to double standard

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a female high school history teacher, and I’ll freely admit that I’m demanding. I don’t let my students dial it in, whether it’s a class discussion, an essay prompt, or an exam question. I insist on rigorous analysis and critical thinking. I don’t inflate grades, and I don’t give extensions without good reason. I [...]

Part-time teacher feels like a second-class citizen

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I work part time as a teacher. I made this decision after working full time for years. The tipping point was having my second baby. My husband travels frequently because he consults for an out-of-state client so I wanted more flexibility. My principal totally gets it, and she’s been super supportive, down to freeing up [...]

Is it necessary to push college readiness in middle school?

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a counselor at a public middle school in a high-achieving area. Our students are so stressed that we expend a disproportionate amount of energy counteracting the academic pressure. We have a crazy number of kids with suicidal ideation, cutting, and other self-harming behaviors. My large school system now wants us to adopt an [...]

Don’t make me talk to adults! Public speaking isn’t my thing

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I teach in a school in an area where lots of districts have open enrollment choice plans so parents can select any school they want for their children. Our school is really good, but we’re having trouble ramping up our enrollment, and my principal is understandably anxious. She wants teachers to “get out there” [...]

Is gender bias to blame for teacher’s firing?

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I just had a startling conversation with a colleague, Naomi, who’s a high school department chair. She told me she was feeling guilty because she had maneuvered to cut a teacher’s job. This teacher, Sandra, recently had her fourth baby. “I feel bad,” Naomi said, “but honestly, I think she should be home with her [...]

Prayer at a public school staff meeting?

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: Last week was the staff’s first day back at work to start the new school year. Of course, we had a staff meeting, and the principal began by asking us all to bow our heads for a prayer. Honestly, I was too shocked to say anything at all. I work with a lot of teachers [...]

Will job-hopping damage millennial teacher’s career?

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a teacher who’s part of the millennial generation. As a group, we have a reputation for not being especially loyal to employers and for job hopping when better opportunities come along. I guess that means I’m a cliché. I can’t imagine spending five, let alone 15 years (or more) in the same school. [...]

Teacher is sick of being the ‘go-to gay guy’

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I'm a gay man who teaches 7th-grade social studies. I'm the only (openly) gay teacher in my building. As a result, I've become the go-to gay guy. Questions about homophobic graffiti or bullying or gender-neutral bathrooms all come my way. I'm happy to be a resource for parents whose kids are coming out or [...]

Teacher keeps failing to land a job as an administrator

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a teacher who wants to be an administrator. I did all the training to change tracks, and I took on a team leadership position in my school to build my resume. I told everyone I worked with about my plans, and then I interviewed for jobs. I had four interviews but didn’t get [...]

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