Disagreeing with a school discipline practice

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m an 8th-grade teacher in Massachusetts, and our public school serves an at-risk population. It’s not uncommon for our students to throw chairs or get in fights. We’re trained to use physical restraint as needed, but as a small woman I don’t feel comfortable doing that. Some of the 14-year-olds are twice my size. [...]

Is it ethical for teacher to pitch his summer camp to his students?

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a teacher in Massachusetts, and I take on tutoring jobs to supplement my income. I’m very careful to make sure that when I tutor, I only work with kids I don’t teach. Tutoring my own students would be a clear conflict of interest. However, things seem fuzzier when it comes to teachers who run [...]

Is it ever OK for a principal to poach a teacher from another school in his own district?

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a high school principal in a large public school district. I know that one of my physics teachers plans to leave to work for a start-up tech firm in a year. He’s been very up front with me about his plans. Years ago, I worked with a phenomenal physics teacher. He’s teaching at another [...]

Is teaching in a private school better?

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m a public school teacher, and I’m contemplating a switch to private. I’m so torn. I’m really sick of the emphasis on testing and the huge amount of paperwork and bureaucracy in public. I like the idea of having more teaching freedom. I worry that I’ll mainly be teaching students of privilege, will give up [...]

When the principal has a drinking problem

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I adore my principal, but he has a drinking problem that’s getting in the way of his ability to do his job. I want him to get help, but I don’t want to hurt his reputation by reporting him. I also don’t want to jeopardize my own career if he’s retaliatory. If he were my [...]

When a teacher’s behavior is erratic

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m an assistant principal, and one of the teachers I supervise is becoming a problem. He’s never been the most steady or organized teacher, but now he seems to have taken a nosedive. The kids go home and tell their parents that he can’t remember what he assigned, that he loses their papers and that [...]

Reining in helicopter parents

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I love parents, I really do. I’m a middle school English teacher, and my students do better when they go home to involved, caring parents. Except lately it seems like there are so many parents who have trouble knowing where their child’s life ends and their own begins. These are the parents who want [...]

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