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 [...]

Defending your summer ‘break’

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I always have the same annoyance this time of year. It feels like everyone I encounter tells me how lucky I am to have a job that allows me to “take it easy” all summer. Some people can barely hide their resentment. Occasionally, they’ll tell me I was so smart to choose a job with [...]

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 [...]

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