Educator wants to ‘grow in place,’ but she’s facing resistance 

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I’m part of a special education department at a large high school. I’ve been in the same position for 15 years. Even after all this time, I love what I do and want to remain in my position. At the same time, I’d like to take on new challenges. I feel like I’m stuck [...]

Teacher is upset with counselor for withholding information

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Q: I just got a new student in my 7th-grade English class. He seems really troubled. He steals supplies, knocks papers off my desk when he’s mad and makes crass sexual comments to the girls. He's in 7th grade but can barely read. To say he's disrespectful would be an understatement. When I went to [...]

Not like the rest: Should teacher conform to be like coworkers?

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Q:  I’m a middle school teacher, and I don’t fit the mold at my school. It’s a pretty straight-and-narrow place. People talk about their kids, their new countertops, or the weather. I’m not following a traditional life path. I’m not interested in any of those topics. I often wish I could whip out my phone [...]

Teacher likes to eat alone, but misses out when coworkers talk shop at lunch

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: As teachers, we all have students who eat lunch alone. They’d rather get lost in a book or stare at a wall than talk with their peers. We worry about them and want them to be more socialized. But wait! I think I am that person as an adult! When it comes to lunch time, [...]

Teacher can’t resolve ongoing conflict with colleague

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Q: I’ve been clashing with a coworker, Natalie, over the most ridiculous things. We’re both teachers, so it’s not a supervisory relationship, and I don’t know what her problem is with me. From the get-go, she’s been cold. I’ve always been friendly anyway. But then she started picking fights. She confronts me about things like [...]

Lack of organization puts teacher’s job on the line

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Q:  I teach middle school science. Last year, I got written up for not meeting standards. I lost students’ papers and quizzes and didn’t return them within the required time frame. Grading is a problem for me, but sometimes it's not my fault. Kids will either pretend they handed in work or will forget to [...]

New principal is already butting heads with staff

Career, Career Confidential|

Q:  I’m a high school principal in Michigan. I was assigned to a new school in my district because I have a track record of turning around struggling schools. Not something I wanted, but it is what it is. I’m not the easiest person, but I get the job done. It was hard to leave [...]

Teacher hates a student, but sticking it out could be life-changing for both

Career, Career Confidential|

Q: I really can't stand a specific student. I just found out he will be in my class again this year. Teaching him once was more than enough! I know it's not politically correct to hate a student, but this kid is the worst. I've tried every classroom management strategy, but he just pushes all [...]

Teacher resents being told to assign antiquated work

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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

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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 [...]

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