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 [...]

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 [...]

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