Teacher has no time to teach (badly needed) social-emotional skills

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Q: I’m an 8th-grade language arts teacher in a public school in California. My school talks a big game about educating the “whole child,” but we need every minute to get through the curriculum. My students need more than academics, though. I’m amazed at how rude they can be --- to me, to each other, [...]

School shootings: Educators have more questions than answers

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  In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, teachers, principals and superintendents everywhere have questions. “We’re expected to play so many roles these days, from social worker to parent to nurse, and now we’re expected to be human shields,” one teacher says. “I run through scenarios. I visualize [...]

How do I decide whether to email, call or meet with a parent?

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Q: My principal is always telling us to carefully consider how we communicate with parents. We're required to reply to emails within 24 hours, but sometimes she says we should just call them instead. Unless, of course, it would be best for us to meet with them in person. This is NOT intuitive for me.  I've [...]

Teacher struggles to involve parents from all cultural backgrounds 

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Q: I’m an elementary school teacher, and I welcome parent involvement. We have a large immigrant population in my school. Without fail, the parents who come on field trips, volunteer to read the students stories, or act as room parents are the U.S.-born parents. I think there are several issues at play. In some cases, there are language [...]

Confronting a teacher with disturbing behavior   

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Q: I’m a principal, and one of the teachers in my school is in a bad state. He doesn’t practice proper hygiene and often takes off “ill” in the middle of the day. He’s forgetful, irresponsible, and seems to have an altered view of reality. Conversations indicate that his perception of events is off, whether he’s [...]

What should teacher do if coworker lied on resume? 

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Q: I’m in a weird position. I work at a high school, and I have a pretty good relationship with another teacher in my science department. He’s a respected teacher. The kids like him, and they perform well on the AP bio exam after taking his course. He’s been at the school for four years, and [...]

Teacher can’t move beyond her mistake

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Q: I’m a high school math teacher. Five months ago, I made a stupid mistake. I accidentally sent personal information about one of the students in my class to a different student’s parents. I not only shared that this kid was failing, I expressed concern about his mental health. I know. The second parent knew the [...]

Principal frustrated by rigid teacher’s lack of empathy

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Q: I’m a principal at a large public high school in Wisconsin. As principal, I know some teachers will need more hand-holding than others, but one of my 9th-grade science teachers is really giving me a run for the money. She’s actually a competent teacher. Her students leave her class with a solid knowledge base, she [...]

How should principal handle teacher’s vague sexual harassment report? 

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Q: I’m a principal, and one of my teachers recently confided in me that she’s been sexually harassed by a male colleague. She said that he’s been asking her to perform sexual acts and making sexual comments. As she spoke, I had this gut sense that she’d been sexually assaulted and asked her if he’d made [...]

I want to advance, but my principal plays favorites

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Q: I work in a highly regarded school that’s full of ambitious people, including myself. I’d like to be an administrator. Even our principal wants to be promoted to director and oversee other principals. He makes self-serving decisions about which teachers to support. He caters to staff members he thinks might have useful connections in [...]

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