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Meeting update - recovery in action

Old 04-09-2013, 10:43 AM
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Meeting update - recovery in action

Met with Superintendent this morning (after a night of anxiety and tossing and turning).

I was nervous and said so right off the bat. First I thanked him for meeting with me. Then acknowledged this was not easy to talk about; something to the effect of "rather than pretend this is easy, I want to tell you my concerns are difficult to talk about but whether I am here or not next year the program I work in needs to change for the benefit of the kids and I'm hoping you can be helpful in making that happen"

That's a paraphrasing of what I said.

Then I said what I saw the potential of the program being, what I have proposed during the year (with the proposals with me), how I see my proposals benefitting the students and lastly, the dillema I have had in wanting to implement changes to improve the program (bc it is not a program at all right now) but not wanting to go against directions from my supervisor. He asked me when I'd tried to have meetings to go over these proposals and I had dates and emails.

I shocked myself with how calm I was and how positive I kept it and how I focussed everything I said on what would benefit the students (bc that's what I believe).

I said that I knew my supervisor was in a new role herself this year and exceptionally busy and that I believe she is as committed to this program as me but perhaps too busy to be able to meet. And I said that I hadn't just forged ahead with significant changes because that wasn't my place (he agreed and said it sounded like I'd done exactly what I should).

He stated he was meeting with my supervisor at 9 and was going to speak to her and set up a meeting for the 3 of us to discuss the future of the program and address my concerns.

In the past I would have been scared at this idea but I realized when I left the meeting that I have integrity and truth on my side and I will not defend/explain/justify. I will relay my same concerns, outline the facts of what I have done, and if my boss wants to accuse and be negative I won't defend myself. I will let the facts speak for themselves.

I was a mess going into this and whether anything changes because of this or not, I am glad I did this. I stood up for what's right and for myself and my students. My boss can dislike me and speak ill of me and perhaps others will believe her, but I conducted myself as well as I could have imagined this morning, I didn't blame or sound negative and either my Superintendent will believe me or my boss and in the end there's not a thing I can do to control that.

I'm feeling like this is the serenity prayer in action for sure.

I accept that I can't control what others opinions are and whether others believe half truths about me. I can't change how my supervisor behaves in the name of covering her own hide.

I can control the job I do (a good one) and the truth that I told today and how I presented it (what was best for kids and concrete steps that would improve the program) and my past successful experience running programs like this.

And for once I know the difference! So instead of trying to convince my Superintendent about who I am or convince him that my boss is dishonest and has been unfair etc... I focussed on me and my message separate from what my boss' message might be.

And I feel really successful in dealing with a conflict in what may be the first time ever I dealt with it healthily and non emotionally!!!!!

Thank you all for helping me navigate this meeting and giving me the advice you did. I am grateful to you all!
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:40 PM
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Well done!
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:15 PM
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You are an inspiration WTBH!

And I feel really successful in dealing with a conflict in what may be the first time ever I dealt with it healthily and non emotionally!!!!!
You feel successful because you are successful! This is so exciting. More good things are coming your way WTBH.
Thank you so much for sharing, it helps me to hear how others are doing it.

Beth
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:15 PM
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WOW!!!!! Way to go!!!!!

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Old 04-09-2013, 05:16 PM
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:15 PM
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Yeah so the newest update as of 3 pm is that coincidentally (I think not) I got told by my boss NOT to go to a department meeting after school and instead got pulled into her office.

She sat me down and told me she'd had a parent complaint on Monday about me. I asked her to explain and she told me a story about a student who felt I'd been unfair on Friday. I pointed out that that student was absent Friday and asked what was really going on. She turned about 100 shades of red and said "after careful consideration I decided to recommend you TODAY to Dr. X (superintendent) for non renewal".

She met with him an hour after me and I'm guessing was questioned about my concerns and this is renewal (or not) time of year so she did the only thing she could (well, she could have been honest and taken responsibility) and told him I suck and gave her recommendation which by the district policy he HAS to present to the board.

So I have no job after June.

I'm having a rough time accepting this with grace and being okay. I am panicked, a non renewal is like a scarlet letter in teaching, it implies you suck. I have nothing but positive reviews but none of it matters. All that matters until you have tenure is that moment when you are either renewed or not.

I feel worst of all for my students who are already troubled, at risk kids who have given me their trust finally. They have had 3 teachers in 3 years and there will be another new teacher next year. It seems so wrong.

Several other staff who began with me this summer (this is my first year there) were also given the same speech today. They too are good teachers.

I am panicked about finding a job. Majorly.

I don't regret talking to the superintendent at all still and I know deep down I couldn't have done anything differently but it still hurts. I busted my butt all year, I have had other case managers come to me for advice/help with IEP's, I am really good with the tough kids I teach and the thanks I get is to not have a job next year.

The district is being funded largely by grants and a huge one wasn't renewed so my guess is that administrators were told to cut people high on the pay scale (which I was bc of years of experience and degrees). All the people cut today have 10 plus years of experience. It's really crummy in teaching that contracts thanks to unions are based on how long you have been in a district and not on merit and competency.

I'm really, really down and really, really panicked about finances.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:41 PM
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Is there an appeal process? This is retaliation, plain and simple and I would report her at once.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:56 PM
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I am sorry WTBH.
I believe in you.
This is a sad day for you and all the students. Dammit.
I will keep you in my thoughts.

Beth
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:16 AM
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I'm glad that you were able to talk to the superintendent and that it went well. I'm sorry that budget cuts have cause you to lose your job, but at least your won't have to deal with that paranoid and manipulative supervisor anymore?!

I will be sending good thoughts and prayers for another position to come along for you very soon!!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by hydrogirl View Post
I'm glad that you were able to talk to the superintendent and that it went well. I'm sorry that budget cuts have cause you to lose your job, but at least your won't have to deal with that paranoid and manipulative supervisor anymore?!

I will be sending good thoughts and prayers for another position to come along for you very soon!!!



Yep. It's such great news that you are going to lose your job and panicked about finances...

WTF?

WTBH, in my experience any anger you have toward this unfair situation is well placed and healthy. You were screwed over.

To save yourself further pain, can you now direct any anger you might have toward healthy pursuits, that being getting a more fabulous and better job?

You could throw everything you have at this pack of pricks and fight them tooth and nail, but that is an exhausting thought and process which would take months and months. If you are up to it, do it. I know I couldn't.

However, I'd throw whatever mud I could spare at them, legally etc, (without being splattered myself) while at the same time, moving on.

Serve it cold, if you know what I mean...
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:05 AM
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She sat me down and told me she'd had a parent complaint on Monday about me. I asked her to explain and she told me a story about a student who felt I'd been unfair on Friday. I pointed out that that student was absent Friday and asked what was really going on. She turned about 100 shades of red and said "after careful consideration I decided to recommend you TODAY to Dr. X (superintendent) for non renewal".

She met with him an hour after me and I'm guessing was questioned about my concerns and this is renewal (or not) time of year so she did the only thing she could (well, she could have been honest and taken responsibility) and told him I suck and gave her recommendation which by the district policy he HAS to present to the board.
If I were in this situation, I would follow two lines of action:

1) Let the superintendent know that you feel this is retaliation on the part of your supervisor, let the chips fall where they may.

2) Start hoofing it for a better job, STAT.

I'm having a rough time accepting this with grace and being okay. I am panicked, a non renewal is like a scarlet letter in teaching, it implies you suck. I have nothing but positive reviews but none of it matters. All that matters until you have tenure is that moment when you are either renewed or not.
Take a step back and look at the teaching industry as a whole. It's in crisis, people are being laid off left and right. You were not the only one let go yesterday -- in future interviews, call it a "lay off" that affected a handful of teachers in this program and keep your comments in future hiring processes about the successes of this program and your love of the kids. If asked in more detail, explain that you also had a difficult supervisor and it was not a good fit for either of you. Good teachers are being non-renewed every year and it's all money and politics -- ESPECIALLY when you get into special ed of any form. You don't have to present any ONE explanation for the loss of this job.

Give yourself some time to be really pissed off about this, but don't let the stinking thinking send you into a panic.

You've had quite a year! xx
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:07 AM
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First of all: great on the meeting. It sounds like you did a great job meeting with him.

Second: is there an appeals process? Can you meet with the superintendent again? Because that is retaliation. (It might also be discrimination if you are a member of a protected class.)
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:42 AM
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Oh, believe me, I understand, sympathize, and empathize with a panic over finances and job loss. I've been in the same position a couple of times in my life. Forgive me if it seems I was being blase about this situation in which you have found yourself. Anger is a very natural emotion to feel in this situation.

One thing came to my mind and it is something I have learned from the members here at SR. Rarely is any situation improved by the application of complete and utter panic. So, I was trying to look at the bright side in that -- at least you won't have to deal with this paritcular supervisor anymore. It sounds like you have valuable skills and excellent experience to offer any educational system. I hope that these outstanding qualifications of yours will make you an outstanding candidate for any other job opportunity that arises!

Please don't hesitate to vent away here any time you feel the need!

Last edited by Seren; 04-10-2013 at 01:57 PM. Reason: spelling, ugh!
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:08 AM
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[QUOTE] I'm glad that you were able to talk to the superintendent and that it went well. I'm sorry that budget cuts have cause you to lose your job, but at least your won't have to deal with that paranoid and manipulative supervisor anymore?![QUOTE]

Hydrogirl- I agree completely and didn't take this as at all being blase... No worries. My supervisor has been a nightmare and I've dreaded the days she's in this building most of the year so while I do have the practicalities of finances and worry about future employment, I am not heartbroken the way I would be if this were a dream job.

In all honesty I am tired of Special Ed. I left reg ed teaching about 6 years ago and miss it so maybe as bad as this is right now, it's a sign that I should get my butt in gear and find a job I really love. I taught middle school history for years and that is what I love above all. So, I am already on the hunt for a job and will see where it takes me.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
If I were in this situation, I would follow two lines of action:

1) Let the superintendent know that you feel this is retaliation on the part of your supervisor, let the chips fall where they may.

2) Start hoofing it for a better job, STAT.
Done and Done.

I posted to you all then gathered myself and emailed the superintendent. Told him the facts. I'd had a meeting, what was said, what my response was and that I will accept the non renewal if the board approves it but thought he as the District head ought to know the following: then I outlined a few specifics that are directly related to teacher eval that have been poorly handled by my supervisor (some heavier stuff and presented a lot more bluntly than my diplomacy in the morning). I was professional, didn't plead, didn't defend but was factual and called my supervisor out on some significant unprofessional antics.

I also told him that what matters most to me (bc it's true) is that the kids have access to the services they need and deserve and that whomever takes over for me really needs the support/ability to create a program that does that without resistance and opposition from the supervisor like I've experienced all year.

I think in all honesty, even if the Superintendent goes to bat for me and I retain my job, I would not stay. If my supervisor remains here it will be the same nightmare next year too. I feel terrible for the kids and whomever takes over and hope that my speaking up DOES make a difference in terms of my supervisor having someone looking at her so that the kids can get the program they deserve.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:23 AM
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To address the "do I have recourse" type of question. No. I am in NH, it's an at will employment state, teachers are not a protected category/class and I am not a minority or disabled etc... with any protections.

At any time in a teachers first 5 years in a district you can be let go for any reason, at any time, without cause, with no explanation and the fact that you might have glowing observations and an impeccable record makes no difference. After 5 years with tenure, teachers have rights.

So, in a time of budget cuts and school districts being run by grants because towns fight taxes and taxes fund the schools, teachers who are high on a pay scale are usually the first to go.

I'm disappointed that my supervisor didn't just do it decently. Why build a case against me, malign me after praising me all year and clearly retaliate because I go to her supervisor only after 7 months of asking her to meet to create a program or approve of my ideas.

It's so blatantly obvious that she retaliated but I have no rights.

I won't fight it, there's no point.

I did email the superintendent as I explained a few posts up but forgot to add that he replied this morning and thanked me for the email and said he would be looking into what was happpening and be back in touch by Monday.

I don't know if that's anything more than diplomacy on his part (though he is a friend of my aunt and uncle and we've had a collegial relationship this year) but nonetheless I appreciate his professionalism in light of how grossly unprofessional my supervisor is.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:27 AM
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It sounds like a stressful situation backwards and forwards. I really, really hope you find something that is wonderful and happy... and at the very least not soul destroying dreading-coming-to-work-every-day.

****{hugs}}}
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:49 AM
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WTBH,

I'm sorry to hear about the non-renewal, but you know what? You conducted yourself with grace and dignity. You did not burn any bridges. And the outcome of all of this may be that you land in a new job that is a much better fit with better opportunities.

I had a new supervisor come into my unit several years ago, who I had always considered sort of a friend. She was a nightmare as a supervisor. She did not treat me with respect, she allowed others--people I was responsible for supervising--to undermine me. I loved the work, but working for her was awful. Eventually I was transferred to another unit, lost my own supervisory title (though not the money), where I did NOT want to be. I hung in, did the best work that I could until it was time for me to retire.

When I DID retire, I was able to land this awesome new job, based in large part on the experience I had in my last (unwanted) assignment, and my former (difficult) supervisor gave me a glowing recommendation that helped me get hired here.

So I am convinced that even these challenging situations often do turn out the way they should. Sometimes it can be very, very difficult and discouraging for a time, but as long as you maintain your own dignity and do the "next right thing," things have a way of working out for the best.

Hang in there--good things may be just around the corner!
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:08 AM
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will start a new thread with the "good things around the corner" that actually have materialized a bit since yesterday....
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