Moving forward when someone hears but just won’t listen

Before I get into the heart of the issue I have to give a little backstory.

Last week my ADEPT teacher leader came to observe me. A few days later she emailed the observation to me. Most of her comments were favorable. She mentioned a few things that I needed to add to my notebook as well. Then when it came to classroom environment (Read: classroom management) she had nothing good to say.

I went to my Instructional Coach to balance what we had talked about earlier that day concerning that class period and what the Teacher Leader had to say. I hate to say it but she didn’t really answer my question. The more I think about it the more I realize that she hasn’t really ever answered my questions in any concrete manner.

The next day she came and observed. Then she told me that she would help me simplify the rules she already helped me simplify and come up with other procedures and routines. Honestly, I don’t really think that’s the problem. She told me that she would come by the following day. She didn’t come by until yesterday to ask me about my professional development  points and mentioned that she had been thinking all weekend of things to help me. We didn’t have time then so she asked for a good time. I said today because I needed time then.

When she came out of her office today my stomach sank. She is such a nice woman. I believe that she’s a Christian but she talks a lot. That’s an understatement. When I saw her I thought of all the bellringer papers sitting on my desk, along with the final drafts and rubrics for 1st period’s project as well as two periods worth of exit slips to go through. I sent up a prayer and went back to my room where she was standing at the door peering in. (The sight made me laugh a little.)

I won’t go into details about the conversation. I’ll simply lay out generalities.

First she took out a paper with some simplified rules very similar to the expectations I already have. To be honest, that’s not really the problem with that class. The students know the procedures they just have a problem when I call them on not following it. I told her point blank that I already had something similar to that and that we had already simplified what I had at the beginning of the year. She said okay and moved onto something she calls CHARM, a process to clarify things for students.

Basically, at this point I informed her about what had happened with those specific boys on Monday (detentions…4th step, and parents cutting me off and requesting conferences with me and the administrator…the same boys whose parents went to the administrator and got them out of detentions last week), the parents’ responses and dealing with them since then.

It felt like she heard me or at least the sound of my words reached her brain but she didn’t really listen to what I was saying.

I kept explaining that the boys’ behavior was extremely disruptive and entitled. Her suggestion was to back away from the step plan, the concrete form of discipline that she herself said would be very helpful for me. After I tried to explain it a second time I realized that I was making absolutely no headway. The only thing I succeeded in doing was making her talk more and take up more planning period time.

Then I tried to express to her that I wasn’t worrying, that I was taking the no stress approach. She immediately countered and said that this is something that I should be worrying about. She said over and over again that it was extremely important. I felt like rolling my eyes. Obviously I didn’t. I told her that I considered it extremely important but I was simply taking a no-stress approach.

Her continued insistence that I should worry bothered me. If she’s a Christian, which I think she is, then worry should not be part of her vocabulary. Even if I hadn’t already made the decision that I would be leaving at the end of the year I would be praying and depending on God as much as possible so that I would not freak out.

Now that I’ve come to this realization about my IC I know that I really won’t ever get the support that I need from her. I wish that I could but I have to learn how to take these steps without her. Actually, I think that this whole episode was a step in itself. I have learned more about how to interpret other people’s behavior. I have learned more about what words for me as a teacher. I have learned when to simply smile and nod.

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1 Comment

Filed under teaching

One response to “Moving forward when someone hears but just won’t listen

  1. Being aware of the importance of dealing with an important issue and worrying over it are definitely two very different things and it appears that you understand that. I’ll continue to pray that God will lead you and help you grow into a better teacher through this. I am so pleased to see the lessons God is teaching you.

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