There’s a chance that a middle school principal might be my guardian angel.
Posted by newbie-tchr at 10:45 am in 1

So a few months ago, in December, I heard about a job fair for the state in my area, and probably ohhh 30 minutes before it started, I decided to go. Probably the best decision I’ve ever made, since one of the recruiters there is the principal of a middle school that’s now 20 minutes away from me. Meeting him led to an interview, a promise to put me on the preferred sub list & keep my resume on file, and as of yesterday – another interview for a long term sub position. I went in the other day for an interview with the Director of student services, and 2 teachers from the department for the long term position. After talking to them, I think that I’m the only person they’ve contacted about this AND this job comes with the promise of being hired on as a full time teacher for the following school year. Crossing my fingers harder than I ever had because this position sounds almost too good to be true. And all of this stems from a chance meeting at a job fair, and that same person continuing to help me out.

The position – 7th grade US history teacher is one of my favorite contents AND I love that age group. There’s something so fantastic about getting to be the observer of puberty and not the victim. I foresee hilarious work stories in my future with this position… I’m just so nervous! A large chunk of the rest of the year are SOL’s and preparing students for it, and I’m nervous having those grades reflect on me when (a) I didn’t teach for most of the year, and (b) they’re so overvalued in regards to my performance. Plus I’m nervous about the normal things – entering into a new classroom in the middle of the year, a new content & a lot of time preparing materials, and the parents! The area the school is in is fairly affluent, and the director and teachers have already warned me about how “over-involved” some parents are. At my last school getting parent involvement was like pulling teeth. I have NO concept of what the opposite extreme is like…yup, now that I think about it, parents are definitely the thing I’m most nervous about. Help?!

There’s a chance that a middle school principal might be my guardian angel. has 1 Comment

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  1. I always thought you were well suited for middle school. You have the right combination of sense of humor and rigorous interest in what you teach. They’ll keep you in stories for LIFE.

    As for involved parents, talk to them the way your own parents would have respected and expected from teachers. Be consistent and clear, and don’t allow the “helicopter” blades to hit you by surprise. The fact that you communicate easily via a web page can be your savior. Tell parents that assignment details and expectations are on the web page for students to access from home and to please look there first before picking up the phone. You can reinforce by saying, “And I am sure you model and encourage independence and personal accountability because you want your child to be the best prepared for high school and things beyond, right? I can tell you are the kind of parent who wants the best for and from your child.” (Acting like you give them full credit for making the right decisions before butting in…). It won’t work with all of them, but it will work for quite a few who never thought about it that way — besides, they are flattered.

    Oh, and tell parents that you answer email briefly (3-4 sentence model) within 48 hours. If you tell them to contact you by email, they will assume that means you will answer within 6 hours unless you tell them otherwise. Again, you are modeling for your students how to communicate clearly and succinctly! 3-4 sentences should be enough. If more is needed, schedule a conference or call.

    Can you tell I taught middle school gifted kids for many, many years and know involved parents??

    Hope you get it!