Teaching Out of Content Area

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

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Teaching Out of Content Area

Postby jstomac » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:26 pm

I'm HQT in History and got stuck with teaching two sections of English, 1 section of Business, 1 section of AK History, and 1 Sec. of US History. If the principal tells you to be "creative" that means they have no books or supplies and everything is based on collaborative learning and projects. If you don't like having a life it will be great. You get to spend your evenings and weekends planning for all the courses you have no experience in, you must participate in every community event, and you are expected to volunteer.

With my experience at my school has literally destroyed what self-confidence I had as a teacher when the principal comes in with her 15 page evaluation. Then she might say, " I don't thing you're a good fit for this school". In fact, she might say it twice. She might even tell the rest of the faculty that you're from Mars during a faculty meeting. I've got my paper clips hanging up. I CAN'T WAIT TO GET AWAY FROM THIS TOXIC WOMAN and her school.

Moderator's note: This post was posted out of context in a threaded question about Southeast Island School District. The user here is NOT talking about SISD, and therefore we created a new topic thread for it. Please remember not to name specific schools or communities if you are venting on this Board. Thanks.
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Re: Teaching Out of Content Area

Postby jamieburgess » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:29 pm

I am sorry you had such a negative experience. I think it's a frequent challenge in some rural AK districts not to have solid written curriculum - some of this is likely due to both leadership and teacher turnover. I highly suggest that teachers first look online at a district's website to see if written curriculum is available there (that's a good sign) or if there is a list of adopted texts/supplemental materials. In addition, if you're applying to teach in a small district, you should ask what classes you might be assigned to teach - a principal should have a good idea of this during the interview process. If the posted position says ELA/Social Studies, expect to teach both. If it says "Generalist", you could be teaching a wide variety of subjects. If you know ahead of time you would be teaching out of your content area, you should definitely ask what is available in terms of adopted curriculum, textbooks and/or resources that will be available to you. If you're not comfortable doing this in your initial interview, definitely do it during the job offer/negotiation phase. A good principal might admit that they don't have the most solid resources available, but at least you would have some time to prepare prior to the beginning of the school year. If you want to teach in a small rural school at the secondary level, you should expect to teach out of your content area and plan accordingly. It can be a challenge, but if you're forewarned, it can be an exciting and positive one.
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Re: Teaching Out of Content Area

Postby Bushteachers » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:53 am

Teaching out of content is a norm in smaller schools. I don't know your situation, but in the bush a good fit with the school is vital to success.

I was an elementary and SPED certified teacher when I moved to Alaska. Taught just SPED the first year, but next two was MS/HS ELA and SS and SPED. No prep time. I learned to make my HS content work with my MS kids with minimal changes.

Flexibility is the key to teaching in the bush. Also knowing that you can only change what you can. Sucks that your story shows that personality conflicts are real and they can be impactful.
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