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Top 10 Ways to Get Fired

Top 10 Ways to Get Fired

Jill Hare | Editor,

Most teachers get into education thinking it can be a really secure job, right? Depends. Teachers have to follow rules, too, and these ten actions can get you fired faster than you think.

1. Become Romantically Involved with a Student: Not only is getting involved with a student a terrible idea, it’s also highly unethical and illegal depending on the students’ age. Steer clear of romantic relationships of any kind with anyone in your class, your school, or under the age of 18….or 22 to be extra cautious.

2. Lie on Your Job Application or Resume: Always tell the truth. Your real qualifications need to be enough to get the job you want. If they aren’t, find a job that meets your skills. To become a teacher, you need certain credentials in each state. Lying is cheating yourself and your prospective students out of a qualified teacher.

3. Job Hunt at Work: While you’re at work, focus on your students and school. If you are looking for a job, do it outside the school walls and off your work computer. Don’t send your resume through your current work email or it could be traced to you and your secure job may not be so secure. Worse than that, your colleagues or students might find out about your job search and stop trusting you and question your level of commitment.

4. Gossip: The teachers lounge is not the place to air your dirty laundry. A student story you might find funny others could view as highly inappropriate and grounds to call you untrustworthy, unprofessional or unethical. Whatever you do, don’t gossip about a student’s abilities or another teacher’s skills- these kind of conversations aren’t helping anyone- especially you.

5. Taking Too Many Personal Calls : I know what it’s like to be a teacher and not have time to race to the phone in the school office to return a parent’s phone call. If you are lucky enough to have a phone in your classroom or get cell service in your room, don’t overuse the phone. If you talk on your cell phone in class too much, your students will tell other teachers, their parents, or even the principal. Limit phone calls in class to absolute necessities- like calling a parent for an emergency.

6. Surf the Web Excessively: Most schools prevent teachers from what I like to call “free” surfing by blacklisting all non-school related websites. This is probably a good idea to keep teachers focused on school during school hours. If you need to do a little surfing at lunch, do it quick, but make sure you close the window on your computer when you’re done in case your principal walks by. You wouldn’t want your administrator to think you’re spending precious school time trying to buy those perfect pair of shoes instead of planning your lessons or grading papers.

7. Alienate Your Coworkers: Though each teacher may be alone with students in class, teaching really is a team sport. Schools are valued by their staff as a whole. Don’t be overly negative or difficult with other faculty members. Administrators keep files on every faculty member, and you don’t want your file to be filled with grievances about the difficulty you have working with others. Once those pile up, you could be on your way out even if you have tenure.

8. Forget to Double-Check Your Grades: Grades are serious business for students, and sometimes even more so for parents. If you can’t back up your grades with hard evidence of recorded grades, you could be in big trouble.

9. Mixing Personal and Professional Life: Being approachable and friendly with parents can be a great asset in communicating as a teacher. However, you don’t want to mix your personal and professional life too much. It’s not a good idea to hang out at your students’ houses or become extremely social with parents. You might let your guard down and say things that only school staff should be privy to.

10. Advertise Unbecoming Behavior. This may be common sense to some, but a friendly reminder never hurt: don’t drink heavily around your students or their parents. This action may violate some state’s professional standards code of ethics for teachers. A few other tips along these same lines: dress like an adult, talk like an adult (preferably G rated), and compose yourself with restraint.

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