I transferred to a campus with the “PLC” mentality after eight reasonably successful years of teaching. I had been used to a system where we’d share ideas once a week, we’d be teaching the same SE, some of the materials we used were the same because they worked well for all of us. However, we were always free to review or extend as needed, and to use alternate texts if we felt they would work better with our particular students – as long as we were teaching the skill and could show results.
On this new campus, I was immediately thrown into a world in which I not only no longer had an opinion, but was essentially prohibited from adding any personal touches to the lessons that were given to us by the department heads under the guise of “collaboration”. It was same day, same story, same “foldable”, same power-point for everyone in the department – and none of it was near the standard of quality that I had previously implemented in my classroom. A lot of it was disjointed, or shallow, or only loosely connected to the SE… but saying as much made me a huge target.
On the first common assessment, I was “caught”, as my students scored significantly higher in some areas than my colleagues – and instead of being questioned about my methods in some positive way, I was reprimanded, because they knew I was tweaking what they had been giving me. The team leader began a vicious campaign against me, interrogating me during meetings, accusing me of doing a poor job, etc. – and the administrators were right with her. They began visiting my classroom several times a week, e-mailing me about the words or bits of assignments that didn’t seem to be consistent with my colleagues…
Additionally, we were required to use 4 out of 5 of our weekly planning periods (which are legally protected in my state from organized activities by the administration) to attend these “planning meetings” in which we were told what to do, how to do it, and interrogated as to whether we were in lock step.
To make a long story short, I lasted 3 months, began having panic attacks, and was reprimanded for it. This worsened the anxiety, and despite being under medical care, they panic attacks increased in frequency… The constant threat of visits, the interrogation, being told I was not doing well after years of being respected by former colleagues… it was all too much. I resigned for medical reasons, and I’m unsure if I’ll ever teach again.