Burnout on Day 37

Discussion in 'General Education' started by corunnermom, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. corunnermom

    corunnermom Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2018

    I've returned to teaching after ten years of being away from the classroom. I've been a para for 2 years, but have ten years of teaching experience prior to that. I knew it would be difficult, a lot of work, and quite the learning curve. I stay late, spend hours at home and come in on the weekends. I also just got divorced a few months ago so I have a lot on my plate, emotionally and financially. Three of my kiddos this year are very challenging and absolutely draining. I am very firm in my classroom management, but they are not responding to it. I've had to call admin in for support due to chaos and disruption (backtalk, kicking things, throwing things, having fits). My other students are wonderful, very respectful and are learning, but I absolutely hate coming to work everyday. I have cried several times at work, not to mention the countless times at home. I feel completely unsuccessful, a loser teacher, and find no joy in my profession. However, I have to work full-time. I'd love to get a masters and be a reading interventionist, but I can't afford that. My question is...how can I change my mindset to make it through the year without going beyond burnout...because I'm already there and am slowly turning to ash!
     
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  3. JimG

    JimG Companion

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    Oct 14, 2018

    My condolences for the rough stretch you are having. It sounds like your challenges are stacking on top of each other, and that must be very frustrating.

    While I find it difficult to relate to some of the struggles you mentioned, I can certainly relate to many of the others, especially the ones pertaining to the classroom. Here are a few ideas that have helped me.

    1. Pray on it, every day.

    2. Regarding the students with problem behaviors, try to focus on specific, actionable steps you can take to improve the situation, and celebrate any successes with it, big or small.

    3. Regarding cost of extra schooling, you could take out a loan for it. Many districts extend pay increases for additional education attained, so you could later use that extra earned money to pay back the loan. Also, if you teach in a qualifying school, you can apply for teacher loan forgiveness. This is the financial strategy I used for my master’s degree.

    4. Try to go into each day with a positive attitude. Many situations are out of our control, but how we respond to them is, creating somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophesy. Ascribing to that belief, it only makes sense to make that self-fulfilling prophesy a good one.

    5. As much as possible, leave work at work. I know, this is not always possible. Making sure to efficiently utilize plan time and other free moments at work helps. Also, I take a Saturday or Sunday morning each week to wake up early (for a weekend anyway), make a pot of coffee, and take care of any miscellaneous work I could not get done at work during the week, which is usually catching up on grading. It works for me because I am a morning person and find the time rather peaceful, however, different times might be more suitable for different people. The main thing is that knowing I have this dedicated extra time relieves me of stress during the week when it seems like work won’t stop piling up.

    I wish you luck in things improving. One other thing to keep in mind is that you are essentially a first-year teacher again. The water level probably feels up to just below your nostrils, and that tends to be common; at least it was for me and many of my colleagues. It will get easier as you find your groove again.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Oct 14, 2018

    It sounds like you have no plans to do this anyway, but I wanted to comment on this part and say I don't recommend doing that (if you decide to take out loans or something). Maybe it's just in my area, but reading interventionist jobs are HIGHLY sought after and are almost always filled internally. Lots of teachers want out of the classroom and see that as a way to do it. I'm currently a sped teacher and would also love to be a reading interventionist. I've looked for the past two years and have found less than five jobs to even apply for (and there is somewhat of a "teacher shortage" here). I got ONE interview and was flat out told in the interview that the position wasn't guaranteed from year to year and could be eliminated or go less than full time at any point. The job also wasn't even what I was hoping for- they wanted me to push in rather than pulling small groups. Just my two cents on that.

    As far as changing your mindset, focus on the good things that are happening. One of my teammates has success with journaling. She writes down at least three good things that she did every day to avoid thinking about only the things that feel like they're not working. I personally have had some success this year with making my school email off limits during evenings and weekends. I'm pretty good about not physically working a ton of hours, but I have a hard time going home and not thinking about work non stop. Not allowing myself to check email outside of school has really helped with that.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Oct 15, 2018

    I don't know how often you're calling for admin, but be careful. With being a probationary/year one teacher, you don't want to be seen as someone who has poor management.
     
  6. JimG

    JimG Companion

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    Oct 15, 2018

    As an administrator, what do you do in that scenario?
     
    Mrs.DLC likes this.
  7. corunnermom

    corunnermom Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2018

    Thank you very much for your replies. Since my post on Sunday, things have improved as a result of me changing my attitude and trying to look for positives everyday. At the end of the day, our class about went well during the day and what we can work on. This has helped tremendously. I've also changed my expectations of my challenging students and have been trying to focus on their strengths and build on them. As for taking work home...I'm working on not doing that as much but it's hard! I hope I can sustain this feeling and attitude!
     
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