End of a bad year, new (good changes), burn out? venting a little...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Linguist92021, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 8, 2018

    This was my 5th year at this district. It was a horrible year and it was over yesterday. I'm so happy and excited, I cant express it.
    First there was a lot of stress (personal).
    - Started with my dad passing away on August 1st
    - 2 months later my dog poisoned (survived) and no, I can't compare him to my father passing away, but it was a violation of privacy and feeling of safety as it was done by an ex-bf from 2 years prior, and had no way of preventing further incidents. Luckily there was no more, but it was very difficult.
    - I won't even mention breaking up with the bf, that was not that hard lol.

    Then there was stress (work related).
    - We had a new principal and I already knew how everything was going to work, and it went down just like that. He always criticized my work and questioned my assignments I have always been regarded as a teacher who brings higher expectations and make the kids think and offer them a very different perspective, as also has been said by the superintendent herself on several occasion. This was hard. I hated it. He is no longer a principal but will be a teacher, and I also predicted that (I have to admit, I'm a little bit of a psychic lol)
    - because of this principal, the morale of the school has gone done. The kids have gotten wild. Consequences were not consistent and not enforced. He would reason with the kids and afraid to really put his foot down. You wouldn't believe the amount of cussing flying around and no one doing anything about. The lack of motivation, the entitlement, the disrespect. He couldn't even control them, they would cuss him out and / or walk away.
    Although most of my classes were great and I truly enjoyed those kids, just 1-2 classes (1 consistently) and a few kids in addition made it extremely difficult. I'm sure you've read my thread about coming back from my surgery.
    - we had 15 minutes a day to grade and prep for 3 classes. Really ? I don't even need to say any more. I refuse to stay at work until 5 pm, I leave at contract time I started working through lunch, and planning lessons and grading during class time whenever kids were working independently. Sometimes this was 10 minutes, other times most of the class. I actually got really good at it, but my lessons were not what they used to be. I felt that admin with the choices of our hours have clipped my wings of creativity and enthusiasm. Just in case you didn't know, we have to create our curriculum, we are not given any pacing guide, or any guidance or expectations at all. And we have to create new curriculum every year, because the kids that were in my English 1 class last year will be there again (at least 50 % of them), and that goes for every class. So it has to be new curriculum. This was my 5th year so I was able to recycle some lessons here and there but it's not like I was reteaching an entire year's work. No, I t's just plan, plan, plan, which is fine, I enjoy it, but not on 15 minutes a day.

    Then there was the pain. As you know I have been in pain for most of the school year, in extreme pain from about December - January. After my surgery it was still difficult, it wasn't until the last 10 days of school I was no longer taking any pain killers and for the past 4-5 days I finally feel normal.

    So in February I've decided that I wanted to transfer over to our independent academy. This was a huge deal because I thought I would never want to work there. I did it for summer school, part time during my first year and hated it. No teaching, just a lot of paperwork.
    But now that meant a different principal, no classroom management and behavior issues, no working over time, and planning my year 2 weeks before the school year even starts, I can truly just leave work at work. I would still be working with the high school age at-risk youth and helping them graduate high school.
    There was not a big chance of this happening because we would have needed an opening (someone leaving)

    So as it turned out, due to budget issues we are merging with that school, so everyone was able to voice a preference and I was given the position of an independent study teacher. And already met the new principal, he seems great.

    I am so incredibly happy. Today is the first day of summer vacation. Woke up at 4:30, went fishing, (didn't catch anything), went shopping, came home took a nap and I have not a care in the world. For the first time in 6 years I will not have work in the back of my head: what novel are we going to read? What am I going to teach for all 3 classes? How is it all going to work out? The day before the first day of school I can just come home from camping, the next morning wake up, take a shower, make my lunch and go to work.
     
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  3. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Jun 8, 2018

    I had a hard year too with my dog dying (she was my best friend), went through a separation, house was in forclosure, and admin letting kids do whatever they wanted.
    Almost similar to you...
    Independent study teacher sounds great. Is that like a tutor where kids go to you or go to to them?
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 8, 2018

    The kids come to school once a week for an hour. So I have a student from 8-9 am, then another 9-10 am, and so on. Each student carries a full load of courses, 30 credit / semester (6 classes). But I don't have to plan any lessons, it's all in the computer, I jut print it, pacing guides have been done for every single subjects, etc, and answer keys.

    The possible issues are: motivating kids to keep coming and not drop out. This is not for every kid. They have to be self disciplined to do the work at home, but it is great for those who are working are pregnant or already have a baby (many do), or for other reasons regular classroom settings don't work out for them. There are simple reasons like the student living out in the country, no school bus will pick them up and they have no transportation to make it every day.

    Some of the positives: we have a large selection of electives, which the kids can, in fact elect. We have a music teacher (she's awesome) with actual musical instruments and enthusiasm for the subject. Other electives such as photography, etc, there are like 20 classes.
    We can actually sign up to teach classes every week. In the spring semester I might do that, maybe teach a writing class. Most of the kids struggle with writing an essay, but even independent students need to do that.
     
    Luv2TeachInTX likes this.
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jun 8, 2018

    I has been a hard year too, just school wise. I'll admit it had me, and still has me, reconsidering my career choices. We had similar issues to what you describe at my school, and it's awful to see morale crash like that.
    I'm sorry for those that have personal issues and health problems on top of school problems. It can be a lot (too much) to deal with.

    Thank goodness for summer break.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 9, 2018

    Hugs, Linguist. It's good to hear that you're feeling better and looking forward to your new work. If you haven't already done so, let me recommend chatting up @catnfiddle.
     
    catnfiddle likes this.
  7. anna9868

    anna9868 Cohort

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    Jun 10, 2018

    Linguist, I got so emotional reading about your experience in school! Gosh, almost identical to mine if I were a regular teacher and not a substitute for many years. This makes me sooo sad. Yes, I'm very much of a psychic myself, however, in the past I always tried to ignore my own prediction and hope the Teaching World is better than what it seems.

    No more of that. it's just what it is. I see it from reading your experiences as well as hearing so many others why other teachers get disillusioned. One thing that I know for sure now, is that if you are a really caring teacher who REALLY cares for her students (but don't care about licking administrator's butts, excuse my gruff Russian!) , then you have to be very VERY lucky in order to be appreciated by your school. by your principal. by your district. It seems like in the modern world being good with kids is what matters...... the least. Very sad! I see it even from teaching outside of schools .

    I do hope, however, that you don't loose hope in yourself as a teacher. Hey, listen! You can't imagine for how long I've been inspired by your post when you told a story of how you tried to teach your difficult bunch of kids Dostoyevsky! I swear to you, it kept me "alife" for the last couple of years while I still worked in schools. Kept my fire burning inside, you know!

    So, keep believing in yourself and remember a very important thing. Stress (especially huge stress like you went through this year) causes a lot of actual illnesses. So, don't let yourself get all sick over those nasty administrators and their rules. Kids (somewhere) need you young and healthy and full of vigor.
     
    Linguist92021 likes this.
  8. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Jun 10, 2018

    I'm so glad you are going into a much less stress position! I think you are amazingly inspiring to teachers here, so I suspect you will be really inspiring to students one on one. Have a healthy rejuvenating summer!
     
    Linguist92021 likes this.
  9. TXforever

    TXforever Companion

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    Jun 11, 2018

    Long year here as well for lots of different reasons. If money/childcare/insurance weren’t issues, I’d be done.
     
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  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jun 11, 2018

    Side note, but it seems so many are in this same predicament right now. I hope things change. I fear for the future of our profession if not. So many good teachers are leaving the field.
     
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  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 12, 2018

    Thank you!
    I guess I am lucky in some aspects, because the district does respect and appreciate me (higher ups from the principal and even the superintendent says nice things about me and to me). It is a small district and it is a good thing.
    Thinking back, it was probably all downhill because of the principal. Yes, I'm going to blame it all on him.
    The kids are kids, a lot of them like me and respect me. One day they asked me to play some of my Hungarian music for them. I've never done it, so I put on some Hungarian folk music mixed with upbeat pop and techno. You know, violin, Gypsy instruments, Hungarian lyrics and techno beats. It was to die for. They just worked and listened to the music. I ended up playing about 3-4 songs, the last 2 a little more mainstream. I wished I would have recorded it. In the end, one kid said " this music is hella chill"
    When I told this story to my daughter, she said "they either like you a LOT or they're crazy" I didn't even think of it.
    I do enjoy the kids, and they learned to enjoy my weirdness. Me having shooting targets and hunting posters behind my desk, bringing them rabbit feet from rabbit hunting and telling them it brings them good luck. They lined up for that and they wore the foot around their neck, hanging in their car or at home. It was so funny. I had my dried up turkey foot (I went turkey hunting) and they always asked to see it. They always asked about guns, and I found out how little di they know, but how much they act like little gangsters. So every chance I got I took the time to educate them on the laws, on what it means to own a gun legally, and the responsibilities and what really is an assault rifle. In their eyes I was the authority on guns, crime and hunting. It was cute.

    So I do have many funny or sweet stories thinking back and as the days go by, I'll forget the stress and remember the good times. I'm not ready to quit yet.

    And yes, Dostoyevsky !! That was awesome. When I realized how long that book was (Crime and Punishment) and decided to watch the movie in place of the middle 3rd of the book. I showed them the black and white version, in Russian with English subtitles. and they were hanging on every second of the movie. Even taught them a few Russian words as they were coming back t me, and from the beginning the Russian alphabet. That whole project turned out so great.

    With my position of an independent study teacher I will also have the opportunity to teach regular classes, if I want. I might even want to do that in the spring semester. Or not. We'll see. I can also teach pretty much any electives I want and I think this time the kids really can elect them, instead of just being thrown into construction or child development and not even care.
    So I think this year will be great.
     
    creativemonster likes this.
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 12, 2018

    I would have never thought this would have this much effect on someone. :heart:
     
  13. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 13, 2018

    I'm looking forward to talking about your next step in your career. It DOES sound a lot like what I've been doing for the past two years.
     

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