First year teacher here! I need help!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by newteacher6, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. newteacher6

    newteacher6 Rookie

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    Apr 30, 2012

    I am beginning to feel completely overwhelmed. I do not like the feeling of not having a "system" down yet. I am frustrated because I feel like my personality gets in the way of me feeling confidence and success. I realize I am not perfect yet; however, I rarely give myself a break. I need help being able to manage my time. How do you all do it? When do you grade papers? When do you plan lessons? If you teach middle school or high school how many plans a day to you need?

    I am ashamed to say that I dont feel confident enough in correcting grammar yet. It is my weakness. I realize this can all be fixed once I have time to go over grammatical rules but I have no time to do anything. I am constantly saying "no" to my friends and family to spend time together because I am constantly doing work. Is this normal when you first begin? How do I gain confidence in my teaching and skills? I am drowning...I have no one to speak to but everyone here and truly appreciate it. I wish there were websites where I could practice grading papers and it can tell me how my grading was lol As funny as that sounds.

    I look around at the teachers in my school and I know they do not stress over stuff like this but I maybe they should! I am exhausted all the time and hate the fact that teaching is not a secure job until I am tenured and who knows when that will be...

    what are the circumstances of getting fired as a teacher before and after being tenured?
     
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  3. creativemonster

    creativemonster Companion

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    Apr 30, 2012

    Keep breathing. It DOES get easier. Honest. Yes, it takes a lot of extra time and energy the first (several) years. And of course at any time depending on your school district, jobs are getting cut right and left. but really, what control do YOU have? Be as prepared as you can be for your students. They need you. It gets easier. Hang in there. take time out to get enough sleep, make sure you eat well, and take yourself to yoga or for a walk. oh yes, and dance to crazy crazy music. Trust that you really do know a lot more than your students. and they can learn a lot from you. And you can learn a lot from them. notice the joy in your day. It DOES get easier. It really really does.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 1, 2012

    It is normal to spend quite a bit of time grading, planning, etc. I teach sixth grade and I plan for 4+ classes a day. It can get overwhelming. What has really helped me is to plan out what you will get done each day of the week. Look at your tasks that you need to do and type them up in a column for each day of the week. Then when other things come up, you can add them in pencil each week. Just print off a new copy each Monday.

    As far as grammar, are you correcting student papers or concerned with your own grammar?
     
  5. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    May 1, 2012

    Get an old Warriner's grammar book and go to it. It's a "just the facts ma'am" old warhorse that lays it all out for you.
     
  6. engineerkyle

    engineerkyle Companion

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    May 1, 2012

    Teaching, like any professional position, takes at least 2 years to "get under your belt"

    I would not be discouraged about not knowing the system yet.... it will all seem so clear in another year or two.

    My two cents
     
  7. newteacher6

    newteacher6 Rookie

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    May 1, 2012

    Thank you for your help. So you all felt this way when you first started? I am assuming that if I am not familiar with history or certain topics...I can always LEARN. Right? I hope the school I am in understands that I will get better...I think I am good for my first couple months. I have come to realize that teachers (some teachers) can be very judgemental. They put other teachers down by their classroom management skills and teaching skills; however, I cant help but wonder how they were when they first began?

    Are there any good books on how to gain confidence in yourself as an educator? I need a good pep talk! I do not want to feel this way everyday. I feel like there is an elephant sitting on my chest every single day. I never think I am good enough even though professional mentors have told me otherwise...eh
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 1, 2012

    Try keeping a journal just to write down reflections on how you think you can improve. Writing helps me to feel more confident in decisions that I have to make.
     
  9. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    May 1, 2012

    Every job is difficult and stressful, but I think the job of a new teacher is particularly difficult... you have so many people depending on you for instruction.

    My suggestion is to try to make small changes. Learn a little bit every day. Work towards having that system. Read books, blogs, and Pinterest (personally, my favorite). :) Forums are great too! With time, you'll shine, but right now, just concentrate on finding small solutions every day.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 1, 2012

    If I remember, you started VERY late in the school year, didn't you??

    That's just about the hardest thing to walk into-- a group of kids who see you as either an interloper of "not our real" teacher.

    What do you teach? Let's see if the people here can help you a bit with your preparation.

    Instead of a pep talk, here's my advice: play this one week at a time. Make SURE you know exactly what you're doing before you step foot into that classroom. "I'm new" isn't an excuse when it comes to not knowing your material... the fact that you'll get better next year doesn't help this year's kids. They deserve the very best teacher you can be. So let's see what we can do to help you do your job better-- THAT will help you get the confidence you need.

    As you gain experience, the classroom management will get easier, as will the rest. But what you lack in experience, you can make up in preparation.

    This week and weekend, block out what you're teaching each week from now until the end of school. (Yes, I realize I'm talking some serious time here planning.) Then become as close to an instant expert as you can on the material you'll expect the kids to know.

    Repeat next weekend, though the long range planning will already be done, so it will require much less work.

    I would let all the other stuff-- the books, the projects, all that-- slide while I got a handle on the content. Without you knowing that material, you can't possibly hope to teach it to the kids.

    I teach math, so this is a total hunch, but why not take a look at this: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Grammar-Edition/dp/1592571158 to help you with grammar? I bet they're as concise and thorough there as they are in their other guides.

    This summer, when you have the luxury of time, you can work out all the fun stuff, the supplements, the projects. For the next month or so, I would concentrate all my efforts on the material.

    Best wishes!
     
  11. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    May 1, 2012

    You've got some great advice here...I'll just add:hugs: Hang in there. It's okay. You'll find your niche and way to organize to keep on top of everything.
     
  12. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    May 3, 2012

    I feel you. I taught one year a few years ago and I was overwhelmed for sure! I used to post on here ALL THE TIME!

    I realized that there was a point where I could give, and then I just couldn't give anymore. There was another new teacher at my school who would be there until 9:00 at night. I just couldn't do that. My personal life was a disaster too.

    Hang in there! School's almost out!
     
  13. appleaday180

    appleaday180 Rookie

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    May 3, 2012

    What makes our job stand out is that it isn't consistent, there is no way of telling what is going to happen from day to day. It can be extremely frustrating. Not to mention that each student is completely different from the next!
     
  14. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    May 3, 2012

    I'm not sure what grade you teach, but I teach English and if I corrected all the grammar mistakes on every single paper, I would die. I typically focus on 2-3 things I want them to demonstrate in that particular assignment and correct those focus elements. From time to time, I'll assign one "perfect paragraph" where I correct every tiny mistake. But, don't spend your whole life grading!
     
  15. newteacher6

    newteacher6 Rookie

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    May 3, 2012

    I teach 6th grade English. I am drowning and hysterically crying as of now. I had an awful day! I have never been so stressed out in my entire life and I feel like I am going to give myself a stroke! I am so stressed out. I have no help from the people I work with. I teach in a middle school so I have 3 classes. 2 of the class have several children that are so incredibly disrespectful towards me.

    I have no control over 3 of these particular children. They get up and do what they want. They walk around the room, put their feet up on the desks, spit, curse, poke students constantly, slap children, push, and have by far the worst attitudes and say the most terrible things to me. I realize I shouldnt take it personally but it is IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have held detention, I have called parents, I have had meetings with the parents, I have the dean involved, I have NO CONTROL over these kids and then I never get through the lesson. They make my day a living HELL!!

    They even bully me!! I know that sounds ridiculous but what I mean by this is they talk back, curse, get in my face, and do what ever the hell they want. I cannot get through 1 thing. I need serious classroom management help. They are not afraid of me. I realize I have come at the end of the year but I wont make it the last few weeks like this. I feel physically sick because of this. I have never felt as overwhelmed in my life. I have absolutely no social life. My relationship with my boyfriend is failing because of this job. I dont UNDERSTAND how people manage their time with the amount of lesson plans, assessments, grading, and thousands of other things to do!

    I feel like I am awful some days and amazing others. I feel like people have an idea of how I feel but I seem over the top ?

    I dont think its normal I feel this overwhelmed or maybe it is normal?

    I dont know if anyone has ever felt this way before but I am so overwhelmed that I can not PROCESS anymore information.... its the strangest feeling. I feel overstimulated. I need strategies to stop the constant talking that goes on in my room , the constant disrespect, the talking back, the nonsense is incredible. I do not know how I am going to get through each day. I feel sorry for the other kids because they WANT to learn and they get angry at the disrespectful kids bc they JUST DONT STOP!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have tried positive reinforcment with candy and extra credit. I dont know what to do....thank you for letting me vent. Oh yeah, and I have a 4.0 in college and I am not failing due to the fact that I cant keep up with the work load of class and my new job.
     
  16. newteacher6

    newteacher6 Rookie

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    May 3, 2012

    *now failing
     
  17. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 3, 2012

    I'm finishing up my 4th year of teaching and I still don't have it all down :) Don't expect to have it after your first year of teaching, plus what will likely happen is that you will have to tweak what you do every year depending on the needs of your students.

    Keep learning-- you'll be doing it for the rest of your life as a teacher and be OKAY with that.
     
  18. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    May 4, 2012

    What is your system? Here is what I do:
    1. Opener/bell ringer time: 5-10 minute independent activity where the classroom is absolutely silent. This will be hard to make happen, but you can do it if you are very clear and strict.
    - I write names and checkmarks on the board. Each checkmark equals 30 seconds they owe me after the bell. Some people disagree with "public" discipline, but I think it's ok if you don't make it a big deal.
    -I calmy walk over to the board and write the names of those talking. Then say, "opener time is not talking time." They will probably keep talking. Put a X2 next to their name. If they keep going, they get a X3 which means lunch detention. If they keep going, they get sent to the office with a referral saying "student was given three warnings, issued lunch detention and continued to disrupt the class." and a parent call home

    I think if you can get a simple system going and be really really strict and consistent with it (NO talking means NO talking, not even asking for a pencil), you might be able to maintain your sanity for the last few weeks.

    As far as prep goes, can you start a novel? Daily routine can be opener activity, read a chapter, answer chapter questions. Limited prep time. Not exactly what I'd reccomend doing all the time, but for the sake of your mental health, it may get you through the year.
     
  19. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    May 4, 2012

    I dont UNDERSTAND how people manage their time with the amount of lesson plans, assessments, grading, and thousands of other things to do! - newteacher6

    You just get much more efficient at it. You really do. I just barely kept my head above water for the first year and a half as a full-time teacher. Now I just chug along, taking a lot less time to accomplish things. I do put in a lot of hours, and I don't have a lot of time for myself during the school year, but I just don't mind that somehow, maybe because I do enjoy much of my job - the kids, my subject, putting together new stuff and trying it out. Maybe I'm just satisfied with less "life" than I used to be!

    And there is Summer, when I happily devolve into a kind of wandering dimwit. Try it!
     
  20. Tek

    Tek Companion

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    May 4, 2012

    Your grammar doesn't seem so bad to me, at least here :)

    Most people mistakenly write that sentence as They put other teachers down by their classroom management skills and teaching skills, however, I cant help but wonder how they were when they first began?

    But you knew it was a semi-colon there and not a comma. Perhaps you're not giving yourself nearly enough credit?

    By the way, I'd love to switch roles with you. I'm a sub trying to get in full-time. Congratulations on being full-time! It's such a difficult time right now for aspiring teachers, so counting your blessings is something that might help you see the bigger picture. I really like Alice's advice
     

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