Slump/Unpleasant year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by yellowdaisies, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Mar 14, 2017

    Has anyone had just basically a bad year and then bounced back from it and rediscovered their passion for teaching? Are slumps like this normal?

    I'm a fifth year teacher, and I'm just not having a good year. There are lots of reasons I won't go into here, but I'll just say it's due to both kids and adults.

    I'm taking steps to secure a new position for next year. I need to change schools. I've known that since the beginning of October. I also think I may need a grade level change, although changing schools/districts is first priority. I'm starting to wonder if 5th is not the grade for me and I just got really lucky with two awesome classes the last two years. Maybe those were flukes.

    What I'm most worried about is that the way I feel about my job this year might be permanent. For the last 4 years and for years before that (I've basically been working with kids since I was 13 without many breaks), I've absolutely loved teaching. It's been my passion and a huge part of my identity. I have never second guessed my career decision for a second, even on hard days. This year, though, I'm struggling to get through each day and each week. I'm not feeling the passion I once did. I haven't taken work home in months, just for my own survival. I used to search blogs and websites for lesson ideas for fun all the time. I just can't this year. I've had a total shift in my attitude towards the profession I once loved.

    Has this ever happened to anyone? Did a change in position/grade level/location help you regain your passion? I really don't want this to be permanent. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't teach. I've never wanted to do anything else.
     
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  3. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I just stopped doing work at home. In some ways, this has been a blessing. I'm able to explore other things and take care of some life responsibilities like a normal human being. Sometimes I miss the energy, though. I was really obsessed with my job, and it was kind of exciting. Now it's just....my job. I can't put a finger on what it is. I did switch schools this year, and it honestly hasn't helped. If anything, the more stable environment allowed me to give myself even more permission to step back, because I feel like the kids are going to be okay even if I'm not on Pinterest at 2am finding distinguished activities.

    The political climate 100% did me in. I feel attacked as an educator on a local, state, and national level. If history is any indication, this pendulum will swing back in our favor at some point. I'm just hanging out until then. I couldn't seriously entertain quitting just yet. I have no idea what else I'd do.
     
  4. agdamity

    agdamity Enthusiast

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    Mar 14, 2017

    In short, yes! Changing locations really helped me get back in the swing of things. For me, year 6 was really challenging, and this year, year 13, hads also just about done me in. One of my coworkers said the same thing happens to her every seven years--her bad ones have been 7, 14, and 21. I think some years are just like that. One of the great things about teaching is that June will come, so there is an end in sight. August will also come, giving you a fresh start. Hang in there!
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Mar 14, 2017

    I was feeling like that last year (#6 for me). I agreed to take on a student teacher this year because I just wanted a new challenge. I'm not at all saying I was "phoning it in" last year, but I wasn't putting in as much effort as I usually do with things like being really well planned, etc. This year I had to do that because I wanted to be a good example for my ST. For me, it got me out of my slump and even though my ST is gone now, I'm still keeping up the pace with being extremely well planned/prepared/thoughtful etc. (and my data is amazing this year). The funny thing is, my ST was pretty bad and it wasn't quite the experience I had envisioned! Even so it was still a good experience to get me back on my toes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  6. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2017

    Last year was my 5th year and I felt extremely burnt out and had lost my passion. I think I was just going through the motions all year. I switched schools and grade levels thinking it would help. While I'm happier at this school, I still have no desire to take work home, I still don't do the "Pinterest-y" lessons I used to, and I don't feel the love for teaching that I did my first few years.

    I'm looking to move into more of an admin/resource position for next year. I think I just need a break from the classroom.
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    I hit a slump at the end of year six. Part of it was that I found balance and a groove so I wasn't constantly working anymore. Like a previous poster, I always found the planning and research energizing. Now I'm in a coaching role and really missing having my own classroom. When I go back to that, I know I will attack it again with new, refreshed energy.
     
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  8. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    Mar 15, 2017

    I once heard an administrator say that if you're not switching it up now and then throughout your career--school, grade, etc.--it's seen as, if not a red flag, at least in the pink area. Burn-out and boredom happen and the most energized teachers took precautions against that.

    A gal on my team is really struggling. Not with her teaching or management, that's fine, but her views on her job. Our school is Title 1 and a fairly tough crowd. Our team veteran says she generally loves Title 1 but has intentionally taught at richer schools at a few points just to refresh herself.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This must be my slump/unpleasant year, also my 5th year. Part of it was because I am in a new school that I really don't enjoy. I'm leaving after this though, hopefully on to better things.

    However year four at my previous school, though I loved that school, I could feel a slump oncoming just from doing the same things repeatedly.
     
  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Devotee

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    Mar 15, 2017

    [​IMG]
    This is probably relevant to ALL teachers, right?
    Also, this is why I'm hesitant to get a job in a small town (though I'd really like to) because you pretty much get stuck teaching ONE grad your entire career. The opportunity to switch doesn't come very often like it does in a larger district. I wouldn't want to be the third grade teacher for 30 years because I would get burned out, bored, and I have multiple certifications that I'd like to use.I got them so I could explore different grades & subjects. If moving helps, do it! Also, don't be afraid to dive into research and dabble with the new best practices to help shake up your routine. Try reading "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller and implement some of it? I'm reading it in my grad class now and wonder how realistic it actually is. Try it and let me know?
    :p:peacesign:
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 15, 2017

    This is my 4th year in my current position (5th year overall). I am extremely happy with my job and everything overall, and I wouldn't say I lost my passion, but I'm not as enthusiastic as I used to be. I used take work home - happily - , googled lessons and activities just for fun all the time, I was thinking ahead for months down the line, even next year, what novel we would be reading, new approaches, etc. I don't really do that anymore, but I am very comfortable, I'm not killing myself but I am producing great results. I relaxed and calmed down a lot.

    Maybe you're feeling this way, and somehow think you lost your passion for teaching? Don't confuse the two. And if you have a rough group of kids, not the best admin, it's easy to feel low about your job.
     
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  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I was starting to feel like I was burning out. Changing positions and schools has totally reenergized me.
     
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  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Mar 15, 2017

    These are really honest, self-appraising kinds of insights, so kudos to all of you. I really think that those of you who have managed to separate life and work are the healthiest among you. Sure, you want to rekindle the fire and excitement that was there in prior years, but isn't that just a normal ebb and flow of the job? Changing things up is usually a good thing, for many reasons, but so is recognizing that you are coping to a long-term commitment in a realistic way. Working yourself to death to be the most perky, Pinterest-y, enthused teacher is not a positive goal. Don't be so hard on yourselves!
     
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  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    This is really the point....the long-term commitment piece. I think I realized that if I genuinely love teaching and want to do it for 30 years, I couldn't possibly maintain the pace I was keeping. I had to detach to stay attached, in a way. It's definitely a VERY different mentality.
     
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  15. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Mar 15, 2017

    Thanks for all the replies! They've given me a lot to think about.

    I definitely agree that some of it is shifting into the "long term relationship" point of view. It's kind of hard to get to that point. I see new teachers at my school (we have quite a few), and I honestly envy their passion and excitement about everything. But I don't envy the Sundays I know they spend doing work like I used to... ;)

    But the other part really is that it's time for me to move on. I don't want to go into too many details on here about why my year has been rough, but it definitely has.

    I think part of it is that I know I'm leaving - if not this year, then the next, or whenever I get a job elsewhere - and I don't feel that same long term commitment to my school that I once did. That really has changed my perspective.

    I definitely have read The Book Whisperer and implement a similar philosophy. :) I switched up my classroom structure a few weeks ago - added more structures, actually, because this group of kids needed it - and that did help some.
     
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  16. bella84

    bella84 Enthusiast

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    Mar 18, 2017

    I was feeling burnt out last year and the year prior (years 5 and 6). I switched to a new school between those two years, and I switched to another new school this year (year 7). Both of those years I was close to leaving the field altogether. I was burnt out!

    This time around, I very carefully researched schools and decided that I was not willing to accept just any job. It had to be the *right* job. Many things have changed: I got out of sped and went back to gen ed. I took a bit of a pay cut but countered that with a shorter commute and better working environment. I've adjusted my expectations for what is realistic, and I'm a bit less idealistic than I once was. As others have said, I've also adjusted my habits. I don't stay late as routinely as I once did, and I make time for myself and my hobbies. I go to the gym several times a week now, and I have a life outside of teaching! Quite honestly, I'm as effective or even more effective than I was when I was working myself hard... and I love my job again!

    It *is* possible to find your love for teaching again. You just have to reflect and make some calculated changes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
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