Stressed Out

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Mairead, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Mairead

    Mairead New Member

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    Dec 6, 2017

    I am a first year teacher, and I am struggling with all the work that I have to complete. Not only am I completing lesson plans, but I am constantly going to Professional Developments, Meetings (during School and After school), one-on-one meetings with the principal, observations, etc. I feel like I am being watched like a hawk and am under a microscope all the time. I have lost at least 15lbs, I am constantly on my computer working, my own kids feel like I am never available and they are falling behind with their work. I have told the principal that I am overwhelmed, and she says that she does not understand why. Is is normal for me to be so discouraged and stresses out and always working. I feel like I am not teaching my students to my full potential because I am constantly trying to do other work that my principal is requesting.

    Also, is it unusual to have a self contained fifth grade class... I think this might be one of the reasons I am so overwhelmed. Common Core Math is new to me, and I am struggling with the new concepts, and the Novel study that I am doing for reading is a brand new book, so there are no lessons created out there, and the Lucy Caulkins writing curriculum is so time consuming....plus add Science and social studies...I don't even have time to teach that half the time!!!!!
    Is this an over load of work, or am I crazy????
     
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  3. Been There

    Been There Cohort

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    Dec 6, 2017

    It sounds like you're in a real sink or swim situation - no wonder you've lost so much weight! Doesn't your district provide any support for first-year teachers? If it does, have you asked the director of the program for advice? Are there other fifth grade teachers at your school or at others in the district that you can collaborate with? If so, they might be able to share lesson plans, materials or provide some helpful advice. Perhaps the district administrator of the Curriculum and Instruction Department can advocate on your behalf to relieve some of the pressure - make an appointment today.

    Whenever possible, try to avoid going to as many meetings as possible (they're usually a waste of time anyway). It's also worth telling the principal again that you are overwhelmed by the unreasonable work load, but this time be prepared to elaborate and explain why. Also, prepare a list of ways that your principal can help to make your first year a successful one. Be sure to tell her how much weight you've lost due to the stress.

    You need to seek some relief before the heavy work load causes you to have serious health problems. Try to talk to those mentioned above before the end of this week. Good luck!
     
  4. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Dec 6, 2017

    I think this is normal for a first year. Your main goal for the year is to survive. However, I was lucky enough to do that before having kids. I can't imagine having to put all that work in at home with your own kids on top of it. I felt like I never stopped working my first year. It gets so much easier your second year. Were you assigned a mentor who can help?

    And on a side note, I HATE Lucy Caulkins. I used her curriculum last year with my Ks and found it extremely boring. Small moments, pattern books, observational writing is not what a kindergartner wants to write about. If we're going to force 5 year olds to write, at least make it interesting.
     
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  5. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Habitué

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    Dec 6, 2017

    It sounds normal, hang in there!!! And count yourself lucky that you're in the camp "stress=weight loss". I'm in the camp "stress=to McDonalds and Pizza Hut I go"!
     
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  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Dec 6, 2017

    I teach self-contained fifth grade. It is a lot of planning, but it is doable. Your first year is a learning curve. Pick one subject to focus on for right now, and put all your energy into that subject until you feel better about it. Then add in another subject. There are many online resources for math, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are many areas of fifth grade math that teach standard algorithms—even with Common Core. What novel are you using right now? What standards are you teaching with it?
     
  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Groupie

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    Dec 7, 2017

    The first year is almost always the worst, at least so I’ve been told. Once you have written your lesson plans for the year, you don’t have to feel like you have to start from scratch. My suggestion is to make digital copies of everything so you can reuse them in years, so save them on a flash drive or in Google Drive. This will make your job SO much easier later on.
     
  8. Sullymama

    Sullymama New Member

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    Jan 22, 2018

    So, I am also a first year self contained ec teacher (K-5) I have 1-k, 1-1st, 1-2nd and 2 5ths. I am also stressed (apparently 1st year thing) My main issue right now is lesson planning...I am using all my own stuff (we are a charter and most teachers do this...they have math books but none of my kiddos are on level (my 2nd grader doesn't remember to start counting at 1 and can not identify numbers most of the time ...we work on this daily!) My real concern is for my 5th graders...even though they are not on level...how do I know what to teach when...they don't line up with any of the 5th grade concepts, esp in math. Reading they are on a 1st-2nd grade level...and of course time to get it all in before they leave for enhancements, speech, ot, pt...I love these kiddos and what to help them but I feel so "ADD" right now.
    Any help or insight you all can give would be greatly appreciated.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jan 26, 2018

    This is a bad response from a leader! Most new teachers are stressed. That's totally normal. In fact, most experienced teachers are stressed from many similar things, although it does get a bit easier when you get into the routine of things and find out what works for you.

    I would advise you not to discuss your feelings with your principal, though. It will only put you on her radar. If you need advice, go to an experienced teacher you trust, or ask your principal for concrete suggestions on a specific topic rather than just saying you are overwhelmed.

    Try picking one specific thing you want to do well. Get good at that one thing, rather than trying to improve everything all at once. Once you are doing well in that one area, choose something new to focus on.
     
  10. DobbyChatt

    DobbyChatt Rookie

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    Jan 29, 2018

    Some of the best education advice I've ever gotten -- do what they IN-spect, not what they EX-pect.
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jan 29, 2018

    Where I'm located, it's unheard of for 5th grade to not be self-contained.
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Jan 29, 2018

    Oh, 5th grade self-contained or not is about 50/50 around here, just depending on the school or district.

    This year, focus on the bare minimum.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jan 29, 2018

    Is it ELA/Social Studies and Math/Science?
     

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