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Old 02-20-2009, 09:43 AM
crystalline crystalline is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6
1st-Year Teacher Nervous Breakdown

I have gotten myself into quite the large hole.

I'm a Special Education teacher in Baltimore, MD. I began teaching through the Baltimore City Teaching Residency and therefore haven't gone to school for teaching, let alone Special Education. I worked in schools throughout college but this is entirely different. I've been transfered from one school to another already, in October, and have had my content switched from Special Ed Language Arts and Social Studies (I was an English major, so this was a good fit) to Special Ed Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Math, with my group of VERY VARIED 7th and 8th graders in my room all day with the exception of their SPAR class.

Kids alone are awesome. Well, we have our problems but I can deal with them. It's the administration. Heck, it's all the adults in the building. I stay at work til 8pm every night but I still get nothing I need done. There is always something more that is needed from me that I have no idea what it is. I didn't go to school for Special Ed... I'm just learning as I go. This is craziness. I have spent $4000+ on supplies for our classroom, and I don't mind that, but I feel as if no one is meeting me halfway. I am told continually what is WRONG and hardly ever what is working. I don't feel respected or appreciated and I dread each day.

I dread the adults. I don't dread my students. I love my students.

Anyway, I've been out of work for 3 days now due to an absolute nervous breakdown and the worst part is I haven't talked to my school about it. I've been going back and forth between quitting and not quitting and I can't come to any kind of decision. I don't know what to say to my school so I don't say anything... and the days drag on. Today is Friday.

I'm not hoping to get hired again next year. I don't even have certification. I want more than anything to go to Graduate school full-time to get my Master's and certification. So I'm not worried about "getting a good review," which, hrm, is obviously out the window now. But I do want to finish the year if it's possible. I need some of this PRESSURE to be alleviated. I put quite enough pressure on myself without constant abuse from others in the school. I WANT to make things better. I still do, even sitting here staying home from school, I'm just not sure how.

Any advice on what I could say when I go back to school on Monday (that's the plan, at least)? If I'm not fired already? I was wrong to not go to work, and I know that, and I'm very sorry, but I don't want to just bow down and apologize for everything. That kind of thinking and action drove me to this point. How can I be assertive yet humble?

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Old 02-20-2009, 09:54 AM
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Caesar753 Caesar753 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 12,434
When you say that you were out for 3 days but didn't talk to your school about it, do you mean that you didn't call in? If so, that's sort of a problem, and it's pretty likely that your employment has been terminated. No call/no shows are pretty bad in any profession, and especially so in teaching. I'm not trying to get down on you for that--I understand that you were going through some messy stuff. But I am trying to be honest with you about what's most likely.

The truth is that maybe this position isn't right for you. You might need to decide whether you can stick it out for the rest of the school year or leave now--if that choice will even be yours to make.

There is no reason for a teacher to be regularly staying at school until 8 PM or spending $4,000 on his or her classroom. That is a problem, and it's no wonder that you're feeling some stress! Why have you spent so much money? Why are you staying so long?
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:31 AM
crosscountryski crosscountryski is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 141

I am in the exact same position that you are. Read "ready to crack" post in special ed forum. I teach a self-contained special ed class in a large urban district in the southwest region. I have these student all day except for specials. I get to deal with behaviors on a daily basis from students/staff/admin. My students are great for the most part. I went to college and got a master's degree in special ed, so I am trained in doing this job. Just lacking experience because I am a first year.

I am ready to crack. They put me on paid leave for the last 6 days for stupid things. My admin is unsupportive and spends more time searching for what is wrong versus finding what I am doing right. When you hear day after day what is wrong, you question if this is the job for you or is it the school or the state. Every day, I go in and feel like a failure when I leave. I am just not happy at this school. I love teaching special education.

I am the type of person that stays late and brings work home on the weekend. It is the only quiet time I have to write IEPs and do lesson plans. That will change when I go back. No staying late. I will only bring home IEPs on the weekends.

I used my budget to buy stuff for my classroom. I refused to use my own money. I can't afford it with $50,000 in school loans.

Good luck
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:50 PM
Bumble Bumble is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,225
2nd Grade Teacher
What has helped me TREMENDOUSLY is writing in journal every day. I write down what worked and what didn't. This helps me really focus on the positives. I always write down positives/motivators. I believe that this prevents any breakdowns. Plus, next year I can go back to my journal and look at what worked and what I have learned.

I would not stay until 8:00 every night. You need your time. I leave at about 4:00. Bring your work home if you have to and watch tv or listen to music as you're grading and whatnot.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:39 AM
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BioAngel BioAngel is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,422
Upper Elementary Teacher
Is there anybody (another teacher or admin who has taught before) who can mentor you? Every teacher new to the building SHOULD be given a mentor of some sort. I'm a certified teacher and I was given a mentor, plus I have my guidance counselor helping me, and my best co-worker helping me.

I had a recent break down in front of the guidance counselor (no kids around at least) and she privately spoke to my best co-worker to make sure she gives me some guidance and was very happy to hear that I already sought out guidance from the person. TEACHERS NEED TO HELP OTHER TEACHERS! Please, get yourself somebody to help!

If you fail to find anybody at your actual school, even an educator at another school or online I'm sure could help you do wonders. My God where would I be if I didn't have other teachers to talk to and I've been trained to do this!?!
8th Year as a Science Teacher to Elementary Kiddos
“The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:00 PM
crosscountryski crosscountryski is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 141

In my school, I do not feel that I can trust anyone. They spend more talking talking behind your back. I had a wonderful mentor teacher and she managed to stab me in my back. So, who do you trust? I lost track how many breakdowns I had in my classroom with no students in there. Love teaching, hate my school. Any ideas on how to survive the next 3 months.

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Old 02-22-2009, 03:53 PM
PinkFish PinkFish is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 71
I feel the same!!! I had to take one day off because I got to school early and was so upset to be there that I threw up! I took the day off, then next day I broke down to my mentor (which didn't really help...). I went to the Doctor and I now carry Xanax with me everyday. When I get worked up I take one. I feel that I can't really trust anyone at my school and I moved a long ways from home. The only think keeping me going at the moment is that I get to fly home for Spring break in 19 days. I am using that time to job search for jobs closer to my family... I can't wait until the end of the year!!!
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:34 PM
crosscountryski crosscountryski is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 141

Wow! PinkFish, I am in the exact same position. Counting down the days until Spring break so I can go back home. Our spring break is in April.. I am also using that time to attend a job fair for an education job closer to my home. I am counting down the days until the end of the year. We get out June 4/5 and by June 7, I am moving out of my apartment and making the move home.

I have not gone to the doctor yet. I suspect that I will need to. I am just so depressed and homesick. Not eating much or sleeping too much. I never should have moved 1000 miles away from home for my first teaching job. I regret it and not happy. Here it is Sunday, and I am already stressing about tomorrow. I am coming back after being gone for a couple of days. Couple parents request conferences since I have been gone. My aide drives me nuts and wants things her way. Guess what? She does not have a teaching license. Tired of trying to please admin, aide, mentor teacher, students, and parents. Now, I know why I am ready for a nervous breakdown. I just hope I don't crack and wait for spring break. 30 days to go!

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Old 02-22-2009, 05:41 PM
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chebrutta chebrutta is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,530
Land of Sunshine
MS Language Arts
Originally Posted by BioAngel View Post
If you fail to find anybody at your actual school, even an educator at another school or online I'm sure could help you do wonders. My God where would I be if I didn't have other teachers to talk to and I've been trained to do this!?!
Amen, BioAngel. Amen.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:40 PM
PinkFish PinkFish is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 71
I KNOW totally how you feel!!!! I also moved 1,000 miles from my home! I thought it would be so easy but its NOT! I knew I would miss home but I am really miserable. I miss my friends, my family, and my dogs. I feel so alone here. I too am already stressed about the upcoming week. Lucky I just have three more weeks and I will be back home.
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1styear, breakdown, nervous, teacher

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