Advice Please

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Enso, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Enso

    Enso New Member

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    Feb 9, 2011

    This is my first year teaching and it is already obvious to me that I made the WRONG decision. I absolutely loathe teaching. Actually, that's not entirely true, I love the actual act of teaching, imparting an idea from one to another, but the reality of teaching in a public school is so very far from that. What you really end up doing is spending 95% of your time disciplining, defending your subject to ignorant kids and even worse parents, fighting with the administration, and basically spending your whole day being a punching bag for others. I don't mind a little of that but every day becomes rather taxing.
    I understand that there is a period of disillusionment in the first year, and I am definitely having some of that, but my situation goes far beyond just simple disillusionment. I have serious moral conflicts with how our education system is structured, everything from high stakes testing to the fact that the system as a whole is conditioning kids to be dependent on others for their own success. The general atmosphere with students that I sense is one of, "How little can I do to get the grade I need and how can I best work the system."
    Anyway, I know this is a bit of a rant, but I needed to explain my situation a bit first. After the close of this year, I will seek other career opportunities, because I feel that being a teacher who hates teaching is very bad for myself, the school, and all my students. This is the truth: I LOVE MY STUDENTS. Truly, their potential amazes me, however I feel that the formality of school is the biggest enemy of a teacher. Research shows that kids learn better informally.
    The advice I am asking of you is how can I re-invigorate myself to last the rest of the year? I refuse to quit now, I owe my students more than that. Any advice to help me maintain a positive attitude until the end of the year will be invaluable. I have already brought a lot to these students (I teach middle school music) and I want to continue that while not letting the students catch on to how much I hate this job. Help!
     
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  3. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Feb 10, 2011

    I admire your dedication to your students dispite your personal unhappiness.

    It might help to identify a few individual students whom you feel you have a chance at reaching-- maybe a talented student who needs some encouragement to embrace his/her gifts or a student with a poor attitude whom you think you can win over-- and look for opportunities to work on them. That way, when you wake up and contemplate going to school, you'll be doing it for individuals, not for the school system that you can't embrace.

    Or, on a larger scale, give yourself a key objective or two for the rest of the year: as long as I accopmlish _____, I've done my best; If I can show them _____, I'll be satisfied.

    Finally, and this sounds super-cheesy, but I have to tell it to myself all the time: there is a reason you are at your school this year. Maybe it has nothing to do with music. Maybe you're going to say one thing to one student that will impact them later.

    Last year, there was one class that I sometimes dreaded teaching-- the kids, though I liked them, were apathetic, compliany seniors and I was going into what is typicall agreed upon as the most boring and difficult piece of literature of the year. I even considered skipping it becuae I didn't feel like dealing with the complaining or force feeding them a piece of literature that could be beautiful and enjoyable when I figured they'd probably hate it. But, we did it, I did my best, and we got through it.

    This fall, out of the blue, one of the students from that class (who was almost constantly talking, by the way, so I never thought she was paying attention) informed me that she had decided to become an English teacher mainly becuase of that class, and especially that one supposedly boring unit.

    Now, if someone had told me last year that my class might be inspiring someone, I never would have believed it. Moral of the long story is that you really never know if/when an experience like that might be taking place and you might be facilitating it. You also never know when you might miss out on a potential experience like that if you let yourself grow lax as you finish out the year. Reminding yourself of your potential personal influence every day might help (it helped me a little just to write that out).

    I hope that helps a little-- I hope that you find the motivation to keep giving it your all every day.
     
  4. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Feb 10, 2011

    It's true. I've had kids who complain the whole year, don't seem to understand anything, barely finish work, etc come to me later and tell me that they loved my class and I really helped prepare them for other classes. Some of these kids were the same kids who said they HATED my class. You never can tell who you're really helping.
     
  5. Enso

    Enso New Member

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    Feb 11, 2011

    Thank you for posting. That does help. I'm writing your story out, Ms H and reading it every morning. A sort of positivity-mantra. Best.
     
  6. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Feb 11, 2011

    Maybe teaching at a college level would be better for you?
    At an elementary level, for example, one can't teach and expect the kids know HOW to get the task done unless you guide and model for them. It gets even more intense with that the lower the grade. for example, I teach 2nd so everything I have the kids do has to be modeled, modeled, modeled. Even at an upper elementary level you still need to do some of that.
     

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