Already anxious about the upcoming year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by greenwonder, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. greenwonder

    greenwonder New Member

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Hello everyone. I have been a lurker for awhile, but finally felt the need to post to receive guidance from those in my field. This will be very long, so I apologize in advance but am going through a crisis of sorts.

    Just a bit of background for those reading...I am going into my sixth year of teaching. I originally set out to be a secondary social studies teacher...I especially enjoyed working at the middle school level. After undergrad, I started working part-time at a wonderful school district. To make a long story short, they were able to eventually hire me full-time in the middle school, though the district requested I go back to school to get another teaching certification so I could teach another subject for them besides SS. While my passion was with SS, I gladly and quickly went back to school to obtain another degree and certification. Those first three years of my career were wonderful, though at some points of my experience, I was teaching THREE different subjects or grade levels. I enjoyed and looked forward to going to school every day (to me, it didn't even feel like "work"), I had a positive relationships with students, parents, and my colleagues, I received glowing reviews from my administrators, and to top it off, my students performed extremely well on state exams. All that went crashing down when my district ran into a budget crisis and laid me off since I was the last hired. I was devastated. It was truly my dream job.

    I now had three teaching certifications and no job. After looking for a little while, I was able to find a job about 45 minutes away from home for the following school year. They were able to promise me a year-long contract to teach English, not my passion, but I had taught it at my previous district. However, once again, I received decent evaluations and my students performed very well once again on state exams. Since I only had a year-long contract, I began looking closer to home and found a position closer and for more money. Towards the end of the year, the school really wanted to extend my contract since they were pleased with my teaching performance, but I opted out for the new position I was offered.

    I am now in my second year with this third school. This past year was EXTREMELY rough on me. Once again, I was hired for an English position. I was hired with one other new English teacher who also had several years of teaching experience. This school's main focus is test scores, which made me realize why I had probably been hired due to my students' past performances. In every meeting, test scores are brought up, ugh! Every evaluation I (as well as the other new teacher) received was negative and I was told things such as "If your students don't do well on the state test, your life will be very difficult next school year." My administrator also said things about my personality being too timid and shy to be an effective educator, that my teaching is boring and uninspired, that he would never recommend me for tenure, etc. However, I got off easy as the other new teacher received letters in his file, etc and was eventually terminated. The whole year made me want to quit teaching but I kept with it. Just as a side note, our union has been trying to build a case against the administrator who said all those previous things, as he has been boorish to many of the faculty and staff. Nothing has happened yet with that, to date.

    Anyway, I was upset about the other "new" person leaving, but I was glad I had kept my position and was looking forward to tightening up the curriculum with my co-teacher...the second year is always better than the first! However, my administrator announced to me the day we left for summer break that the person we just hired as the new replacement would be taking my position and my classroom, and I would be moved into the recently-terminated colleague's classroom as well taking on his teaching load, which contains two different grade levels without the support of a co-teacher. Fine, I previously juggled multiple preps in my career without issue, but I was being told the last day? His reasoning was that I've "had it too easy, and the school wants to make my new year more difficult." Many of my colleagues told me to keep my chin up, that yes, this administrator was trying to get the best of me, but just to take the summer vacation to rejuvenate myself.

    Anyway, since now I am now teaching two different grade levels, I have tried to reach out to my other colleagues that are my counterparts on opposite teams. None are willing to work with me. I am now feel lost and overwhelmed with no co-teacher support, no willing departmental colleagues to bounce ideas with, and an administrator that seems to be setting me up to fail. We don't go back for another six weeks and I am already having anxiety attacks about it and feel physically ill about the thought of going back to work. My husband says he thinks I would be much happier if I were still teaching social studies, but there are no SS jobs to be found, thus why I keep being hired as an English teacher.

    So my concern...how do I stop myself from being so anxious and miserable about a school year that hasn't really already started? I am not afraid of hard work, but the more I plan over the summer, the more anxious and upset I get. I used to love teaching, but now I can't muster any enthusiasm about it. This school has made me feel like I am a horrible and ineffective teacher. I feel like I will be doing my future students a disservice if I continue this way. I miss the days where I got excited over the summer to meet new students in the fall and get back to educating. What can I do to turn this around?

    Thanks for reading...I really just need to vent. I have been in tears today thinking about school and my husband sympathizes but doesn't understand. As a side note, the first school I taught at is anticipating a retirement at the end of this upcoming school year for middle school social studies. Since I was laid off previously, I have been told the district has to offer me the position before starting a hiring search. If I could only wait it out one more year??? Sigh.
     
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  3. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Hi greenwonder, I'm not sure what to say except that I don't blame you for your anxiety and fear. Your administrator sounds like a terrible person and that he is maybe setting you up to fail. I know that others more qualified than myself will weigh in and offer more help. If I was working with you, this is what I'd say, "go in your room, do your job the best you can, keep your head down, stay positive and friendly, open to suggestions. If others won't help you, then keep on the path that you know is best. Keep out of politically situations, make the students and parents your allies, and pray a lot. Maybe get some sessions with a therapist, if your insurance will help you, so you can vent. Keep a sense of humor. Try and make your classroom fun and challenging. Try to work in technology as much as you can. Hold on, get through the year and hope it all goes better than it looks right now. Get some messages lined up. Take good care of yourself and know that you deserve better than this. The kids need you. You can do it."

    I'm hoping that three months from now you will say it is all working out...
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 15, 2013

    "I have tried to reach out to my other colleagues that are my counterparts on opposite teams. None are willing to work with me"

    This is such crap. Can you afford to quit and sub for a year?
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Jul 15, 2013

    You have made 2 things clear.
    1. The principal at the school you are teaching at wants high test scores.
    2. You have been effective at preparing your students to get high test scores.

    My advice is to hunker down and take care of your business in your class. Do what you know has been effective. Be the absolute best teacher you can be, be reflective on your instruction, motivate and build bonds with the students.

    Let your student's academic achievement speak for themselves.
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Is it possible for you to sub full time in your old district for the year until the SS job opens up?

    I would hate for bad reviews from your present jerk P to jeopardize your return to SS.

    And, if subbing would work, you wouldn't have to live in agony for the year.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Having experienced anxiety (or panic) attacks, I know first-hand that they are not fun. In fact, they can be debilitating. (I was unable to drive over interstate bridges for over a year.) First, I agree - you need to take care of yourself. Take a step back and breathe - seriously - breathe - you might even look into yoga. Eventually, I had to go on antidepressants to get rid of my attacks, but not everyone does. Exercise helps some people.

    Regarding the job situation, been there, done that. I would say put your head down and push forward at your current job, planning and working to the best of your (obviously high) ability. In the mean time, keep looking! I understand your frustration with not teaching SS - my degree is in history, and I'm teaching elementary (self contained, so I teach EVERYTHING).

    Lastly, you are always welcome at AtoZ. While not everyone is warm and fuzzy, generally posts are met with good advice and/or suggestions. At the very least - it's a safe place to vent!
     
  8. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Huge :hugs:. I agree with what the others have said. I'm so sorry that your P is not supportive at all. Please know we are always here for you!
     
  9. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2013

    I faced extreme anxiety/depression this past school year, because my principal, asst. principal and a colleague bullied me throughout the year.
    So, I definitely know what you are going through!

    I know feel so much better since I have a new job. If you can, I would quit and sub this year. It just sounds like a toxic environment, not just because of the P, but because your colleagues won't even help you.

    I would also see a therapist, so you can shift through your emotions. Hope you feel better :hugs:
     
  10. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Hi Greenwonder and welcome to the forums. Glad you're here! :)

    You've received such wonderful advice in this thread, I hope you glean something from everybody.

    I just wanted to add that you can't let one administrator (since you've reported this person is boorish to others) get you down. Don't let him/her win. It'd be different if he/she was just pleasant as cakes to others, but not to you...but if this person is this way to many others, you know it's not you.

    As I said, don't let him/her win. As has been said, you go and be the best teacher you can. Know those kids will love you and that you, in turn love teaching them. Keep open communication with the parents and the students. They'll be your allies and your support.

    And if you are seriously suffering from anxiety (and I've had anxiety attacks - they're miserable!) please consider speaking to a physician so you can get the necessary help so you can have as healthful a year as possible.

    And we're here for you during the year as well as at the start!

    Knock 'em dead! :)
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Definitely start looking forward to the possibility of returning to your old school the following year. Could you sub in that district this year? Work at an instructional assistant? Teach something unrelated? (I taught district level homebound instruction one year, just to stay in the district.)

    Don't be too hard on them. It's summer. They, too, work for the crappy administrator. It could just be that they mentally need to distance themselves from school for their own well-being.
     
  12. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Well first off, your p sounds like a complete a$$. If I were you, I would try to get back to your old school or go someplace else.

    I don't do well in toxic environments. I have left jobs that were far too stressful for me. I don't blame you for feeling the way you do!

    I was quite miserable in one subbing situation where the team I was on was full of spiteful people, my room was condemned due to mold, and we also talked of nothing but test scores. I turned down further LTS jobs at that school and left. Best decision ever. I was miserable. I wasn't sleeping and it was very unhealthy. (Btw consider getting something mild from your doc to help you sleep if that is a problem...lack of sleep will make everything worse!!!)

    If you stay at this school, try to find ways to support yourself and your health....exercise, yoga, therapy, friends, pampering yourself however you can. You have to make it a priority to take care of yourself no matter what.

    Good luck!
     
  13. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 15, 2013

    I agree with most of what everyone else has said. Get. Out. Of. There. Your physical and mental health is nothing to mess around with. Just like pwhatley, I had to go on antidepressants when working in an incredibly toxic environment. After I changed schools, I was able to stop taking them less than four months later. I recently started doing yoga, and I can't stop raving about how great it's making both my body and mind feel. I second (or third, or fourth) that recommendation! Stay strong and take care of yourself!
     
  14. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 15, 2013

    While I understand all of the suggestions that this person quit teaching in the toxic environment, some (like me a few years ago) cannot financially afford to quit without another job in hand. That's why I suggested to start searching while still working.
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Agreed. I wasn't necessarily saying to just quit without another job in hand, if that's what it sounded like. I'm single and live on my own, so I wasn't able to do that either. I toughed it out and left as soon as I had another offer in hand, which happened to be mid-year. I guess my advice is still to get out of there but not until you have another job... unless you can afford it, of course! Good luck! And, seriously, talk to your doc about anti-anxiety meds if you think you need them. It's amazing how many teachers take them. I never would have guessed until I started teaching. And, again, consider yoga or some other form of exercise or relaxation.
     

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