Am I cut out for this?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ReneeZ, May 21, 2015.

  1. ReneeZ

    ReneeZ New Member

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    May 21, 2015

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here, and this is my first post. I came here in search of some help and/or answers. I've been teaching high school for five years, and as I close out another year, I'm wondering if I should continue with this career. You see, I'm a timid, friendly person. I don't like being stern. I don't know how to gain the respect of my students. They run all over me. I leave work everyday almost in tears. My students ignore me for the most part. They carry on their own conversations, walk around the room, throw paper balls, etc. I ask repeatedly for order, but I have to raise my voice (not yell, just talk as loudly as I can) in order to be heard. They barely acknowledge me. I'm so frustrated. The students that actually want to learn can hardly hear me, so they give up and go to sleep. It's a nightmare. I know I need consequences, but how can I punish the entire classroom? I need help to get my students to show me some respect like they do their other teachers. I've tried waiting for them to get quiet before continuing. That was a joke. I've tried giving additional work to the whole class, but the quiet ones complain and the loud ones simply don't do it. Some of my classes are just taking notes, so the loud ones just grab someone's work and copy real fast right before the bell rings (and then fail the tests). I know I need to change that too. Am I just too soft for this profession? Is there some book I can read to help me? I've read first days of school, and it has great tips for management. I just don't know. There is so much wrong with the whole situation. Anyone have any words of encouragement or suggestions? HELP PLEASE.


    Frustrated teacher
     
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  3. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    May 21, 2015

    What type of school do you teach in? Have you thought of working in a different setting?
     
  4. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    May 21, 2015

    You stated that you don't like being stern. It's okay to not prefer it, but teaching high school, you have to be stern.

    You have a few weeks to go for the rest of this year. If you want to continue teaching, I would spend the summer learning about classroom management techniques. I would watch videos, read books, and talk to your colleagues about what they do. I would practice your "stature" as a teacher and what it takes to have the calm, assertive energy that you need to possess in order to be more effective as a teacher. I would remind myself that I am in charge of my classroom, and they must respect my classroom.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 21, 2015

    It sounds like your classroom management problems can probably be solved fairly easily if you spend some time researching classroom management programs and pick one for further study. I'm curious about why you have endured this sort of mess for five years without trying to improve your classroom management issues before now. The issues you describe are problematic, yes, but they don't sound super severe or egregious. They probably could have been resolved early in the year with not a lot of effort on your part.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 21, 2015

    As you noticed, you have kids who do want to learn and kids who don't care and just ruin it for everyone. You need to separate them out. Make a list of all the kids who are causing issues in class and yes, give them consequences. I recommend a lunch detention where they need to sit quietly. Anyone breaking these rules should have their parents called or be given a Saturday School (if your school does them).

    I would recommend against punishing the whole class as it reduces your likability and respect from the kids who do want to learn, and you need to get them on your side to be successful.

    Definitely read some classroom management books. Smart Classroom Management has a great blog, and books, Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones is great for beginners in Classroom Management. It does seem odd that you've been able to survive 5 years with poor management.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 21, 2015

    Stern does not equal mean. I have high expectations of my students, but we laugh and joke around a lot. They know the limits and, for the most part, stay within them.

    By the time kids get to high school, they know how to behave in school. They also will take advantage if there aren't consequences for their misbehaviour. As others have said, make classroom management the theme for your professional learning over the summer and start the new year prepared to set expectations for your students' behaviour and to be firm when enforcing them.
     
  8. ReneeZ

    ReneeZ New Member

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    May 21, 2015

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my post and comment. I didn't mean to make it sound like I haven't tried. On my second year I started out the year doing all I could think of from The First Days of School book. I had a syllabus with all the rules and a power point. I even made a test. I constantly rearranged the seating chart to move the talkers away from each other. I used behavior contracts and called parents. I tried to be as stern as I could be. But it all backfired. The kids hated me so much that they ganged up on me. They'd throw things at me while I was writing on the board. They stole the remotes to my elmo and projector. They would take all my erasers and markers. They even set off stink bombs. I was a joke to them, and the harder I tried, the more they'd pull. I asked them one day (in tears) why they treated me like they did. Their answer was that I asked for it by being so "mean." I didn't enjoy teaching because I was always faking being a strict person, but I kept it up. I called the office constantly. In one particularly awful class, the principal told them that they were to work silently for two weeks. No talking at all. I'd prepare their work, give a short lesson, and have them write (English class) the whole hour. At the end of the two weeks, they were glad to have a chance to have a normal class again, but it didn't last long.

    The past two years I've missed A LOT of school. I've had some serious health problems and have had to be hospitalized twice. I'm better now though and that shouldn't cause a problem in the future. However, I think that much of the problem was that I wasn't in class enough to keep them in a routine.

    What I'm looking for are good examples of what it looks like to be strong and confident without being mean and hated. It sounds silly that I don't know, but I hate confrontation. I'd much rather try to reason with a student, but that simply doesn't work. Thank you for the book and website. That will help. Any other suggestions are very appreciated. Thanks again.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 21, 2015

    eh, in your situation, I'd try mean for a while. And keep it up. Better than being a doormat.

    Honestly, if your "mean" was followed by you crying in front of the classroom, the kids had to know you weren't serious the whole time. The moment they see you break down you're done.

    You are going to have to toughen up and realize that teens can be vicious beasts. You simply cannot let them win.
     
  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    May 21, 2015

    I struggled with classroom management as a new teacher (and still have room to improve). I actually went to a Fred Jones Tools for Teaching workshop, and it helped me a lot. You really learn and practice the exact skills and behaviors needed to manage a class.

    I would also get a copy of the ENVOY books...there is one that is like a workbook where you practice different specific skills, one at a time. It actually has you practice "the wrong way" first, so you could even get it and start now, practicing through the end of the year, and then start next year fresh with new skills in place. ENVOY is cool because it uses seemingly simple body language and voice cues that seem small but make a huge difference. It's actually really interesting that way (even if the little mouse cartoons are kind of weird....)
     
  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    May 21, 2015

    Sorry, no strategies here. I'm not a normally tough type either & most of my teaching career has been working w/ kids either individually or in small grps for 60 min or less, so that's very different from a class of 30+ all day.

    Either toughen way up OR would you ever like to teach younger grades in which you don't have to be stern & so on guard all day? 5 yrs is a quite a time to still not be in the groove of things & life is too short to not be happy.
     
  12. ACinTexas

    ACinTexas Rookie

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    May 21, 2015

    Yes I agree, have you considered teaching elementary school or even middle? High school kids are tough.
     
  13. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    May 21, 2015

    ReneeZ - you have my empathy. My daughter in law gave up teaching after 2 years because she was facing the same issues and realized that she did not have it in her to make the changes required.

    2nd Time around is on target, although I don't know if vicious is the right term. I would suggest that they are more like pack animals - they need structure and discipline and an alpha figure in the classroom. Someone needs to be in charge of that room so they are looking for the alpha person in the pack. It will either be you or one (or a few) of them.

    I have just seen the second young teacher in my building fail to get rehired due to this issue In both cases (and with my DIL as well), I believe their primary goal was to be liked. This never works.

    When you walk into the room, you have to be committed and passionate about your goal. If it is to be liked, you will not succeed. But if you are committed to TEACHING and that is your passion and purpose, then you will do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal. And one of the most important things is discipline (or classroom management if you will). I doubt if anyone really enjoys it...but it is as critical to your mission as lesson planning, or probably even more so. In a perfect world, it would not even be necessary. But it has to be done.

    So, only you can decide what your ultimate purpose is. But, if you want to actually teach, you have to do it. And it DOES NOT equate to being mean. It means being consistent, firm,fair and passionate about your objective of TEACHING. And your kids will appreciate it. Even if they don't tell you. And at the end of the day, they will like and respect you more.

    Best wishes. I know you are facing a difficult situation. But, if you confront this issue, I think you will find your job way more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.
     
  14. TexanTeach

    TexanTeach Rookie

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    May 21, 2015

    I'm similar to you as well in terms of being "softer" personality wise. I have taught both high school and elementary and found elementary much more my style, largely due to my personality. With teenagers, you often have to be tough because they can be challenging and will often try to see how far they can push. Plus, there tends to be a lot of attitude that you need to know how to handle, which can be hard when you are on the quiet or friendly side.

    With elementary, you still need to be firm but it's much different. If you have good rules and routines and are very consistent with following through with consequences, students will learn fast what is expected and how to behave. With the younger students, they also respond well to reward incentives which helps keep behaviours in line.

    If you think you would enjoy working with younger students, you may find it easier when it comes to classroom management given your type of personality. There's still LOTS to learn about how to manage the little ones, but you don't need to have the "tough" personality.

    Good luck with whatever you choose :)
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 21, 2015

    I think you seem to have a good understanding of the problem. It can get better with some changes. I think the book Tools For Teaching by Fred Jones shows a lot of gentle ways to get classroom management without lots of harsh penalties. It also addresses the problem of having most of the classroom not cooperating. It is the best book that I have bought in the 20+ years I have been a teacher. I think you will discover that it might also be the most helpful book for you. A used copy can be bought on amazon for about the price of a cup of coffee.
     
  16. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    May 21, 2015

    The way you are describing them sounds to me like they are just completely disrespectful. It's usually a small group that gets everyone else started. When you crack down on them everyone else follows suit quick.

    What I decided to do was in the first 2-3 weeks I dole out detentions like crazy. If I'm talking and you are too then it's a warning then a detention if it continues. If I have to ask multiple times for anything it's either detention or a write-up. I've been toying with the idea of calling parents with the student in front of me, but that can be difficult with parent schedules.

    Be on them like white on rice for the first few weeks and then lighten up a little.


    Now your bunch just sounds completely disrespectful. Also, they probably know that you're faking being tough. You can't fake that with high school students and you shouldn't have to. They [tend] to know the rules well and they are trying to find your limits. When you don't have fair and consistent consequences then those "limits" are skewed. After 3-4 weeks trying to crack down on them can be near impossible.


    I'm curious:

    How much time do you spend calling parents?

    How are things like detention and referrals handled at your school?

    Does Admin. mind when you end up writing-up a lot of students?




    I do detention in my room. They clean gum off my desks with their hands and a small spatula. They clean my board and coat it with furniture polish. They clean dishes (lab. equipment). They clean my floor if I have nothing else for them to do. If they complain then I just write them up.

    ISS is boring and they know it. If they don't care about their grades then you know what type of person you are dealing with (and shouldn't be dissuaded by it).

    I just want to say, as well, that I am an extremely nice and patient person. My students know this. I'm fortunate that quite a few of them love the fact that I'm nice and will defend me when trouble-makers act up. These are students that have self-respect and dignity. Your students sound like they have no self-respect and no dignity which is a toxic place to work if you can't handle it.


    Edit: Also, as for them saying that you being tough is overly "mean"...do you tell them exactly why they receive the consequence that they do. If I give a student detention and they serve it then I talk to them. I make them understand that what they did will not work in my classroom. Otherwise, it's almost like a parent coming home and telling them they're grounded without explaining why and they hate that.
     
  17. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    May 22, 2015

    This sounds very frustrating. I can relate, although your environment sounds especially difficult.

    I recently asked myself the "Am I cut out for this" question too, and I will share my thought process in the interest of honesty and reflection. I came to the conclusion that no, I am not cut out for it, at least not in the place I'm in right now.

    After a year of getting walked on at a public high school (my students weren't quite as rude, but ended up essentially ignoring a few classroom expectations due to my failure to provide appropriate consequences), I decided that I honestly don't think I have the stamina, self-assurance, or toughness to fight all of the battles that need to be fought to keep good control over a high school classroom. After many years of promising myself that I'd really crack down/ be tougher next year, next semester, or next quarter, I would fall into the same bad habits. I let my fear of conflict prevent me from following through.

    It came to a point where I realized I either had to dramatically shift the way I was doing things (call more parents/ confiscate more phones/ write more students up) or stop making myself miserable by placing myself in an environment where I set myself up to be disrespected. And, to be perfectly honest, I dread making parent phone calls and I don't have thick enough skin to handle the backlash that comes with firmly enforcing rules. Until I'm ready to commit to taking those things on, I shouldn't be in a classroom. So I won't be.

    I have no idea if this is the right answer for you, but I just wanted to share the juncture that I came to: change my style dramatically or stop putting myself (and students) through a frustrating classroom experience. (Maybe there's a third option of a different environment or grade level, as some have mentioned.)

    It is a tough question to have to ask yourself, and it sounds like there's a lot of good advice for improvement on this thread. I hope that you can find a solution that works for you!
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    May 22, 2015

    Persoanlly, I find HS much easier to deal with, overall, than MS. I know many people that have left MS (especially 7th and 8th grade) for HS and never want to go back (unless they end up teaching 9th graders ...).
     
  19. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    May 22, 2015

    FWIW, Ms.H - I have full respect for your honesty. And for your wise decision. The worst place to be is half-committed (i.e hoping for things to be better without making the fundamental and often times difficult changes). People that continue to struggle along do not find joy in their work and that is a bad place to be as it affects everything else. So I think it is a win-win for the teacher and the students. and it takes courage to do this (step away). Maybe one day you may rethink it and decide to come back. regardless, i wish you nothing but the best in whatever you decide to do.
     
  20. ReneeZ

    ReneeZ New Member

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    May 22, 2015

    Let me see if I can answer some questions.

    I haven't spent any time calling parents this year, and I know that's a problem. Everyone told me that you can't get more tough later in the year. You see, I was on bed rest for 4 months and my kids went through several subs until I got back. When I returned and tried to instill some structure, they bucked it. I was still so sick and had no energy that I just gave up and tried to teach the ones that would listen. I was in a really bad place, and I know my kids paid the price.

    Detentions at my school are only lunch detentions, and those are only given for tardies. We have ISS for office referrals for things like fighting or cussing a teacher or anything serious. I can't really send a bunch of kids to the office for talking. Most teachers use writing lines or behavior paragraphs as consequences.

    Administration will take office referrals and give ISS or call parents in for a conference. I have done that in the past (and been yelled at by some parents), but I didn't send anyone in this year.

    I wonder, Mrs.H, now that you've decided not to teach anymore, what will you do? I've been browsing job sites in my area, and there's not much to choose from that I am qualified for. Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds very familiar.

    Well, I got the Fred Jones book on my kindle. I've started reading it and really like it so far. I like how he gives exact instructions on what to do. It has me feeling better about keeping the goofing off down. It says to walk the room and stay out of the front of the room. I use the board and projector a lot. I'm not sure how to roam the room while I'm trying to explain a concept, but I'll do my best. I like the tips about arranging the desks differently. I see one that I really like.

    Jr. High is out of the question. Our Jr. High has a reputation for being very tough and taking seasoned tough teachers to do the job. Those kids scare me. I can't teach lower grades without going back to school for a while, and I just really don't think I'd enjoy it. I observed the younger grades during school, and boy do they have to work hard! High school is a lot of work, but Elementary is way more in my opinion. Those teachers have my highest respect. I just don't think I have what it takes.

    I hope that answers some of your questions. Once again, I appreciate all of the responses.
     
  21. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    May 22, 2015

    It sounds to me like you really came into a tough place.

    Out for 4 months? Of course they don't take on any structure. It only takes a month to build a habit and it takes longer to break those bad habits. Students were coming in with an idea of how the class would be already seeded in their minds. A new instructor wasn't about to change anything about that.

    As for roaming the room during instruction: maybe a rolling dry-erase board? They are expensive though. I've been thinking about building my own as they aren't that difficult. Just make a sturdy frame, stick some wheels on and attach the board...

    If you have an interactive board you might be able to get a pad that goes with it. A lot of my colleagues have the pads that they write on and it transfers to the board. It's difficult to get used to, but you have to practice with it before utilizing it in the classroom.


    Seriously, if you were out for 4 months that's difficult to come back on. I think that'd be difficult for anyone unless you have students that are already keen on the procedures. If anything the behavior reflects badly on whoever had control of your class while you were out.

    Middle school is another ball-game altogether. When I observed and led a class for 6 months I was actually surprised that I liked it a lot. The kids were a pain, but I enjoyed their enthusiasm. At that age they are still curious and if you can pique that curiosity then you've got them. Behavior was swift and brutal. Usually a student had no problem mouthing off to me, but when you call their mom or dad and hand them the phone it becomes something else. Having a good relationship with parents in middle school is crucial and in many cases it can actually be easier to do because there's less activity afterschool (notice I say less and not "no activity").

    Compared to high school where finding the time can be difficult. You might be coaching or running a club. You might be tutoring. Getting in touch with parents is still necessary, but having a good relationship isn't. These are high school students. I'll call/email parents about good behavior and bad behavior, but I rarely follow the "sandwich" rule. I have written 2 people up in 1 year. The average number of write-ups is 8 a semester. When I have to get parents or admin. involved it's something serious and they know it.


    For contacting parents try setting up a schedule for yourself. Create an excel (or something) and assign dates. Put 5-6 parents into one date then move to the next and so on until you run out of parents. Give yourself a week-long break then restart at the top of the list. Keep conversations short if you are calling them (and let them know you only have 3-4 minutes to talk). Emailing is sometimes the preferred method of communication which is even better.

    Take the time in the first 2 weeks to make sure you have parent contact information and confirm it.


    I've only had a few cases where parents weren't helpful in any way and those are the cases that I would have to involve administration. Also, talking with their other teachers can give you a sense of how they deal with them in other classes.
     
  22. HSEnglishteach

    HSEnglishteach Rookie

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    May 22, 2015

    Renee,

    The solution to what you are describing isn't simple. But here's the notion I want to divest you from: becoming "mean" will not solve your problems. In fact, it will make them worse. Teachers with good classroom management are never mean. Show me a mean teacher, and I'll show you someone who can't control kids. Invariably, the teachers with the best classroom management are the ones who rarely, if ever, yell, so that's the good news for you. If you think you have to be an angry, yelling mess to be a good teacher, you have the completely wrong idea, and anyone who tells you differently has no idea what he is talking about.

    Classroom management starts with caring about kids. I don't mean wanting to be liked; I mean caring on an almost parental level. So my question to you is simple: when you walk into a roomful of your students, do you care about them? Do you feel compelled to reach out to them, to get to know them, to disrupt their lives for the better? If the answer to that is no, get out now. But if the answer is yes, you have what you need to continue, because all management must stem from an inner caring about children. If they know you care about them, they will not be nearly as inclined to fight you.

    If you are truly as timid as you say, I would take a public speaking class. You are communicating that timidity to your students, and you need to communicate confidence. I would encourage you to speak in short, definitive sentences, to stand in one central location in the classroom while you are teaching, to use confident gestures, to make continual eye contact with all of your students, and to smile. Own the room. It's your room. Look like you want to be there. Look like you enjoy your job!

    If you choose to go back next year, you need a clear classroom management plan, with clearly defined consequences. Sweat the small stuff, and let nothing slide. Assign students seats, teach them your procedures, and call out kids EVERY SINGLE TIME if they choose not to meet your expectations. When you call them out, do it privately or discretely, and don't make it a big deal. Remain calm and poised. If Johnny calls out during your lesson, calmly sneak "Johnny, I love you dearly, but that's your verbal warning" without breaking the flow of your teaching. If Johnny does it again, he will have earned himself a chat after school. If he does it a third time, he's treated to lunch with you that day. Mind you, you NEVER have to raise your voice at Johnny. Publicly, to the class, you are all smiles, all confidence, all business. Johnny's disruption cannot get you off your mark, and you haven't made it personal; you've merely followed your classroom management plan. Publicly, in fact, you should be doling out praise for students who are meeting your expectations. That should sound like this:

    "Okay, period 3, I need everyone to take out their binders and copy down the objective."

    ** Half of the class gets out their binders; the other half begins to chat or gets off task.

    "I see Bob taking out his binder. Thanks, Bob. Mary has her binder out and is ready to go. Devon is ready. Sarah is ready."

    ** Three quarters of the class is now ready.

    "We're still waiting on Tom, but we have Susan now. Thanks, Susan. You guys are ready to work today!"

    ** You now have everyone but three kids, who are intent on remaining off task. You calmly slide over to the first of the three as the rest o the class is copying, lean down, and whisper in his ear that he has earned his verbal warning. If needed, you do the same with the other two.

    Your biggest challenge, Renee, will be mental. Do you believe you are in charge? Can you convince yourself of your own authority?
     
  23. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    May 24, 2015

    ReneeZ, I'm a long-time lurker here, and your post/thread prompted me to register so I could reply.

    You sound exactly like the teacher who has been my next door neighbor at school for the past couple of years. We're also English teachers, and she has had quite a time establishing herself as the leader of her classroom. She's actually leaving at the end of this year because she has decided she isn't cut out for the job.

    I think the reason situations like yours and my colleague's interest me is because I see a lot of myself in you. By nature, I'm actually rather quiet and shy. I don't like confrontation, and I lack self-esteem at times. I'd go so far as to say I'm somewhat socially anxious, and these traits have been with me since childhood. I'm now 41 years old and in my 13th year of teaching high school English. People who knew me before I began teaching cannot believe what I do for a living, and people who know me AS a teacher cannot believe I'd ever describe myself as "introverted", "shy", or "quiet". My students are especially surprised as they know me as very friendly, outgoing, somewhat loud, and not at all afraid to confront any student who is giving me trouble.

    My students used to walk all over me too, and sometimes they STILL try to do that, probably because I am friendly, and I do have a good rapport with my kids that they sometimes mistake for leniency.

    I have had to go WAY out of my comfort zone in order to become an effective teacher. At first, it was terrifying. I've spend more time than I'd like to admit crying in the bathroom at school, or in the shower in the morning before going to work. I've seriously questioned whether I can continue as a teacher on several occasions, and I've had plenty of times when I've been scouring the internet job sites looking for ANYTHING I could do besides teach. So, believe me when I say I KNOW what you're going through.

    But, I'm still teaching, and darn if I'm not getting pretty good at it! I'm now the head of my department and I'm mentoring other teachers.

    I honestly believe teaching has made me a better, more confident, more well-rounded person. It's been a tough journey, but those challenges have only made me stronger at what I do. So, my suggestion to you is to be completely honest with yourself. Do you want to change and grow as both an educator and a person? Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone in order to be more effective at your profession? Do you dream of being that confident, poised, inspirational figure in the classroom that challenges her students? We often think of great teachers as the ones who push students to grow and take risks and surmount challenges. But shouldn't we be just as willing? Aren't our students pushing us to be better teachers and consequently better people?

    Finally, do you love the subject (I'm assuming English) that you teach? Are you passionate about it? Are you passionate about teaching young people? Do you spend time away from school coming up with new and improved ways to reach your kids and inspire them as learners?

    I ask all of these questions because teenagers are very perceptive critters, LOL. If YOU aren't invested in what you're doing in the classroom and don't believe in YOURSELF, then how can you expect your students to invest in it and believe in you?

    There is no magic bullet. No book, blog, video, or website can instill in you what you must either find or build within yourself. The desire to be a good teacher has to overshadow the fear of failure. Just as our students often have to dig deep and be willing to stick their necks out there in order to find success, we have to do that has teachers. It's a constant process, an on-going journey. You will always be looking for better ways, improved methods, and new approaches. That's one of the glorious things about our profession. We get to start fresh each year (or semester) and reinvent ourselves.

    You've had a very tough year. Four months out with health issues? Even seasoned veterans would have a hard time in those circumstances. I say scrap this year. Go into survival mode (heck, we're all there at this time of year!) and push through until it's over. Then hit the "reset" button this summer and use the time to recharge your batteries and generate some great new ideas for lessons and management. Give it another shot next year when you're healthy, rested, and prepared. Then make your decision about whether this career is right for you.

    Oh, and as for a specific tactic, I'll share one I may try next year. Speaking & Listening is a big part of the Common Core, and I'm going to use that as the basis for making behavior in my class impact students' grades. I'm going to have a Speaking & Listening grade (10% of their average). Basically they all start out with a 100 for this grade, but if I have to speak to a student because of inattentive behavior (ie: not listening, speaking out of turn, disruptive behavior, etc.), that student will lose a point from the S&L grade. This runs through the entire 9-week grading period and then starts over again for the second grading period. It's weighty enough to truly impact their averages, and puts the responsibility on the student. I've used this on a smaller scale with small group discussion grades where I dole out points for good contributions to the discussions as I wander around and listen. Going off-topic or speaking to me will lose them points on their discussion grade. It works really well!

    Anyway, sorry for the novel-length post! I wish you the best of luck!!
     
  24. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    May 26, 2015

    GPC0321, I have to say you have captured the crux of the decision really well-- thanks for sharing your story so eloquently. It gave me something to think about as well, and I admire your ability to push yourself out of your comfort zone successfully.

    To the original poster, you had asked what I'll be doing if not teaching. I'll be looking for something that makes use of the English/ writing side of my degree-- anything that asks for strong written and verbal communication, such as an administrative assistant or something along those lines, especially in some type of educational setting. (During an earlier year between teaching jobs, I was hired by a small law office as a receptionist/ secretary, which I enjoyed.) Honestly, it is a tough hunt, and last time I looked outside of teaching I did a lot of applications with relatively few responses, and my non-teaching job ended up paying less with few benefits. I'll probably take some time to try to address the reasons why I'm struggling with teaching and seeing if I can do some work to overcome them.

    It does sound like you had a lot of factors contributing to a tough year, though, so I wouldn't be too quick to look elsewhere if there are still things you are willing to try.
     
  25. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    May 26, 2015

    GPC0321, the Speaking & Listening idea is genius. I theoretically do participation points this way, but I almost always forget to keep track of them. Tying them to a learning standard makes it make even more sense and more defendable to boot!
     

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