Brand new teacher...and terrified

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DamienJasper, Apr 6, 2018.

  1. DamienJasper

    DamienJasper Rookie

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    Apr 6, 2018

    So at long last I’ve received and accepted an offer for my very first teaching position (8 years after I earned the degree). Strange; it’s all I’ve ever wanted since I was 16, but now I’m suddenly filled with a gnawing fear that I’m going to be so bad at it, that I’ll be fired or not renewed in very short order. Is this normal? Certainly everyone struggles some in their first year, right? Second? How much rope are new teachers given? I may not be crazy about my current employment, but I know management and my coworkers all think the world of me. Scary to walk away from it all and maybe fail. Who would have thought a dream could suddenly be so...uneasy.
     
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  3. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Apr 6, 2018

    Nerves are normal. I assume you will begin in the fall? Take time this summer to go over the materials for what you will be teaching and to do some initial planning. If you will be a part of a team, it would make sense to make a contact with them before school lets out for the summer. Find out if you will be assigned a mentor teacher and learn about the onboarding program in your new district. Our new teachers are assigned a mentor, and they attend several new teacher training sessions that are hosted by our CESA. Finally, welcome to the profession!
     
  4. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Apr 7, 2018

    Glad to hear your perseverance has finally paid off! Although it's absolutely normal to feel nervous about a new job, entering the teaching profession these days can either be like a walk in the park or a dangerous traverse across a minefield. Have you scoped out your new school in terms of: test scores (percentage of students that met state standards), speaking to teachers about school climate, discipline problems, teacher turnover, etc. When does your new job begin?
     
  5. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Apr 7, 2018

    I had taken a break from teaching, after some ups and downs. On a sunny February day in Southern California, I remember being an aide, and having lunch duty. A smart-mouth boy ran by me and he said, "I don't have to listen to you, you're just an aide."

    I said, "I am a teacher, and I have 3 degrees and certificates in two states!"

    He said to me, "Then what are you doing standing outside with a whistle around your neck?"

    As the kids say....SMH. That was mind blowing!!

    I started interviewing for TEACHING jobs that week.

    Don't be afraid...you will be fine!
     
  6. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Apr 7, 2018

    I know this may sound strange, but I went into my first year confident even though I was nervous inside. I did this because I remember reading a study at some point that basically said students who are confident and go into a test do better overall than students who go into a test and are not confident, all else being equal. I would literally give myself a little peptalk that I can do it each morning before school and always try to look on the bright side of things, even on days where I thought things were unraveling. Sure, things didn’t always go the way I had hoped; for example, in the first year I taught AP Stats, only 60% of my 40 students passed the AP test. This meant 24 out of 40 students passed with a 3, 4, or a 5, with the average score being a 3.2/5 (there were sixteen 2’s, six 3’s, twelve 4’s, and six 5’s). Yes, 16 students did not pass but they all got 2’s, which shows they were on the cusp of passing! And, of course, I was bummed out at first, but then I found out the national pass rate that year was 58%, and it donned on me that I was a beginning teacher and I still beat the average. That really motivated me to think about what went well and not so well, and this enabled me to formulate how I can improve things next time around and every year thereafter.

    Seriously. Don’t dwell on the negatives. Yes, some days will be crappier than others, but so long as you maintain a positive demeanor you will look forward to each new day and see everyday as an adventure. And look at me today, my AP pass rate is now 98% across all the AP classes I teach! Things WILL get better with time.

    I wish you the best of luck! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Apr 7, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Apr 7, 2018

    I just hope you haven’t amassed more than 50k in student debt so it’s at least manageable. I want you to be able to establish yourself and to start your life!
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Apr 7, 2018

    Welcome to the most amazing profession! Nerves are normal because everyone tells you the horror stories from their first year of teaching. Yup, it's a really hard job, but it's also so rewarding. I had a fantastic first year. Sure, there are things I'd do differently now that I know differently, and I was constantly second guessing myself, but I stand by that year. I created a happy, respectful classroom culture, we learned, took risks and became good friends. It was amazing.

    You won't fail. Just don't be scared to ask for help. No one is expecting you to know everything. Teaching is a profession where we never fully arrive, every teacher is constantly learning, reflecting and refining their practice.

    Congratulations on securing your first job! I hope you love teaching as much as I do!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
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  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    This sounds like a sound plan. I would throw as much as you possibly can (way more than the minimum) at it to kill it. Otherwise, you will be swimming in debt for the rest of your life...

    I would put off buying a house and just rent until you pay off ALL of your student debt.
    And just to let you know, you will probably start off making a decent amount in New York, and so income-based payment might be quite large.
     
  12. DamienJasper

    DamienJasper Rookie

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    Apr 7, 2018

    Thanks for the replies all. I guess another question, that I’m having a hard time finding simple clear research for is whether the standardized test scores of the students can get a teacher canned. Not that I’m afraid of accountability; I believe in it a great deal. But this is a case where it also feels like there’s so much out of your control. Like being a pitcher; you can induce groundouts and fly outs all game long and you’re doing your part, but you need your fielders working hard too or you’ll eat the loss in any case.
     
  13. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Whizkid taught me something new. Look into Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan. You make 120 payments and the remaining balance will be forgiven
     
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  14. DamienJasper

    DamienJasper Rookie

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    Debt isn’t a problem
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 7, 2018

    I saved the link for that because I very much want to look into that plan once I have some of my other ducks in a row (that was a long sentence...now even longer). My student loan debt makes me sick to my stomach.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
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  16. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 7, 2018

    I think the way you are feeling is very normal. I felt like a phony my first year. I didn't consider myself a real teacher until maybe year 3 or 4, and I don't think I really teaching it until year 5-ish. Don't get me wrong, I did not dislike it, but I really didn't really enjoy it until later. I think that was primarily because I had so much to figure out and learn (and of course, I continue learning and progressing each year).
     
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  17. whizkid

    whizkid Groupie

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    Apr 7, 2018

    PSLF will ease that sickness.
     
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  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I'm looking forward to that!
     
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  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    How much do you owe? What are the interest rates? I can let you know how much you will owe each month when you have to start paying.
     
  20. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    We only have our kids for 6 hours. We have no idea what really goes on in the remaining 18. You can do all you can, and their home environment, neighborhood, even dietary and medical issues can ruin all your efforts.

    In some school districts, the standardized tests can make or break a school. In many areas, if the scores are in the toilet, the whole school goes through reorganization. In my area, they are called turnaround schools. That means the P all the way down to the custodians are uh- transferred or retired-in-force (RIFd). Sometimes charter school teachers are brought in. Specialists, superintendents, and other big-wigs come into play. If the scores are below average for x amount of years, yes - the teachers are laid off or sent to other schools so that other teachers can bring the scores up.

    If you are seeing ads for your school that read "great opportunity, new teachers welcomed, out-of-state teachers encouraged, good salary", this is a warning sign.o_O

    Watch the news, read the papers, and do your homework. If your school is on 'academic watch', then everyone is affected. If you see signs that things are getting bad, weigh your options. Staying keeps $ in your pocket, and may look good on your resume. Staying might also be a short ride. When a school changes its name from Lincoln Elementary to Lincoln Success Academy - there's a problem.
     
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  21. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    Apr 21, 2018

    I completed my Master's degree in Elementary Education in October 2017! :) Even though I could have taken a position mid-year, I chose not to, and I think it was the best decision I EVER could have made! :) I am currently looking for teaching positions and am praying to land a job for the upcoming school year! :) I have been a Paraprofessional for 8 years, and have gained a LOT of experience that will be very valuable when searching for a teaching job! :)

    Best of luck to you and many blessings as you journey towards the finish line of getting your Master's degree, and to landing a teaching position! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
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  22. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Apr 22, 2018

    For me I have those feelings every day of my life. Just the other night a teaching nightmare about me being a terrible teacher interrupted my sleep. I've gotten pretty good at controlling the negative, invasive, doubting thoughts.
    But once you've been a teacher, it's difficult, if not impossible to do something else. It's hypnotically wonderful, and yet hellacious at the same time.
    It's fantastic.
     
  23. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Apr 30, 2018

    It' normal to be nervous year one. Yes it will be challenging but it gets easier as the year progresses. Welcome to the educator ranks and remember you will make a difference even if you do not think you are.
     
  24. Camel13

    Camel13 Companion

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    Apr 30, 2018

    My first year has gone fantastic. I attribute part of it to a very supportive prinicipal, but a good portion to really not taking things too personally. You are going too flub lessons and feel like a failure some days. Just tell yourself, it is your first year and you will only get better as you go. When troublesome students get you down, teach to the few who love to learn for a day while you figure out how to reach the ones who need you the most. As long as you truly care about your students and show them that you care that they learn and do well and are there for them, you will win many of them over. Bask in the great lessons, moments or complements, and let the rest roll off your shoulders!
     
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  25. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    May 1, 2018

    I think the nerves are normal. You've got this!
     

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