Completely and totally overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MWMnElmed, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

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    Aug 13, 2007

    Help! I will be getting my class in two days, tomorrow is meet the teacher night, and I am feeling completely overwhelmed. I have not taught in five years and when I did teach it was in high school for student teaching. I will be teaching fourth grade and am feeling totally unprepared for everything. We had our faculty meetings today and the school I will be working at is very regimented and organized and their is a routine for everything. So, not only do I not feel prepared for teaching the content I don't feel I will know all the procedures that are common for the school I will be working in. I know some of this has to be anxiety, but I want to be effective. I want to be effective, but I don't want to spend 10 hours a day at school and another two each night preparing. I left the corporate world to spend more time with my children and to feel like I am making a difference with my life and right now I don't know if the trade off for time will balance in my favor. Will it get better this year? What are some effective time management tips to being efficient with my time in class?
     
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  3. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 13, 2007

    Dedicate your day to the kids! In most districts, it is imperative that you circulate around the room with the students. However, to stay organized and keep myself from getting into the deep end in the long run, I...

    - Keep a plastic set of 3 drawers that says To File Away, To Sign and Return, and To Keep on Hand.
    - Put papers in binders as soon as I receive them.
    - Have volunteers help you with cutting out things you need cut... papers you need filed that aren't personal...

    I cannot think of much more right now, but I wish the very best for this year. At first, things seem intimidating, yet they definitely calm down in the long run. :)
     
  4. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Aug 13, 2007

    Yeah, I agree that the first year is very overwhelming. My suggestion is to find a buddy teacher for support and if you have a mentor program that's even better. Your administration and fellow teachers will know you are new and should be more than willing to guide you through things. As far as being ready....there are days I feel like I'm not ready at all. But as long as my kids are learning and are enjoying the learning process, then you are doing something right.

    You'll get better with time. Set a goal or two for yourself each year. Make sure its a goal that you know you can attain.

    As far as time management tips...try to get your students to do as much as they can. Kids love jobs. Let them pass out/collect papers, check papers off, file some papers, there can be a job for just about anything, especially with older students.

    I hope all goes well this year for you. Take a deep breath and take things one step at a time. You'll get there!
     
  5. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Aug 13, 2007

    Fourth grade is so much fun!! Last year I was in a new school and like your school, it was very organized and had specific procedures. At first, this can be daunting, but the structure will be good for your and the kids. And I agree with little317, finding a teacher/buddy will help a lot! Good luck!
     
  6. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

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    Aug 13, 2007

    Thank you for the assurance. Do you guys feel that your time invested is rewarding? I volunteered a lot last year when I was still working for a large corporation and loved the feeling that I was making a difference with the students I was working with. Do you feel that on a larger scale when you have the entire year and a full class of your own? What are some things you do to keep yourself motivated?
     
  7. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Aug 13, 2007

    In the beginning think a week at a time. You will learn a lot by observing other teachers. In the meantime, at the end of each day.... take a few minutes to evaluate what was positive about your day. Keep a journal for notes- reflecting will help you improve. It takes a good couple of months to ease into a new school year. Which is why establishing order is essential. If you have order you are more likely to think clearly. You will do fine.
     
  8. Touchthefuture

    Touchthefuture Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2007

    Hi
    I know what you're going through. I just got through my 1st year after leaving the corporate world only I had NO classroom experience. I am writing to tell you that you can do it. I did! Listen to your fellow posters, get a mentor or buddy teacher and take one day at a time. It am not going to sugar coat it. It was rough and Alot of work but the rewards outweigh it all. Stick to it!
     
  9. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

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    Aug 13, 2007

    This seems appropriate.





    On the Night Before School Starts

    School starts tomorrow, Lord, and I'm nervous.
    Ease my anxiety.
    Give me confidence,
    and let my confidence give the children security.

    Let my external control
    be a means of promoting their inner control,
    so that classroom order
    becomes a shared responsibility.

    Let me have the kind of self-control
    that teaches by example.

    And let my discipline be patterned after yours,
    rooted in a love
    that will settle for nothing less than their best.

    School starts tomorrow, Lord; make me ready.
    You have given me a job to do
    and the ability to do it well.
    You have given me your promise that you will never leave me.
    And you have guided me in all my preparation.

    So now let me face tomorrow eagerly and unafraid,
    for ultimately my confidence rests in this:
    "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13)
     
  10. sciencegirl

    sciencegirl Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2007

    What you are feeling is all totally normal and something that every teacher has felt! The beginning of the year is especially stressful and there are so many things to learn. I'll be at a new school this year, too, and am feeling that "procedural" anxiety! I've never gotten to teach the same gradelevel for more than one year, so I've learned to be flexible.

    Last year I taught 4th grade; great age! As someone else said, they LOVE to help. I don't know what your rules are at your school, but I ended up with a few kids who wanted to stay after school and help a few days a week. I had them do a lot of things--organizing the library, collating papers, sorting papers, assembling folders for fluency practice, bulletin boards, wiping down boards & desks, etc. You feel guilty like you're taking advantage, but they LOVE it--the responsibility, the extra time with you, etc. But again, make sure it's ok w/school policy and parents. I'd sometimes pop some popcorn, give them a special pencil, etc.

    Another word of advice: when you're planning, keep a post-it or small notepad with notes about what needs copying, and get it done in one big swoop. This depends on how copying works at your site, but if you do it yourself, don't waste time every day waiting for the machine, dealing with jams, etc. Choose one day, or if you're lucky a prep period, and crank through it in a large batch. You'll feel so much more on top of things with the entire week's homework, handouts etc done and in a place you have set aside. I used a paper sorter with labels for math homework, grammar sheets, etc. Each afternoon before leaving school I'd look over my plans for the next day, pull out the handouts & homework I'd need, and put them on my front table with my curriculum guides. That way I knew where they were and if an emergency came up, a sub could find things. Being on top of copying helped keep me calm.

    You can do this! My first year of teaching I got hired the day before school started, barely had a room set up (no idea how to do it!!) barely had anything ready and I got through it. Remember, you have to make sure THE KIDS think you're in charge and know what you're doing. It's ok to be a wreck, go home and cry, feel panicky, but you will find a way to keep it together in the room--and before you know it, one day at a time you just keep going and it starts to feel normal!

    Before school starts just be sure you have the basics down: rules, policies, procedures from beginning of the day to the end--some may be different from high school (Where will they turn in HW? What will they do when they first come in the room in the morning? Pencil sharpening? Water? Bathroom? How will they keep track of homework assignments? What discipline system do you use? etc etc.)

    Good luck--you'll be great! We've all been there, and somehow, i swear, you just put one foot in front of the other and convince your kids and yourself that you actually know what you're doing!! Before you know it, you do!
     
  11. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

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    Aug 13, 2007

    This website is a blessing!
     
  12. sciencegirl

    sciencegirl Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2007

    One more thing: this totally helps me when I'm feeling worried.
    As a kid, did it ever even occur to you that your teacher was scared, inexperienced, or had no idea what was going on?
    Not at all! I totally trusted my teachers and worshipped them. It never crossed my mind that they were anything except competent! I'm sure I had nervous teachers, new teachers, disorganized teachers, but I had no clue. Remember, the kids will trust you if you trust yourself to get up there and take charge!
     
  13. QueenB

    QueenB Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2007

    I was/am feeling the same way. I am a new teacher and all of the "dos and don'ts" are overwhelming. There is a constant checklist runing through my head....letter to the parents, supplies, reading logs, lesson plans, class rules, behavior plan, homework, sub plans, and where the heck is the art room?!?!? I know deep down inside that it will all work out. I've been keeping folders for everything! Between orientations and meetings at the school I'm in paper overload. I have a folder I put things that I need to sign/fill out and give to other people in, I have one for important papers that I will need to refer to later on, and one just to collect stuff that I'm not sure exactly what it's for right now, but I want to hang on to it in case I need it in the future. And I ALWAYS have a post it pad and pen with me to jot down simple little reminders so I don't have to keep it in my head along with everything else. Depend on your team, your administration and yourself.
     
  14. knitchic

    knitchic Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2007


    I'm also starting my first year of teaching, and that made me feel better! It's so true... As a student I always just assumed the teacher knew what they were doing.
     

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