Crossroads

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Tornteacher, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Tornteacher

    Tornteacher Rookie

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    Mar 16, 2009

    Hello All,
    Sorry to be a complainer, but I just need to get some things off my chest! I really do not know what to do with my life. As we near the end of the school year, I find myself desperately wanting summer to get here even faster. This is my first year teaching and I can honestly say this has been the worst year of my entire life. Most of the boys in my class are miserable. Behavior wise, they just drive me up the wall. I'm absolutely exhausted every day and I DREAD every second that I have to be there. I find that weekends arent even relaxing because I spend all of Sunday depressed about being at school on Monday. Even though I know the year is coming to an end, its not coming fast enough! I just dont know how I am going to do this. I've made it this far so its ridiculous to feel this way, but I'm really out of steam here. Spring break is not for another 3 weeks and that just seems like an eternity at this point.
    Before Christmas I thought about quiting...I wanted to quit so bad but I knew I could never let myself do that. So here I am... quickly running out of steam and wondering if this is what I have for the rest of my life. I really dont even know if this is what I want to do anymore. I know this sounds terrible, but since I've been working I dont even want kids of my own anymore. I literally never want to have children! I've realized that I dont have patience like I thought I did. For next year I am hoping to teach a higher grade, but to be honest I'm not sure if teaching is even what I want to do. I don't feel passionate about it and I'm not sure if that is because I havent found the right grade level or if I really just don't like it. How do I know the difference?
    Anyway, what I am getting at is that I am miserable and the only reason I am rational right now is because I know the end is near. I just don't know what direction I need to take my life. I am so scared of trying teaching again next year and being miserable for another year of my life. I just couldn't take another year like this. However, because of the economy, I'm terrified of trying to find a new career when no one is hiring. Plus, what if I did leave teaching and then realize that I miss it, and its too late to go back to my school, etc. I just don't have a clue and I need advice!!
    I have also been seriously thinking about private school because I grew up in the private school system. Although I know parents are more annoying, the kids for the most part are much less of a behavior problem and I wouldnt have all the extra paper work and headache that public school brings. So that's another option I've been considering.
    Does anyone have ANY advice for me?? Where do I go from here? Should I suck up another year of teaching a different grade and risk still being miserable? Should I switch to private school?? What about trying another career while I'm still young? I don't want to ever have regrets in my life, but its hard to say and do when you can't see the future!! I would appreciate ANY advice ANYONE can give me. I'm desperate and utterly confused.
    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. cherry524

    cherry524 New Member

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    Mar 16, 2009

    I just wanted to respond and say I feel the EXACT same way as you do. Except I'm in a worse situation, I actually am on a short term medical leave because of the anxiety that I developed. I'm in a small public school that is very academically driven. I have three preps and an honors level class - with an AP level textbook for freshman. After midterms I just felt like things starting falling apart and I just feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and the work felt like more and more and more because I was second guessing myself about everything....

    My administration suggested it to me because they saw how hard I was working and how much weight I lost and everything. So now I have three weeks off- am meeting with a therapists and got anti anxiety medication (that will take two-three weeks to start working) and I'm still freaking out about all the lesson planning and how I will survive, pickup all the pieces, when I go back. I'm just so overwhelmed and I can't believe a job would do this to me. I don't want to quit in the middle of the year but I'm so torn on how to go back and me mentally ok.....

    I don't know what to do - part of me doesn't want to quit but part of me doesn't know how I can go back.
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Mar 16, 2009

    Tornteacher - the first year is rough for everyone. Are there any positives about your year, your classroom, your students? If so, are they things that can sustain you until a break (spring break, summer break?)

    Do you have a mentor to help you with the behavior problems?

    What is the job market situation like in your area? Is looking for a different grade or looking at private schools a real option? If so, it may be something you consider.

    I dunno. In 4 years of teaching, I've only walked out of my school 1 time at the end of the day thinking "I hate this." And, I got over it by the next day. I had a few tearful days in the beginning, but never had the thought of quitting. And, now, I can't imagine doing anything else (I've felt this way pretty much from the beginning). So, when you compare your situation to the one I just described, it makes me wonder if your current classroom is just not a good fit for you. But, unless you have a viable job market in your area, I'm not sure leaving is an option.

    I feel for you ...

    And Cherry, no job is worth your health.
     
  5. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Mar 16, 2009

    I agree with ku_alum. I've been teaching for 6 years now and this is the first year that I'm having problems with loving my job. But I know its just the class I have this year (along with a few other minor school issues). I know that I love teaching and wouldn't trade it for the world (except for maybe a supervisor job in the future), but I've also had a few really great years to think back to.

    One thing about teaching is that nothing truly prepares you for it. No matter how much work you do in your practicums or your education classes, you don't know what it is like until you have your own classroom and all of the paperwork and other stuff that comes along with the job. That said, there is a reason that so many newer teachers leave within the first 5 years.

    Personally, I would try a different grade before leaving teaching for good. It might be the grade or the specific class that is making this year so difficult. Its also a challenging profession.

    I hope that things get better for you and I hope that you can find some positive things to get you through the rest of the year. But feel free to vent on here too!
     
  6. Greensleeve

    Greensleeve Rookie

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    Mar 17, 2009

    I definitely know what you mean, TornTeacher. This is my first year and at this point I really feel like I am just waiting for the end. Things have not really been easier, as they all say it would for new teachers. Instead, I feel like I am just going through the motion everyday, barely making any difference in my students. I still have some tough classes, but mostly I don't think I have too much behavior problems save the overall lack of interest and general apathy. That said, the amount of work required is just too much. I long to return to a job where I just come home and can afford to stop thinking about work. Instead I have teaching on my mind all day :(
     
  7. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Mar 18, 2009

    I' so sorry

    Im so sorry you feel that way and I have definitely had my down times. However, I do have to say if, after 1 year of teaching you feel like you don't want to do this anymore, it may not be the career for you.

    It is a stressful job and most people don't realize it. This is a great place to talk about those feelings, but if you don't like the job the kids can tell and that will make things worse.

    Do yourself and the kids a favor and really take time to think this through over the summer.
     
  8. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Mar 18, 2009

    Hi Ladies,

    Good advice I got from a teacher who was about to retire - never quit. Always take a leave first. Why? Because you don't know how you will feel about this in 6 months. I think it is okay to express how you feel and that doesn't mean anyone should assume this is not the career for you. It might be. It might not be. But truly your first year can be really hard. In some schools it is harder than in others. I don't know too many teachers who at some point didn't have doubts. I would consider if you can make it to the end of the year. If after the summer you still don't want to go back then make the decision. If you do decide you want to go back and then decide to leave 1/2 way through next year, then at least you'll know it was the right decision.
     
  9. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Mar 20, 2009

    I agree with Caunkteacher

    I definitely would NOT just quit. If you quit you will have an extrememly difficult time getting hired again should you want to. Make it through till summer and then take some time to really think about it.

    I was only suggesting to actually take time to think about it. Alot of teachers stay in because they have dedicated so much time and money to getting an education. It really is a job that you have to be passionate about. You have to be happy or you'll do the kids a disservice (now yes we have all had our down times). That is why soul-searching will be important during the summer.
     
  10. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Mar 20, 2009

    College does not prepare you for the reality of teaching. Although I have taught mostly preschool, college was not reality. The responsiblity of teaching creates great pressure--you have to please so many people, and it is so much work. I agree with PP, consider a different grade. After working with Pre for over 35 years, I discovered that my calling is teaching adults. See how much your present job will allow you to explore.
     
  11. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Mar 21, 2009

    You may consider some therapy or anxiety treatment for yourself to help you get through the next few months. There is a very real difference between teaching the young children and the older ones. Perhaps you need to be teaching in a situation where the children can work independently and you can be more of a facilitator than "on" 24/7. Can you observe and maybe help out in one of the older classes during your planning time? I have known some teacher friends to switch classes for a day to see what it is like to teach a different grade level.
    And as other posters have said, better to take a leave than to quit.
     
  12. Miss Beazly

    Miss Beazly Rookie

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    Mar 22, 2009

    Hi Torn, I could have written that exact post, as I feel the same way.
    This is my second year teaching and have felt this way since the middle of last year. On Sundays, I start feeling physically ill due to the stress, anxiety and depression.
    I have NO passion for my job, and am just marking time til summer. I too wish someone could tell me if it's teaching that I hate or just the problems with my particular district. Given the shakey job market it is frightening to consider not going back next year, but I also must consider my health and emotional well being. :(
     
  13. hopefulnovice

    hopefulnovice Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2009

    Hang in there TornTeacher, you are not alone!

    I am too am miserable and waiting for this year to end. Don't quit, but ask your principle for a different grade, if possible. If not, look for another school/grade level. That's what I'm doing. In the meantime, find little things that make your day better. Bubble baths, wine, movies, novels, boyfriend - whatever works! There is so much more to life than a job. Yes, keep reminding yourself that this is just a job. We, teachers, often make the mistake of calling it "our life" giving it "our all", bla, bla, bla. Nothing is more important then out health and well-being.

    I found it helpful to cross the days off my huge wall calendar. I look for other teaching jobs online, plan for a couple upcoming job-fairs. I think about how much I've accomplished, what a better a teacher I am as compared to the beginning of the year. This sucks, I am in such emotional pain so often, and yet I consider myself a real trooper - I've made it this far! Even if this career is not for you, don't despair! You'll find your path. Two months and we're done. What is two months? Nothing!
     
  14. txteach13

    txteach13 Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2009

    Hi TornTeacher, I wish I had good advice for you but I think you'll discover a lot more beginning teachers that feel just like you do. I can't imagine 1st graders, don't want that for sure. I'm in 7th grade now though and don't like that either. I have no idea what I'll do next year, I've already told them I won't be back here. I'm a career changer who is thinking of changing back. Right now I'm just focusing on finishing the year which will be a major victory for all of us! I had my observation today and the relief of that being over is monumental. Good luck and try to enjoy your break!
     
  15. Greensleeve

    Greensleeve Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2009

    Hang in there! I am quite miserable now as well. But soon the school year will be over, and I will start on my new job and this year will forever be the past...
     
  16. Tornteacher

    Tornteacher Rookie

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    Mar 25, 2009

    I want to thank everyone for all of your wonderful advice. Sometimes I really just feel better reading the posts from those of you that are feeling the same way as I am. I am hoping that I can one day realize that this is my "passion" but I've also come to realize that it's not the end of the world if this is not the job for me. I'm still young and have my whole life to change careers and try new things. My new approach is simply to finish this year, and use my summer to think about what I really want. If I decide it's not teaching, then I will just find something new. Maybe if I do stick it out one more year, I'll love it, right? I guess I'll have to wait and see! Anyway, if anyone has anymore advice for me, or would just simply like to share their similar feelings I would appreciate it! Thanks again!
     
  17. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Mar 25, 2009

    Just read the posts here and you will see you are not alone.The first year of teaching is very difficult for everyone.You are not prepared for the behavior problems you face nor the enormous paperwork you have to deal with or the lack of support from some administrators.Try to find someone in your school willing to share ideas and advice with you.Almost every school has teachers who are willing to help others.
    As a personal aside my first class had 23 boys and 3 girls.Their only aim was to try to kill each other.I went home crying every night and were ready to quit. I stuck it out,somehow and my second year was better. I am about to finish 30 years at the same school. Don"t give up. Good Luck.
     
  18. Scientifical_3

    Scientifical_3 Rookie

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    Apr 3, 2009

    I have seen a lot of teachers, reply to post in this similar vein, and say don't quit, don't quit, don't quit. I disagree with them greatly. Quit, it is the best answer to a terrible situation. If you hate a job, any job, so much just quit it. There are other jobs out there, even in a down market. I quit this year and it was my first year. I do not regret a minute of my decision. Bad schools will do nothing but take away any passion you had for teaching to start with. The longer you stay the worse the situation will get. Do not buy into the nonsense that it gets better with some time. Oh just stick it out the first year and then try the second. Guess what, the same people will be telling you that second year to just stick it out. By all means quitting and getting yourself out of the way is the best move. Schools and districts merely are looking to exploit you. They don't want you to quit because it will hurt their situation, they don't give two shakes about you. Just my opinion.
     

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