Does anyone else ever feel overwhelmed with teaching?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by whollyconsumed, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. whollyconsumed

    whollyconsumed Companion

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    Jun 28, 2013

    I resigned from a position mid year. I have taught for 6 years, but I guess you could say I suffered from burnout and shattered confidence. Everyone could not believe that I did resign. They all thought I was wonderful. It was just taking everything I could to hold it together. After some time off (6 months) I realized how much I do love what I do and how lost I am without it. I explored the idea of other career options, but I just can't see myself in other fields long term. With that in mind, I am hoping to secure a position for the fall. However, I do not want to burnout again. Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about what I went through. (I worked with high risk inner city kids and there were a lot of challenges.) I was hoping for some encouragement and advice on what to focus on. I tend to let my creativity and perfectionist nature take over. This time around, I want to do the best I can to avoid taking a break.
     
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  3. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I was burning out this past year. I held it together, I honestly don't know how. I was thankful that I started a new position mid-year as a reading specialist that took me out of the classroom full time.

    My school is inner city also, so I understand your environment. What helped me to hold it together, in no particular order.

    1. I took very little work home, maybe on Fridays & that was only grading

    2. All copying & most of the organizing of it was completed before I left work on Friday. I found that if I stayed late on Fridays there is no waiting for the copier.

    3. Lesson plans were completed either Thursdays or during my Friday morning prep. Sometimes I took it home on Thursdays so I could copy during my Friday morning prep. This would happen if I knew I wanted to leave right away on Friday.
    4. Lesson planning was done on the computer. I just used the previous week's plans & changed what needed to be changed. No writing in of specials or things that stayed the same, they were already there. Cut & Paste as needed.
    5. Do what you have to to be organized and to stay organized.
     
  4. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I was burning out hard last year. I agree with everything Kpa1b2 said... my biggest problem is people coming in for questions or to chat. They don't take a hint, and some don't take a straight up "I'm busy right now." Staying late on Fridays alleviates that, as everyone else is trying to get the heck out. Next year, I'm also going to try a lamp trick a friend of mine uses - door closed, lamp on means Do Not Disturb; door open, overhead lights on means I'm Available.

     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I don´t teach in an inner city. In fact, most of our families are the wealthiest in the city so I definitely do not experience the same challenges as you. However, yes I do find teaching very stressful and, at times, overwhelming. In my experience the stress has been good stress, but stress nonetheless. There is never a minute in the school day that you don´t have a million things going on. I feel an adrenaline rush from the minute I open the door and let my kids in until the minute they leave. Luckily I do have a lot of support from admin and parents, and I think that makes a huge difference. I know being a perfectionist is your nature, but I think that might only set you up for failure in the classroom. One thing I have learned is that I have to let some things go and allow myself to accept that something didn´t go right or the way I planned. I don´t mean to allow yourself to make excuses and not put effort into what you do, but accept things when they aren´t perfect, don´t beat yourself up over every little thing. I allow myself one professional goal every year. This next school year I am going to work on writing. That´s where my real focus will be. Things I have worked on in the past are already running smoothly now, and things I haven´t worked on will be good, but might be better in the future when they become focused goals for me. I wish you luck in your journey back into the classroom.
     
  6. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Jun 29, 2013

    If you don't mind the lower pay, look into a Religious School. I work at a Catholic School and it's just a more laid back and relaxed atmosphere. No one worrying about testing (yet our students are well above the national and Archdiocesan averages, including my classes in every area I teach) :cool:, most students are well behaved, parents are involved, etc.

    As long as the money is OK for me, I plan on staying, which is not something I ever thought I would say when I was in College.
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jun 29, 2013

    Yes I feel overwhelmed. Today is my first official day of summer holidays and I am trying to keep the guilt at bay - you know the stuff we overanalyze afterwards and can't let go - could I have done more for Johnny? Should I have put in a resource referral for Sally? Will Susie get along with her teacher next year?

    It's hard to let go! I wish you the best of luck as you venture out again. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to spend the year subbing to see if you enjoy teaching again?
     
  8. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 29, 2013

    Always - for me, it's hard not to. I also teach in an inner city school, and often just the needs (physical, emotional, and academic) of the students are overwhelming. When I find myself cringing inside, or verging on a panic attack, I (1) take a minute to pray/meditate and reflect on what is going right in my classroom and (2) if that doesn't work, take a "mental health" day off, although that creates a ton of work on its own!
     
  9. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jun 29, 2013

    There are certain times of the year when I feel overwhelmed. Overall, though, I try to balance my time well. My first two years teaching, I spent seven days a week in my room. I got worn out very quickly. Nowadays, I don't go in on the weekends and I try to get things done during recess and lunch (we don't get a planning period and the kids don't have "specials").

    The nice thing about my job is that my contracted hours are 7:15-2:35, so if I'm super tired, need to run errands, or don't feel well, I'm able to leave at 2:35. That's a luxury that lots of other working people don't have.
     
  10. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jun 29, 2013

    Have you thought about other avenues that use your skills and even allows you to teach but not necessarily in the school system?
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I agree that setting limits are important. I normally leave school around 4:00 and then the rest of the time is for my family. I also do all my planning and most of my grading at school during school hours. Having limits helps because you could literally devote all day to the things to work, but that´s just not healthy and does, in my opinion, lead to burn out.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2013

    For me, it's important to make time for things other than school...I love my job, but it can be 'wholly consuming'...when I'm feeling like things are piling up and becoming overwhelming, it's usually because I haven't built in that 'release time'....to clear my mind and relax I will sometimes walk at lunchtime, workout after school, garden, read something other than professional literature, go out with friends, garden, relax with a glass of wine...so important to listen to your feelings and pull back when you need to...I hope you are able to find a job thats the right fit for you, wholly. :hugs:
     
  13. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I feel overwhelmed a lot. I'm responsible for too many things at my school, but I have trouble saying no. I feel stressed out most of time. But, I still love my job. I think I do need to find a balance so I can feel more relaxed when I'm at home. Unfortunately, it probably won't happen this year. This will be my last year at this school and I want to make sure I can get really good recommendations.
     
  14. msj5ny

    msj5ny Rookie

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I definitely felt overwhelmed. So much that, I took a leave of absence this school year. I will be returning to work in the fall. I really hope I do a better job of handling the stress next year. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

    Teaching is a demanding job with no clear cut boundaries. You can always go "one step further" but you have to know when to draw the line for yourself. Next thing you know, you're second guessing yourself. Should you have put in a little more?

    Some of your coworkers have adult kids or no kids and may seem to be able to put in more hours than you, while others may have personal problems and/or kids and seem to be falling apart. This makes teaching difficult on top of demands from administration, parents, and society/politicians.

    So, yes I do get overwhelmed with teaching. :dizzy::lol:
     
  15. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I think it's GREAT that you can go in 7 days a week, if you want to. Teachers at my school do not have keys to the building and once we leave, we can't come back until people with the master keys come into the building and LET you in. It's so frustrating because if I forget something, I'm totally up the creek without a paddle.

    Yes, I was really overwhelmed most of the last half of the school year. It's my first year of teaching, I finished my internship in December and then started in an alternative classroom in January. I was teaching 6,7, 8 graders at the same time in all four core subjects (I am only certified in 2 middle grades core subjects). Then our planning time was constantly being spent on this meeting, or that meeting, or this or that. Some of the content, that I'm not certified in, I had to *teach myself* the night before. On top of the massive planning I had to do, I had to deal day in and day out with behavioral/motivational issues typical of an alternative classroom--all with only internship experience. Compound that with 1st trimester pregnancy lethargy and morning sickness (that this pregnancy decided to make last until about 24 weeks of pregnancy--almost the 3rd trimester :eek:) and I was ready to run out of the building screaming, or at the very least curl up under my desk and sleep. It stunk, royally. I'm so grateful that I'm moving to a regular team, one grade level, one subject (two would be okay too, but one is even better) this upcoming year. I don't think I'd do what I did this year again.

    Just the lessening of the burden is enough to help me feel less overwhelmed. But I am also spending my summer slowly working on preparing for next school year. I want to have everything planned out before school begins so that I won't have to spend evenings and planning periods "planning," but rather grading, making copies, and going to meetings. I definitely do NOT want to spend my evenings totally immersed in prepping for the next school day--especially with a newborn who'll be keeping me up during the night.
     
  16. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jun 30, 2013

    I start to feel burnout around mid March. i find that i feel most burnt out when i am not prepared. some things that help me:

    1. we are required to have 2 grades for each subject, so i give weekend homework for each subject. that way one monday, i have a grade for each subject so i start out having already met half of my grading requirements by the 1st day of the week

    2. i get all the books i'll need for reading groups on friday

    3. i write the materials and charts i will need to make in my plan book

    4. i try not to grade or do school stuff during my lunch. instead i eat, check my email, read interesting articles, text my mom or fiance, eat w/another teacher, listen to music, etc. that little break helps recharge me

    5. i keep a record book of my interactions w/parents and whenever a parent seems irate, i email the P a heads up incase the parent goes to her. that little bit of damage control has saved me many headaches

    6. i have a running list of monthly deadlines w/things from the admin in red (like dra tests)

    7. during bus dismissal once it's down to 5 or 6 kids, i tell them to throw away trash they find on the floor, put back any stray books, pass out papers, clean the chalkboard, etc and everyone does it b/c i give them stickers (it saves me from afterschool clean up)

    8. it's a pain but i try not to bring papers home even if i stay a little late on friday

    9. i make copies on thursday for the following week whenever i can

    Teaching is one of the hardest jobs in the world IMHO. Sometimes I imagine myself in 20 years still doing this job and it scares me b/c i often feel drained and overwhelmed despite it being my 7th year. During the school year i get sick a lot, i gain weight and have trouble going to and staying asleep.
     
  17. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jun 30, 2013

    I am finding teachers everywhere are feeling the way you described.

    Try your best to find a supportive school and make sure you keep your health (mental and physical) a priority.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I beat the burnout! :)

    I was really feeling a couple years ago that I didn't want to continue teaching. I was just "over" so many aspects of the career. I was afraid of a change, but a change has revitalized me. I was overwhelmed many times this past year and it's a horrible feeling...not being able to do anything because you're frozen with fear that you have too many things to do! Still, survived and enjoyed it.

    The fact is, there is ALWAYS something I need to do at school and many more things I want to do. It sucks not being able to check them all off your list, but...you can't. I try to be at peace with that.
     
  19. whollyconsumed

    whollyconsumed Companion

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    I appreciate all this input. It helps to know I am not the only one.
     
  20. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jul 2, 2013

    Like you, I worked in a high-risk inner city school and loved teaching. Also, like you, I resigned mid-year. I'm now working exclusively with dyslexic students (on a voluntary basis) and loving it. Life is good again...

    I can't see myself not teaching and not working with kids, but I'd never go back to the classroom unless it was in a Montessori (or Montesori type) school where kids can still be kids and teachers can actually teach....
     
  21. whollyconsumed

    whollyconsumed Companion

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    I love teaching, and I absolutely loved my coworkers. There was a bond between us that you just don't get everywhere (mostly because of the high stakes/high needs environment.)
     
  22. mrking47968

    mrking47968 Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2013

    I do at times, but only by the state politics involved. Sometimes I think they want the children to become robotic; bring back creative thinking, even take a day and let the children lead what we teach (asking them, "What do you want to learn about today?")
     

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