Does your work stamina improve with age/experience?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by John Lee, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Mar 13, 2016

    I've only been doing this for a couple years. I'm at a point (about the same point last year when I was feeling the same way) where I feel like I've hit a wall in many ways when it comes to my outlook on my job. I'm basically feeling the stress now. I'm exhausted, I'm constantly thinking about my job (which adds to the exhaustion) worrying, working, etc. Weekends go by in a flash, after work on Fridays I feel so free and peaceful, Sundays that knot in the stomach starts to hit me. And don't get me wrong: I have a nice job with a nice class. I also have another new teacher with me at school, who shares my sentiment when it comes to hitting a wall. Does this get better or easier, the more you're in it?

    I'd like to get to the point where I can just leave work at home, enjoy my time away from school, and generally look forward to coming to work every day. When I think of the job and how people stay in it for so long, I suppose it must get easier in terms of managing the stress?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 13, 2016

    What is it specifically that stresses you, John Lee? I certainly have my looong days but generally, with 19 years of classroom experience, I still love what I do. Are you due for spring break soon? Sometimes breaks come at just the right time! :p
     
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  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Mar 13, 2016

    I know the daily lesson planning gets a lot easier as I have more experience with the material. Much of what I used last year can be reused with review and consideration for the current students I have (do I need to break down my explanation more, or do I need to move my lessons faster). Is that what you mean?
     
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  5. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Mar 13, 2016

    I'd probably say my #1 stressor is working along with someone who is difficult to get along with... But I also worry about a few kids who are struggling academically... and maybe how that is being received (by those parents). But in general, I don't even know if what I'm describing is abnormal. But I'm always feeling pressure. As I said, Fridays or days off (Spring Break) feel so good, in terms of temporarily relieving that constant feeling. And as I sit her on a Sunday afternoon, I'd like to have that same sort of pressure-free sort of feeling... instead, it is more a feeling of something impending. I don't even know if it is abnormal to feel this way in terms of work in general, because I do like my job well enough.

    I say stamina, because it was around this point where I had this same sort of feeling. Again, it was largely precipitated by my dealings with my coworker (basically the way she deals with people, including me). But it has me thinking whether it actually is something all teachers feel around this point of the year? And whether this feeling gets easier to manage as you gain experience?
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Mar 13, 2016

    I've only been teaching 6 years, but I've definitely gotten significantly better about leaving work at work and figuring out how to do things more efficiently. My first year of teaching I used to go into work every Sunday and spend 8-9 hours working. I do occasionally have weekdays where I need to stay late, but I honestly can't remember the last time I've worked on a weekend.

    On the other hand, I would say as far as "emotional stress," I get much more stressed now about work than I did as a new teacher. I think my first couple of years I was just so naïve about all of the things that I could/should be doing that I was less stressed about the job I was doing. I also find that things just seem to get more difficult and expectations increase every year. There is always a new program (or several new programs), new philosophies, new expectations that we're implementing, etc. I could give many examples, but one is that I've always been required to keep a service log of when I see students. I used to have a running word document that I created. If there were 7 students in the group, I'd simply type all of their names under the time slot I saw them in. It took 5-10 minutes per day. This year, my director decided we needed to start using the online service log that is part of our IEP system. Now for that same 7 student group, I have to go into each of their programming pages individually and type in the date, times, where the service took place, which part of the IEP it refers to, and the goals we were working on. It now takes about 40 minutes per day just to do this. Student behaviors seems to be getting significantly worse year after year. As far as seeming highly stressed/burnt out, it's always seemed to me that the most veteran teachers seem to be feeling this the most and it only gets worse as they get closer to retirement. The oldest teachers in my building seem far more unhappy than the newest teachers.
     
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  7. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Mar 14, 2016

    This is my 33rd year, and my energy is at an all-time low. But a lot of that is due to some health issues. In all honesty, ask yourself while your young if you can do this another 30 years. I have 6 years left till retirement, and I honestly don't know if I'll make it, but I have to, since I'm single and therefore my only income. (No spouse, alimony, etc.) Good luck.
     
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  8. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Mar 15, 2016

    I would say that as you get more experience you learn to pace yourself. You get to know which tasks are actually important and worth spending time on and those tasks which can either be ignored or only allocated the minimum amount of time/effort.
     
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  9. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Mar 15, 2016

    I know the Sunday blues all too well! I read once that it is very common for people in all kinds of careers, not just in teaching. I hate that "blah" feeling that sets in Sunday afternoon when you can't really go out and need to start preparing for the week ahead. It has gotten so much better over time, though. I am in my second year in a good school district (finally!) and it is almost gone! I just get a twinge when I know I have a particularly jam-packed week ahead. It helps to have something mid-week to look forward to: a fun activity or a nice dinner on Wednesday, for example.

    As for overall burnout, I think we all start feeling it around this time of year! Spring break is right around the corner, and then after that, we're in the home stretch.

    The hardest time for me is in late Fall when the year seems endless and it's getting dark and cold outside. This time of year, at least around here, the weather is starting to pick up and I am regaining my positive energy!
     
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  10. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Apr 7, 2016

    I have read this posts several times and finally I decided to post. My biggest factor when it comes to stamina is how my kids behave and how much stress I am feeling. Some years it is not so bad, while others I contemplate leaving teaching. Two years ago I was set on leaving. I had a student who cried all day everyday, I wanted a transfer and they refused. Last year better class less stress so it wasn't so bad. I wasn't tired every day after school. This year I have worked my butt off getting these kids ready first grade. This class there wasn't one kid who stood out above the crowd they were all below grade level when they came in. Most didn't know how to hold a pencil or write their name. Now all but two are either above or right on target for first grade, and even those two have come a long way from the beginning of the year. I am tired every day but it's a good tired. Its an I accomplished something tired. Am I ready for a summer break? Oh heck yes!
     
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  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 7, 2016

    Mentally, you should be better off as you gain experience on the job & get more & more familiar with your job duties till they become second nature. Physically may be another whole story! Hopefully you're in good health & do all the things we're supposed to do to maintain good health: Good diet, adequate sleep, minimal or no drinking, exercise, etc.

    But, then there's of course still other variables: How easy or difficult to handle your class is, the parents you're dealing with, how admin is, work politics, etc.
    (I didn't really read anyone's posts here, so if anything's repetitive, then I guess great minds think alike!)
     
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  12. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Apr 8, 2016

    You have hit the "March-April wall" almost all teachers hit it but how hard is under your control for some (experienced teachers and non-experienced teachers) one reason why spring break is so important you need to decompress so you can regenerate.
     
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  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Apr 8, 2016

    I don't think that my stamina has increased, but in my 3rd year of teaching at this school I am much more relaxed, I don't have the little butterflies in my belly wondering how the day will go, which kid will lose his mind, etc. This has stopped at the middle of my second year. I'm also spending a lot less time grading and planning, it feels like I get lessons and entire units done in no time, and my lessons are getting better.
    So it's not age, it's experience, and I would think in 5 years it will feel even better.
    This is my 4th year teaching.When I was student teaching I was so exhausted that every day after school I would take a 3 hour nap. During the first-second year of teaching I would take a nap most of the time, but I also think part of it was habit.
    When I go home, I do relax, I don't do anything, I eat, watch tv, go online, and sometimes I do doze off, but I don't think it's from being tired, it's called laziness lol. I don't feel tired at all from teaching.

    Some of my friends or strangers when they find out what kind of school I'm working at think that's it's so stressful and hard work, and long hours (teaching in general) but nothing could be further from the truth.
     
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