Dreading 2010-11

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 5thgraderocks, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. 5thgraderocks

    5thgraderocks Companion

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    Aug 5, 2010

    Don't get me wrong. I'm so fortunate to have a job in the same district for over 20 years. I love teaching but more and more seems to be dumped on our plates. Nothing is ever removed!

    This is the first year that the "politics" have smothered my usual school supply shopping, classroom decorating, etc. Large class size 30+; administrators stabbing dedicated teachers in the back whenever possible; daily newspaper forums about overpaid, selfish teachers .... the list goes on.

    I always put in way more hours than contracted as most teachers do. Is it possible to change? Has anyone gone from a 10 hour a day teacher to working 30 minutes after kids leave and walk away.

    :confused:
     
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  3. historynut

    historynut Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2010

    I'm right there with you dreading this year myself for similar reasons.

    But to answer your question yes it is possible to change. It's hard, but possible. My first year I worked before and after school plus at home. I ended up so stressed I couldn't handle it. I finally had to stop. The next year I stopped staying after later than I was supposed to. I only got to school about 15 minutes early so that wasn't a big deal to me. I graded papers as soon as the kids gave them to me or during my planning. There were some that didn't get graded until a planning day. Not only that I realized that I didn't have to grade everything they turned in. I had to make myself not take anything home. I usually 'file' the stuff I don't want to grade. (as in throw it away after school) It was hard at first but I grew to love it. I got as much done as other teachers but I got to leave on time.

    I'm glad I changed because now I have a son and I couldn't imagine trying to work at home.
     
  4. 5thgraderocks

    5thgraderocks Companion

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    Aug 5, 2010

    I'm determined to give it a try. I think the "politics" and complaints about overpaid teachers sting harder when you give too much.
     
  5. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 5, 2010

    The answer I've found out quickly in only teaching two years is NO. You *can* easily walk away from everything else that we do (I'd like to add "Stay up until late researching methods to best teach a single child in your class so that you have them engaged every single day." ;)), but then you truly would not be okay with yourself. You'd feel like your letting your students down... like most of us feel when we take one sick day with a 104*F fever and then fret about the students through out the school day.

    So at this point, I already know I'm in this profession for the long run-- as long as I can keep a job-- and I just tell myself "Scr** them and what ever they [administrators, parents, politicians, critics, etc] think I do or do not do." I will do all their mindless stupid paper work. I will listen to their ridiculous banter about how I should be teaching or what I should be teaching or how I shouldn't give homework or give them a test. And then I will get back to my real job and teach each of my students to the very best of my ability.

    And now, thank you 5thgraderocks, I'm ready to start my school year!! ;) (Which btw, I taught 5th grade for the past two years--- I have to agree with you: 5th grade does rock!! :love:)

    (Let me add that I'm a very open-minded person and love to receive feedback from admins, teachers, and parents... even my own students. But I'm talking about the excessive work that really does not effect my students or the unhelpful advice from parents about something or another.)
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I had to look at your post to see if you were from my district! This has been the most discouraging summer for many of my coworkers. It's frustrating!
     
  7. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I about killed myself working the first two years I taught, then I figured out that I was working harder, not smarter. In any job, you can be an overachiever and give too much. Or you can be a slacker and give too little. The trick is to focus on what's important, set goals, reflect on progress, and be flexible enough to make needed changes.

    Why assign a 50 question test if you can get the information you need in 10 questions? Why grade a 20 problem homework assignment for 24 kids when you can have the kids grade a 4 problem assignment with you and, in the process, demonstrate the concept so that they know what they did wrong? Why give a grade for every single activity/assignment when you can walk around and give on the spot assessments to the students you know have been having trouble with something? Why question/lecture a student about choices when you have repeatedly made the consequences clear when you can matter of factly take care of a bad choice and move on, leaving the child to think about his choices/consequences on his own? Why scour the internet all night for something NEW when the activity you used for measurement last year was a hit?

    Also, I make the best use of the time I'm at work. For example, I use my planning time to grade papers and do paperwork for school. Often, I grade tests as they are handed in, record them in my gradebook, and hand them back on the same day so that the kids get instant feedback.

    I also use the kids' help! Often I have kids grade tests that would take me forever to grade, and they almost always grade their own homework (in pen as I walk around and observe). In short, the classroom has become "our" classroom. The kids have a part in making it successful. They help do all kinds of things and they love it! I rarely have to turn off a computer, put up a chair, or hold a door.

    When I first started teaching I felt like I had to control every thing in the classroom. As I've been able to loosen my grip a little and trust the kids and myself more, things have become easier for me. Coincidentally, I've been tightening my grip on management. I've got a routine that we follow, and the kids know that the procedures are consistent, and the consequences are definite.

    I think it IS possible for you to work smarter!! I could be doing something associated with my teaching 24/7/365 easily! I could make grand assignments and spend all my money buying awesome things and still miss the mark. My family and my students deserve a well-rounded person who does her best in both places- school and home!

    Does this mean I never bring work home? No! I have my kids help me grade or sort sometimes. I work while they're busy with other things sometimes. And occasionally, I have to tell them that I'm working on something for school and need them to leave me alone for a little while. But my family knows that's not the norm. I also must bring home with me to work occasionally. I must make an important call about a bill or something during my planning period or I must take a half day off to do something for home, but my students know that's not the norm.

    It was a difficult transition for me to go from working 6am-6pm to going in about 15 mins early and leaving about 15 mins late each day, but it is WAY worth it. I am much happier and healthier now and I don't feel like I've wasted my whole entire life when something fails miserably.
     
  8. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I respectfully disagree. I felt like that at first, but remember we're not talking about being a slacker. We're talking about working effectively AND efficiently. I was letting my kids and my family down when I overworked myself to the point of frustration and impatience. :dizzy: As teachers we feel a need to change the world, so we work ourselves to death only to find out we can't save every child and we can't change their home lives and we can't guarantee every child will have mastery of every subject/concept. So then we feel defeated. Something must be wrong with us! So then we decide we must work even harder and everyone loses. We are so exhausted and frustrated we don't have the patience we need and that spills into the classroom and into our home lives...it's NOT worth it!
     
  9. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I agree queenie that is a trap I fell into. I overworked myself, but I always have done such as a student, so I honestly did not know how to turn it off and it killed me as a teacher...add in a hostile work environment and pre-existing health problems and it was a disaster.

    It's not worth it, because staying up all night, not eating and not enjoying your life---guess what, the principal nor district/state/politicians/president/powers that be care about your personal sacrifices.
    You end up looking pitiful because you are risking your health and sanity, and no one cares at all. Not that you need or expect them to "care", but you certainly don't expect to be criticized, penalized, ridiculed and harassed when you are sacrificing so much. It's really a slap in the face.

    Anyway, I'm de-cluttering my office and I look back at my teacher notes and plans and I can't believe the massive stuff I had on my list.

    Everyone in my former district says teaching is a 24/7 job, which is technically true considering the work they dump on you. But I will not accept that, and when I go back (to a NEW DISTRICT that I know is a better fit for me and my style ), I won't allow it to take over my life. It will be a struggle to not overwork and to get on a reasonable schedule and ignore certain things, but I can do it with time and practice.

    Teacher should not = martyr.
     
  10. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I work my buns off while I'm at school, I do take some work home, but, I'm out the door at 3:30. I decided a long time ago I couldn't make everyone happy; I'm not in the lounge before of after a bell rings. I do eat my lunch there just to have a conversation with an adult. I have no control over what's printed in the paper or what others think. I use the kids as much as possible, I don't spend time on silly issues. We work from the time the bell rings in the a.m. until they go home in the afternoon.
     
  11. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I had to look twice, too!

    I feel your pain. My 1st year here, I would stay until 6pm and come in on Saturdays. My 2nd year I was pregnant so I made a commitment to myself to NOT come in on sat. and since daycare can add up, I made sure to leave right at 4pm every day.

    Isn't it sad that we no longer want to put forth more effort? You would think admins would see this and make things better for us or something so that we can put our best foot forward again. Unfortunately, I think education is going to drop again in this country because of the poor way we are treated and the not wanting to above and beyond anymore.

    This year, I want to make sure that I am still doing quality instruction but I'm going to attempt to leave 1/2 hr after the kids leave. If I have to take home papers to correct, so be it. I can always do them after my daughter goes to bed for the night.
     
  12. diana

    diana Rookie

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    Aug 6, 2010

    Queenie, your advice is so helpful and encouraging. Thanks!
     
  13. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Aug 6, 2010

    :hugs: You're welcome! Glad you found it helpful...it's always a good thing to learn from someone else's mistakes!
     
  14. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Aug 6, 2010

    So sorry this happened to you!! :( But you're right- you CAN make it better. :thumb:
     
  15. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I think that for me, the trick is making lists, focusing on getting all the busy work done as fast as it is given to me, getting things ready for the next day before I leave, and spending a quiet two hours on the weekend planning a week in advance.
     
  16. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I think you are my twin! I have taught in WI for 18 years. The letters to editors about teachers are horrible around here.

    The Daily 5 and CAFE have really changed my teaching life. I feel in control and patient in a way I never have before. Before D5, I could not say that I EVER taught one on one. Now not only do I teach one on one, but the others are still learning and it's not with busy work that I have to prepare and grade!
     
  17. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 6, 2010

    Yes, I have. Not even thirty, either. About fifteen. That's when I started cleaning while the kids were waiting for the buses. This year, my only day of staying really late will be Tuesdays (I think), around 6:15 p.m. or so, and Wednesdays until about 6:00 for team meetings. Yet other days, especially Fridays, I will try to be out right away.
     

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