Feeling discouraged..

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by K-5_teacherguy, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    Feb 9, 2015

    I posted a week or two ago about how I am taking over a 4th grade class in early March for the rest of the year, and how I am subbing two days a week in this room until I take over full time. This arrangement is still in place, but I'm starting to doubt everything.
    I just get so tired of trying to do things the same way as the regular classroom teacher, and if I hear "But Mrs. Smith says ____ (fill in the blank!)" one more time I'm going to lose it. I honestly feel bad for the kids most of all because they are pretty much having to switch back and forth between teachers every other day.

    Anyway, I can't figure out if my issues are mainly due to me being a first year teacher and trying to find my way in another teacher's classroom, or if I'm just not cut out for teaching at all. I dread going in almost daily, and there are so many days where I'm counting down the minutes until it's over.

    The ironic part is that overall things are going pretty well. The class seems to like and respect me, and they are well behaved ALMOST all the time. This is why I can't really figure out what my problem is. I have literally always wanted to be a teacher, and even through all of my student teaching and field placements I loved everything about it. Now I just don't know. Has anyone else taken over a class mid-year and just had a tough time transitioning/feeling comfortable? I'd love to hear from anyone with any similar experiences. Thanks for reading and letting me vent haha.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 9, 2015

    Hugs, K-5_teacherguy. It's already almost Valentine's Day, and that's the midpoint of this short month.

    Transitions are awkward in and of themselves. A transition that keeps transitioning back offers continuity - a fine thing, with kids - at the price of whipsawing everyone (including you) back and forth a bit. You've said things are going well overall. Would it help to try thinking of "But Mrs. Goingonleave says/does/doesn't..." as a somewhat clumsy fourth-grade attempt to get confirmation that, though things are different, everything's going to be fine? Then a good response from you is your kindest, gentlest version of "Yes, things are different, and I have confidence that you can manage this."
     
  4. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Feb 10, 2015

    I've knew I was doing well with my current job when they stopped talking about the previous teacher. It almost a year. I wasn't a sub just new. Everyday it was Mrs. Jones this or that. It was tiring and at times felt insulting. I was there, she left, why wouldn't they just let me do it my way?
    Say something like "change is good" or "change builds character" or something along those lines. That's what I did - with a smile. It went a long with building relationships with the staff, admin and students.
    Keep your chin up.
     
  5. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    Feb 10, 2015

    TeacherGroupie, I had not thought about the kids possibly just looking for confirmation that things are going to be alright, that could be part of it. I should also mention that I did expect this to some degree (any time you take over a class mid-year it's going to take the kids some time to adjust to your way of doing things). I guess I just wasn't prepared for it be so difficult.

    Oh well, all I can do is grind it out and hope things start to improve!
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Feb 10, 2015

    Are you taking over as a permanent position or as a long-term sub? As a sub, I would try to keep things the same for the most part, but if it's your job from here on out, I would think that you would have a little more freedom to change things up a bit.

    Have you had a "class meeting" or "community circle" to address the fact that you are not the other teacher, so you may do things differently? I know that when I leave for 12 weeks on maternity leave, my 2nd graders are going to have a difficult time with someone who doesn't do things exactly the way that I do. They love the routine, and it's the little things that make a big difference sometimes. There needs to be a balance, and your class needs to understand that. They need to know that some things will stay the same, and some may change, and that's ok.

    As for doubting teaching all together, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. It would be tough to take over a class in March, and I think feelings of doubt in your first few years are completely normal and expected. Give it some time, and try to find ways to enjoy yourself! I have to be excited about what I'm teaching to enjoy my job. Find ways to add a little more fun into your lessons, and you may look forward to them.

    Sorry my advice is a big vague, but hang in there!
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Feb 10, 2015

    I am wondering if you ever asked the current teacher why she does things that you consider so wrong? This does appear to be a continuation of a prior post, so just trying to find out what has and has not been tried.
     
  8. TXTeacherW

    TXTeacherW Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2015

    I agree about having a conversation with the kids about being a different teacher. I did this as a sub, especially during my four long-term placements. We just talked about how Mrs. Jones is a spectacular teacher and does things certain ways, but I am a different person and as people, we all do things differently. I found that students began to compare me to their former teacher less and less. I would also occasionally ask students how their previous teacher did a certain thing just to give them to opportunity to talk about their previous teacher and feel validated that their opinion does matter.

    Overall, with a few "But her and I are different teachers, and differences are okay" comments, students began using self-control or even correcting each other.

    If colleagues are doing this, just be confident in your choices, but open-minded with their suggestions. Some of my best routines and lessons are "stolen" from previous teachers.
     
  9. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    Feb 14, 2015

    Thank you all for your insight, this forum is so helpful. After this last week, I'm starting to feel better about things. I did have a talk with the whole group, and I think the kids were just testing their boundaries to see what they could get away with when I'm in the room (which is to be expected, and this will probably continue to some extent until I'm in the room on a daily basis), but they are now starting to learn exactly where I draw the line.

    On Thursday I definitely noticed improvement, and after receiving a couple dozen valentines from the kids everything just kind of feels better now lol. I think once I am in there full time, the little things I have been so concerned about will start to improve. I was not all that prepared for the initial transitional period but it seems things are starting to work themselves out, for now at least.
     

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