Feeling Overwhelmed

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by mathmagic, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 7, 2013

    So much going through my mind right now. It doesn't help that I've never had the highest self-confidence and am often dealing with anxiety. Nonetheless, I am beyond excited to be in the classroom, and despite the stress of the transition (sort of going from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds with a basic car), I feel as though the first few days have gone as well as possible.

    Did anyone else feel completely overwhelmed when they first began? Having just started in an upper elementary classroom (someone else's class, and likely through late Spring), I have a decently strong idea of how the original structures of the academics/behaviors were and what changes will likely come over the course of the next couple weeks and the beginning of January in both regards.

    However, with so many little pieces that I've never dealt with before (subbing and student teaching show you quite a bit, but there are a billion other pieces, busy-work or otherwise, that exist as a classroom teacher), and the sudden rash of both short and long term planning while at the same time determining where they are at and how to transition from there to where we go next, I feel less than adequate (though oddly, I still feel "confident", if that makes any sense at all)

    Also, I feel as though my ideas are nowhere near the creativity of anyone else (especially that of the one I took over for), whether that be in art or in the general scheme of each of the other subjects. I have an idea for one or two creative writing projects, but I feel as though the rest of my plans are too "simple". I've just always been someone who thrives best in a consistent, simple, well-structured environment, and so the simple, but structured activities/lessons have always been where I've done best with.

    Mainly, I'm just flat out worried I won't do as well as others might, or will just be too "boring" in the classroom (though am no longer the "vanilla" kind of teacher that was noted when doing my student teaching - despite still being introverted, I am extremely outgoing in the classroom, always with a sense of humor, emotive, and having fun).

    (Sorry for the long post...I've always just needed people that I can talk things over with and discuss thoughts!)
     
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  3. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    Dec 7, 2013

    I'd be concerned if you weren't overwhelmed!
     
  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 7, 2013

    :)

    I guess I'm more worried about how well I will perform, how creative I'll be in relation to others, and making mistakes / not doing as much as I should (whether that is in terms of assessment, creativity in lessons, etc...)
     
  5. RadiantBerg

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    Dec 7, 2013

    As far as creativity, I try to do something creative maybe once every 2 weeks or so. Other than that, I am pretty structured. Too much creativity in the lessons, and the kids will expect too much. Plus the routines are nice especially for a new teacher.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 8, 2013

    OK, deep breaths. You were thrown into the deep end; it's no wonder you're floundering a bit.

    First and foremost, stop worrying about the creativity part. That can come a bit later. (Though, on second thought: let us know what topics(s) you're up to this week. I bet we can help you in that area with some ideas that will help "hook" the kids.) But your first focus should be on figuring out where you are and where you're going-- getting there creatively can come down the road.

    Also, keep in mind: you're comparing yourself with someone with years of teaching experience, who as seen what works and what doesn't. Someone who had lots of time last summer to Google all sorts of great ideas. These days, a little spare time can take the place of a whole lot of creativity.

    If you can make it happen, plan to spend a bit of time over Christmas on both long and short range planning... people here can help you with that as well. It will free up your weeknights in January and February, and let you fell less overwhelmed.
     
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 8, 2013

    That was definitely on my radar. Given that I've only had one break this long pretty much in my adult life, I'll be taking extreme advantage and my goal is to come out of it with a full long-range plan for science (not too hard), determine the next few writing projects (we're also officially adopting new curriculum, so it may be a mix of getting to know that new curriculum and planning as I develop a understanding of it), develop what I want out of our reading workshop time, etc... I want January to be a time where I start to get into a much better rhythm and having myself begin to feel even more confident.


    I will definitely be coming here a ton to ask lots of advice -- part of me feels as though I'm cheating always asking for help, but I know that I also need to talk through things as I have here in order to be the best I can.
     
  8. Math

    Math Cohort

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    Dec 8, 2013

    Well, mathmagic, I can say that you are definitely not cheating. You are simply utilizing an efficient resource. Plus you have teachers here who actually want to help you. :)
     
  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 8, 2013

    :blush: Often it just feels as though I've been through the teaching program, been subbing for multiple years, and should know everything better than it seems I do :)
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 8, 2013

    I also suggest not to worry so much about the creativity part. It is more important to ensure you have a classroom full of kids behaving Ina way that allows them to learn and that you implement lessons that will result in learning. Even if your lessons are not the most fun or creative at all, it's ok.
    I know I'm a creative person, but not so much when it comes to my lessons. I think I use a variety of approaches and activities, but I'm always blown away when my P suggests a few creative ideas. I know I will get there in a few years, but so far my kids are learning, so I feel ok about my teaching.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 8, 2013

    What grade are your kids?

    One thing my college prep honors high school freshmen LOVE is times table bingo.

    I have them set up a 5x5 grid, and put up the answers to multiplication problems (I include perfect squares and cubes, but obviously you would omit those.) I call off the questions, and they mark off the answers.

    The winner of today's game gets to be the caller next time we play; he or she makes up the problems, I keep track of the correct answers.

    I use it as a do now problem. I've been pushing and pushing basic arithmetic with them since September; the payoff will come after Christmas when we begin factoring and they're not scrambling for the factors they need.
     
  12. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 8, 2013

    It is a fourth and fifth grade split classroom.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  14. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 8, 2013

    Thanks for those resources :) I like the idea of providing that real-world-ish problem of having to determine a yearly (and then monthly, dividing by 12 for the two-digit long-division) payment on a house. I also plan on introducing another possible extension (Zupelz) for those that finish early with a task where I might not have an already perfect-fitting extension for. I have a bunch of kids who have the algorithm down, so I'll try out that house extension tomorrow while pulling various small groups based on where I saw struggles in the use of the algorithm (about 2/3 of the class)

    Also, my hope is to meet with the principal, who is already extremely supportive and understanding of the quick change, to express what's going on in my mind, discuss my ideas (in regards to what to keep, what to slightly alter, what to heavily alter), and see what her thoughts are and any advice she has.
     
  15. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 15, 2013

    How do you get from the point where you have a decent layout, you start to get into that rhythm, but lack the confidence behind your decisions even though when discussed with colleagues/principal, they seem mostly confident with it?

    It'll now be the second full week, and I don't feel like we are getting enough done academically, and I question every single thought I have in regards to my planning about whether it is right or not / always am thinking the same kind of thoughts in the classroom.
     

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