Feeling really overwhelmed with students' needs

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Nov 24, 2014

    I've been trying to focus more on myself and my family this year, and not spending so much time at work. I feel like keeping up with lesson plans is mostly doable, but I find myself falling behind on the extra things.

    For example, it seems like every day I have a number of students absent, on vacation, or leaving early for appointments. Parents request that I send work home or fill them in on what their child is missing. Half the time, I really do have to send something home, because students really do need to make up something they missed. Sometimes I tell them, "I'll just catch them up when they return" but even that can be difficult.

    Every day there is something: box tops brought in for the drive, book orders to collect, notes to send to the office, emails from parents to respond to, etc. I feel like I spend all of my prep time on these little things. Most of this is stuff that I have to take care of myself-it would take more time for me to have a student help, or to explain it to a volunteer.

    Also, we have to participate in a book study this year. I'm getting my master's, and I can tell you right now that any time I have to read outside of school is spent on reading my textbooks. I don't have time to read 80 pages of a book for a book study. My principal said that we can spend book study time reading the book, but my whole team voted against that idea. Most of them are already through the entire book already. I haven't even started, and we meet tomorrow to discuss chapters 1 and 2. I've spent my entire sick day today reading a book for my master's and working on a research project. :(

    Ugh, I just hate feeling this stressed. I don't know how anyone gets their job done in 40 hours a week. I don't care how organized you are-if you come to my district, you would drown in all of the extra garbage! :(

    Anyway, how on earth do all of you get everything done? We have meetings before school, and most days during lunch. I usually have 30 minutes of prep time, and about 15 of that is spent dealing with all of the "extras" mentioned above. So, I have about 20 minutes a day. How am I supposed to get it all done?
     
  2.  
  3. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,368
    Likes Received:
    540

    Nov 24, 2014

    Everyone here knows what you are going through. There's no way an elementary teacher can do it in 40 hours.

    You can look for ways to cut your time in areas where it won't make a huge difference. For example, in my first newsletter, I tell parents I don't create special assignments for students on vacation. I DO have a little packet that tells students read daily and make journal entries about their trip. I tell parents they can buy a math workbook for the trip and correct it themselves. i tell them I will "count" it if the student shows it to me. I put this into the effort grade.
     
  4. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Nov 24, 2014

    I think I need to do more of that-set simple guidelines that I share with parents at the beginning of the year.

    I think part of the problem is that I really try to go the extra mile for every kid in my class. This is great in theory, but it's causing me to go a little crazy.
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,935
    Likes Received:
    1,923

    Nov 24, 2014

    That's been killer for me too. I've recently stopped going the extra mile, in just about every way. Unfortunately, I'm noticing increased behavioral issues with a couple students, presumably because I'm putting less effort into making accommodations for them. But, what can I do? I have to put my own health and sanity first. I can't be everything for every student.

    I have the same issues you do. There's no way to get it all done - and get it all done WELL - in contract hours. I've just stopped. I do what I can during the day, and then I go home and do what I want (NOT school-related). Am I doing as much as I know I can do, or as much as I feel I should do? No. But, it's all I'm going to do. I'm tired of putting myself second to my job... and that's all it is: a job.

    We were supposed to do a book study at my school this year, too, but our principal backed off after several complaints. Supposedly it will be reassigned when we return to school in January. I'm waiting to see how much of an uproar there will be when that happens.
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 25, 2014

    Every day we get at least 3 e-mails with something last minute that we are required to do and turn in that day, it really drives me crazy. When do I do this--I'm teaching!
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,938
    Likes Received:
    682

    Nov 25, 2014

    Way to go, bella!!
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,764
    Likes Received:
    1,723

    Nov 25, 2014

    Maybe the pressures would decrease if teachers, in general, developed the ability to do as you are doing (without suffering the enormous guilt trip that administration loves to assign)
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Nov 25, 2014

    I think that's a big part of it: the guilt trip. My principal actually told us last year that she expects us to sit on our computers at 9:00 at night after the kids have gone to bed, working on school stuff. Apparently, that's what good teachers do. :unsure:

    I think I just keep re-thinking things this year, and panicking a bit, because I have a baby on the way. I just want to put my family first, and I really don't know how I'm going to do it.
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,935
    Likes Received:
    1,923

    Nov 25, 2014

    I'd agree with your principal... to an extent. Good teachers DO sit on their computers at 9:00 at night. However, in doing so, sooner or later, they burn out and resent their work, which is helpful for no one - teacher or student. They may even risk not being so "good" anymore.

    Good teachers also have self-respect and know when to put their school work away so that they can be well-rested and prepared for the next long, hard day. In other words, they know when to say when.

    I used to feel the guilt, too. While this change is all still relatively new to me, I've never been happier than I am right now in all of my five years of teaching. My principals can hand down mandates left and right, and it's not going to change the fact that I'm leaving work at work (with a few exceptions). And I refuse to feel guilty about it. At least personally guilty. When I think about my students and their parents, I do sometimes feel guilty that the education system is failing those of my students who I am no longer willing to work as hard for, but that's really out of my hands. I could work 24 hours a day, and I wouldn't be able to change that. Rather I would just continue to wear myself down into the ground. So, I've turned my focus to myself. What can I do to improve my own health and happiness? It may not be the most respectable thing you've ever thought you heard a teacher say, but I'm starting to think it's a more respectable thing to say than I once thought it was. For, if you don't have a happy and healthy teacher, how "good" can the teacher really be?

    Anyway, those are my ramblings... Hopefully it makes some sense. Thanks swansong and upsadaisy. Sometimes I do question myself and this change I've made, but it helps to hear the positive feedback.
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,876
    Likes Received:
    229

    Dec 5, 2014

    Seriously? That´s just wrong. Is your P trying to create teacher burnout?
     
  12. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    919
    Likes Received:
    40

    Dec 5, 2014

    ITA. I used to be a really good teacher then, I only took a break from the school day for 3 hours after I got home, then I was back at it until bed.

    Then I nearly had a nervous breakdown because my personal life was completely in shambles from never being able to attend to my life outside of my job. Your job shouldn't take over your life. My real children I gave birth to, that's my life.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Kelster95
Total: 155 (members: 4, guests: 138, robots: 13)
test