Freaking out... Maybe the last year of teaching...

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by LonGuy, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. LonGuy

    LonGuy Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2008

    Hello,

    This is my first year of having my own classroom. I did not expect my first year would be this hard, and have been thinking about quitting. I have a self-contained special education classroom in elementary school, and usually have control over my students.

    However, some days, students are so off the wall and do not know how to behave. It seems like my principal is coming whenever I do not have control over my students. I am getting a lot of negative attention from her, and am so worried about my teaching evaluation.

    When parents of my class have issues, they do not address them to me, but call a principal directly. A principal always tells me the stories she hears from parents, and again, I get negative attention from her.

    If I do not get a decent evaluation, my teaching career will be ended. I am sure after this contract year, I will be going back to subbing. I am trying my best and working non-stop to make my teaching better. However, I cannot control student's every single behaviour, attitude, nor my principal's way of thinking. (My principal thinks I should not have an issue managing my class since my special education class is for students with learning disabilities, but not students with behaviour difficulties.)

    Teaching might not be for me. I am exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed. Since I need to stress student's behaviours so much sometimes, I feel like I am not even teaching anything. I really do not know what to do now. I am not sure whether I can continue like this till June.

    Please give me some advice.

    Thank you for reading.
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2008

    After one year, I wouldn't give up teaching forever if its truly what you want to do. I think alot of it has to do with being the fit for the school, and it sounds like this isn't a good fit. Your principal needs to give you more support. This being your first year, do you have a mentor? If not, can you ask your principal to provide one for you? Also, supportive principals will ask the parent if they have contacted you first about the problem, and if the parent says no, then the principal will require them to come to the teacher before coming to them. My first year I had a great supportive admin that would always point the parent in my direction before talking to them about a problem. My second year the admin was not as supportive and would always talk to the parent regardless if they had come to me first or not, and it did not make for a great relationship because the principal automatically took the parents story before hearing mine.

    Make it through this year, start applying to other districts that seem like they might better fit for you, and hope for the best.
     
  4. resourcestress

    resourcestress Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2008

    I'm new also and if I didn't have the support I would have quit after 2 weeks plus I have experience as a teacher's aid with emotionally disturbed high school kids. First, learming disabled kids can be the worse, I find they are in my school the ADHD kids that haven't taken meds and mom buys them coffee or red bull for school (can you imagine THAT!! Yes I know 2 students that do that). Get a mentor or someone you can get help and advice or just talk to even if it's someone not in your school. Also try rewards. start with immediate rewards, thoses who behave get 10 minutes on the computer, draw, or can talk with their buddy quietly. Then after a few days legthen it and offer the reward after 2 days. One system is a point system we've used. A student can earn points for good behavior then 2 times a week they can cash in the points for rewards such as computer time, game time or what you want to offer. They can shop more often to help reinforce behaviors. Our students had to have 85% of their points but you can set it lower. We also would let a student cash in for rewards if they had an especially good day. Hope this helps.
     
  5. LonGuy

    LonGuy Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2008

    Thank you for responding to my post. Obviously, my school's principal is not supportive. We cannot send any students to the office, no matter what kind of misbehaviours they show. Our school board does not have a mentor system, so I do not have a mentor to rely on either. It is awful to hear all the stories from parents from a principal, instead of parents directly. I will definitely try to get into a different board next year. However, I am stuck here till at least next June.

    I personally do not want to use point systems in my class. I am trying to implement a different behaviour management system which seemed to be working in another class. We will see what happens.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 20, 2008

    Is there someone in the building you could turn to as a mentor? Someone there who seems to be having success with the same types of behaviors that are giving you problems? It's entirely possible that there are some strategies that have worked successfully with the same kids (and their parents) in the past, which simply haven't occurred to you.

    Or, Plan B: have you considered a different school? Are you taking any graduate courses? If so, there are probably other local teachers there. Talk to them-- see which local schools seem to offer better support than you're currently receiving. Don't discount private and charter schools, or ones slightly beyond a comfortable commute.

    If you want to teach elementary, don't let one bad year turn you off to it.

    Can you describe some particular behaviors that people here can help you with?? I don't have elementary or Special Ed experience, but lots of people here do. Why not give us some of the specifics and we'll let the pros here help you out while you search for that mentor.

    Best wishes!
     
  7. 1angel

    1angel Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2008

    Great advice from Alicecc! It does sound like the school is not the fit for you! It's so sad that schools think that they can throw first year teachers into a situation with no help or support and are going to be successful.

    I had a mentor. My mentor constantly had to borrow things from me and ask me how to do things!!! I was so mad my first year, as I was the new teacher who was supposed to be getting assistance.

    Use this board a lot, especially if you don't have someone to connect with about things. VENT, VENT, VENT and ask for advice--you'll get more help than you can take!

    HOw consitant are your classroom routines? Especially with your group consistancy--hard for a new teacher--is so important.

    Myself I am not very consistant in certain things, but there are some set routines that DO NOT change, no matter what. So the areas that I am inconsistant work out, because there are portions through out the day where each child knows exactly what to expect and what is expected out of them.
     
  8. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 21, 2008

    Hang in there...

    I'm in my second year at a school that is a target school for special needs on many levels. We have two inclusive classrooms, one for primary and one for intermediate.

    I was close to the upper level inclusive special needs teacher last year and she was a great teacher by all means! But the thing is with special needs they are in general a MUCH harder population to keep complete order with (especially the emotionally and behaviorally disturbed). Those students will act out if they want, and I found that that is what it generally comes down to.

    I believe you have to just keep putting your best foot forward and keep consistent with those students. Maybe literally draw out a behavior chart so they can see their consequences for their actions. My school actually has a self-contained little timeout room so they can pull themselves back together.

    Are the parents supportive? Maybe they know better ways to keep their children on track and behaving. I know at my school as well the principal hates it when we send kids to him (does that even make sense?) so as a faculty we rely on each other to quell the students when they are out of control. If a teacher has had this student before maybe there is some treat they really like.

    Sorry about the ramblings, this is something I'm figuring out on my own now too. I'm hoping for your sanity that things improve,... just don't give up just yet. If you finish your year there I'm sure you'll find more doors open to you if you have to do another job search. Best of luck! :hugs:
     
  9. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Oct 21, 2008

    The first year is the hardest. Do NOT give up! Keep giving it your best effort and it will all work out. The kids appreciate you and so do the parents, they just might not know how to show it.

    Work on getting some structure (behavior management systems, etc.) in the classroom to help gain control.

    Do what you can to help the kids be independent and successful (visual schedules, tape on the desks to divide areas, individual work areas, individual work tasks, frequent breaks, kinesthetic activities, etc.)

    You should find someone in the school that seems helpful and see if you can ask questions, get ideas, etc.

    Do you have a special ed coordinator? My first year, the principal was very UNsupportive. I found my special ed coordinator very helpful with both classroom management and special ed/paperwork issues.

    Good luck! Hang in there.
     
  10. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 7, 2008

    I know where you're coming from. Depending on what kind of special ed teacher you are, you're either one of two or usually the one & only type of teacher on your campus, so it's a pretty isolating position.

    I was a resource specialist for a yr & that was also my 1st yr of teaching. My principal wasn't the best. While going over my 2nd evaluation in Feb, she told me that I'm not a good fit for their school & that's why I only taught for a yr. That's all I ever got from the principal, which I think is a very broad reason. I'll never know what the real reason was. I've since been back to subbing as well.

    This fall, I've also returned back to school where I've switched gears & am in the speech pathology field going for my 2nd Masters.

    Teaching was never my passion & I don't think it ever will be. Some things just aren't as simple as giving it time & letting it "grow on you".

    I do know that life is way to short to not do what you love.
     

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