Handling stress?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by KittenCatIV, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. KittenCatIV

    KittenCatIV New Member

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    Nov 19, 2012

    Does anyone have any tips for handling the stress of substituting?
    I don't know if it hits other people as hard, but every day that I work (even if everything goes pretty smoothly) I come home exhausted, with a headache, and just crash. It's cutting into the number of days I work, because one day of subbing will leave me wiped for at least a full day. I keep hoping it's just because I'm new to this, but...
    Help!
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 19, 2012

    Why do you think you are so tired? Is it because you're dealing with behavior issues and it gets to you? Or are you that involved in the teaching / student activities part? Are just exhausted or stressed out as well?

    You have to remember that although subbing has a lot of positives, it doesn't pay too well, so you definitely don't want to give up your life to the point where you can't do anything after work, or don't feel like working the next day.

    I feel more tired when the kids try to be bad and I don't handle it as I should, which means there is more chatter, I end up talking more, and that leaves me tired. That's what happened today. They weren't bad, but 6 periods of 8-12 graders in one class, full size chatter box boys who talk constantly as if they were girls.... Well, i forgot how that crowd can be (I'm usually used to more mature kids).
    So I wasn't very happy with them, but it wasn't bad. I, however refuse to get stressed about it, I already have my plan of coming down harder on them tomorrow.
    When I do that, I don 't feel tired :)
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2012

    I teach first graders and come home exhausted every day. I do lots of small groups so it's not like I am doing all the work. The kids work independently while I am working with small groups at a time. I don't remember being this exhausted when I was subbing, though. Are you taking any vitamins? I am trying to be better at taking mine more regularly.
     
  5. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Nov 19, 2012

    It's basically because you're new. I will tell you, that as a new sub many moons ago, I used to home and crashed. (Still do actually, if I sit and lie down for a second.) And I hated the job. After a while (if you're able to stick it out), it will become much easier and you will get to the point where it is actually quite natural and enjoyable, and dare I say relatively easy. As I said, it's only because you're new.

    A way to handle the stress though, is to get things off your chest. Participate on forums like this, talk teaching with others you may know. It helps you reflect, it helps you organize your thoughts, etc. Also, don't hole up in your room. Smile at fellow educators (and adults) as you walk through the halls. Encourage the type of work environment that you would like to work in, one where everyone is happy, supportive, upbeat, etc.

    I have stress still nowadays, but it's not the stress of dreading work or anything like that. It is the daily stress of being subjegated, working for teachers I do a better job than. It's the daily slaps-in-the-face in the form of praise (from teachers, parents, administrators, and para-professional staff, of the job I do).
     
  6. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Nov 20, 2012

    I always used to sub elementary but now I'm working almost exclusively in high school. I like it so much better, I would consider re-certifying in a single subject.

    In elementary, you're being asked to do so much- you have to jump into someone else's shoes and be "on" all day long. Often, there is no break time for the sub who can be called upon to do lunch duty or recess duty. You are in front of the class all day, teaching the lessons and putting out fires. I don't think it's stress per say, just the act of being so high energy all day long. It's hard to get used to that kind of energy output.

    In high school the lesson plans are usually pretty basic because they naturally assume you can't teach their subject (which is fine. No, I really can't jump into Algebra 2!). I'm much more relaxed and calmer. The kids still get stuff done, but I'm a much more laid back person with them than with little kids. As a sub, I know the kids are not going to behave and complete all the work the same way they would with the regular teacher. With high schoolers, it is their responsibility. It's a weight off my shoulders. I also work at a school that is very small, I get to know the kids because we all live in the same community and I see them everywhere. I get a lot of the perks of the full time teacher- the relationship building- without the stress. I also find that acting goofy to high schoolers usually gets their attention and gets them on task without getting angry.

    So this one kid who really pushes my buttons hates it when I give him the "zombie" face. If he's not doing what he is supposed to, I just look at him from across the room in a goofy mean looking face and he knocks it off. Instead of engaging him in conversation where he can talk back, I just play on the relationship we have built to get him on track. Not foolproof, but a much better solution.

    I also think that no matter the age group you work with, you have to let everything go at the end of the day. Reflection is good, but obsessing is not. So the day wasn't perfect. Oh well, try something different next time. Don't carry the negative emotions home.

    Also, as you work more in one school, subbing there will feel easier. You'll know the rules and some staff and the kids will know you. It'll be much easier.
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 20, 2012

    Even this year I dealt with a lot of stress the first 6 weeks because I am at a new school, in a new grade, and with new curriculum. Trying to figure it all out was insane. I felt like I wasn't getting it right so I would go home and try to revamp what I was doing so I could do it better the next day. I was exhausted and did not feel effective. Then, about week 7, it started to click. Now I come home and I'm done. Even though I had experience, the change was a lot. Just beginning to teach is rough because you are figuring all of it out, not to mention that you are walking into a different situation every single day as a sub. At the end of the day, teaching is very exhausting because it's mental as we have to make decisions in a split second and do so all day long. I recommend looking into de-stressing once you get home. Do exercise, take a hot bath, read, or whatever it is that helps you to relax and focus on yourself.
     
  8. KittenCatIV

    KittenCatIV New Member

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    Nov 21, 2012

    Thank you for your advice, everyone! It's very helpful and encouraging. I think it will help me return to work after Thanksgiving break with renewed strength. :)
     
  9. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Nov 21, 2012

    Haha, I have been getting this way recently. I think it's my age.... I am now over the hump of 25 and just can't run around all day anymore. ^^ Seriously, though, I had more energy when I was right out of college.

    I found it helpful to try to take some assignments each week that I knew would be fairly low-stress (I often sub as an aide, so I am able to do that!). Sleep is also a big one for me.... it was always very important that I got 8 hours a night, minimum.
     
  10. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Nov 21, 2012

    No, the good thing about subbing was I would always have a different class the next time. Though one time I had this obnoxious class 3 days in a row and it ruined my weekend thinking about how I would have to deal with them again Monday morning.
    Monday comes around and their scheduled to be in the computer lab. Yay!
     
  11. PolarBear

    PolarBear Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2012

    I loved being a sub.

    1. You're always new. There aren't any expectations- from the kids, or the teacher (if you're a para).

    2. New faces, new challenges every day. I look on our District website, and can recognize at least half the faces in the pictures.

    3. Now that I have my own classroom (and 320 faces), it's a completely different game. There are expectations from Administrators, and the kids have pretty much figured out what makes me tick (HS age). Makes everything a lot more challenging.

    re: Stress. Laugh all you want, I do an after-school program with 3rd graders 4 days a week. After spending all day with HS Freshman and Sophomores, it's a great way to end the day (little people, little problems).

    Then I go home and take the Golden out for a few mile walk. He's the best listener in the whole world. :)
     
  12. CrayolaCrayon

    CrayolaCrayon Companion

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    Nov 23, 2012

    I'm glad you posted this because I feel the same way. I think it is completely normal because as substitute teachers, we don't have a set routine that we become used to. Our morning starts waiting for the phone to ring, which on it's own is a stressful way to start a day. Then we wonder what grade we will be assigned, if the teacher left plans, and cross our fingers that class is a good bunch of students.

    Are you the kind of person who sets high expectations for yourself? I am, so every day I am in a school I try to walk in as the best version of myself. I treat each day like a job interview. One could argue this is a great attitude to have since I am doing my best to make a good impression, but it's also extremely draining to feel like I have to be "perfect" all day long.

    With all that said, I think teaching (even when you have your own classroom!) is exhausting. There is so much to do and you always have to be "on." If a teacher has a bad day, there is no sulking at a desk with a cup of coffee and taking time to check e-mails and have an easy morning. The day must go on! There's a reason why one of my professors said teachers are the best actresses. :)
     
  13. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Nov 26, 2012

    I deal with challenges every assignment (for example, I had a problem child today drawing on the carpet…enough said!) But I just don't stress it being that it comes with the territory. I just take a look at the big picture.

    I actually crashed today as well lol. But then I got up and made a cup of coffee, got comfortable in PJs, and watched TV. Do things for yourself after you come back home. Just think that the class you taught was only for today...

    Subbing isn't so bad. Even if I have stressful students, I walk out happy.
     
  14. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Nov 29, 2012

    I know exactly how you feel.

    I just started subbing this year and I'm completely depressed most days. I have trouble sleeping because I'm incredibly anxious about my job in the morning. I started subbing to get my foot in the door, and now I want nothing to do with teaching. It really hurts because I thought for most of my life that I wanted to be a teacher, and all of my previous teaching experiences have been very meaningful to me.

    It's the complete lack of empathy the students have towards me that makes me hate this job. I primarily sub in middle and high school classrooms, so I'd hope these kids would be at least a little considerate to other human beings. Additionally, substitute teachers in my district are treated horribly by teachers and administration even though there is a severe substitute teacher shortage.

    It's a struggle forcing myself to go to work everyday. Sometimes I think this is how life is supposed to be. My significant other has told me to suck it up (in much kinder words) and that this is what adult life is like. I just wish I could at least be at peace with my life instead of feeling exhausted and down. I literally have nothing to look forward to anymore. :(

    Apologies for the sad rant - I'm just struggling a great deal with these new feelings!
     
  15. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Dec 2, 2012

    It does get better. Hugs!

    Try to leave everything at the door as soon as you leave. Don't dwell all night on should have's. Just let it go. Tomorrow is a new day. I've found that laughter works well, if not better than being mean. (is it really worth the $100 to get mad and stressed? I don't think so.) If they're testing you, turn the tables. Start making faces at kids or call them silly nicknames- well, older kids only! It'll get the focus off you and onto them. There is a kid I call New Billy (because there is another Billy) and they think it's ridiculous. I also sing with little kids to get their attention. They're not listening, just start singing the Oscar Mayer wiener song. I guarantee they'll stop what they are doing! Don't take it personally and let it go the moment you leave the school.
     
  16. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Dec 2, 2012

    Thank you, that is really good advice. I will definitely try to leave school at school and be more lighthearted in the classroom. Thanks. :)
     
  17. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Dec 2, 2012

    Before I went into teaching, I worked in cororate human resources. Now THAT was stress that kept me up at night! Subbing is exhausting, but you walk away at the end of the day and you're finished. AND your day ends early, so the sun is still up. Go for a walk or run or a bike ride when you get home. Get some fresh air and move your body around. By Thursday I'm pretty wiped out, so I tend to have a glass of wine or Bailey's on Thursday night. I try not to drink more than a couple of times a week, but it can definitely be a nice relaxing reward after a week of noisy kids.
     
  18. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Dec 3, 2012

    I try to vary my assignments a bit if possible, ie teacher a few days, aide the next

    day where I am responsible only for one student and don't have to raise my voice - just like another poster here pointed out. At night, I try to carve out one hour of NetFlix or stupid movie time for me where I am in my cozy corner and this really cheers me up because I have earned every bit of this hour.

    thesub

     
  19. PolarBear

    PolarBear Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2012

    I'm glad you posted this. 30 yr veteran of the Corporate World here. Teaching, as far as stress goes, isn't even in the same county, much less the same ballpark. Not saying teaching isn't stressful, just that it's a walk in the park compared to where I'm coming from.
     

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