HELP!!! My outside life is on hold during stressful first year!!!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Dave81, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. Dave81

    Dave81 Rookie

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    Feb 2, 2007

    I am teaching 1st grade in the inner city of New York. I'm a first year teacher and am in over my head. I student-taught upper elemenary and middle school and never wanted to teach younger kids but took the job anyway for experience.

    The first graders are loud, needy, talkative, disruptive, and I feel as though I won't get a hold on this. Yes, I want the best for them abut I am so overwhelmed and exhausted at times. Sure, I have days that are better than others, but I just feel as though this is consuming my life.

    Friends my age (mid 20s) are going out and having fun, and I am at school until 7pm every night. I feel like an old man at the age of 25. I no longer date, go out with friends, or anything. Weekends are a time for resting and catching up on sleep. I have no desire to go out or anything.

    Anyone else put their life completely on hold during first year? Is this normal? I have time for nothing and am drained!
     
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  3. MrPencil

    MrPencil Rookie

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    Feb 2, 2007

    I know what you mean

    Hey Dave,
    I know where you're coming from. I just turned 26 and I am in my second year of teaching. I'm originally from Southern California but took a job offer at a small school here in Wyoming. Last year was hectic and there were days where I thought I was going to explode. First year teaching is always the hardest but you learn a lot. I was at school until 8:00 almost every night and and even came in during the weekend, which I still do. You just have to set the ground rules with the students and stick with it. I was a bit lenient with my students but now I watch over them like an Eagle. Try to get advice from other teachers at your school, they can help out a lot. Also, try to enjoy life. Relax and have fun in life.Don't over stress yourself because that's not what you get paid for. I hope my advice helps you. Good luck!
     
  4. Miss Bliss

    Miss Bliss Companion

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    Feb 6, 2007

    Totally normal! What was worse was my friends DID NOT understand. They called me lame for not being able to go to the bar on a Tuesday night!
    I'm in my 3rd year now. Let me tell you.....I feel like I'm on a vacation compared to my first year. Hang in there, buddy. It will be ten times easier next year because everything will be a repeat.
     
  5. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Feb 6, 2007

    Yep, kinda know the feeling... I'm 25, and this is my first complete year of teaching. (The past two years of teaching were cut short by health problems and Hurricane Katrina.) I love my job (I know I'm lucky), but I don't have much time. On the weekends, I'm doing random here and there things for school, and I don't feel like really "making plans." If I spend a whole Saturday out with friends, I wonder where the weekend went. Luckily, I think my school weeks go by quickly. But that just means my life is going by quickly, too.... sigh... lol
     
  6. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Feb 6, 2007

    Dave,

    what borough do you teach in?
     
  7. amr

    amr New Member

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    Feb 6, 2007

    I hear you

    I know exactly how you feel. I'm 22 and this is my first year teaching as well and sometimes I wonder what happened to my life. I teach first grade too and know how demanding and frustrating it can be, but I also think it's important to step back and celebrate your successes also. At the beginning of the year I got so caught up with making sure my students were quiet and following directions that I forgot to look at the progress they were making. Once I started to do that it made teaching a lot more enjoyable for me and probably my students as well.
    I also understand the feeling like you have no life. Earlier this year I was staying after school until 8 or 9 every night and coming in every weekend. I got tired of it after awhile and decided that I was going to have at least one night that I don't worry about school work, so I started leaving at least one day a week right after school and doing something for myself. I find the more I stay at school the more stress I feel about getting everything done. Also, use whatever help you can find. We don't have much parental involvement where I work, but I found one parent who's willing to take projects home so I send things home with her all the time. It helps a lot.
    Good luck with everything.
     
  8. Mrs.T

    Mrs.T New Member

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    Feb 6, 2007

    Yup

    Hi Dave,

    I am 43 and am experiencing the same thing. I thank God that my own children are older (14 and 15) and don't need me every second. I can't imagine being a first year teacher and a mother to young kids at the same time!!

    After being told that what you described is "normal", I realized that it was up to me and only me to set boundries. I get to work around 7am (bell goes at 8:30) and I leave around 6:00. I no longer bring work home on the weekends. Teaching is a job that will NEVER be 'done' so you have to set your boundries and invest in time saving resources. I swear by abcteach.com and edhelper.com.

    I went crazy from Sept-December/06 preparing individual lessons for every subject every day. Then I discovered the BOOKLET. It is a Good thing,lol. It is even better if you can theme your weeks/months. Right now, I am doing Fairy Tales so everything is about that. I create a math booklet, a language arts booklet, and a guided reading booklet that is long enough for the week or even two. You can do your lessons as you normally would and then support them with the activities in the booklet. Kids who are quicker can work ahead, kids who need your attention can get it b/c everyone else is working independently.

    Another little trick I learned was the art of chart paper, groups, and markers. Kids love to tackle a problem that you give their group. For example: Make a list of 10 solids that you can see in the classroom. OR: Create 5 double digit addition problems that need regrouping. They brainstorm as a group, put it on chart paper, and then i get them to present in front of the class. I have them elect a 'leader' for the project who keeps the group on task and organized. This frees up my time to wonder among the class making notes on what they are doing/thinking and sometimes I can actually SIT AT MY DESK and quickly mark something.

    Bottom line, Dave: As long as you foster a love for learning, everything else will be ok.

    Hope this helps...sorry it's long.
     
  9. ThinkOutLoud

    ThinkOutLoud Rookie

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    Feb 6, 2007

    Everyone without a life outside of school, please raise your hand ;)

    The best I can suggest is getting some better strategies on board in your fight to remain SANE and as stress free as possible. I kind of picked up a lot of little tricks along the way including how to manage my class more efficiently, stop stressing out so much and basically getting a better handle my teaching life in general. Control it, don't let it control YOU.
    Hope things improve for you Dave81!

    ThinkOutLoud xox
    PS. Some great, free strategies I wish I'd used from the very beginning - www.classroom-management.org/free1NDC.html
     
  10. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Geez I hope you guys get some balance in your lives. Life is way too short to spend stressing and staying at school late at night and bringing so much home with you. Schedule time for you and stick to it or some day you will regret it. YOu're only young once. Have as much fun as you possibly can.
     
  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Feb 8, 2007

    My words exactly Grammy Teacher! I say hang in there since the first year for everyone is the hardest, but after 2-3 yrs, if you're still feeling like this, I'd re-evaluate your career if I were you & see if you really want to stay w/ it.
     
  12. kglotfelty

    kglotfelty New Member

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    Feb 8, 2007

    Yes, I think this is normal. You should accept the fact that your life is on hold for this year. There are several times in life when you may feel that way--maybe after the birth of your first child, a parent's illness, etc. Simply recognizing that life has cyclical stages where you are limited and don't feel quite like yourself can be helpful in dealing with it. You were smart to take the job for the experience. It sounds like you know enough about yourself to know that early elementary isn't really your long term career choice. Learn what you can where you are for now, but keep your eyes and ears open for a position teaching older kids next year.
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Feb 8, 2007

    Keep in mind that the president of the U.S. doesn't even work that hard. That should put it into perspective.
     
  14. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Good point, Daisy! Teaching should be fun most of the time and if it's not, see if you can change something in your organizational skills. Don't give up teaching necessarily and you can't get rid of the kids, so make your life as easy as possible when you can.
     
  15. skiteach

    skiteach Rookie

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    Feb 8, 2007

    After having the oppportunity to work in different classrooms with different teachers at various levels in their career, teaching is definitely an art----it's going to be sloppy and messy, downright scary the first couple of years (due to the inexperienced artist---us!!), but hopefuly after a few years, we'll plug right along...by year 30, hopefully we'll master it by then! That's what's so great about this--we'll always keep getting better.
    Hang in, set your priorities, keep your sanity, keep laughing!:)
     
  16. Ms.T

    Ms.T Comrade

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    Feb 9, 2007

    Mrs. T, what is 'the booklet'?
     

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