How do you deal with feelings of inadequacy?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by kit_kate27, May 17, 2016.

  1. kit_kate27

    kit_kate27 Rookie

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    May 17, 2016

    Do any of you ever feel like what you're doing just is not enough to help your students? This is my 3rd year as a lead teacher in a self-contained autistic classroom. I work every day from 8-3:30, often without taking a lunch break, and often later than my required hours. Even when I'm not "working" I always have my students on my mind and am thinking about ways to improve things for them. All of my student's "basic needs" are met-my lessons are planned and taught, they are making progress on most of their goals and objectives and I make changes as necessary, and their behavioral challenges are addressed and controlled (most of the time). However...I can't shake this feeling that I'm just not doing ENOUGH for them. There are always changes that can be made, things that can be done better or differently, things that can be added to help them behaviorally or academically...there just aren't enough hours in the day, and I'm human, and some days I honestly just feel burnt out (not always, but today I sat and stared at my computer for 20 minute sand then felt guilty about not using that time effectively). It doesn't help that I have seven sets of parents who all want exactly what's best for their children, and five aides who (while wonderful and hard working) don't necessarily understand the position I'm in and are constantly saying things to me like "well why don't you do something about X behavior" or "why don't you change the way you're doing this"-in a way that's meant to be constructive and helpful but sometimes just feels overwhelming.

    My question is...does anyone else ever feel totally overwhelmed with the amount of work to do, feeling like you're not being the "perfect" teacher or sometimes not even doing enough to help your students? What do you do to shake this feeling??
     
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  3. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    May 17, 2016

    I think most everyone has felt inadequate at some point. I felt that way when I practiced law, and I feel it even more every day I put on that sub badge. Most teachers I know are perfectionists, so every little thing becomes a big thing. I would say just remember why you're there as a lead teacher...it'll at least take your mind off things awhile.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 17, 2016

    I think all teachers feel that way at some point! I think it's very hard in sped because no matter what, my students are never "good enough." Even if they're making exceptional progress, they're not on grade level, and therefore there is always something more/better that I'm supposed to be doing. It's especially hard to sit in PD where they harp on the fact that students with learning disabilities have no "excuse" for not being on grade level, therefore if they're not it's pretty much my fault. My state's stance is that only students with cognitive disabilities are "excused" from meeting the grade level expectations and passing the state tests. This is something I've been struggling with lately.

    Here are some things that I think help:
    - Acknowledge all the positive things you are doing. Even if things aren't perfect, you must be doing some things that are pretty awesome. What are they?
    - Think of the serenity prayer (LOL). Is this something you have control over/can change? Is this a hill you're willing to die on, so to speak? If so, go for it. If not, let it go.
    -Think of the big picture. Are the things you're doing going to help your students in "real life?" I think we're so incredibly data-driven at schools that sometimes we miss the forest for the trees. In the grand scheme of things, how important is reading 127 words per minute (our 3rd grade target)? I was beating myself up over a 3rd grader who is "only" reading 98 wpm because he's not on grade level and therefore "not good enough," but this student came in this year as a non-reader. I have a good friend who is dyslexic and when I get frustrated at work, she'll often say things like, "You know, I live a full and complete life without being able to read 200 words per minute. It's okay!"
     
  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    May 19, 2016

    I'm a regular classroom teacher and struggle with these feelings all the time! We have to train our minds to focus on the positives, not the negatives. My new goal is at the end of each day, to pick just one good thing that happened and to really focus on that memory for a few moments. If you let yourself focus on the negatives, you will let yourself get bogged down in all the things we should/could/would do better...Focus on the good that you are doing and let that buoy you up!
     
  6. fjaravata

    fjaravata Rookie

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    May 19, 2016

    In psychology its called Imposter Syndrome and I experience a lot! Read this post by CalTech about this.

    There are strategies to overcome this all over the web, but this book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield really has helped me and some friends of mine. It has helped me "TURN PRO" so to speak. A lot of start up business entrepreneurs reference this book and i've found that us teachers can also take lessons from this book. We solve problems everyday as entrepreneurs like to say about themselves.

    This is my recommendation of summer reading! Here is a youtube video that shares ideas from the book.
    Any one else read this book?
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    May 20, 2016

    Fake it 'til you make it.
     
  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    May 20, 2016

    Thank you for sharing this link -- I had heard of "impostor syndrome" before but never really looked into it. This article described me to a T! I will have to read the book you suggested this summer.
     
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  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 20, 2016

    If you are truly doing all you can, let it be You can't be everything to every kid. Do your best and track your interventions and wave a flag. Leave a paperwork trail that those after you can follow.
     
  10. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    May 20, 2016

    You know it's Friday when ... you open up the article, start reading, and read "intellectual fraudulence" as "intellectual flatulence". And to think I plan on being productive this afternoon/evening :p
     
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