I don't want to be one of those teachers...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Bella2010, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Oct 8, 2010

    who hang it up within the first five years. I really don't want that, but this year has been hell so far, and I would be lying if I said I didn't think about it.

    I don't know what my deal is. I have the placement I've always wanted. Everyday feels like I'm swimming through mud. It's all a struggle. The kids are so needy. They swarm to my desk as soon as I sit down to call roll. I tell them, "The help desk isn't open yet!" We go through this everyday. They ask me where to put their papers. I swear I have about 12 kids everyday, the same 12, ask me this question more than once. The first few times, I tell them to "think about that question" or something like that. At the end, though, it's just easier to point to the trays or tell them "in the tray." The constant barrage of of hearing my name makes my head spin. :dizzy:

    Our P has been having personal issues of some kind, and he's not really "in the game." Our building feels like every man for himself. It's like we have no leader. Our atmosphere just feels different, and I'm not the only one who feels that way.

    I feel tired, overwhelmed, like I've been pecked to death by a chicken. I feel really guilty, too. I should be thankful to have a job, and I am, yet I gripe about it? What's wrong with me???

    Life's been a big adjustment. I had a baby in June, our first. It's been hard getting in the groove of teacher and mother. I guess I'm just not dealing with things well, IDK. Deep down, I really do like my job. I go into everyday thinking it will be better than the one before. I really try to stay positive.

    Suggestions? Encouragement?

    Beth
     
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  3. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2010

    You're just letting the stress get to you. It sounds like everything is fine. You aren't having any bad issues, just small annoyances.

    Make a large print sheet and hang it on your desk that says "assignments go in the tray" and just point to that when they ask.

    Think of something for them to do before you sit down, that may help with the initial barrage well you take attendance.

    You are lucky and I think if those are your biggest worries you're going to be a teacher for the long haul! :)
     
  4. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Oct 9, 2010

    Well, if it makes you feel any better, I didn't know you were a new teacher....I thought you had been teaching much longer, based on some comments I've read on this board :)

    I agree to make a poster to put on the wall. I still have kids that ask me if we're going to do math today - and I have never skipped it once, and we're in the 7th week of school! Some kids just don't understand routines.
     
  5. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 9, 2010

    I'm teaching 6th grade as well and that is certainly old enough to understand specific responsibilities and routines. I often have a "bonus" question on the board for the kids to do when they first come in. I only leave the problem on the board for 5 minutes. If they haven't settled down and started by the time I finish taking attendance, then they just miss out. Each question is worth 1 point and each point is added directly to their lowest quiz grade at the end of the grading period, so there is plenty of incentive to do the question.

    Of course they complain when I erase the board the first couple of times, but once they realize I'm serious about them coming in, sitting down and getting to work right away, they stop griping and start working.

    As for turning in assignments, our AP had this classroom for several years and she used trays for each day of the week. There was no question about where the assignment was supposed to be put. I still have the trays, although I haven't begun using them yet.

    I have the students take notes and do most of their assignments in a math journal. I then collect their journals about once a week or every other week (at the most). We go over the HW in class and they are graded on effort rather than accuracy.

    I agree that it seems you are just being overwhelmed with everything going on at once; new motherhood, everyday stress of the job and a principal that seems focused on other things.

    Use the weekend to gather rest and rejuvenate yourself (as much as the baby will let you, that is ;) ). On Monday, put the poster up listing the routines and go over it with your class ONCE! Tell them you will not allow any more swarming around your desk to ask questions that have already been answered more than once. If they don't know where to put their papers by now, then they may as well just place them in the trash. I know that sounds harsh, but it may be the shock these kids need to quit being so dependent.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 9, 2010

    Some kids are just lazy and they have had everything done for them so there is no need to think on their own. Some kids are teacher-pleasers and want the teacher to know right away that they have their work to turn in.

    I had about ten high school students upset with me yesterday. They asked, one right after another, if they could replace a quiz they were about to take (had not even taken it yet!) with a quiz they had from a couple of weeks ago. I told each one of them no. When they asked "why" I finally started saying that I was not going to go into again. I explained it in great detail three times the day before. They chose not to listen @@ Their tablemates understood why though and passed along the information.

    I think you'll be just fine. I understand why you are concerned - I have the same worries but leaving teaching is not an option for me. I spent too much money and time to get here!
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  7. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Oct 9, 2010

    Beth, I know there are so many websites out there that say they are THE classroom mgmt plan, but this one has saved me this year. I am all about working smarter, not harder, and this guy has it all figured out. Check it out and see what you think; smartclassroommanagement.com . It is my Bible this year and has helped me develop a master plan with clarity and purpose...

    Go here; http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/

    I hope this helps you out. Procedures and plans can do the work for you...
     
  8. greengables

    greengables Rookie

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    Oct 9, 2010

    Your sentence about the atmosphere feeling different leaped out at me. Several teachers and I have noticed the same thing at our school this year! Very strange vibe and it's affected everyone-staff, secretaries, janitors, students and parents. Don't know why, either; we were joking a full moon was parked over the area permanently!

    :confused:
     
  9. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Oct 9, 2010

    I'm also going to give my usual suggestion--look into Whole Brain Teaching. Just using class/yes with my HS students saves me all kinds of aggravation.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Why do you think this made the difference? Engagement?
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 9, 2010

    It works because the kids "buy into" the idea immediately and respond very well to it. The most impressive example I've had of this was on a mandatory field trip for our middle school. I drove the bus for the 6th graders. When we arrived at our destination, but had to wait before letting them off, they naturally became restless and loud. I said "CLASSS" and the entire bus responded "YESSSSS". I said "Thank you for responding so well. Now, please sit back down and keep your voices down until we tell you it is time to get off the bus. All 40 kids immediately sat back down and began talking much more quietly.

    "Class, Yes" seems to work so well because it tells the kids right away "I need your attention because I want to tell you something". Even if a handful don't respond, they can't ignore the OTHER 20+ kids all saying "Yesss" at one time. Their curiosity gets the better of them and they will also turn to see what the teacher has to say.
     
  12. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2010

    I like the other ideas you've been given.
    When my students(much smaller, but they swarm too) don't remember where to put their papers, I tell them that they may not put their papers in my face, because my face is not the "done" box. They laughed, and didn't ask any more.
    A little humor solved that problem.
     
  13. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Oct 9, 2010

    The "class-yes" is very effective, even if you don't do anything else from Whole Brain.

    When students used to hand me their papers, I used to say "I am not a basket. I am only a basket case." That was back when I used the basket system.

    I have two systems now. One, I just collect them when they are finished. No big deal. I can quickly scan to make sure the name is on it and that I can read it and that it is finished.

    If I am going over their work with them when it is completed, I will have told them to turn it over when they are finished, take out a book or their writing notebook and move on to the next activity.

    Of course, someone or two will bring their paper to me anyway. His/her tablemates are grinning, or if they are a close friend, are whispering, "Don't do that!!" The clueless classmate doesn't listen. He or she is confused because they weren't listening. I take it and hold it. Then when it's time to go over it, I'll say something like,"Turn your papers over and let's go over them."

    Everyone turns their paper over except the two or three who gave it to me. They sit there blinking a few times, then sheepishly come up to get them. I stare at them for a few minutes with one eyebrow raised. They stare back at me nervously. They tentatively hold out their little hand. I look at the hand. I look at the papers in my hand. I look at the kid without an ounce of expression on my face. Then I say, "This?" as I hold one up. Then I hand it back. There is silence (well, a few titters) as the kids make it back to their seats.

    I crack myself up. I love playing "wicked witch". The kids love me, they know I love them, and that I have a sense of humor. (What they don't know is that I am heavily medicated.)

    It doesn't happen very much after the first few times.

    For kids who call you by name too much, tell them you have changed your name. To the invariable, "What is it?", you answer, "It's a secret."

    I think the point is, you have got to find the humor to get through the day when you are dealing with the public. It doesn't always work; sometimes you are just a bit too tired or stressed. But a well-timed comment or look can bring smiles to faces and lift that spirit. Seriously.

    That's the way I roll. (Which is another comment of mine made when asked, "Why?")
     
  14. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Oct 9, 2010

    Thanks for the words of encouragment and advice! I greatly appreciate them all.

    A couple of you mentioned humor. I try that - smiling makes me feel better. I also use "sarcastic humor." Not in a bad, demeaning way, though. And, I only use it with kids whose personalities it fits.

    Anyway, stupid question about the humor thing. My kids work quietly, for the most part. But, when I'm handing out papers or someone is answering a question, a laugh is shared here and there. This especially happens when we're discussing our read aloud. Let's face it, 6th graders can come up with some pretty humorous ideas/remarks. Sometimes, we get some pretty entertaining debates going.

    My point is, I guess, is it possible to have too much humor? I mean, as long as it's not disrupting anything/anyone? I worry about laughing too much and them not taking me serious enough. Does that make sense to anyone but me?

    Thanks,

    Beth
     
  15. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I don't have any advice, but I needed to say that your descriptions of your feelings are so creative and relatable-- I think many of us can definitely feel your experience of "swimming through mud" and being "pecked by chickens"!
     
  16. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Oct 11, 2010

    LOL! Thanks! I got the "pecked by chickens" saying from my mom. Yeah, any guess who she said that to? :D

    Beth
     

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