I just want to quit!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by NewKindy1, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. NewKindy1

    NewKindy1 Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2015

    WARNING: LONG POST AHEAD

    This is my first year teaching and my first year teaching kindergarten. I'm failing at this!! Today, I was trying to give an ELA test, but I couldn't get my kids to sit down and pay attention to anything I was saying. Then my principal walked in and I panicked. She whispered to me that I wasn't administering the test properly and suggested what I should do, so I changed it while she was there and the class was fine, but the minute she walked out, everything became chaotic again.

    Since I couldn't reign them in again, I just took up the tests and stopped completely and the chaos just kept going. Some students were hitting each other with pencils, some were chasing each other around the room, some were crawling under the tables, some were flipping the chairs, and some were jumping off the tables! My principal then came in and pulled one of my students out. I found out that she was looking at my class from the room next door to mine (we share a bathroom).

    A few minutes later, my principal called me into her office. She was saying the same thing that she's been saying "if I can't handle I should either quit or be fired" . She said that it's been six weeks and she still hasn't seen improvement, even with all the advice that I've been giving. She thinks that I don't want it bad enough, but I do, it's just that I'm so tired and stressed out that I never know where to start. I can't even process all my thoughts, and once my kids leave, I shut my brain down.

    She talked to me about everything that she saw that I wasn't doing. She even said that my appearance isn't up to par (which it isn't). She said that if she doesn't see improvement, it would be best for the kids that I choose to leave. She told me to go home this weekend (she sent me home early today) and think about what I really want to do and suggested that I see the human resources director and discuss my options.

    I just don't know what else to do. I'm so stressed and frazzled. I barely eat because my stomach keeps bothering me and I can't get any kind of sleep because I'm constantly worrying about work and my students. I also have this alt cert program to worry about. I have to keep paying for it and I have to teach for a year to become fully certified, and then I have a person evaluating me for that!

    I talked to my mom and of course she said don't quit because of this, but I just don't know what to do! Should I quit now because the stress is eating me and my teaching isn't effective, or should I stick it out and hope and pray that I get better. I know that I should improve, but I don't know what that means!! What did you do or what are you doing in your first year to get better and make this easier?!
     
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  3. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    You need classroom management help. Does your District offer these seminars? Mine does. Or if you can ask you alt cert program or wherever you got your teaching certificate from for help. Try can stick it out but give it all you got. If you quit or get fired, it may be difficult to find another job if you put them for a reference.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Agreed . But things need to change SOON. every day things are chaos of s a wasted day where kids aren't learning. This isn't all about you. It's what's right for the kids.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sep 25, 2015

    NewKindy1,

    I imagine a world where people are carrying around cars each day. The people are exhausted. Someone comes up and says "It doesn't need to be this way. You can put gas in the car, and I'll teach you to drive". This is what can happen to you. You have no idea how much easier your job can get with good classroom management.

    Without classroom management your job is 20 times harder than without it. If you had a really good classroom management system and applied it like your life depended on it, you can succeed. I would show up Monday morning in the nicest outfit that you own. Possibly with what you interviewed with. I would then teach them procedures over and over. See my past posts to you for specific suggestions. I would also spend every minute of every break you have observing other teachers teach. If you aren't willing to do that, then it is only a matter of time before you quit. Without classroom management, nobody can teach Kindergarten.
     
  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Do you have an advisor in your alt program? It seems like they should teach you classroom management.
     
  7. burgandy01

    burgandy01 Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2015

    Try rewards incentives, assign table points. I'm guessing that the kids are acting out because there aren't enough consequences. On "fun" Friday make the 'bad' kids watch the 'good' ones play. Another example "Sally you're sitting so well and your desk is clean, you will line up first".

    You know my story via pm and I can totally relate but please remember this: It is WAY better to resign than get canned. You can still find a job as a teacher but it will be harder and it will need to be another district.

    Next time pick maybe 3rd grade and read "First Days of School" Harry Wong and "Whole Brain Teaching" for management strategies.

    Actually, you should try subbing for the first little while to see which grade you click with better and if teaching is for you.

    I feel for ya, I really do. Kinder is not for everyone and I will never attempt it again.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You need to remember with everything kindergarten that you are dealing with little babies who have absolutely no concept of what school is. You need to walk them through absolutely everything.

    You also need to do what needs to be done in terms of teaching yourself the missing skills. Going the alt route means that you don't have the experience and knowledge base most teachers would have. A book like "Teach Like A Champion" might be a solid investment. There's nothing particularly indepth there... it's all very basic, low-level stuff, but there's a lot of handy tips there.
     
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  9. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 25, 2015

    THIS.

    It also sounds like you need to take the time to re-teach procedures. Re-teach EVERYTHING. Model, model, MODEL. Model all of the appropriate behaviors to show them what it looks like. They are only 5. Modeling and going over procedures is something you are going to have to do throughout the year. Make sure you are following through and being consistent. Good classroom management begins with consistency. "Oh, friends, it looks like we need to practice how to line up. Let's all sit back down and we can try again."

    Create a class commitment/agreement and go over it every day. If you need to, go over the class commitment/agreement before you begin teaching: "Remember, when Ms. Kindy is teaching, our voices are quiet, our ears are listening, our eyes are watching, and our bodies are calm (that's what we use)."

    I would suggest you look into Conscious Discipline. I would start with the breathing techniques. If you decide to look into this and the breathing techniques, you can have the students breathe after every transition. I make this a job. I have a cube with 6 breathing activities, and my "STAR Director" gets to rock and roll the cube any time we need to. Sometimes I do this while the kids are standing in line for recess and are a little wiggly/talkative. Sometimes I have the kids gather on the carpet after a specials class and breathe. It helps to calm them down, and it helps to calm YOU down.

    Have a plan on how you will improve your classroom management skills. Take this plan to your P and discuss it with her.
     
  10. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    I just finished week 8 and they are finally getting it. If I ever fee like they are not doing exactly what I want, I stop, address my expectations, model then we try it again. You need to go in Monday morning dressed to impress, and spend the whole day practicing procedures. Come prepared with a script of what you are going to say/do. If something doesn't go the way you want it to, stop, address it, model and then practice. In order for your classroom management to get better, you need to want it and understand that what you are doing isn't working. You cannot continue to do the same things and expect change. Take your principals words to heart, reflect and make the necessary changes. If you aren't up to that, then resign. Those Kinders need the best start to their school experience and if you aren't able to do that, they need someone who is willing.
     
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  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 27, 2015

    Teachers don't usually have a choice in what grade level they teach. Lack of management skills is an impediment in teaching ANY grade. :2cents:
     
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  12. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    The fact that they behaved while the principal was in your classroom shows they are capable of behaving. When the principal left, chaos resulted.

    This is the problem I have seen again and again with some alt cert placements (notice I said "some" and not "all") especially those programs that skip student teaching altogether. There is a reason for student teaching. It gives the ST a chance to learn classroom management while under the supervision and direction of an experienced and successful teacher.

    It sounds like the principal has tried to help, but has now lost confidence in you. It will be incredibly hard to win that back.

    Take her advice and talk to the human resources director. Find out if you have any other options.

    Once you have lost the principal's confidence in your teaching and classroom management abilities, there is little else you can do other than resign.
     
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  13. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I would agree that the principal talking openly about termination six weeks into the school year is pretty much the worst thing imaginable. If things aren't better this week... you should probably make a difficult but necessary decision.
     
  14. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    I have been a Paraprofessional for 6 years. In that time, I have learned how to run a classroom successfully. I am currently working towards earning my teaching certification in Elementary Education K-6. When I was going to college, I didn't have that option. Even though I didn't earn an Elementary Education degree, I earned my degree in Social Science with a Concentration in Education and have recently completed a Classroom Management for Educators course. What I'm trying to say is that I've learned much more from being a Paraprofessional in Physical Education for the last 6 years than what I've gained from 5 years of college, which are experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I think that my experiences in a non-traditional classroom setting will continue to give me the confidence to manage an elementary classroom and maintain a safe, positive environment in which all of them will learn to their greatest potential.
     
  15. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Yes, but you have experience in a classroom at all. Some alt cert people come in and the last time they were in a classroom was when they were in high school themselves. That's often a bad situation.
     
  16. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    I have been a Mentor, Classroom Volunteer, and a Paraprofessional. I have 8 years experience working with students! :)
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Experience and education matter. I understood your list as encouragement to the OP to get some more experience before taking on another full time teaching position.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think then you will find yourself in a much better situation than, for example, a Teach For America corps member who has five weeks of experience with limited classroom time prior to being placed in a high-need classroom. Experience can be gathered from a variety of different sources... but that experience is important, and not all (most?) alt-cert teachers don't have nearly the background you have.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We seem to be agreeing here. I agree that because you have experience in a classroom you are in a different position than alt cert teachers who come in and have experience. Every alt cert program is different, and every alt cert candidate is different.
     
  20. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Show them what is expected...the right way and the wrong way.

    Try a reward...even just one skittle...for anyone who sits quietly and raises hand to speak. After 5 minutes, those who did eat the skittle. Then start over.

    Once you have them raising hand to speak, move onto the next biggest problem which sounds like staying in one spot. Have students show what it looks like to stay in one spot, then have one student show the wrong way to stay in one spot. Set a timer for maybe 5 minutes and reward with a skittle everyone who stayed in the same spot.

    I'd do this until you have some control. Then maybe move onto class dojo or some other management program.

    You can turn it around...
     
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  21. imanashhole

    imanashhole Companion

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    It is really hard to be a new teacher, but you can fix this!

    Address your principal's concerns and start with the easy one: Come to school and "dress the part." Look professional. Of all the things, this is the easiest (I believe).

    In the classroom, be firm with the kids and as everyone said, model model model! Address your expectations, and if the kids don't meet them, STOP, and start over. Praise the kids who do the right thing, and don't continue until everyone is doing it.

    You will be exhausted for a while but you can not teach the curriculum unless you have the class under control. You can do it! Have faith in yourself! I am sorry if I just repeat what others have said, but I just want to show my support to you. Don't quit and try again!
     
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  22. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I know this sounds horrible but when I was over my head as a kindergarten teacher, I used goldfish crackers as rewards. I gave out one at a time to kids who were behaving. So, by the end of the day, at most each kid got maybe 20-30 crackers. Not the best plan, but I swear it worked!
     
  23. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Another idea is to emphasize the positive things that kids are doing. For instance, if there is a kid who is trying hard to follow directions, you can write a positive note or make a positive phone call to the parents. Some parents are only used to hearing the negatives, so positive notes can be uplifting for them.

    As a sidenote, I'm not saying that this is true of your situation but there are at least a few Ps out there who never had a class like yours and thus couldn't teach it themselves. Those Ps complain that teachers can't handle difficult students and yet these Ps just transfer the students to continuation schools. That to me shows that they cannot handle the students either. I would like to see the Ps teach a difficult class for at least a whole year in this day and age.
     
  24. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Well... based on the description I've seen in this topic and others, I don't think the problem here is the kids themselves.
     
  25. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    I see your view, but there are some classes that would be defiant with any teacher, and I mean any teacher. Like the saying goes, "If you would walk a mile in my shoes, then maybe you will see how strong I really am."

    If a teacher in a difficult neighborhood would transfer to a decent school, he or she would have a great experience at the new school because kids who want to learn will succeed with any teacher and at any school. I know because I was an A and B student with every educator I ever had.
     
  26. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Ask your principal to take your class for 10 minutes and read them a story. Watch how she manages your class. Copy her technique.

    Then ask her to take your class for another 10 minutes and watch another K teacher and learn from her.

    What's missing from your teaching is management and you can learn this. My first year of teaching started out terrible. My principal told me he was going to fire me at the end of the year. Now I have a shelf full of teaching awards and love love love my job. It can happen to you, too.

    Look for books and blogs on the topic of classroom management. Here's one I like.
     
  27. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    I'm glad that you proved the principal wrong and that you love being a teacher. During your first year, it was possible that you had the roughest class in the area and the students would behave in that manner with any teacher.

    I love your advice to ask the principal to teach the class for 10 minutes. I said earlier on this forum that with principals who run others down all the time, I would like to see them teach a difficult class for one year. Then we will see how many students talk back and are being defiant.

    In the scenario where the principal is teaching the class for 10 minutes, the only reason why some classses behave and cooperate is because they know that the principal can suspend them at any time whereas the teacher obviously doesn't have that level of authority. I still think that it would be helpful to see the way the principal manages the class and to consider emulating her techniques.
     
  28. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    So, how did today go, NewKindy?

    Here's hoping it went well.
     
  29. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Sep 29, 2015

    I have been thinking about you too! Hang in there! :)
     
  30. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Still thinking about you. Let us know how you are doing.
     
  31. NewKindy1

    NewKindy1 Rookie

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    Hello all!! I went to the doctor last Tuesday and she made me stay off work for a week. I should be able to go back Wednesday. I can't say that I'm particularly ready to go back, but my principal is willing to give me another shot. But I'm still worried about what classroom management techniques will work for my class. I can't let myself get stressed out though. But I'm feeling much better as far as my health is concerned.
     
  32. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    I am so glad you are still in it! BE TOUGH! Call parents of those who are struggling the most. You can do this!
     
  33. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    If you have any free time during the school day, get out of your classroom and into another teacher's classroom. Observe teachers and see what they do. Try it out in your classroom.

    I'm having a heck of a time with a third grade class, so I treat them completely different than I do my other 7 classes. If I see a student doing what I need them to do I will say "Wow, Ciara is doing a great job right now!" and that tends to make 90% fall in line. For my toughest cookies, they do the work by themselves at a table. I started doing this today and this one kid, who "loves" punishments and causing issues, told me he prefers to work like that - zero issues for the rest of the class.
     
  34. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    :thumb::thumb:
     
  35. teachjem

    teachjem Rookie

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    Do you have a mentor or can you observe another class. I observed another class and it helped me with a management system. You will totally wear yourself out. Get a good classroom management system which includes rewards and stick to it. REPEAT several times until they get it. KDg are so young you have to repeat and model a lot and I mean a lot.
     
  36. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Oct 10, 2015

    How did things go when you got back?
     
  37. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Any updates?
     
  38. NewKindy1

    NewKindy1 Rookie

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    UPDATE: Ok. So, I went back last week and Monday and Tuesday were alright, but things went from bad to worse. On last Wednesday, I had a student get stabbed with a pencil by another student. I talked to the parents and my principal sent me home for the rest of the day. Thursday was field trip day and Friday was test day, but those two days still weren't any better.
    So I said I was going to try with a fresher start yesterday. Yesterday was alright, except for a few minor hiccups, but today went from bad to worse again. I was in the middle of trying to give an ELA lesson and things just got chaotic. I called for help, but as soon as the help left the room, the class was at it again. So, the secretary was on the hall and she walked into my room and saw everything. By the time she walked out it was time for lunch and getting them to line up for lunch was hell in a hand basket. When I finally got them lined and to the cafeteria, the principal had stopped me in the hall along with the HR director.
    We walked to the principal's office and the HR director showed me two forms; a resignation form and a termination form. So, I have officially resigned from my position.
     
  39. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I'm sorry things ended so badly for you.
     
  40. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I am sorry as well. I'm not sure what you have planned for your future, but I wish you luck! If you do want to continue teaching, don't give up. You can always volunteer and observe in classrooms, or maybe get a job as an aide, to build your skills and gain more experience.
     
  41. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    I'm so sorry. Kindergarten is tough. Use this as a learning experience if you wish to continue teaching.
     
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