I think I'm getting depressed... :(

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by raneydae, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Why is this job so difficult? :(

    This has got to be my 5th new teacher rant. I'm sorry if this gets redundant - I have no place else to vent. I know that sounds awful, but I have no friends or family who are teachers and I hate constantly sounding like I'm complaining to them. :)

    Some days are totally fine, but then other days are just really bad. Today isn't even a school day, but it's still really bad.

    DH works a lot and since I work a lot too, we hardly ever spend real time together. For the most part, he tries to support me in all my stress, but he doesn't know what to do and I guess I can't really blame him. He's got his own crap to take care of.

    I've had to turn on to survival mode, and I really hate the person it's made me become outside the classroom. I never was super social, but now I'm close to anti-social. I feel like I don't have time to work out to relieve stress either. I just feel stuck.

    We aren't even at the semester break mark yet, and this is so discouraging. I feel like it's been so long since I was myself, and I just want this year to be over with. I can't believe I'm not even half way.

    I don't want to be a quitter, and I don't really know what I could do if I left. I don't really want to leave teaching, as I honestly think that I could be good at it - I just don't know if I'm strong enough to make it through this year. I already feel burned out. I am so overwhelmed by my workload that I can't get the motivation to start it and end up falling even more behind which makes things all the more worse.

    I just don't know if it is worth it to put myself and my husband through this for another 5 months. Why waste 5 months of our lives going through this? It's hard on our relationship.

    Does it really get better? Do I have any options? I don't want to put my school in the position of trying to find a new teacher mid-year, and I don't want to ruin my chances of ever having a job (teaching or not). But I am so numb to everything now, and I hate the person I've recently become.

    Thanks for listening.
     
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  3. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Raneydae,
    GIRL! You need an outlet! How about writing a journal? Believe me, it would definitely make you feel better! You can pen it all down and you'd be surprised at how relieved you'll feel afterwards. Today at church all these people were talking about how they let go of stress or depressed feelings and here are some of what were quoted & some of my suggestions....:)

    -Drive around and just listen to your favorite music
    -Read a favorite book
    -Pray for God's help and try reading the Bible
    -Go to the library and just check it out, just 4 the fun ot it
    -Write family members or friends; email or the envelope deal
    -Start cooking or baking some favorite dishes
    -MY FAVORITE-Get out and meet the neighbors, along with the driving around and listening to music
    -Start a garden or just plant some flowers in pots
    -Make time to sit down with DH and write some short term goals and long time goals and ways to work for them
    -Get a pet! It would be GREAT therapy for you to just hang out with your dog, or cat, or bunny, and just relax

    I hope it would get better for you and DH. You will be okay and remember that you are not alone. Don't quit unless your husband and you agree on it. If your marriage is at risk because of the way you have become THEN it's not worth staying the same. YOU CAN DO IT and both of you need to do work together on something that can make y'all happy and recall all the loving memories of your first date and all the fun you had before, etc. I just thought of this. How about making a scrap book of all that you 2 have done together? You can put in special pictures, receipts, ticket stubs, napkins, etc. I would be a neat outlet and you can surprise you DH with it when you have it started and on going.
    Take GREAT :hugs: care of each other and good luck.
    Hang in there,
    Rebel1
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 25, 2009

    OK, take a deep breath.

    For starters, it's Sunday. What brought this on today? Are you particularly swamped for some reason?

    Most of us learn fairly early in our careers not to let this overtake our lives. It's too easy to do so, and too important not to. So, yes, right now there's one more set of ungraded tests that I want to give back to 8th period tomorrow. And I'm feeling cold and uncomfortable and I'm not doing them today. (Plus, 2 of my kids each have a playdate over, and Kira's left a while ago. This is not a day to concentrate in my house.) I'll get to them tomorrow during my prep period and my on-call, and they'll be done for 8th period.

    Come up with some worksheets/review sheets for days when you simply don't have the time to prep adequately. Google some NY State Regents Exams in 10th year math-- they're a great resource for Geometry teachers. (They date back to before NY's horrendous 20 year experiment with Integrated Math, but the material on the Math 10 is still what you're teaching.) Run some off, and don't be afraid to give the kids an occasional review day so you can get caught up a bit.

    And if working out will help you relieve stress, then you don't have time NOT to do it. Find a way to stop at the gym on your way home from school, and do it religiously.

    And you NEED to schedule time alone with your husband. Call Friday date night or Pizza night or something, but it needs to be written on the calendar and made into a priority.

    Beyond that, how, specifically, can we help? What's causing the problem? If you can narrow it down, we can help you with it.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Raney- I haven't read your other posts so I'm not sure why you are so overwhelmed with your job but I am concerned for you. The first year is tough- anyone will tell you that. It's tough. Most of us get through it though. It's ok to ask for help...Even after 11 years of teaching I feel at times as if I am like the cat in the hat on the ball with a rake and a cake...You know what I mean- trying to juggle it all. We all occasionally drop a ball. You have to be able to pick the balls that matter back up and let the ones that don't matter fall... What is it that's getting to you the most about your job? The school, the kids, the philosophy, the paperwork? All of the above? What is it that's the best part of your job? Let's lay those things on the table here and see what we can do...
     
  6. hopefulnovice

    hopefulnovice Rookie

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Raney -

    You are NOT alone. There are so many of us new teachers who are experiencing EXACTLY what you are. Something that helped me recently: I stopped lecturing. Enough of me burning myself out trying to be the center of attention. Now they are responsible for work. I found a bunch of supplementary materials that go with my textbooks and have great suggestions for activities and projects. Make them do work and monitor. That releaves stress big time.

    You HAVE to get yourself through this. Quitting is a professional suicide. If you want to be a teacher you need to get through the year, and you will. If you feel the same way by the end of this year look for another school/grade level. Perhaps this place is not a good fit for you and that is what overwhelms you.

    Demand help from your mentos/department head. Talk to other first year teachers.

    I wish you the best! I am in the same boat. I am surprised my boyfriend has not left me yet. It's been a nightmarish first semester...
     
  7. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Raney,
    It is not unusual to be overwhelmed during your first year of teaching -- so no, there is nothing "wrong" with you!

    I totally understand what you are saying about not wanting to keep burdening people who are non-teachers. I understand what you are saying -- they either don't get it, or it seems like whining and complaining.

    I'd like to suggest that you find out if your school district has EAP (or a similar program.) Most larger public school districts do. EAP stands for Employee Assistance Program. It is a free counseling program offered through the district. It is not long-term counseling -- it is counseling help to get you through a specific situation, and is fabulous for situations like this. All of the sudden, you have someone to talk with, it is paid for by your employer, and it is confidential. In many places, if you have to go to the appointment during classtime, the district has to provide a sub without charging your sick leave. (If you work for Los Angeles Unified, they have EAP -- it is on your benefits webpage.)

    Please look into it. Having a totally objective person to bounce things off of can make such a difference!!!!
     
  8. txteach13

    txteach13 Rookie

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Raney,
    There are so many of us here that are going thru the same feelings. The other replies have some great suggestions. What has helped me most has been prayer. It's hard not to think about school constantly, but try to find something you can do to take your mind off of it when you're not there. I would also suggest seeing a doctor as many, many teachers are getting help from anti-depressants. I am blessed, I am not letting anyone take the joy from me, and I am counting the days until this school year is over! Remember that there are people who love you no matter what happens at school. Keep posting here and let us know how you're doing.
     
  9. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Everyone has had great suggestions for you. Please get some of the stress off of you! I can tell that you do want to remain in teaching so please hang in there and go for it.

    With the way of the economy and people losing jobs everyday, that is enough to cause stress. Even though you are not in jeopardy to losing your job, it is on the news constantly and I think that affects everyone.

    I have had a student in my class who has been a real problem. He was in my class for part of last year, then moved for the rest of the year. Now he is back. The parent is no support at all and I've been worrying about what to do for him. When I heard he was coming back, I just lost it because I knew what a change it was going to bring to my classroom. Now after about 2 months, I have tried to tell myself that I will do everything I can do for him and my other students, but it will not run my life, I will run my life.

    When I tell myself that over and over again, it helps to reduce some stress for me. I'm not a first year teacher but we all have those times.

    Give time to your hubby as you can. I like the idea of date night even if it is just being at home together. I also love the suggestion of having a pet.

    Take care of yourself and try to relax. Easier said than done but try to tell yourself that. Hang in there. Use the great suggestions on here and continue to vent. We understand and we are here for you!!
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about how you are feeling. It sounds like it has really become a health issue.

    I agree with everyone who advised that you find a way to lighten the load of teaching. Assigning review work, doing less lecturing (sometimes I stop and tell the kids that I'm working way too much and they are working way too little), grading fewer assignments, can make a week bearable.

    Start class of with something fun - Mad Libs, 20 questions, a math game. It gets my kids' attention.
     
  11. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Jan 25, 2009

    I don't have much advice, as I am not a teacher yet. But I read so many posts that deal with the same problems you are having. Just know, we are here for you! Take some time for yourself whenever you can. Rebel had a lot of ideas that would help get your mind off school problems. Best of luck!
     
  12. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    Jan 26, 2009

    All of you guys/ladies - thank you SO MUCH for all your encouraging words! It's been kind of a bad weekend, and was a particularly bad morning. I just had to vent somewhere.

    I've learned a ton about myself and how I deal with stress the past couple months! I've been in stressful jobs before and always thought I handled stress pretty well, but apparently I only handle some kinds of stressful situations well. I never thought I was much of a perfectionist, but with so many details constantly going on, I've found that I need to keep things very organized in order to stay afloat. And I'm usually doing fine when I've got things in order, but as soon as one thing starts to slip - I have a really hard time not letting everything else fall with it. And then it gets really difficult to motivate myself to start picking it all back up and trying again.

    DH and I talked today and we're doing better now. As with all marriages, sometimes it just gets hard dealing with each other. :)

    I know the first year of teaching is tough, but I think I expected the ability to have some basic organization to base things on, and I have none, and it's really making it difficult to balance things as a teacher should.

    (For anyone who doesn't know my situation: I teach from 4 different rooms in two completely different buildings (one's part of a church, the other's a next-door office building we rent rooms from) with 4 very different setups and different technological abilities - and I usually don't know what's working or not til I walk into the classroom; the passing periods are 3 min, I have no time for setup. I teach from 11:30-6pm, and there is no common lunch, before school or after school. I don't ever talk to most of the teachers as we never see each other; I still don't know everyone's names, and there are only 30-35 of us. I have three preps, some of the classes meet everyday for an hour, some of them are every other day blocks. I didn't major in math, and have re-taught myself most of what I'm teaching, so on top of all the usual first year teaching struggles like classroom management and creating lesson plans and learning to deal with parents, I'm also having to refresh myself on occasional math topics...and of course, knowing how to do something yourself is completely different than knowing how to teach it.)

    Anyways, again, thank you so much to everyone who responded. I really needed to hear all of these things. Sadly, I'm pretty sure this won't be the last little breakdown I have this year, but eh, I AM almost halfway, and then I just have to keep reminding myself that I'll be closer to the end of the year than the beginning and that it WILL be over with soon... :) I hope I'll be the teacher who in 5 years is on these boards encouraging the new teachers and telling them that it does indeed get better!
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 26, 2009

    You've got to figure: this year is pretty much the worst possible case scenario for a new teacher, particularly one who thrives on organization. If you can survive this year, you can survive anything.

    Would you consider changing schools next year for one that's a bit more traditional? It's a tough economy to be looking for a job, but as a math teacher you might be able to find something.
     
  14. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    Jan 26, 2009

    First off, you're NOT alone. I have days when I just want to crawl up and cry. I'm struggling BIG time with controlling behaviors. Then I have days when I can't stop smiling and giving thanks that I am in education.

    My mentor teacher told me this and it has helped me tremendously:

    Don't internalize ANYTHING. It is what it is. If you internalize things then you will burn out.

    I have days when my students flip tables, physically fight with each other, or totally disrespect me, but I remember what my mentor said: DON'T INTERNALIZE ANYTHING...

    Chin up, it'll get better. Good luck! :)
     
  15. LA/FLnewbie

    LA/FLnewbie Companion

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    Jan 29, 2009

    raney,
    I felt just like this at this time last year. I never thought I would make it! I told myself if I still felt that way in March/April, I would quit. And when contracts came around, I realized how much better I was doing! Now it's my second year, and it's still all ups and downs, but many more ups. So hang in there if you can (and you can!) and decide when contracts come up if you have another year in you.

    Also, I highly recommend seeing a doctor about depression. I went to my doctor last December and couldn't stop crying, as I had been doing for the past several weeks. He referred me to a psychologist, and he prescribed antidepressants. At first I was embarrassed, but now I realize, if all it takes is one tiny pill to help to much, then it's worth it. I'm still myself; I still have emotions; I can still cry. I just don't cry like crazy all the time!

    Big changes can have big tolls on our brains -- and being a first-year teacher is a big change! I say do whatever it takes to get through it, and then decide about next year.
     
  16. LA/FLnewbie

    LA/FLnewbie Companion

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    Jan 29, 2009

    Two more thoughts:

    First of all, I think someone else alrady suggested doing less "lecture" teaching -- and this is so true. Kids learn better doing group activities and projects, anyway! I also taught all last year avoiding worksheets and videos like the plague, thinking they would instantly make me a "bad" teacher -- and now I realize that, in moderation, they are both necessary at times and part of a good unit.

    Next, if you think you can't get a pet, get a Betta fish (fighter fish). I am not supposed to have pets, and last year around this time, Igot a fish from a pet store in Chinatown. I named him Frankie, got him a 1/2 gallon bowl (not the tiny ones but not huge either), a lucky bamboo shoot and some pretty rocks, and I know he instantly brought joy into my life! I am a horse/dog/cat person and never thought I could love a fish, but I do! He is so cute and fun to feed! (I even talk to him -- shh, don't tell!) And, he cost like $2.99 -- I'm convinced he was just as effective as my meds ;)
     
  17. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Jan 30, 2009

    I second the motion on not internalizing things. Yes, it is your job, but at some point you have to leave work at work and relax at home.
     

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