Im a failure

Discussion in 'General Education' started by newteacher6, May 29, 2012.

  1. newteacher6

    newteacher6 Rookie

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    May 29, 2012

    I realize that I am brand new at this but I dont feel that it excuses how I have been feeling and what has been happening. Everyday I feel stressed out and completely overwhelmed. Today, I taught the entirely wrong lesson to the class. Who does this?!?!? I marked the powerpoint lesson wrong and kept going because by the time I realized it was wrong it was too late. We are doing literature circles and the lessons are similar, I didnt realize what I did. My brain is in a fog. I teach 6th grade literacy and we are doing literature circles with books on the Middle Ages. I havent had time to read all of their books so when they ask me questions, I truly do not know the answer. I know how horrible this sounds but I am so caught up with grading papers, lesson plans, and assessments I haven't had time to read each book. They are chapter books and pretty big. Also, I have no control over my class. I constantly feel uneasy and feel that I have no idea what I am saying when I teach. I have been told that I am a great teacher (during student teaching) and have been highly recommended but I feel like a fraud.

    I cannot seem to get organized and by the time I get home, all I want to do is sleep. I want to take a break from work but I know that with being new that there are no breaks and I should always be working when I get home. Looking back on my students grades almost all of them aren't succeeding. Most of them do not hand in their homework or do classwork and I feel like it is because I am not on top of them enough. I dont know what to do. I realize its new but I feel I am doing an awful job and need a serious break. I haven't been teaching long and I already need a break?? I get stressed out just thinking about the next class walking into my room. My students are EXTREMELY disrespectful! I do not know how to handle their behaviors. There isn't much support at my job either and I feel that I am drowning. I do not think anyone in my building has felt this way. I always thought I would be an incredible teacher and I guess I am not. I confuse the children sometimes also. I over analyze everything that I do. When I am grading for assessments and there is a rubric attached I question if I am grading correctly. Ah I am a mess and I doubt anyone can help me lol What a shame because I have an incredible work ethic but lately I am a failure.I feel as though I need a mental break and I wish there was a way to gain confidence back in myself... a good book perhaps? Idk :(
     
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  3. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    May 29, 2012

    How much longer is your school year? To catch up on grading at this point I would have your students do some grading for you. Even if they cheat the honor system, that is the least of your worries at this point. Call it a review day and get all the papers graded. Also, catch up on the class reading as best as you can. If you are this stressed out, maybe you should considered an easier environment to teach in next year. A Catholic school maybe? The kids will be better behaved and you can get your confidence back. Or change to a lower grade. It would not make you a failure. It might be a way to restore your confidence.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 29, 2012

    I think you just need a little planning. First of all, reduce your grading load. DO NOT GRADE EVERYTHING. Have a TA record grades for you or simply give credit on whether or not it is complete. You shouldn't be reading every single thing at this stage in your career. Choose which assignments to grade in depth. If you put too much effort into grading, you MAY have less energy to put into teaching.

    After you've reduced your grading load, start reading the CliffNotes of the books you are teaching. It's not the ideal situation, but you're in the middle of the battle here, and you don't have time to completely analyze every single detail of the full text. If students ask a question you can't answer, bring it to the class as if you know the answer but want to hear someone else answer it: (i.e. can anyone answer so-and-so's question?).

    If you can at this point (it's already late into the year) set up a ritualized lesson type, for those days that you can't plan something special. My ritual lesson is Warm-up/Roll, Directed Reading or Lecture, and then Exit Tickets. It takes up the whole 50 minutes, especially if we have discussion in there, and let the kids lead the discussion sometimes. They'll pull you off on many tangents about interesting things they want to know. Go into them if you can answer those questions. It can be fun just talking with them about these topics! They may want to ask questions about why was so-and-so imprisoned, or why did people discriminate against black people in the South in that book, etc.

    I'm sorry your administration is not supportive. It's honestly, the only reason I am surviving right now. Without a supportive administration I think I would just quit, but I did have help from many people, and not just my principals (who are very busy and can rarely help me), but also from school counselors, other new teachers in the school, experienced teachers, and other employees. I've gotten tons of advice from the security officers at the school. If you have friends who went through the teaching program with you, call them up, ask them how they're doing. Some of them may be at a point where they can help you as well.

    For classroom management, it's simply going to be tough. Kids won't respect you for any number of reasons: you're new, young, you're not consistent or strict enough, you're too strict, etc. I'm afraid it's unavoidable unless you're just a natural genius teacher (I'm certainly not, and my kids have been giving me hell). The only thing that will get you through this is to PLEASE PLEASE leave your work at work and keep your personal life at home. Plan your lessons for the next day (or week if you can) before you leave the classroom. Make sure all copies are made before you leave so you can just come in and start the next day. Then when you get home, ignore everything. Go out for drinks with friends, watch your favorite TV shows, play some games, whatever. Also make sure you're getting to sleep at a reasonable time and are getting 8 full hours.

    Dealing with kids when you're fully alert and have a fulfilling personal life is hard as it is. If you're sleepy, extremely stressed, or haven't had any breaks, it's pretty much impossible to be a good teacher. Treat your personal life as if its your second job and you have responsibilities towards it as well. You have a responsibility to relax at home after work. Kids know when their teachers are stressed and usually take it to mean that their teacher doesn't like them, especially if they're stressed often.

    This is advice from one new teacher to the next, and I hope its of some help. I am barely surviving myself, but I count myself luckier than most, because I've made huge progress. My first few weeks were hell, but I got advice and support from others, and while it's not perfect, I'm doing waaaaay better than I was, and that makes me feel good inside.

    Good luck!
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 29, 2012

    Don't beat yourself up. Did you pick up this class partway through the school year? My team has three teachers in that boat and have tried to maintain a strong support system for them. See if you can get a mentor, if you don't already have one. If you do, talk to him / her and get some perspective.

    Remember to breathe. If the students have questions you can't answer on the spot, write them down and double check the answers for the next class. It'll also be great review of the previous material before launching into the current lesson (which may help you and your students catch that kind of mistake again).

    Again, BREATHE.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 29, 2012

    Take a deep breath and relax it a little. It is okay that not everything gets done! Somethings really do get filed under T for trash.

    Any chance you might be pregnant? These feelings sound a lot like how I felt during my first trimester.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    May 29, 2012

    Do you grade every assignment? I tell my kids that I grade everything; however, in reality, I only grade a portion of what's turned in. If I graded every single assignment, I'd never leave my classroom!

    I think many of us have been in your shoes (I know I have)! I've said many times (on this forum) that I worked 7 days a week during my first two years as a teacher! I was completely exhausted (mentally and physically). Everyone said I made things look seamless, but they had no clue how many hours I was working (I often worked 12 hour days).

    Anyway, now that I've been teaching 7 years, I rarely bring work home, I never stay late, and I don't go in on the weekends.

    Please take what you learned this year and use it to improve next school year. You've got what it takes to succeed--just use those tools and make it happen! :thumb:
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 29, 2012

    Pretty much what everyone else said.
    (I may be repeating some thing here, so please forgive me)
    - to grade, you can grade for completion, at least some of the things.
    - others, you can scan through them, and grade a portion, if you have a lot to grade per kid, some could be pass/fail. does he know enough based on the assignment to make his grade better, or worse?
    - focus on reading the same thing they're reading, so you know what's going on. I would feel extremely insecure if I didn't know what they're reading. check things out o the internet, read summaries, etc.
    - make a day / week that they're doing independent work, and you can catch up with things. I made my Wednesdays (tomorrow, yeay) watching the news day, because it's a short day, and our classes are only 35 minutes. Class movements are so unpredictable, some days some classes are 20 minutes, last week I had 4th period kids in place of 4th and 5th. So why get stressed out? This way I have 3 hours (minimum day) to actually catch up on grading and record it)


    But don't beat yourself up, you're definitely not a failure. Think positively.
     
  9. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    May 29, 2012

    What everyone else said! Also, If you were your boss or mentor teacher, what positives and strengths would you point out to yourself? One I have noticed is that you are very willing to look at your work and assess where you see room for improvement. What other positives do you observe in your teaching?
     
  10. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    May 29, 2012

    I agree with what the others have said, but I want to add one thing- last week I taught the entirely wrong lesson to my class- and I have been teaching for 6 years!! I had been looking over my plan book in the morning and I got ahead of myself- I skipped a book I was supposed to read, and read the next day's instead. After the lesson was over and the children went to eat snack, I looked in my book to double check my centers for the day...and realized my mistake. It took two days of changed centers and flipped lessons to get the kids back on track, but you know what? They never knew, and they got all the information they needed. It was silly and I felt dumb for a while, but it really wasn't a big deal.

    We ALL have times like these. The first year can be miserable. It DOES GET EASIER! Hang in there, and use this site often. There are wonderful, knowledgeable people here, and they make for a better resource than most books I've read.
     
  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    May 29, 2012

    hahaha....grading. I am doing the best grading I've ever done, but it took me until 4th quarter to figure out a decent system and it STILL sucks. Here's what I actually grade:

    1. Friday tests/summative assessments
    2. One day of homework each week (checked for completion at random)
    3. One piece of class work from each subject, each week. (checked for completion)
    4. Any long term reports/projects

    It works out to 2 or 3 grades per subject per week. Anything else I mostly glance at for assessment information and throw away. :eek:

    Can't do it all year 1!
     
  12. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    May 30, 2012

    I have actually done the whole "wrong smartboard lesson" thing. I noticed about 2 slides in that this was the wrong lesson. It was a lesson that was planned for the NEXT Tuesday. I had labeled it "Math/Tuesday" and had a brain fart. Instead of saying, "Oops, wrong lesson," I used it as a chance to assess prior knowledge for the upcoming lesson. I stopped at slide 2, and opened the lesson I was supposed to be teaching.

    As a teacher you have to be flexible and you MUST believe in yourself.

    We all make mistakes. We all have very bad days. Friday was a terrible day for me.

    Take care!
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 31, 2012

    OK, deep, deep breaths. You're going to be OK. This is the time of year when teachers are frazzled. I've been at it 26 years, I'm incredibly organized, and right now I'm more swamped than I ever remember being. Just hang in there.

    I did want to address some particular points:


    I think you're being incredibly hard on yourself.

    Here's what I suggest: This weekend, get through those books-- one Saturday, one Sunday. Let the rest of your work go.

    Make plans now for Saturday night with friends. And do NOT cancel because you're too tired.

    Hang in there. It does get so much easier! Get through the next few weeks till summer, then we'll get you set for next year.
     
  14. cakencookies

    cakencookies Rookie

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    May 31, 2012

    I agree that having a personal life and leaving work at work is very important to your well being and sanity as a teacher. Like others said when you are stressed out it shows in the classroom and the kids pick up on that.
    There is some great advice here, if you cut down on your grading and focus on the most important project and test grades your life will be easier and you'll have a chance to breathe. Good luck and hang in there!
     
  15. newteacher6

    newteacher6 Rookie

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    Jun 6, 2012

    Wow! What wonderful advice! Thank you! I did start the middle of the year. This is my FIRST classroom Ive ever had. I am trying to keep up. My largest problem is not feeling tired to actually write a great lesson. By the time I get home, I am exhausted! I realize with time that I will be better but why am I so hard on myself?

    I work in a low income area with rough children. I student taught younger grades and 6th grade is out of my experience. I wish there was a good book that explains the first year of a teacher and what they go through and the feelings they feel. THis summer I plan on learning a lot about classroom management, routines, and better lessons. I want to brush up on teaching certain topics.

    It is difficult to speak to my fellow teachers at my job because a lot of them are very judgemental and all talk about eachother. I have to pretend that I am a seasoned teacher if I want to get the respect around here it seems. Can anyone tell me exactly what they went through their first year and any observations that didn't go so well?

    I believe my largest problem is confidance. I dont like the feeling of being a newbie. I leave work with a heavy chest.
     
  16. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jun 6, 2012

    Newteacher, I know what you mean by feeling like you're a fraud. I'm 4 years into my career and I still feel like a fraud sometimes! It must mean we hold high expectations for ourselves.

    And the fact that you're mid-year-first-year is huge!! Anyone in your shoes would have those feelings.

    I agree with all the great advice that's been given so far. I would just survive for the rest of the year by picking up some SparkNotes. You'll have time to read the books this summer, and research some other great ones.

    As for grading, I've been told a neat analogy about what to grade and what to "file under N." Think of your curriculum as a fence. The fence posts are the most important assessments, because they hold up the entire fence. I ask myself, as silly as it sounds, "Is this a fence post or a rail?" I tend to only grade the fence posts. So I only grade tests, projects, quizzes and about 25% of my classwork. I grade homework as done/not done and take it out of 100% each grading period.

    Keep your chin up, and we're hear to help and listen. (This board has been a Godsend for me since I was a pre-service teacher.)
     
  17. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I would disagree with this statement. They are 6th Grade books. I hate fiction and I read one yesterday on and off yesterday and it took about 3 hours. Again I hate fiction but sometimes you just have to push your way through it because it's the job. It did help that it was on a topic I find interesting (Cultural Revolution in China). If a book is too boring for us, then why are we asking students to read it?
     
  18. MrsSachs

    MrsSachs Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2012

    Just try to get on top of it as best you can and finish out the semester. Then over the summer regroup and maybe think of switching to a lower grade.
     
  19. newteacher6

    newteacher6 Rookie

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    Jun 11, 2012

    I don't think I need to switch to a lower grade. It was the fact that I have no time to read all these novels as I am planning. I am definitely going to be reading a lot this summer and learning more about classroom management.
     
  20. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 11, 2012

    I felt like a fraud my first year too. You definitely have a lot on your plate, but you essentially need to plan and get organized if things are going to improve. It must be close to the end of the school year, so you will soon have time to revamp your whole plan and start fresh for the following year. Not everything needs to be graded. Look at what your students are doing, but don't assign a grade for everything. Things I don't grade, I either star, or put down as participation. Between summative assments, use their work as formative assesments and plan according to their needs. If your classroom management is not working, get ideas from teachers who are managing their classes well. Part of a well managed class is the classroom climate. Is it positive? Have you built a classroom community with these kids? It's not about the books, believe it or not. It's about assessing where your kids are, where they need to be, and guiding them along the path to get there. Figure out what they are supposed to be getting from these novels and work towards that. Are you studying themes? Authors? What are they supposed to be getting from their reading? We just read a biography on Alexander Graham Bell focusing on how great ideas can change our lives. This focus eliminates the need to memorize every fact about AGB. They just need to know the important facts about him (inventing the telephone with Watson), and think about his invention in terms of how our lives changed because of it. A real focus on what you are doing and why you are doing it is going to help you guide your students so that you do have the answers to their questions.
     
  21. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 12, 2012

    Did you start in the middle of the year?
     
  22. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 12, 2012

    I just asked that question. Last year I started in the middle of the year. And it was SO hard. I never felt like I could catch up, I never felt like I had the control I wanted, I never felt like I 100% knew what I was doing.

    All I told myself was it will be easier starting from scratch. Everyone else told me that too. And they were 100% right. Don't get me wrong, it was still really hard and at time overwhelming, but I felt like I had such a better grip on everything.

    When you get to start fresh in the beginning of the year with a new group of kids and firmly set up all of those routines for homework and assessments and how you want the classroom to be run, and behavior you will see such differences. You don't know what you're kids were expected to do in the beginning of the year before you came along, so that could have a huge impact on any difficulties you're having with behavior or performance.

    You'll feel so much more ownership over the classroom when you start from the beginning of the year. That will really help you build your confidence.

    I totally get what you mean about the books too. I have 4th grade but some of my kids read at an 8th grade level and they're in book clubs too. Try to read some of the books over the summer or see if there's another teacher who wants to use the same books and you can each read a few and type up chapter summaries and questions for each other.
     
  23. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 12, 2012

    I don't think she said she didn't read the books because they were boring. She said she was having trouble reading them because of how much time she's spending doing everything else.

    My students are in 4th grade and some of their chapter books are quite short. But after I've spent 3 hours lesson planning and an hour cutting out construction paper for a math project sometimes the idea of sitting down to read a few chapters of Charlotte's Web at 11pm is just too much.

    I definitely don't have 3 hours in one day to sit and read a book, whether it's for my classroom or not.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't read the books our students are reading, especially in literature circles. However, I've been there where you've fallen behind and not been able to keep up.
     

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