Insecure.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by GeetGeet, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Mar 18, 2013

    Hi everyone!

    I am reaching out here because I can't think of a better way to get feedback about an issue I have. I'll just say it--I am really insecure.

    I am in my 8th year teaching high school art at a good school, my students are generally really nice and do their work and do it well. I get good observations and have generally good rapport with students and colleagues. So from the outside my insecurity seems to have no real merit. And maybe it doesn't. But those facts have not alleviated this horrible nagging insecurity that the students think I am a bad teacher or just don't like my personality.

    I am not looking to be popular or to be friends with the kids, I just want to feel secure that they think I am good at what I do and respect me. I get so stressed out by the anxiety that it takes away from my teaching experience and exhausts me. That energy probably gets passed along to the kids...but I don't really know. But I do know that there are too many days where I come home feeling sad. I convince myself that the kids don't really like my classes or find them boring (because I teach art the kids have more of a choice to take my class, so there needs to be a bit of a fun factor involved--but it can't always be "fun" no matter what subject it is).

    I have looked on ratemyteacher.com but I don't think that's reliable--it just seems that all the kids who have grudges go there to vent.

    Has anyone else had this experience, and if so, how have you dealt with it? Any advice or words of wisdom?

    Thanks everyone for reading...
     
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  3. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Mar 18, 2013

    First, stay away from those rate my teacher types of sites. They can be just be toxic. You say that your students are generally good. Are they doing something for you to think you are not a good teacher? I think the majority of teachers want to be good teachers. But, students will not always convey that message to a teacher; that they are good I mean. I think you need to cut yourself a break. If they don't like your personailty that is their problem if it's not interferring with your teaching. The kids themselves need to learn a valuable life skill and that is that they will encounter people whose personalities they may not find agreeable, but they still have to work with them,etc. I hope this helps and/or makes you feel a little better.
     
  4. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Mar 18, 2013

    Thanks,it does. I appreciate the feedback.
     
  5. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Mar 18, 2013

    I agree that you should stay away from rating sites. It sounds like the insecurity is coming from within you, not from things happening in your environment. How about setting a professional goal that you can feel good about as you work toward it? Perhaps presenting at a conference, leading PD at your school, or even trying for National Board certification.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mar 18, 2013

    I know my students hate me right now. I could even catch them muttering some insults under their breath. I couldn't completely catch them in the act or else I would suspend them, but it's my fault for being too lenient in the beginning and having to crack down now.

    I've already decided that I'm simply not going to let anything get to me. If you decide at the beginning of every day that you will not let anything the students do or say get under your skin and you will deal with every situation with calm and consistency, you'll feel a lot less worried about how the kids see you I think.

    It's great though, because I have a lot more control with some of the classes that I had the worst control over, and the students are finally beginning to like me in classes in which they've never liked me, after realizing that I don't really have anything against them, I'm simply enforcing my rules and they really do like that consistency.

    I was way too lax with my last class of the day, but they liked me, but it was way too hard to get on with instruction, so I'm cracking down now, and there are a lot more students in there who have problems with behavior than in my other classes so it's more difficult for them to see that I'm not just cracking down on the kids with behavior problems but on everyone. They will be my project class for the time-being. I'm going to go home and plot some strategies. =D
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 18, 2013

    You teach a class with some student choice. Are students signing up to take your classes? If so, you must be doing something right.

    Are students taking more than one semester with you? If so, the students must like something about your teaching.

    You may try talking to the students about what they want to learn. Then plan a few lessons on this.
     
  8. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Mar 18, 2013

    Thanks everyone.
    I am probably the most strict and serious of the art teachers because I teach AP. So, i tend to stress technique and discipline more than the other teachers (but of course I assume this having not actually spent time in my colleagues' classes, and they are awesome teachers--but this is just my assumption based on what I know about the department). I have to be this way if I want to have kids succeed in the AP. But, I also LOVE art and am a professional artist as well as a teacher, so I am enthusiastic and supportive. I guess I just want kids to love it as much as I do, and the kids that dont will always make an impact on my art-loving soul. Especially when they don't see it as a "real" subject. It hurts.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 18, 2013

    The kids might view it as a not "real" subject, but for some kids it's a passion, a hobby, a love. While math might be viewed as a "real" subject, some students still don't take it seriously.
     
  10. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Mar 18, 2013

    You're right, Mopar--But to me and to many art is just as important as the "core" subjects. It trains a whole different part of the brain, especially the parts that support creativity--and creativity has long been connected to innovation and even to genius. So I guess I resent the overall marginalization. But I definitely understand what you are saying.
    Its just hard to watch so many apathetic kids blame their lack of motivation on some preconceived notion about what is "worth" their time, you know?
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 18, 2013

    I hear you. We see the same lack of motivation and "waste of time" mentality from some kids in core subjects too. Everything is about instant gratification and for some students, video games.

    I wish that our government would recognize the value in all subject areas and educating a child as a whole.
     
  12. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Mar 18, 2013

    I wish they would realize the value in our input as well--wouldn't that be awesome? But I guess teachers are somewhat low on the totem pole in this society, unfortunately. I know I sound cynical, but that's not directed at the job but the overall perception of what we do.
     
  13. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Mar 18, 2013

    You really shouldn't base your opinion of yourself as a teacher on strictly kids' opinions. I mean one day they'll love you (if you're doing a fun candy game) and the next day you'll be the worst person on the planet (when you give them a pop quiz).

    I give my kids a 5 question warm up every day and at the end of the year I'll nonchalantly put "write 3 things you liked about the class" and "write 3 things you didn't like". A lot of it is sort of useless, but you do get some good feedback sometimes. Maybe you could do something like this if you really want input? I always tell them the rule is they can't say they liked/disliked nothing/everything.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Mar 18, 2013

    I took advanced art classes in high school and I may not have looked like I was having fun but I was enjoying it. I was just focused. Most projects were independent, so there was less chatter but that also didn't indicate I was bored or anything along those lines.

    I think if you continue to have students enroll...well, you're fine. Students talk and if they thought you and or your class was horrible you wouldn't have new students sign up.

    Art is important. No doubt many students appreciate the valuable lessons you're teaching them as well as an outlet to express themselves creatively. :)
     
  15. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Mar 19, 2013

    I can totally relate to you, OP: eighth year, good school, no major issues, pleasant students...but there's still the constant worry that you describe. I'm sorry you're dealing with this too, as this constant negative feeling can really take the joy away from the job.
    I think everyone wants to feel that they are good at their work, and I think it is those intangibles like student engagement, relationships, respect etc. that give us the most meaningful emotional validation. They are things you can't measure that fluxuate from day to day. Even positive reviews from observations don't do the trick because we want to know that we're impacting students. When we don't see evidence of that, we get down on ourselves. I'm trying to make myself realize that I probably won't always have emotional validation, but it's hard because I want to feel like I'm doing a good job.

    On one hand, though, it's probably not wise to measure success by feeling and emotion. On the other hand, if I go home every day feeling like I haven't done a good enough job, I can't just ignore it-- it makes me think that there's really something I'm doing wrong. I'm not sure-- how often do most teachers go home feeling confident they've done a great job? If so, how do they know?

    I think the worry might partially come from taking very seriously the responsibility from the job and the potential we have to impact students. Sometimes I try to put it in perspective and tell myself that while teaching English is my whole life, to most students it's just another class that they honestly want to get through so that they can go talk to their friends or do what they care about more. Some people tell me that I need to remember that and not take myself too seriously and put so much pressure on myself. But then, the thought comes to my mind, that if I was doing a great job, it could be more than just another class, and it's my job to make them value it more than that. The idealist and the realist are still at conflict.

    Sorry this got kind of long-- in short, I feel for you and hope you get some great advice.
     
  16. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Mar 19, 2013

    Ms. H--
    Thanks, your comment made me feel like I'm not alone or crazy in this. Often I think that "successful teachers must not feel this way..." but then, maybe the teachers that are most successful are the ones always trying to be better. It would just be nice to feel, deep down, that I am already good and just trying to be better rather than feeling down on myself. Art is my life--I work all day, go for a run, finish whatever work I have to do related to teaching, make art, sleep, repeat. I want to feel that that dedication is apparent.
     

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