Is it normal to feel so ineffective?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Pisces_Fish, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Oct 28, 2008

    I feel so down sometimes. I don't feel like my kids are learning. I know I spend too much time disciplining and not enough time rewarding the behavior I want. In some ways I feel like I'm just trying to make it to the end of the day, rather than thinking ahead to what I can do better this week/month/etc.

    I had a rough day today. Maybe that's why I'm feeling so negative. I think I took something my P said too personally, and it wrecked my day.

    So do you feel like your kids are learning? Sometimes I'm just appalled at what they don't know. It makes me feel so behind and overwhelmed. It's only October, and getting those kiddos to pass the end-of-grade tests are already looming over my head.
     
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  3. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Oct 28, 2008

    Pisces-- To me what you are feeling is ABSOLUTELY normal. I feel with all of the things that are thrown at us, we are in a "jack of all trades" profession. I can totally empathize with you. In fact, I came home today feeling like I didn't get through to ONE child today.
    Someone told me that teachers go through cycles throughout the year (especially new teachers). Apparently around this time is a low point for teachers.
    I know I feel it a lot.
    Hang in there!!! You're a great teacher and your kids are lucky to have you.
     
  4. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I must be feeling super emotional right now (is it the wine :lol:?) because I started crying when you said you feel like you didn't reach anyone today. I felt the same way! It feels so good to have someone agree so quickly. Thank you!
     
  5. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Oct 28, 2008

    :hugs: The wine helps :lol:!!! But know that you're NOT alone in this. :)
     
  6. PinkFish

    PinkFish Rookie

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    I feel the exact same way!!!! I feel like I work my butt teaching my kids but they just don't listen. My two classes have the lowest timed test scores in my grade level but I feel like I work 10 times harder than the other teachers but my scores don't go up. Some days I just want to sit down and cry because I feel like I work so hard but it just bounces off their heads. Half of the time i feel like I spend the whole day dealing with behavior issues and I get no where. I work in a very high performing school and it makes me feel ten times worse when my kids don't perform as high as the other classes.
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 28, 2008

    Count me in as well! Half the time I LITERALLY cannot get through to my students (this is the major pitfall of distance teaching) and the other half I'm not sure if I'm teaching or just talking to myself. There is the occasional, rare moment when a student decides to really learn from me, but it's rarer than I want.

    PF, thank you for venting because it makes me feel not so alone. :hugs::thanks:
     
  8. PinkFish

    PinkFish Rookie

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    Teaching can be SO frustrating. I LOVE my kids I really do but man somedays they just make me crazy...
     
  9. adellesmama

    adellesmama Companion

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    Oct 28, 2008

    Some days I think we all feel like this, yep. It's easy to get caught up in feeling that way. But then other days, I feel like I do somehow make a difference. Like when my students from last year come to visit me in the mornings before heading to the third grade hall, and I know that I've somehow impacted them. It's frustrating when it seems like nothing's getting through...BUT at least you care enough to feel bad when you feel like you're not reaching them...and I bet that you're going to keep trying harder to do so anyway.
     
  10. ecteacher

    ecteacher Rookie

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    Oct 29, 2008

    This is my first year and I've had more than my share of rough days already...I ALWAYS feel like I can't get through to my kids, as much as I do adore them.

    My advice...try to reach out and find a friend to talk on the phone with or vent to. Don't keep punching yourself every day and just take it as it comes...I sometimes wish I could take my own advice. I am in the same boat as you are and understand what you are feeling, it is completely normal to feel this way...first year, new job, it is momentously stressful. And all of the paperwork, ack.
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oct 29, 2008

    I too have been feeling ineffective. I am constantly telling my students to listen, and it takes so long to quiet them down that I feel like the actual learning time is very little. Most of my kids just don't turn in work. I have been told by my dc that they have the right to sit there and do nothing but fail if they want to, but this makes me feel like a failure as a teacher when so many of my students are making that choice...
     
  12. resourcestress

    resourcestress Rookie

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    I feel your pain but I also feel that if we, as teachers, ESPECIALLY in high school hold the student's hand through school what have we taught them? That employers will give them 5 and 6 chances to do that report. Yeh it's hard and so very, very frustrating but I can't and I have decided to not hold their hand. I'm tired of them not knowing simple things, not trying and I'm so-o very tired of the discipling. Today one student blatantly cheated on a test and another pulled his cell phone out during class. I'm appalled that parents are laxed but I can't really complain about parents as I am the parent of one those nasty kids who finally made a turn and is successful. Sometimes even when we raise them as parents or teach them nothing clicks in the kid's head and ultimately it's up to the student. So fellow teachers put your feet up, have an adult beverage, turn off the news, pet your pet and smile at your partner because tomorrow we start all over again. :|
     
  13. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 30, 2008

    Yes, but my tomorrow is the statewide retest for my subject matter. Tonight I'm holding one big final online review session for all 120 of my students. If four show up, maybe I won't feel so ineffective.
     
  14. lgelsomini

    lgelsomini Rookie

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    Im right there with you all...Im also a first year teacher and I have the hardest time when my students dont do well. The guy I share a room with gave me the best advice ever.......


    Q-TIP! Quit taking it personally. He told me that it is up to the students to take what info you give them and learn it. Your job is to teach and make the information available. It is their job to learn it. Just hang in there and things will get better :)
     
  15. resourcestress

    resourcestress Rookie

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    Hang in there! There's a saying about reaching just one person can make a difference remember that...just one student at a time. Some days that's all you can hope for and some days they all get it. Today I reached two studnets out of 60 and by that I mean while the majority worked (or seemed to work) as I watched and read what they wrote only 2 students really seemed to get the writing. Now I'm gonna have an adult beverage. :D
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 31, 2008

    Well, only three kids made it to my review session last night, but they were all engaged and asking great, insightful questions. This morning I got an email from one of them telling me that I'm her favorite teacher. My heart is officially melted. :wub:
     
  17. Malia85

    Malia85 Rookie

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    Chin up!!!

    For me, half of teaching was motivating my students to learn. When it became frustrating to teach kids (I taught at a girls public middle school) who didn't listen/didn't care about what I was teaching, I made it my job to show them why it's important that they care. Many of the students who were the hardest to teach, were the ones who were the lowest level (or maybe had some form of ADHD or learning disabilities). Many of these students had accepted that they were not good students and no longer put forth the effort required to do well.
    One way for me to feel effective was to use my creativity to engage and motivate students to learn. I was also an Economics major, so I guess it's not surprising that I instated several incentives programs for my students. I felt like a collective bargainer, except I was always in control. I really tried to meet them half way. We set goals, we had a points system graded entirely on effort. Something that helped me remedy that tension and frustration was really understanding the problem at hand. Many teachers go into teaching because they LOVE education, too bad not all of our students are of the same mindset! I think I have an innate sympathy for students who are difficult to teach, because I was one of them growing up. I was actually considered a low level student until I was in high school when I started catching up to (and surpassing) other students!!!
    Times were tough, but at the end of the year, I'd have to say I really felt accomplished. I felt that I had gained my students' respect. And they had improved immensely. I try to focus on improvement, because I think it's easy to get down on yourself if you don't meet a specific goal after a given period of time. (And agree with above person who said don't always take their performance personally!!!)
    I really encourage first year students not to give up. I taught in a public middle school where it could be chaos at times!!! But part of being a teacher is not giving up on students who have already given up! The hard work WILL pay off :)
     
  18. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    I think we are all starting to feel it.

    I am so glad we all have each other to make it all better!
     
  19. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Nov 1, 2008

    I just had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a first year teacher who just had to fail twenty five of his one hundred twenty five students on his first progress report.He was very upset and tended to blame himself for the children who failed.I told him he should congratulate himself for all that are doing well.Teaching is a difficult profession in that in every class ,some students tend to do poorly.As a teacher many times we fail to realize the positive impression we make on the children and that not all these benefits can be measured on an examination.I had a professor during my student teaching that suggested if we were becoming a teacher to save all the children we come in contact with,please change your major. It took me a few years before I realized what he meant.We can only do our best.There are no miracles in teaching.
     
  20. SciTeacherNY

    SciTeacherNY Companion

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    Nov 2, 2008

    I always felt like this my first year of teaching and sometimes I still do.

    For me, calling home seemed to work wonders. Not for every student of course, but for many of them. I called for both positive and negative things.

    I am not sure if it will work for you, but I wish you all the best. Do not feel alone - everyone has gone through this.
     

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