Is it normal to just have...bad years in teaching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by cupcakequeen, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

    Sep 10, 2014
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    Sep 18, 2018

    This is my 5th year of teaching, and my 4th year in the same position. Up until this year, I felt like every year was going better than the last. My confidence grew, my familiarity with my school and grade levels grew, and last year was an absolutely phenomenal year. I had a great group of kids that I felt really connected with. They grew so much, and they were all so mature and funny and outgoing. They made teaching such a pleasure.

    This year...not so much. I've been dreading coming to school every morning, which is not normal for me. I feel like all I've been doing is putting out fires (LOTS of behavior kids this year), dealing with paperwork disasters, and just trying to stay afloat. It doesn't help that my absolutely amazing group of kids from last year moved to middle school, and I miss them far more than I thought I would! I just don't have the same connection with this group. I know that may come in time, and I'm still hopeful that things will get better, but it's been a rough start.

    I'm trying to maintain a good attitude and make the best of it, but I'm just wondering...are there some years that you look back on and think, "Nope. That was not my year." Any tricks for getting through it?
  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Jun 14, 2013
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    Sep 18, 2018

    Yes! Last year, for me, was rough.

    This year is going better.

    Tricks to get through it:
    - do what you can, and don't let the rest get to you. Try to focus on your successes and not dwell on your failures.
    - find something you enjoy outside of school and practice it regularly
    - pick something small to work on that students can rally behind. If you just aren't feeling the love this year, chances are they aren't either. Pick a goal for the class (all homework turned in on time! Everyone passes the spelling test!) and give regular updates on how close they are. Then have ice cream or cookies or free recess when they achieve it. If the relationship isn't there yet, a goal gives you all something to work towards together.
    - make sure you're taking care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and try not to think about school at home too much.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  4. HistoryTeach4

    HistoryTeach4 Rookie

    Jul 14, 2014
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    Sep 18, 2018

    It must be something about the 4th year of teaching. Last year was a bad year for me. It was (same as you) my 5th year as a teacher, but my 4th year in my current position. This year I am excited to be teaching again.

    - Do you have other teachers in your building who have had those students before? Maybe get some insight from them on how they dealt with the behaviors.
    - Make a To Do List. I have a Must Do List and a More To Do List. It helps organize my day.
    - Not only make time for yourself outside of school, but also inside of school as well. Take time to eat your lunch or just do something not school related for 10-15 minutes.

    The one thing that really helped me was switching it up. I changed many of the activities and lessons I do.
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

    Apr 25, 2007
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    Sep 18, 2018

    Totally normal. Not every year is going to be fantastic. I’m having a rough start this year myself (year 15 for me). I agree with everything otterpop wrote about surviving the year.
  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Sep 7, 2010
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    Sep 18, 2018

    We are at the mercy of so many factors as educators...the mix of personalities in our classes, what's going on in the world, the economy, the environment even (hello wildfires, hurricanes, etc.)....Some years are just going to be rougher than others. I personally am off to a good start this year, but have had tough classes before (one of the pros/cons of teaching HS is that we don't have just one group to handle) and when I have a tough group, I try to find at least one thing that I enjoy or that they enjoy and to focus on that as much as possible. You have to keep your sanity and think of how it will get better eventually!

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