Just nerves or an early warning sign of burnout?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Shanelle1526, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. Shanelle1526

    Shanelle1526 New Member

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    Mar 7, 2018

    I’m currently an English major with a minor in secondary education at university. I’m a junior, and at my school you don’t begin field experiences until your second semester of your junior year. This is all to say I’m now in my “observations” at a local high school, and I’ve only had a brief experience volunteering with a high school English class before this. I’ve given one lesson so far and I just don’t know how I feel about teaching anymore.

    I’m a shy and introverted person, which I know doesn’t mean I can’t be a good teacher. However, I am having a really hard time connecting with students and going in just terrifies me. It’s an okay experience at best on a good day where I actually am able to work with students, but I’m just really feeling an urge to escape and to change my major completely. I find myself getting irritated at the students who I know have valid reasons for acting out (in foster care system, struggling readers, etc) but I just feel like a good teacher would have more patience and compassion. I don’t HATE them but I’m afraid that this doubt and frustration so early on is a sign that this might not be right for me. The thought of going in even more next semester makes my blood run cold in fear, while the thought of switching to studying solely English excites me. Any advice?
     
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  3. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Mar 7, 2018

    I think you should stick with your current major, because even if you don't go into teaching as a career, you'll always have that option to. Whereas, if you drop it, you might regret it later.
    My younger sister did the exact same thing. She majored in English with a Secondary Ed minor. So she's licensed to teach in our state now, but is not working as a teacher. She's been working in PR for the past year. But once in awhile, she'll bring up wanting to teach (she loved student teaching, but wanted to try something else), and since she's licensed, she totally can.
     
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  4. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Mar 7, 2018

    Teaching in an observation/student teaching context is VERY different from actually teaching. And if it's your first time teaching a lesson to a class, it's totally normal to feel uncomfortable. Stick it out; as you gain more experience in classrooms you may find you're better able to connect with students and teach more confidently. Plus, as ChildWhisperer said, at this point it may be better to just finish and have that option available than to quit when you're so close to being done.

    Also, I was also very shy and introverted when I first started because I was nervous all the time, and teaching has made me so much more confident as I've gained experience. I'm still fairly introverted (because people in large quantities just exhaust me), but I'm more able to be outgoing.
     
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  5. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Mar 7, 2018

    I am introverted and teaching takes a lot out of me to get out of my shell.
    Teaching is a little harder for us intoverts, but it can be done. The connecting with my students is not the problem, it's the standing in front of the kids talking for a long time that gets me.
     
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  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 7, 2018

    Many, many teachers are introverts. Making connections with students takes time, so it's totally normal to feel a little disconnected from them at the beginning. It's also totally normal to feel frustrated when it comes to student behavior and performance. None of these issues can't be overcome.

    My advice to you would be to be very honest with yourself about this job. It's not easy even when your heart is fully in it. If you think you can get there and will enjoy teaching, stick it out through this hard part. If you don't think you'll get there or if you won't enjoy teaching, now is the time to back out. There's nothing wrong with deciding that a particular path isn't for you. If teaching isn't your path, it's better to figure that out now instead of 5 years from now after you've invested a lot more time and money into a profession that you hate or end up walking away from.

    I will add that not all students are at-risk like the ones you've described. Some teachers are not suited for working exclusively or extensively with that type of population, and that's okay. On-target and high-achieving students need teachers, too.
     
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  7. Shanelle1526

    Shanelle1526 New Member

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    Thanks everyone! It's weird because seeing the messages that encourage me to stick with it are almost disappointing to me. It's almost as if I WANT people to validate my desire to do something other than teach. I think that tells me all I need to know, my heart obviously isn't in it. I think I also need to open up to my cooperating teacher about this, even though I'm a bit scared as I will have to stay in my placement until May no matter what I decide. I might just tell him I'm having doubts and I might ask if he ever had doubts and what his whole take on this situation is!
     
  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Mar 7, 2018

    I recently read:

    It doesn't matter which side the coin lands on -- what matters is the side you were secretly hoping for while it was in the air.
     
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  9. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    Mar 7, 2018

    You do what you need to do! I can tell you that I am an introvert as well, and had similar experiences as you during my observations. Originally, wanted to go into teaching for the content(I'm a huge history nerd) not the kids. Once I got to student teaching, I was actually in front of the class interacting with the students, my attitude changed and I LOVED the connection that I had with the students. I think field experience left a bad taste in my mouth, because there is limited interaction.
     
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  10. Shanelle1526

    Shanelle1526 New Member

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    I love this! It completely puts into words the way I was feeling. Thank you.
     
  11. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    Mar 8, 2018

    Non-teaching job prospects soley with an English degree?
     
  12. Shanelle1526

    Shanelle1526 New Member

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    Mar 8, 2018

    I'm looking into technical writing internships and generally a lot of positions that overlap with a communications degree
     
  13. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Mar 10, 2018

    If you are second guessing yourself so early in the process, I think you should listen to yourself.
     

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