New Teacher "Disillusionment" Phase

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FourSquare, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Dec 12, 2011

    I totally need an "it gets better" video for my first year of teaching. I feel like everything is totally terrible, which isn't really true, but today was just SO bad. I am so tired. I don't even want to get up tomorrow. :|
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 12, 2011

    The first year is hard...what will you do tomorrow to get things turned around? I'm finding that the impending holiday break is kind of distracting so I've tightened up on consequences and I'm keeping my students VERY busy...:D I promise...it DOES get better. :hugs:
     
  4. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    :dizzy: They've lost their MINDS. Really. I don't want to give out a bunch of detentions tomorrow. We're supposed to be having fun! You know, gingerbread men....geomeTrees...school clothing drive...:woot: :eek: I am thinking not. They've done best lately with silent seat work. Maybe this is what we need to survive. :confused:
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 12, 2011

    So start with the fun activities...as kids act up, hand the 'offenders' a silent work pack...they'll either get the message or they'll all be in the packs...:eek:
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Dec 13, 2011

    Here is what I want you to do at some point during your winter break. I want you to make a list of all the positive stuff that you or the students have accomplished. List them all--no matter how small. Keep a list going and just come back to it when you think of something. Really let it simmer. At the end of the break, I want you to group the items. Grouping helps you see your overall strengths rather than just the individual situations. Do not start with grouping. End with it.

    Being a reflective teacher is critical. This includes focusing on what's not working and looking for solutions. You can get that support here. Start some topics and let us help. Just as critical as focusing on what's not working is also focusing on what is working. It helps you see the big picture a bit clearer.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 13, 2011

    There are some times of the year that are simply more difficult than others.

    Christmas is one. "Snow in the air' is another. A third is the long stretch from Christmas to the next vacation.

    Teachers have to go in during those times with a different mindset. They've got to be part teacher, part magician, part disciplinarian, part mediator, part camp counselor.

    It's hard, and everyone who has ever taught knows exactly what you're going through.

    Keep in mind: for many of these kids, what happens in two weeks is the most important single event in their year. It's like adults planning their wedding-- thoughts of it encompass their every waking moment. Yet, unlike those adults, they don't have the discipline or the organizational skills to compartmentalize; they don't know how to put those thoughts on a back burner.

    So hang in there. Give lots of positive reinforcement, and bring all the patience and love you can for those little kids.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Dec 13, 2011

    Yeppers.
     
  9. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Dec 13, 2011

    During the times of the yr when they tend to act up, really put your foot down & be a LOT firmer. Say that you will NOT tolerate this & that.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Dec 13, 2011

    Yeah, we have no "fun" in my class is time of year. It's much easier to stick with the routine. Of courselves, I'm secondary, too. They don't expect fun as much.

    One of mine asked when we got a free day next week I told him Thursday, which is their first day of winter break.
     
  11. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Dec 13, 2011

    Well said (as usual), Alice!
     
  12. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Dec 13, 2011

    Even as someone who has been teaching awhile, last month I was just shaking my head going "WHAT has gotten INTO these kids?" Then I realized it was just that time of year again... seems to be from about Thanksgiving to Christmas.

    These past few days before finals are all review days, so there's no actual teaching or assignments, just review work. I've been giving them tasks, and telling them they get 10 participation points for working, and if I have to tell them to settle down to get back on task, they start loosing points. I know some people do this every day anyway, but I normally don't, so it's been a real quick, easy way to get behavior issues under control.
     
  13. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Dec 13, 2011

    Thanks for the reminder to focus on the positive. I was about to go to break and list all the terrible things and just triage what I can change first. But it's not ALL bad. Today was better than yesterday. I think I was getting too relaxed with them. :unsure:

    They're just so terrible to each other and I don't know what to do. Their first instinct is to be violent in any situation. They have no idea how to manage emotions. I had 2 fights yesterday....after almost 3 weeks where we had NO fights and I thought we were doing so well. :mad: Then my AP came in to talk to my class and she tells them "If this were a classroom culture where violence wasn't tolerated, you'd be sticking up for each other instead of egging each other on." She said it to them, but I felt like it was a stab at me. Like I'm terrible at community building or something. You don't know how far we've come though. I'm the 2nd teacher these kids had. The first one left because they were "totally unmanageable." She used to have security parked in her room at all times and no learning was occurring ever. Now we have a functional classroom! We still have a long way to go, but we DO things without constant office referrals or interventions.

    I was so mad at them yesterday. I sat there fuming and thinking The children in Winnetka are not sitting on the carpet, punching each other and acting like they have no sense. :banghead:

    I'm so terrible. :eek:
     
  14. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Dec 13, 2011

    No you're not! You are working hard everyday to make your classroom a good learning environment and a safe place to be. That's a tough job! It's not going to happen all at once. You know you've made progress (3 weeks without a fight is really good!), and as people tend to do, they are backsliding a bit. Keep being consistent and fair in your consequences, and things will get better again. Change comes in waves, not a straight line. :hugs:
     
  15. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    Dec 13, 2011

    We had a few struggles today - and then I tried the old "class/yes" from WBT from a forum on here - - - and it worked! I also tried the old "I am getting sooooo quiet...who can keep following me?" trick - - - and it worked, too. Patience....and remember, this too shall pass....eventually!
     
  16. Goingback

    Goingback Rookie

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    Dec 13, 2011

    I remember my 1st year sobbing on the floor, looking through my college brochure to see what other career I might be interested in...all while making up sub plans because I just couldn't bear the thought of even 1 more day! But after the tears, I talked with a good teacher friend who put things in perspective for me, gave me some advice on how to manage the classroom and relate better with the kids....and took me on a jog to clear my mind!

    Not going to say that things got better immediately, but I can honestly say that I took to heart what he said to me and decided that I was in charge of the classroom and that only I could determine the level of discipline. I made some phone calls home, had private conferences with some kids and just restated my expectations for their behavior to the whole class. I had to be very consistant with consequences and things improved dramatically and I can honestly say that things never got that bad again!....also included was A LOT of prayer!:)

    I hope things get easier for you!
     
  17. historyteacher9

    historyteacher9 New Member

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    Dec 23, 2011

    I am glad that you posted because I hope that I can give you some encouragement.

    I am in my first year of teaching high school. The first few months were awful. It wasn't that the students were that bad, I was just very disillusioned. Things weren't like I thought they were going to be. I suffered from extreme anxiety about every little thing. I worried that I was an awful teacher and that I wasn't effective at all. That anxiety turned into depression and I was in a really dark place in my life.

    In the middle of September I went to my principal crying telling him I wanted to resign. At that point, I had been to the doctor and got put on antidepressants. He recommended that I just give it a few weeks to let the medication kick in.

    I am now on my Christmas break and never thought I would get to this point. Not only has teaching become bearable, but I LOVE it. I have experienced a complete 180.

    Because I've gotten my anxiety under control, I have learned to let certain things go. I'm balancing my time better so that I am not working all the time. I have achieved a good balance in my classroom so that students know what I expect, but we all have a good time. I have learned to enjoy my students.

    I am already thinking about what I want to change next year and going back to school for my masters. In September, I was thinking about how I could get as far away as I could from education.

    This is not to say that the only fix are antidepressants. But from my experience, they literally changed my life.

    I hope that you find a way to stick it out - I never thought I would make it until Christmas break. I certainly never thought I would love teaching as much as I do. I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

    I am changing a lot of things starting in January - maybe you can use the new year for a fresh start in your classroom!
     
  18. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Dec 23, 2011

    Hmmmm.......I wonder if any job is worth enduring if it requires antidepressants to make it seem "wonderful?"


    :confused:
     
  19. LilyGirl01

    LilyGirl01 Rookie

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    Dec 23, 2011

    :yeahthat:
     
  20. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Dec 23, 2011

    Most kids tend to get a little out of control before vacation. Things will get better, just keep putting toward effort and learning. Good luck.
     
  21. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Dec 23, 2011

    Made it to winter break! :celebrate: Three of my kids got suspended this week. One of them smacked a younger student :)banghead:) while I wasn't present. One got mad at me, tried to hit me, and stormed out of the room. The third called me a dumb B and said he hated our school when I redirected his behavior. Between that, the holidays, and several illnesses I was down to 18 kids today! It was so weird and...manageable. :woot:

    I'm gonna sleep for at least 4 days!
     
  22. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    This sounds like the class from you-know-where!!! Wow!!! :dizzy:
     
  23. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Dec 24, 2011

    Behaviors that escalate before a long break can be triggered by excitement or dread. Some students can't wait to spend weeks at home. Others, depending upon their circumstances, dread having to be home for an extended period of time. If you work in a high poverty area (as I do), the pressure of upcoming Christmas can be overwhelming. Families live in crowded apartments, food is not reliable, presents can't afford to be purchased, etc.

    Remember not to take your student's behavior personally, it rarely has to do with your skills as a teacher. I had a student call me the b-word when I sent him to another classroom as a consequence. He was so miserable about calling me a name that it drove him to tears of regret later that day. Your students may be too young to reflect on their behaviors, so the emotions they feel afterward might drive them to further bad behavior. I've found our school counselor to be a great source. You may want to start interfacing with yours about particular students to get some suggestions on effective ways to handle their outbursts.

    Sometimes, a youngster who pushes you away by hitting, calling you names, and saying they hate school, is just testing to see if they will be rejected. It's really important to give some kind of reasonable consequence or conference and then welcome the student back.
     
  24. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Dec 24, 2011

    You are right Special T. Thursday was our last day before break. I was working with 8 students (sped) for a reading intervention. I was talking about what we would be doing when we got back from our break. Then the kids started talking about break and most said that they would be glad to be back at school. Our conversation didn't last long as we had much to do but it just proves that the students really want our consistency and our caring. For many kids, we are their support and safe place. Several years ago, we were ending up our school year and had a staff development. The administrator thanked us for all our work for that year and that there were kids that were going to miss us over vacation. They were going to miss how much we care about them, even the ones we are glad to "get" away from. I really thought about that after he said that. There are students who really do need us as we may be the only stable adult that they have!
     
  25. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Dec 24, 2011

    I told my students the more time you waste , the less time for our Christmas party and games. Then they got down to business.
     
  26. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Dec 26, 2011

    Yeahhh...they are! Sometimes! They are mine though. :love: I don't like them every day but I truly do love them. They keep things interesting, anyway. :haha:
     
  27. MsDouglas

    MsDouglas Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2011

    I can only say: "you are not alone." My students (freshmen) were horrible before break. My seniors were better because the semester is coming to a close and they need to pass my class to graduate. My freshmen could not sit still or stop talking. My referral writing increased significantly. On top of all of the problems in my classroom, I was having to deal with pressing charges against my student. My Principal keeps making unannounced visits to my classroom adding extra pressure. The only thing keeping me going is knowing that the semester ends in just 2 short weeks and 1 week is finals. I've been promised higher level classes next semester.

    Good luck! Take it one day at a time. Ask everyone for help. I was nervous at first, but I've figured out that you have to ask for help.
     
  28. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    Dec 30, 2011

    The first year is hard until your find your "groove"...you are doing everything from scratch, have not come up with a go-to plan for lessons, discipline, and you have very few points of reference except for what they taught you in college (and you will find much of what you do in class will involve quick thinking and doing what works!) Hang in there, it does get better; don't be afraid to ask for help, but also don't make your life all about school - you will be a much better teacher if you allow down time for yourself. Plus, this site always has great ideas and lots of listeners to help! LOL!
     

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