New Teacher...DROWNING!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Nikkiski21, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Nikkiski21

    Nikkiski21 Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2015

    This is my second week teaching 5th grade language arts and I am so overwhelmed, I don't know what to do! I got hired five days before school started so that definitely adds to my stress....

    I do my best each day, but I still feel incompetent and like I don't know what I'm doing. I don't want my students to know that, but I feel as if they might.

    I guess I'll start with classroom management. I always make sure they have books to read or a journal entry to do as soon as they enter the classroom so they are immediately occupied. I've made them aware of my expectations and I give out 'checkmarks' (which is part of a school wide discipline plan) and I still get kids who don't behave. I've moved seats and they continue to talk instead of listen to directions. A few are nonstop talkers, talking over me or listening only for about five seconds when I tell them to stop talking. Then they are right back at it. Then I have had one or two students question 'why' when I ask them to do an assignment, which to me seems rude to ask me as I am the teacher? I had a student today who had 20 minutes to right a short paragraph and didn't write a thing because he didn't know what to write about. It's crazy! t don't know how to get them to listen to me and take me seriously! My classroom feels like a zoo sometimes and I hate it.

    Then there's the actual lesson planning part. I do 5th grade Reading Street and it's so confusing to me. All the other 5th grade teachers are helpful, but they all do the program so differently. Today I introduced the unit and tomorrow am teaching plot and character. After that, not a clue. today I tried introducing an independent reading program and the kids seemed clueless even though I spent almost an entire period explaining it. I'm working day by day which means sometimes I'm working 12 hours a day between school and home. I feel like I can't do it on top of everything else I'm trying to learn like the grade book, and the attendance system, and other school policies.

    Then, I know this is even more crazy, but I'm getting married in October and this is breaking me down.


    I feel like giving up. I wake up each day thinking 'make it through today'.

    Will this ever get better??
     
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  3. jennaleigh

    jennaleigh Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2015

    I don't know what to say to you, except that I am in the same situation (but a third grade elementary teacher). Well, today was my first day and it went pretty well, but I feel so completely overwhelmed with trying to learn everything, lesson plan, AND teach every day, plus my fiancee and I are going through a visa process to get her to the states (she's Canadian). So...I feel you. I understand. Hugs.
     
  4. Nikkiski21

    Nikkiski21 Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2015

    Thanks...sometimes it just helps knowing someone out there feels the same way.

    :)
     
  5. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Sep 2, 2015

    It will get better. I was a overwhelmed new teacher last year. As time goes by you will learn all the systems and software, and things like classroom management and time management will improve. Do the best that you can planningwise. I found writing down at least an idea of what I was teaching out to a week ahead worked.
     
  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Sep 3, 2015

    Oh, the memories the above posts brought back! Trust me, it does get better, and the better is the best--teaching is the best profession you can imagine!

    Here are some tips that I learned from experience, (in other words from my first years' mistakes). The best advice is to be oh, so careful with what you eat. The more nutritiously I ate, but better I'd feel and the more I'd accomplish. Fruits and vegetables, and whole grains are the most important foods, and meat is the least important. (A teacher who isn't used to eating that way should also start out slowly, so as not to shock the system).

    Sleep and rest might seem like you're losing time in what you need to accomplish, but 7-9 hours of sleep are essential. The more rested I was, the better I could function. Taking time to meditate for 20-30 minutes a day is helpful. I like to sit quietly, relax all my muscles, and concentrate on something pleasant; personally, I like to concentrate on a Bible verse.

    Classroom management will come with time. In most schools, it's helpful to discuss this with a principal or supervisor, who can assist you with ideas specifically relevant to the types of students you are dealing with. Also, when principals monitor the classroom, some prefer to know ahead of time what difficulties you might be overcoming, so there are no surprises. I just read a new book, (but somehow I lost it wherever I was when reading it), but it's called No Drama Discipline. It's for parents, but the authors recommend it for teachers, also. My only disagreement with the book is their hesitancy to apply prescribed consequences; otherwise, it's a highly recommended resource.

    Some improvements I needed to make in my teaching (or I've seen from other new teachers) that will help with management is to not think of myself as the dictator of the lesson but as the guide to learning. A popular saying among teachers these days is to "not be the sage on the stage but the guide on the side). In presenting a lesson, allow for student discussion about what is being learned. Some comments will seem off the wall, but often the student is finding something in the back of his/her mind that possibly relates and is just trying to build a connection to the new concept. I learned to always genuinely appreciate each student's contribution, no matter how incorrect it may be. Rather than being "wrong", something is usually on the "right track" that can be developed to explain the correct concept.

    10-11 year olds tend to be very understanding as a teacher seeks to develop management in the classroom. You seem to be an excellent teacher in this area already, judging by your choice of words, "managing" the classroom; in other words you're not just trying to boss the students around, which I've seen many teachers do in my days. As you begin to feel more comfortable in management (and you will), it helps to discuss with the students the needed procedures for an effective classroom. The most important advice is consistency. Trying to manage by constantly changing the rules works temporarily, because the students respond to change, but when the new procedures wear out, then more new procedures are needed. It's a frustrating trap to fall into; (been there, done that!) You might need to adjust some things at first, and discuss the need for this with the class, but then I'd recommend sticking with the plan--no exceptions (unless you and the class decide that something really isn't fair or isn't working; you'll be surprised at how understanding this age group is about such matters. Rules and fairness are especially important to this age group). Many excellent teachers would disagree with my next statement, and I respect that disagreement, but I have had more success in not raising my voice. Obviously I don't allow my voice to show appreciation for misbehavior, but I don't "yell" at the students, either. We have a classroom plan, and my voice isn't going to improve that plan. We just follow our procedures, and if a student needs a consequence, it is administered. I think the book I read early on in teaching was by Thomas Gordon, Teacher Effectiveness Training, but he recommends stating things in a "whenever" sentence; "whenever someone is talking during the lesson, it makes it difficult for the class to learn."

    I hope you soon have better days as you become more comfortable in your new profession, and again, you will. You won't regret hanging in there.
     
  7. houseofbooks

    houseofbooks Companion

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    Sep 4, 2015

    :yeahthat:
     
  8. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    Sep 7, 2015

    I too am a new teacher but we started about a month ago and I did feel super over whelmed the first couple of week, but each day's gets better and better. I was also working about 12 hours a day the first three weeks but by the middle of the third week I had to take a stand for my own well being and say after 10 hours I'm going home, even if I'm working from there because atleast it feels less stressful to me to be working on lessons plans and grading and trying to using the computer systems from home with a fun comedy on the tv or some music playing.

    My new school is in fact a new school, so my first day was everyone's first day and that has come with challenges I didn't even think of and it is very hard and stressful. We don't have an instruction coach or really anyone who is an a position to mentor new teachers (over half of the staff is first year teachers, I think this was planned to keep salaries down) because everyone is new to the school and new to their grade level and in survival mode.

    May I suggest worrying less about learning objectives the first couple of weeks and focus more on classroom management and procedures and routines. This was what I changed to after the first week (my expectations of learning right out of the gate were too high and unrealistic for a group of students who were all new to the school). My first week wasn't working so I shelved my lesson plans to be used later and made new ones with much less learning objectives and much more practicing procedures and front loading my classroom management plan and strategies, expectations, rules, and classroom set up ( which needed to be retooled). I purchased some mini units that we little to no prep on teachers pay teachers and some other sites to use as filler while I focused on instilling these classroom management skills. After we have drilled those things to death and my students had gotten with the program so to speak then I went back to the lesson plans that I had already developed.

    I am now planning ahead since I have those lessons for the next 2 weeks planned becuase they were previously shelved. I think the sanity is coming back and my work day hours are getting more and more manageable. Though I do still do a lot of work from home on nights and week ends-but as a new teacher that's not really avoidable since I have to make things for the first time so that I will have them and not have to make them from the ground up next year.
    As far as the stress of being broke, well I too had to borrow money from my mother, which seriously hit my pride (I'm not a young person, I'm a 32 year old single mom and career changer so asking for help from parents at my age is seriously a blow). I also got creative and cashed out little things that I had to help offset the fact that I had to work for 2 months (we had a month of orientation 3 days a week at a part time pay rate that we had to wait 2months to get paid for) before I brought home a dime. Also since this was a new school over half of our curriculum hadn't arrived when school started so it was basically useless and still is until the rest of it gets here.p which means I'm on my own dime to come up with curriculum while we wait. And my classroom was completely empty but for the desks, teacher computer, and Elmo. So as you can imagine I then had to get creative to have any supplies on a non existent budget (word of advice out a request for help on your Facebook and see if friends or family have things they are willing to give you that they don't use that is how I got my class library, my manipulatives, and paper and basically everything).

    And just keep your head up, it really does get better everyday.
     
  9. MissPapa

    MissPapa Comrade

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    Sep 7, 2015

    That was my first year. It gets alot better. First year is always hard. I'm also on the same boat as you with getting married. That plus the stress from school really gets to you!

    Just don't give up and keep doing your thing!
     
  10. Traci_S

    Traci_S New Member

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    Oct 15, 2015

    I just made a very similar post, only I'm in third grade. I sympathize and understand fully!! I hope it gets better for both of us.
     

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