New teacher overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by ll1301, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. ll1301

    ll1301 Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2013

    Hi everyone. I am a first year teacher this year, and to say that I'm
    Completely overwhelmed is an understatement. I don't feel ready, and the kids come in just a few days. I haven't gotten help with planning or how to plan and what to plan. I just feel like I'm neon thrown in unprepared. The school is unorganized.. I don't even have my computers set up or correct chairs for my desks. And I put in that work order a week ago. All the teachers on my team have been planning and they very briefly explained a how to plan, but I feel like they just assumed what I was doing. I feel
    So lost, and unprepared. I stated at my content for 2
    Hours tonight and couldn't come up with a single thing. We just got our curriculum map today, which I think is not enough time, especially because I'm brand new. I just feel like my team is not so great at helping me learn the things I need to know to be successful
    In planning and teaching what is required of me. Any other new teachers feel like this? It's causing me a lot of anxiety.
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Aug 20, 2013

    First of all, deep breaths. You can do this!! :hugs:

    I was a new teacher in first grade last year. You will LOVE first grade. I know things feel overwhelming right now, but once you meet the kids, you will remember why you're there, I promise. :) They make it all worth while, even when things are crazy!

    Just because your team hasn't stepped up and helped you doesn't mean they don't want to help. Sometimes, I think veteran teachers sort of forget what it's like to be new. They might want to help, but they may honestly not know what kind of help you need or where to start. What really helped me was getting copies of another teacher's plans. NOT to copy her, but to see how things are done. Believe me, you are going to need to ask a lot of questions to get help. I certainly did. I often felt really stupid and annoying, but I think it's better to ask the questions and get what you need then to do things incorrectly and have to do more work to correct it. I've found that most teachers are VERY understanding and want to help if you let them know what you need! You will be able to figure out which teachers are the most helpful. I know who to ask questions about different topics. It's taken awhile to get a handle on that, but I've figured it out. I also know who likes email questions and who likes in person questions.

    Is a curriculum map the same thing as a pacing guide? My grade level has the same pacing guide, so I know exactly what math, social studies, science, or ELA lesson I should be on every day. This makes things a lot easier. We do have a lot of freedom to work within that structure, but it's helpful.

    Another thing - don't expect to have things planned out super far in advance. I really went week to week the whole year, especially at the beginning. This year won't be like that, but that's because I have a year of experience with the grade level and the curriculum under my belt. Right now, focus on getting routines and procedures set up and doing some team building/getting to know you type stuff during the first week. Getting the routines and procedures set up are a lot more important than hitting content that first week, and even the first couple of weeks!!

    You will be great. The first year is very hard, but keep your eyes on the students and it really can be an amazing experience. :)
     
  4. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Aug 21, 2013

    maybe you could ask one of the teachers on your team to mentor you and help you with planning?
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Aug 21, 2013

    Ok, take a breath. First of all, don't try to do too much right now. Think about what HAS to be done immediately, and what can wait. Rather than trying to wait for your whole team to help you, be proactive and schedule a time to meet with the one member you can connect to. Bring specific questions, and don't expect that person to do your plan for you (not that you would, just saying to be prepared).

    One thing that always helped me out was I started keeping a calendar every year where I would write down what things I did at specific times. For example, by Sept. 1 I was:

    Teaching <fill-in-the-concept> in math, science, writing
    Bulletin boards were <this>
    Preparing mid-quarter reports

    I tried to update this as often as possible. It really helped year by year to gauge where I needed to be. And, it helps to see what you're doing on paper!
     
  6. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    Aug 21, 2013

    Right there with you on the "first year teacher" part! One thing I have heard from others is that often if you're not asking questions people may assume you've got things under control. Have you tried asking specific questions?

    In addition, I've found this forum to be very helpful for getting ideas. Obviously it can't be for anything too specific since everyone is in different districts, but I have received some great feedback on my questions.

    I'm trying to just take it one thing at a time. If you ask and still don't get much support from your grade-level maybe there are other teachers in the building who could help

    :hugs:
     
  7. Bloom

    Bloom Companion

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    Aug 21, 2013

    I am a new teacher too...and I feel your pain, but I am not letting it get me overwhelmed. I have spent the past week sitting in meetings where WWF, OMF, XYZ and PDQ were thrown around like I was supposed to know what was going on! Half the time the presenter would say, "as you know from past years" or "nothing has changed so you are good to go".....WHAT!!! I just got here! I have my Open House tomorrow and start school on Monday. I am going to take it one day at a time....my classroom is organized and clean and most of my materials are hanging. What is not today will be soon. I have my behavior plan, classroom policies and a few lessons mapped out, but outside of that I am going to go with the flow. You have to take a deep breath and just take one step at a time. If you let the enormity of the year overwhelm you it will crush you. The first few days, get to know your kids, find out the appropriate beginning of year assessments and work on your daily curriculum. The rest will fall into place. You have studied for this, you have passion for kids and the rest will work itself out. Sit down and think about your first day...plan how you want it to work...questions will start flowing from there. Make a list and ask questions. You can do this....
     
  8. kab164

    kab164 Companion

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    Aug 21, 2013

    You will be fine and do a great job. 1st grade is wonderful! Your post reminded me of something our supt. told us new teachers at a meeting a week before school started. "You are probably very overwhelmed and worried you have too much to do. Just remember you only need to stay one day ahead of the kids and you will be fine."
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Aug 21, 2013

    Teaching your 1st year is overwhelming and there is no place that will challenge you more than 1st grade. I do feel for you.

    What you must remember is teaching is overwhelming to many teachers for awhile. I know you wish your team would help you more, but they are probably a bit overwhelmed getting everything ready too.

    My best suggestion in education is not too lean too much on anyone. I set up my own computers, because I know the tech guy is very busy and he might not get to me. The best advice I can give you is to ask for help, but don't expect it will always be there. I know it should be, but being a teacher awhile, I have learned that many doors will be locked (i.e. computers not set up, other teachers too busy to help), and I must look for windows (i.e. myself or someone else to set up computers, one reliable teacher to help possibly in another grade). This job will make you unbelievably resourceful. My second year in teaching, the power went out 5 minutes before school started. I saw the experienced teachers calm and asking who had candles. They already found a way around the problem. Always look for the window when the doors are locked.
     
  10. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Aug 22, 2013

    This!!

    Also, I love that one step ahead quote.

    I've found teaching to be a DIY thing. I have had to figure out my smart board, printer, Elmo and wireless on my own. The tech lady is just too swamped. I would write all my questions about our grade level and school policy on index cards, and when one got full I walked it down to someone's room, ran through them and went back to work. You gotta be resourceful! :p

    And if anyone ever asked how I was doing with set up, I always said, "I think I'm in a really good place!" No one wants to hear people whine or panic (not saying you are). People want cheery, confident co-workers who find solutions to problems. Or I might say "Actually, I was just thinking about xyz-what do you do?" That is a very specific question they can respond to.
     

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