New teacher- overwhelming anxiety.

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Hoss, Aug 10, 2021.

  1. Hoss

    Hoss New Member

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    Aug 10, 2021

    It's my first year and I just got done with my fourth day. I have suffered from terrible anxiety everyday, all day, all evening, the weekend... Not about being in front of the students. But about managing behavior and namely this fear of 'getting in trouble' with a parent. I have no reason to think a parent will be angry with me....but I can't stop worrying.

    For other teachers that have dealt with severe anxiety/anxiety disorders, does it get better? I picture myself feeling this bad for however many years I will work and it brings me to tears. Everyone tells me I have been doing great, but mentally I feel horrible, and don't know how to fix it...
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Aug 11, 2021

    Just tell yourself that you can't get in trouble with a parent. They aren't your boss. Do what you are required to do and even if a parent complains you will be sure you did what you were supposed to do. Not what they want you to do.
     
  4. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2021

    Dealing with parents can be overwhelming as a new teacher, especially rude and aggressive ones. Be proactive and initiate contact with parents, so that you are in control. This early in the year, the contact can be introductory and positive. That way if something happens down the track, you’ve already had the initial contact.
    When dealing with aggressive parents, I always like to call rather than email. People find it hard to be aggressive to people when they have to speak to them, it’s much easier to be a keyboard warrior. Also, always speak in indisputable facts. Leave all the emotions out of it. E.g. I would like to share some observations of Jim in class today. Jim was out of his swat twice, he did not follow instructions to return to his seat, he was chatty and off task and thus could not complete his task. When I redirected him to complete the task, he told me to F off. I have attached the incomplete task which he should submit or it could affect his results. These are irrefutable facts. Don’t say things that are tied to emotions or that requires a person to come to conclusions. E.g. Jim was naughty and a handful in class. He is a rude child. I am assigning him detention as a consequence. This always brings out the angry parent bear and leads to unfruitful discussions.
     
  5. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2021

    Great advice. I would start a newsletter where you talk about what you are doing in class and what parents can do at home to support their child's education. When you tell parents what to do, it frames you as "the expert". Informed parents are much less likely to question you.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Aug 12, 2021

    Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. I still get first-of-the-year jitters at the beginning of school, and I’m almost 30 years in. However, it calms down after a few days. If you are still feeling that way after a week or two, talk to your doctor.
     
  7. NewSoCalTeacher2017

    NewSoCalTeacher2017 Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2021

    Hi Hoss,

    I just wanted to write and let you know that you aren't alone in experiencing your anxiety. I'm starting my first FT year on Wednesday and I'm a nervous wreck. Most of my fears are from the "behind the scenes" stuff too and that I'll be teaching fullday virtually. Mainly interactions with parents, keeping up with the paperwork, and screen fatigue. I do know with other teaching experiences I've had that it does get better and I'm reminding myself of all of that now. I'm also trying to remind myself to be okay with not being perfect and to be kind to myself. Good luck this year!
     
  8. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

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    Aug 14, 2021

    YES. It absolutely gets better. Parent contact especially can be super intimidating; I'm 5 years in and still struggle with contacting parents. Adults are so much more complicated than kids and I'm not a parent, so I have a really hard time knowing what exactly I need to contact parents about.

    One thing that helped me last year was using Talking Points. There are tons of similar apps (Remind, Class Dojo, etc.), but texting parents through an app has always been way less intimidating to me than calling. Talking Points has the added bonus of translating into a ton of languages, if you have ESL students with non-English speaking parents.

    In terms of behavior... Some of it comes down to just practice, but there are definitely super simple strategies that make it easier. One of my favorite books right now is "Get Better Faster," which has really straightforward actionable steps to improve your classroom management. I used to have a PDF of the overview from that, I'll see if I can find it and upload it for you. My old school used it the last few years though, and it really did make a huge difference very quickly.

    I'm also a fan of "First Days of School" and "The Classroom Management Book" by Harry Wong, "Tools for Teaching" by Fred Jones, "Teaching with Love and Logic" by David Funk and Jim Fay, and "How to Talk so Kids can Learn" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. That last one's from the 90s so it's a little cheesy and old, but it's still solid advice for managing challenging behaviors and big emotions in the classroom.
     
  9. Hoss

    Hoss New Member

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    Aug 26, 2021

    Thank you. The anxiety is getting more manageable. Though Sunday nights are still quite hard. I am struggling some with classroom management. Did anyone else have issues with this area their first year?
    Hoping the more things I try and practice I will get better at it. We are going to start using Class Dojo points. Mostly I have quite a few students who like to talk to their neighbors and have trouble staying focused while I am teaching, so I am frequently having to stop and redirect.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Aug 26, 2021

    Management takes awhile to perfect. Sometimes it also takes awhile to get a system that works for you. I tried different ones until found Randy Sorick’s CHAMPs program. It has worked well for me, even in conjunction with other types of school-wide programs, like PBIS.
     
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  11. Hoss

    Hoss New Member

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    Aug 26, 2021

    When the class gets noisy and I have to do alot of redirection I start questioning my ability as a teacher. I'm trying to think positively though, that it should be a skill like any other. I just always have hated feeling like I am doing a poor job.
     

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