Hi, fellow teachers! This will be long. I'm so sorry, and so appreciative of you for reading this. At the end of the day, I know my students are learning. I can sleep at night with that knowledge. But I'm a bit of an overachiever (okay, more than just a bit - I know most of you can relate), and I'm plagued by the things I'm NOT doing. I teach 3rd grade - 3 rotations of ELA. All of the switches mean that my classes are 60 minutes (at best). This is not enough time. I am still trying to get through my running records to get my kids leveled for reading groups - I still have quite a pile. Now that I've been doing this since August, I feel like I should have been provided a bit more support early on. I wish I could go back to summer or the early part of the year knowing then what I know now. I would grab myself by the shoulders and say, "Get your running records done. This first part of the year is going to fly by and you're going to be into October with a pile left to do. Get help if you need it." I had never used this leveling system before and I feel like I just got the hang of it. I don't have reading groups going. I realize that this is bad. We just started Practice Stations 4 weeks ago - I do more of a Choice Board sort of thing for the week and students engage in reading, writing, phonics practice, grammar practice, and some other Daily Five type things as well. Then I pull students to do running records with me so I can get through my pile, but I end up spending most of the time conferencing with students on their writing, answering questions, helping, etc. Before I know it, the period is over and I'm still left with a pile of folders of students who still need to be leveled. I have parents coming to me telling me that they want to be sure that their kids are adequately challenged so I've been working very hard to differentiate my centers, my homework, my instruction, EVERYTHING. Some of my students are reading on a 10th grade level with excellent comprehension, and other students are struggling to spell their names correctly (not joking). There are so many things I want to start doing and I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water with no extra time to implement any of these things. I'm just so overwhelmed... But you'd never know if you saw me! I do a pretty good job of treading water! Lately, all of my planning periods (40 min/day) for the last 3 and a half weeks have been consumed with meetings, etc. So I haven't been able to utilize that free time. I stay after school until at least 5 o'clock every day and then I'm working into the wee hours as well at home.. I feel like I've said maybe 12 words to my 2-year-old son all year. :'( -I want to start my small groups. -I want to start portfolios of student writing (but I can't seem to find the extra time needed to put the numbered folders together) and start organizing them. -I want to get into more novel reading, but feel overwhelmed with where to start with that and where to even go with that. I just know that's where I want to go.. I think that would be a great way to differentiate for my high readers, especially. -I have 4 students that are on my radar for RTI (Tier 2 and Tier 3), and I know that I'm supposed to be documenting all kinds of things (beyond just classroom tests/anecdotal evidence, etc.) and I've expressed that I need some help getting started with that, but haven't heard anything since. This is very important, but I don't feel like I have the time to get the regular documentation and interventions done. I know that I do have the time in there somewhere; I'm just not seeing it and need someone to sort of get me started. I'm starting to feel like I just need to get through this first year alive and having addressed the standards and then when I have a moment to breathe over the summer can look back and address what worked, what didn't, and what can be improved upon. Is all of this normal? How terrible is it that I don't have reading groups going yet? Between all 3 rotations of students, I have 90 kiddos. It's so overwhelming managing everything and all of their (extremely involved) parents as well. I feel like a failure and I hate that feeling. I know this seems like a vent, and for that, I apologize. It's an SOS as well as a vent. The only good thing I can say is that I've been spoken to by my Principal regarding all of the "wonderful feedback" she's getting from my students' parents (which is pretty difficult to achieve - the expectations and demands from families are pretty high). I'm so focused on the teaching aspect, that anything outside of that has been piling up a bit (like my Sub Binder, which was due 2 weeks ago!). I just want some advice for balancing it all. Also, will I ever have a life again? Will I be able to eat dinner with my family again one day or will I always be consumed by planning and grading with one hand and a fork in the other hand? Will I one day leave work before 6PM? I LOVE my job. Don't get me wrong. I just want to suck at it less.