Not teaching to my potential

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by BB0211, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. BB0211

    BB0211 Companion

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    Nov 14, 2007

    I am right out of college and teaching my first year in 3rd grade. This is my dream job and I absolutely love it. I'm in a great district, a great school (highest in the district) and work with colleagues and teammates that are incredibly supportive and knowledgable.

    I read these posts and hear the horror stories of teachers depressed and wanting to quit and I cannot relate. I have had a couple overwhelming days, but mostly feel I am doing a very good job for it being my first year.

    "For it being my first year" is my problem. I am fortunate enough to work with a group of 6-year-seasoned teachers who are always developing new and creative ways to teach lessons and material and I feel DRY AS A BONE.

    In college, I would create such creative and thoughtful lessons that always pedagogically made sense. 1. Assess what they know 2. build on background knowledge 3. assess again 4. direct istruction, modeling, group work, sharing, etc. and so on...

    I used to always check out additional materials to supplement my lessons and find ways to always connect the material to their lives.

    I now feel as though I am always just trying to keep up and merely teach the material. I do not feel as focused on teaching thoroughly, but just teaching what I HAVE teach.

    Does or did anyone else ever feel like this? I am not trying to do a mediocre job, I am just doing what I can at this time.

    But it's frustrating.
     
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  3. GrandHighWitch

    GrandHighWitch Companion

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    Nov 14, 2007

    I'm in my first year as a 4th grade teacher, and I can relate. I LOVE my job, and I feel I am doing an okay job, but I know I could probably do better when it comes to teaching creative lessons that get the kids excited. Besides the workload, I have two reasons for not doing so this first year:

    1) I'm not sure of the pacing, and I'm afraid of not getting as far as I need to get before the standardized tests in March... unfortunately, thanks to NCLB, there's a lot of emphasis put on those now, esp. in my district. I am sticking to the textbooks a lot to help pace myself and cover what needs to be covered.

    2) Classroom management is probably my weakest area, and I have a few particularly difficult students who take anything fun too far and go crazy with it. So while I like to do fun things that motivate the kids, I'm sometimes afraid the class will get out of control. I made up this great science activity to simulate a plant cell towards the beginning of the year, and it ended with the assistant principal in my room, removing a student who had gotten mad at two other kids, hit them on the head, and REFUSED to leave the room when I told him to go out to the hall so I could talk to him.


    Those are my excuses this year. I just want to get that first year under my belt, and THEN I'll start adding to my repertoire for next year. Everyone - my college professors, university supervisor, cooperating teacher during student teaching, mentor, etc. - has told me that as a first year teacher, it's okay to stick to the basal - classroom management and environment are the priorities, even before instruction. So don't feel bad. I know how you feel though.
     
  4. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    Nov 14, 2007

    Grandhighwitch gave you some really good advice.

    You are being a good teacher and focusing your energy on teaching your students. It is being to be creative in college when you have two days to do a one hour lesson plan. Not so easy when you are grading papers, doing paperwork, calling parents, doing paperwork, etc. Give your self some time. The muse will come. I get some of my best ideas driving to work. Of course, I have a 40 minute drive. That is a lot of time to think!
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 14, 2007

    It's tough the first year. You have all these expectations and ideas that you want to incorporate, but faced with the day to day challenges of actually teaching, those expectations and ideas get buried. You are a great teacher! Next year you will be able to incorporate more of those fun lessons that you want to when you have more time and energy to focus on other things besides first year stuff.
     
  6. kgardner

    kgardner Rookie

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    Nov 14, 2007

    BB- I feel EXACTLY the same way you do!! I definitely have a hard time understanding the feelings of those who don't like their jobs and I feel so bad for them. I ALSO constantly wonder where ALL of my great ideas "went"! I was always being commended by my teachers for great plans...and now that I am on my own I can't seem to think of anything "great" - and I am even having a hard time remembering the things I did JUST in the last year at school! It is definitely frustrating.
     
  7. BB0211

    BB0211 Companion

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    Nov 15, 2007

    Appreciation

    Thank you for your replies! :2up:

    I woke up this morning in a downer mood, but now I am feeling better.

    It is tough to accept the reality that my first year I will not be as "good" of a teacher as I can or will be in a few years.

    One more question/shadow of doubt, does anyone have a hard time FINDING TIME to reach all students? I always knew I would have to reteach some material to my lower students. But WHEN? During silent reading time I hold reading groups. Some of my students I feel are not doing as well as they could because I cannot be there for them. Any ideas?
     
  8. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Nov 15, 2007

    About a month ago I was frustrated that we weren't having enough time to get everything done. I spent the entire night rearranging my schedule, and then emailed it to my principal. Then I came in the morning, and rearranged my classroom. I think both rearrangements are working quite well, and really benefited the kids. My point: Even veteran teachers have a hard time sometimes. With everything that is asked of us the one thing we don't have enough of is time.

    Pull back students during independent work time, during transitions, at the end of the day. If you have any time between lunch and recess, pull back then. You might even find more time during guided reading groups. You should meet with your low students every day. Your high students, however, you can meet with every other day. For the days you don't meet with them you can assign them chapters to read or a project to work on. That will give you a little more time to do remediation with your low students.
     
  9. Doublescoop

    Doublescoop Companion

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    Nov 15, 2007

    Yes, it is frustrating and YOU ARE NORMAL! The first year, in fact the first three or so years, are difficult because you are trying to find your identity as a teacher. THAT TAKES TIME! You wouldn't expect your students to perform at a mastery level right away, would you? Give yourself time and grace. You WILL grow daily and honestly, you don't ever get to a point where you think, "Man, I am the perfect teacher." It's a journey so try to enjoy it. :)
     
  10. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Dec 2, 2007

    I actually feel the same way. I came in to the school year in October. So I didn't get to start out with these students. I keep wondering how come I'm not finding neat things to do with each section of the chapters and lessons, instead of just giving them notes and information. I was also one that came up with neat-o things to do and now I feel like an idiot.

    My mom retired as a teacher and told me that I was putting high expectations on myself for the first year. She said once I'm able to start the year out like normal I will feel more at home and will get a groove going. I think having the summer to really look at stuff will help me. Which doesn't bother me, I enjoy tryng to find new ways to teach things and learn new ideas.
     
  11. Carebear05

    Carebear05 Comrade

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    Dec 2, 2007

    Well I told myself at the beginning of the year that I just wanted to survive and wanted my kids to learn. I'll start trying to be more creative as the years go by. Right now trying to find resources for certain things is hard enough, plus it's my first year teaching it. Once I have found resources and know exactly what I'm talking about, then I will try to think of some different things to do. Don't be so hard on yourself tho because I'm sure that you do some things that your students enjoy a lot. You also have to realize that all students have different learning styles, so not everything you do is always going to be fun for every child. I try to do a lot of group work with my 1st graders. Even tho they are young, I want to start them early and they do well at it. You have to make sure you are challenging them. I think that is the biggest thing. I know that I have made my 1st graders do some tough stuff this year, but I am proud of the outcome and it challenged them, and I think it will benefit them in the future.
     

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