Rant/Cry For Help: When is enough, enough?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Teachings4Me, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Teachings4Me

    Teachings4Me Companion

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    Nov 30, 2013

    Let me just give the facts of what my job includes:

    -Elementary Technology/ Language Arts Teacher with a full course load (random combo, I know)
    -Yearbook Adviser (no class, just a small club that meets once a week after school that's expected to push out an 84 page color yearbook with no resources (time, cameras, etc.) *This got dumped in my lap last year after it was taken away from another teacher.
    -NWEA Assessment Coordinator- We've moved to a new platform for this test. This was one of my obligations last year but wasn't supposed to be this year, but the other person that came on staff to handle it is just "too busy." I'm supposed to be leading the entire staff on this when I was never trained and have NO clue what I'm doing. This is a HUGE animal.
    -Tutoring Language Arts students one day a week after school.
    -School website manager
    -School board's worker bee-- if they need something done that involves a computer, it falls on me.
    -State Reading Assessment Coordinator (these tests are for K-3; I teach 4-6th.)
    -On 2 school committees (elected to both and happy to be there)
    -Largely responsible for rolling out classroom sets of Chromebooks and overseeing Google Accounts for students
    -In charge of Compass Learning program for the school (online study tool that pulls data from NWEA adaptive assessments)
    -Unofficially the school's "go to" technology person which means I'm constantly getting phone calls, emails, and drop in visits during my instructional time with a full rage of technological questions.
    -I'm the first one in every morning and one of the last ones out every afternoon (pushing 5 p.m. almost daily, a full 2 hours after dismissal.) just to bring home a few more hours of work... (not to mention working through my lunch in addition to watching students in my classroom during during that time)

    I get paid the salary of a teacher of my rank with + my earned master's pay. I do all of this on top of the daily obligations of my classes (planning lessons, grading papers, contacting/meeting with parents, etc.) Did I mention I only have 45 minutes to teach 4th grade Language Arts? Once students come into my classroom and unpack, I'm left with less than 40 minutes. I also don't have teacher editions to my Language Arts curriculum, but that's another story.

    The long and the short of it is: I'm absolutely exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed to the max, and wish daily that I'd lose control of my car on my morning commute so that I won't have to go in. I spent about 4 hours of my Saturday working on all of the "extra" parts of my job. That doesn't include any of the planning or grading I still have left to do for the upcoming week. The icing on the cake? My principal asks me to make changes to the thing I had been working on today. Said principal did not have any input prior to me working on this when I asked for input/help, but now that it's nearing completion, they want it changed. (I can't tell you how many hours of my life I'll never get back this year due to people's inability to communicate from the get-go.) Top it off by living in a state known for terrible teacher pay... *sigh

    I'm ready to tear my hair out and run naked into the woods. This job makes me want to leave education entirely, although I know it's not like this everywhere. I don't think I can make it to January, much less June. I have so much in my personal life to be happy about and thankful for, but I'm turning into a miserable human being.

    I don't know what to do. I've been perusing jobs, but I just can't bring myself to fill out an application.... I need some guidance of this awesome A to Z community. :help: :atoz_love:

    End rant. (I hope that was coherent.... )
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Nov 30, 2013

    No advice to give. Sorry. But I wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I can relate to every statement I left in the quote up above.

    Assuming I can make it to June, I'm doing one of two things: 1) switching to a new position within my school and seeing if things get any better, or 2) leaving education altogether asap. If I can't make it to June, then I default to number 2.

    Hope things get better for both of us soon! :hugs:
     
  4. Teachings4Me

    Teachings4Me Companion

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    Bella,
    I wish you weren't miserable, but misery does love company! It's so sad that any teacher has to feel this way... I know there are a lot of us out there who probably feel ill on the drive in and cry every other day on the way home...
    Do you have plans on what you'll do if you leave ed?
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 30, 2013

    Can you meet with your principal, using this post as your discussion notes, and ask how (not if) at least one or two of these items can be taken off your plate? If not, I would simply say that the yearbook may need to go by the wayside unless there is a budget and possibly a stipend. If there was any one thing that can be cut from your "volunteer" duties, that would be it. Sheesh, I cannot imagine taking on those extra duties without a stipend.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 30, 2013

    I think it sounds like it's time to back out of a few things on this list.
     
  7. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Wow.

    Is there anything you can drop?
     
  8. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    Seems like you are an asset your school would hate to lose. Let them know you are overwhelmed.
     
  9. Teachings4Me

    Teachings4Me Companion

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    I've reached out for help with little response. I asked for anyone else to take over yearbook but still offered my help with it when needed. Nobody wanted it because they know it's an animal. I had another teacher join me this year with the club, but truthfully, it's like managing another student. I've asked for help on several of these items with no response. The principal says they want to help, but there's no follow through.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    How do you feel about actually dropping a few things on the list instead of just asking for help?

    This year I am not sponsoring the club I've sponsored for the last several years. No one else is sponsoring it either, so it just sort of went away this year. I have too much on my plate right now and decided that the club was one thing that I could afford to drop. I'll pick it back up later when I feel a little less stretched. For now, though, I just couldn't do it. I miss it, but it was one of the best decisions I've made all year.
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Does your school have a PTA? They'd be the perfect choice to take over the yearbook.
     
  12. Teachings4Me

    Teachings4Me Companion

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    gr3teacher, Not a bad idea. Someone has to take this beast over. I have never wanted to be a part of yearbook, even in high school. Like I said, it was taken from another teacher as punishment and dumped on me. I just can't hang. Unfortunately, I would still have a load that I can barely manage. My evil passive aggressive twin wants to hand the principal a resignation letter and watch the panic ensue. :lol:
     
  13. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Nov 30, 2013

    Why do you have students in your classroom during lunch?

    Also, for next year, can you drop the school committees?

    For technology requests, are people coming in for help while you are teaching?
     
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm not totally sure yet. I'd be interested in working in the education department at a local museum or zoo. Those positions are very limited and competitive, however, so I'm thinking I might look for an executive assistant position. It seems like that type of position would require a lot of the same skills that I use in my day-to-day job duties at school (planning, writing reports, scheduling meetings, customer service, projects, filing, etc.). At this point, I'm still not ready to completely pull the plug on teaching, so I'm holding off on actually applying anywhere. These are just the ideas floating around in my head.
     
  15. Teachings4Me

    Teachings4Me Companion

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    We don't have a cafeteria so students have no where to go during lunch. My homeroom kiddos come in and eat during that time. We are supposed to eat when they eat, but it's the only time I have to pull my Language Arts kids to makeup work and tests because I otherwise don't see them outside of their class period.

    The work associated with the committees is so minimal and they're something that I do actually enjoy.

    Yes, people come in and call when I'm teaching. They have no regard for what I'm doing. When someone's computer goes down, it's a crisis, no matter what time it is for the person they expect to fix it.
     
  16. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Ahh I see. :)

    I think you need to do something about the technology requests. If you have a good relationship with your principal, maybe you can have a conversation about how you are unable to handle the technology help requests since people are asking you for help during your lessons and that affects your students' learning? Or be more direct and say that you cannot help people at the moment since you are teaching?
     
  17. Teachings4Me

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    I understand! Like I said, I can't bring myself to actually fill out an application. My mom is an executive assistant for one of the "Big 3" motor companies. Although her work sounds stressful, she gets to leave work at work everyday and rarely has to work past her contracted hours. Besides, she makes more than double what I do and has only been in the position for about 12 years. (I'll never see that kind of money in this state. It's not about the money, but it'd be nice to not to be completely broke all the time.) Since I live about 10 hours from home, I'd really miss the school year calendar that allows me time to travel to my home state, but I think I could get over that if it meant saving my sanity.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I see my school very quickly adding the things that you have on your list to my plate. I can sympathize with much of this. I think I'm happy where I'm at and will firmly say no when they offer me other things. I remember them trying to push leadership on me last year, because apparently not being married and having children means that I have a ton of free time.

    No, just no.

    I agree with Caesar. If you can, just drop it. Drop yearbook to the other teacher and take a back role if you can, letting her do the running of the club, while you answer questions if she has any. Refuse to run it. When the responsibility is real, she will take it up.

    Send out a full school email telling teachers that you will be available one hour a week for technology questions and not during instructional time, and that's it.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    "I'm teaching at the moment. I will come see you at ___."

    What you allow is what will continue.
     
  20. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm the "go-to guy" for technology stuff too. We have a tech person on staff, but he's usually working the school website or taking pictures of events, etc. I tell teachers flat-out that there's no such thing as a tech emergency when I'm in front of kids. I also have printed step-by-step "fixing it for dummies" guides printed up for the most common things. I've gotten good enough that I can go to my filing cabinet, pull out the printer installation guide (and it's ALWAYS the printer installation guide... grrr....) without even breaking eye contact with my kids :)
     
  21. Ms_C

    Ms_C Comrade

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  22. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    OP, I agree with Bella that you are NOT alone. I also dreaaaaaaad to going to work. I'm at the point where I don't know if I simply don't like teaching or teaching in my district. And yes, teaching also turns me into a miserable person.

    All I can say is try to hold on if possible and start looking for a new job NOW; I would look in and out of education. I don't know how much financial leeway you have because that will obviously dictate your next move. At work, decide what committees you can quit and then explain to Admin you can no longer commit to all the activities you currently have going on. Tell them honestly that you are stressed, over whelmed, at death's door - whatever it takes.

    I wish you the best of luck.:hugs::hugs:
     
  23. LMichele

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    Our tech guy is off limits when he is teaching. You can't drop by his room, and you can't call. You send an e-mail or a note in his mailbox, and he'll get to it on one of his preps.
     
  24. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Create a log (yes, extra work) that captures minutes/hours spent on duties that are not related to your classroom. When e.g. someone sends an email with a tech question, log it. (You could design a log that allows circles/checks so you aren't spending a lot of time writing).

    Once you have your data, take it to admin. Demand that someone else become responsible for X activities (assuming your contract allows).

    You're close to leaving education. Tell admin. "if X is still on my plate in February, I will be job hunting and you will have my letter of resignation in May."
     
  25. Teachings4Me

    Teachings4Me Companion

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    Haha, love that.
     
  26. Teachings4Me

    Teachings4Me Companion

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    I've been thinking about doing this for a while. I knew the "extras" were getting out of hand, but after spending 4 hours on those extras yesterday, I've reached the end of my tolerance. Thanks for the idea. I'm sure I'll be looked at as being snarky by doing that, but this is not worth my mental health. I don't think any teacher gets paid enough to hate their job to the point that they wish to drive off the road in the morning rather than go in.
     
  27. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    I don't know that demands and threats are the best ways to go about achieving the desired result.
     
  28. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    They are if you're willing to go through with the threat, or consider following through with the threat to be at least equal with the status quo. That way, if things improve, then great... if not, then you turn in a resignation notice, and you're no worse off than at current.

    I mean, it should be worded in a polite way, "I have these extra duties which take up so much of my time. I want to do anything I can to support the students, but I don't think I can mentally or physically keep up this pace. I feel terrible saying this, but I cannot go in to the 2014-2015 school year with another year as busy as this one, and if things don't improve for me, I may need to resign after this year for my own health and my family's well-being." But it's probably the best way of getting something to happen, assuming she is a valued member of the staff.
     
  29. Teachings4Me

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    I certainly wouldn't threaten. I'm just too much of a nice person to do that to my principal... I do like them, I just don't like what they're doing to me. The log might show them how much extra stress is being put on me that they don't realize, though.
     
  30. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    Collecting data is a good idea. I would make sure to approach them calmly and rationally. Obviously don't mention "wanting to drive your car into a ditch on the way to school."

    If they don't respond in an adequate manner, then you should of course look for new jobs for next year, knowing that this work overload is only temporary until you secure another position.
     
  31. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    This is too much. Just because you know technology and others don't know it as well as you, doesn't mean it should all land on your lap. See if some of this can be done by others. Ask if the P could ask if others may want some more responsibility. Some others might want to help you. For some of these committees, you might have to draw a line and do just what is necessary.

    The word "no" will set you free. The nicer and more creative you can say it the better. It must be said, because it is not your fault that there are only so many hours in the day.
     
  32. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    ku, I know you are speaking out of compassion for the OP. I would NEVER threaten my boss if I want something. No one likes to be threatened whether it is deserved or not. She is much more likely to get what she wants with a more diplomatic approach.
     
  33. Pencil Monkey

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    Do it. Just apply and see what happens. :hugs:

    Have you tried talking to the principal to let them know your concerns and just how overwhelmed you are? You could start the conversation with something like this: I know that you have come to rely on me to do some of your most trusted tasks but I'm feeling like I can not do them justice when there is so much on my plate....
     
  34. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    It's not a threat, it's a promise.
     
  35. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    If the OP wasn't typing things similiar to "I'd rather drive off the road than make it to work," I would agree with you.

    If the OP hadn't typed s/he had tried talking to admin and promises were made to lessen the load but never followed through, I would agree with you.

    If the OP wasn't willing to leave education, I would agree with you.

    I read OP's post as one of desperation, one that needs resolved. Now.

    The message could be delivered in "nicer" words than shared in my post, but the idea needs to be: make a change or I'm outta here.
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Did the OP actually say that s/he wanted to drive off the road into the ditch? I can't find the comment now (might have scrolled back too quickly), but I thought someone else said that (maybe Go Blue!?).
     
  37. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It was buried in the first post...
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Whoops! I completely missed that.

    Yeah, this is a bigger problem than I realized. Time for the OP to stop doing all this extra work, whatever it takes (short of intentionally causing a car wreck).
     
  39. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I have to ask...

    are you at a charter?

    I'm so sorry this is happening to you. Why are all of these extra responsibilities on YOU? Do the other teachers have extra things like this???
     
  40. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    How did you get all those "extra" jobs.
    Are you tenured?

    If you're a tenured teacher who didn't volunteer to do ALL of that extra work I'd start putting my foot down and explaining that you can't be doing all of this work outside of your contract, its too much and its impacting your ability to meet your students' needs in the classroom. Untenured? I'd be a little less firm about it but definitely express the fear that the extra work is affecting your ability to be fully prepared for teaching. If you volunteered for all this extra stuff then there isn't much you can do but keep trying to find other people to pitch in.
     
  41. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    It's time to say "NO". Just that. Say no. Do your job, teach your classes, and simply refuse to take on all the extras. If admin knows you will do it, they will give it to you. People treat you the way you let them. Send your school staff an email that says "I am overwhelmed, and for my own health I am no longer doing a, b, and c. Someone else must take these tasks by Christmas, because when we return from holidays I will not be doing them." And then STICK TO YOUR WORD.
     

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