Reaching Breaking Point

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by crazycatlady80, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. crazycatlady80

    crazycatlady80 Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2016

    I feel I've finally reached a breaking point with my field experience.

    Just some background information. When I started the field experience, I had a bad virus and missed the first week. Additionally, the master teacher was absent and because I didn't know if I should have stayed in the classroom or not, as I didn't know the policy, I left the day. Because the master teacher expressed some concerns about my absence indirectly, I agreed to work additional hours. After being observed by the supervising professor and verbally abused in front of the kids, I started missing days because of the stress. I started getting migraines. This past week I've had over ten of them. I missed one and half days last week. I saw the doctor on Friday and she said my blood pressure was through the roof. This was rather shocking since I usually have low blood pressure. Being the daughter of two teachers, I know absences are really unacceptable among teachers and I rarely miss anything, but this program is starting to affect my health.

    This morning I got an email from my master teacher who I thought I was coming in today. Today is usually the day of the week where I don't work. She said she wanted to talk to me and she said the supervising professor was going to speak as well. It was a minor email and I understand why she sent it. If I was in that position, I would have sent a very similar email. However, it was my breaking point. Not to get into too much information, I have PTSD. It is a chronic condition, but I'm very emotionally stable. I've haven't had a flashback in over five years. Well, I had one this morning and it was pretty bad. I called my advisor who was extremely sweet. She gave me the option of taking a medical withdrawal or working it out with my supervising professor. She said that I'm not alone in this situation.

    I really want to be a teacher. I love kids. I feel very strongly this is my calling. I know it isn't an easy profession. Like I said, my parents are both teachers. They've never seen anything like this. What should I do? I don't want to quit. I love those kids and I don't want to abandon them, but I just can't handle this abuse, both physically and emotionally.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Apr 4, 2016

    I'm not sure what I'd do in this situation. Could you get a different professor to supervise you? If you did take a medical leave, would you be able to start over in the Fall? I'm so sorry you're being treated this way (especially in front of students). That's just unacceptable.
     
  4. crazycatlady80

    crazycatlady80 Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2016

    Nope. She is the only professor. I would probably change programs, which other people in the program have done. Like I said, this professor has NUMEROUS complaints filed against her.

    Right now I'm feeling very much alone. I feel like this all my fault and I'm a bad teacher for having these problems.
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Apr 4, 2016

    Here is my advice:

    1) You are not a bad teacher. You're not a teacher yet. You are still a student. You have to find a way to deal with this situation as a student. As hard as this professor is to work with, see if there is anything you can learn from her, even if it's only how to...

    2) ... play the game. As awful as student teaching can be for some people, it's really quite a short period of time in a person's educational career. Get through it, and then move on.

    3) Again, play the game. This surely won't be the only time in your career that you deal with a tough supervisor who thinks that rules and common courtesy don't apply to them. If you can't deal with this situation, how will you deal with it when it's your principal your first or tenth year of teaching? Learn to smile, nod, and do as she says when she is watching. A big part of teaching (and being evaluated as a teacher) is knowing how to play the game.

    4) If it is really affecting your well-being and health in a serious and dangerous way, then quit. Nothing is worth your health and emotional well-being. That said, don't confuse a stressful and uncomfortable temporary situation with one that is really causing serious harm to your body or mind.
     
  6. crazycatlady80

    crazycatlady80 Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2016

    Thank you for your advice. I strongly believe that all of life's difficulties are a learning experience. Right now, I need to take some time to figure out what is the best course of action for me to take after I've calmed down a bit.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 4, 2016

    I'm going to be blunt.

    Teaching is hard. Sometimes it is made even harder by the fact that we occasionally have to work with difficult personalities, including students, parents, teachers, and administrators. You're almost certainly going to encounter people whom you don't like and people who are rude or mean or nasty. You can't let them get to you or affect your health in this way. It's time to develop some better coping skills.

    What specifically did your supervisor do and say to verbally abuse you in front of students?
     
    bella84 likes this.
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Apr 4, 2016

    I have to agree with the other posters. Difficult people are going to be thrown at you throughout your career and life. How you handle these situations will determine whether these people knock you down or build you up. I guess it's a matter of having really thick skin.

    It sounds like this situation has taken its toll on your health. If you feel that you can't learn to "play the game", then maybe you should quit and try again later. Your health is more important than any job.
     
  9. crazycatlady80

    crazycatlady80 Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2016

    Thanks everyone. When I wrote that post I was pretty upset and probably not thinking with the clearest head. Just for some background information - I consider myself an extremely strong person. I've dealt with some extremely difficult people in my life. I also have excellent coping skills. For the PTSD, I've had years of therapy. I'm also a practicing Buddhist for over ten years. I did have a lot of emotional problems when I was younger, but consider myself very stable and have been for a while. This is the first time I've had a flashback in five years, which very much scared me. For me, that says that I'm under a great deal of stress and need to take care of myself. I can't control how she treats me. I can complain all I want (which I did above), but it doesn't solve the problem.

    Right now, I really need to think about my options. My advisor is giving me two options - taking a medical leave or have a meeting with the supervising professor and my advisor. As much as I want to at this very moment take the medical leave; never see my supervising professor again; drop out of the program; give up on teaching; and stay in my house the rest of my life eating chocolate, I'm probably going to have the meeting. As of this moment, I'm taking the day to take care of myself and get my own psychological well being back in order. I really appreciate everyone's help.
     
  10. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Apr 13, 2016

    I sympathize with you. I think you are making the right call going to the meeting.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 13, 2016

    I'm getting just a bit confused by all your threads. From what I understand you've had a tough go, have a difficult CT, have a math disability, some other disability? that lead to your supervisor suggesting withdrawal and suggestions from some here for you to fight the school based on supervisor comments, migraines for ten days, PTSD...that's a lot! Your placement doesn't sound ideal, but this profession can be challenging under even the best of circumstances. You need to take some time for yourself, examine what is the best path for you (and please do consider what's best for potential students you might teach), and don't rush into making a decision until you are well.
     
    bella84 and Caesar753 like this.
  12. crazycatlady80

    crazycatlady80 Rookie

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    Apr 25, 2016

    Thought I'd give everyone an update.

    I have withdrawn from the course. I really wanted to work everything out with the professor, but she forced me to withdraw or fail the course. Right now, the department says that I have no other choice, but to take the course with this professor again. I also have to her for another required class. That is two courses with this professor. Because of the professor's comment about my disability, the civil rights office on my campus is involved, but, with all likely hood, I will probably transfer. I could try to stick it out in the program, but I will not put up with that kind of abuse, especially when I'm trying to learn a new skill.

    I'm very much aware of the challenges of the job. My parents were teachers for over forty years. They were also extremely active in the union, so I've heard a lot of bad teaching situation stories in my day. I also know that in the workplace you sometimes have to put up with a lot of awful people. However, I strongly believe that if it becomes an abusive situation, you need to leave ASAP. I know sometimes that means you might have to make difficult decisions and do things you don't want to do, but it is important to take care of your mental well being first.
     

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