Scared New Teacher! I need help!!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mintcookiecat, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Mintcookiecat

    Mintcookiecat New Member

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    Aug 12, 2015

    Hey! I'm a brand new teacher in the State of Washington! I just graduated college last December and I got my first real teaching job in a really small town in the middle of no where. I am going to be an art, digital art, and yearbook teacher. I am only qualified for art, digital art is my hobby, and I don't know anything about yearbook and I am very nervous going in my first year.

    My internship and first teaching experience was terrible and negative. I went through a school shooting in the 2nd month of teaching and I had some of my students die. Students went through a lot of drama, ptsd, depression, were suicidal, aggression, and overall it was hell. Even before the shooting, the school had problems and I found that kids were cruel no matter how hard I worked. After that happened I lost my passion for teaching and became depressed for the first time in my life. Getting up each day was painful and I had horrible thoughts that I would rather get sick than teach.(I used any excuse I could find to stay home which wasn't good) I figured that my internship didn't count and even though I was unhappy as a teacher, I should at least give it a second shot. I didn't want my degree to go to waste and all that time and money I spent to be all for naught. I applied for the few art teaching jobs and I got one which was awesome.

    The problem is, I feel like because of my terrible internship I now have a lot of pressuring anxiety about going in to teaching. I feel awful just thinking about teaching and all the endless things I have to do. I have a super low salary and am going to live paycheck to paycheck... I really don't see the point in being a teacher when teaching isn't even valued in this own country. (sometimes I wonder why people want us to work so hard after school and on weekends if we aren't paid well in the first place, but when I think this I doubt my major and job like crazy and I get depressed) I know all my spare time is going to be into teaching too and I won't have time to make friends or do things I love, which makes me really sad. (I'm moving to a REALLY small town, like, there is nothing to this town at all, I feel like I will be really lonely because there is no one my age and nothing to do there) I already feel homesick just thinking about it. I come from a tight family and I had lots of friends in college, I know I can skype them but I will miss having people my age (23) to meet in the flesh...

    Overall I feel like crap and I have zero confidence in myself, the educational system, students, and teaching. I asked a lot of questions to the teachers at school because I know they are really wise and might be helpful. I thought they would boost my confidence and just pump me up, but it was the opposite. When I asked them about teaching their first year, they were really negative and it just made me feel worse. A teacher told me that she had no time for friends, a hobby, or even making meals for herself and she laughed at me when I said that I wanted to find time to do art for myself. Another said that teaching will be the only thing I do and it doesn't get better with time and when I told her my classes she said she felt sorry for me. The art teacher I am replacing said that I would cry every day (that was the first thing he said to me when I met him), hate my job, and that he almost had a stroke doing yearbook and had to be sent to the hospital. He was actually pretty strange and really negative, so I just assumed that he was a jerk, but it still haunts me that he told me that.

    I've done therapy and all that stuff btw, I'm over the shooting as an event, I just now feel like I lack confidence. I haven't even started this job yet my fears are already controlling me and making me despise this decision. (which sucks, I'm really good at teaching information, but it's just this confidence road block.) My contract is a year long so I'm not locked into anything and if I hate it I don't have to renew it. I could try to get a non teaching job but I also doubt I can do that with an Art Education Degree and make a good salary. The only saving grace I have is being a pro in Photoshop and design. I also never really heard of people changing careers away from teaching either. Is it even possible? I ask this because if I do hate teaching, it's not okay for me to stay in it for the kid's sake (they need a passionate teacher instead of a depressed person) I hope that I will be happier with this job and I will be pleasantly surprised, but I want to know ways a new teacher can balance social life and hobbies with their job! I don't want to be guilty that I'm not working at teaching if I am having lunch with friends for example. I just know that if I don't interact with real adults my age, I will be a sad sack. I also know if I don't ever find a moment to relax I will become a stressed horrible unhealthy shell of a person. (stress physically hurts my body soooo I have to find time to relax.)

    I hope that some of you guys have some nice things to say about teaching or some advice? I know this is a lot of info and insecurities I'm ranting about, but if I could just get some solid info that would mean the world! Thank you!
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Aug 12, 2015

    First off, I am terribly sorry that you had to go through an experience like that while student teaching. That is something that no one should have to know.

    Second, it is fairly normal to be a "scared new teacher". More normal to be one than to not, I think. The teacher who told you that you would hate your job was rotten. There is no predetermined factor here that means you are destined to be miserable.

    The best advice I can give you is to work to find just a hint of the passion that got you interested in teaching in the first place. I'm an elementary teacher, so maybe others will have better ideas on how to do that, but I especially like the Ron Clark books and LOL'ed when reading Educating Esme, a book about a first year teacher.

    I'm from a small town, so I get feeling like there is nothing to do, but keep trying and you'll find something. It might be with people older than you, it could be volunteering somewhere, heck, it might be driving a couple of hours to a close-ish city to meet up with a running group or gaming group or some other random group you find on a site like MeetUp. But keep looking. It is worth it to try things, and it gets harder to find motivation the more you sit around and think about how you have nothing to do (speaking from personal experience here!).

    If nothing else, you're there for a year. You'll have a year of experience, and you can apply for a job somewhere else, either in teaching or out, if you decide that the town or school aren't for you.

    Good luck! :love::love::love:

    One last note... you mentioned not having time for anything outside of school. Don't let this become a self-fulfilling prophecy. One of the easiest ways to become miserable is to skip out on self-care!
     
  4. Deuces 88

    Deuces 88 Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2015

    Agree with the previous poster. do the job for the year, see if you like it. I searched for a teaching job for years. When i got my first job no joke i almost quit. I literally almost walked in to the principals office and resigned several times i was so high strung. My family pushed me into not making that decision and several years later now i'm glad i didn't.

    People used to tell me it will get easier, i used to think they were just saying that to make me feel better, but they were right. The beginning months can be extremely rough. Yes they can be time consuming, but it does get easier! You may spend some extra time those first few months, but after you won't have to. You'll figure out new strategies and learn to manage your time. For example at the beginning lesson plans may seem time consuming. By December it'll prob take you 1/4 the time to complete them.

    As for teachers being negative. I think any job you get into you'll have people like that. Think about it, how many people really like their jobs. I hear teachers complain as well. But i think its just something everyone does. I bet those same teachers don't complain when they have multiple days off every couple months including the summers off.

    Every district or town is different with different school systems. You may work in one that you hate and go to the next one and love it.
    Try it for a year, do your best. If you don't like it your still 23. You have time to either switch districts or find a new career path. As previously mentioned it'll also help that you have one year experience going forward.

    Best advice, be approachable, ask questions. If you have an opportunity to help someone in a small way do it. Like carrying something, holding a door, covering a class for 2 mins so a teacher can use the bathroom. It's a small way you can contribute and make people see you in a positive light.
     
  5. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Aug 12, 2015

    I cried every day for the first month.....fast forward five year, I can't wait to start the year. It does get better. You learn from your past expiernces and mistakes and make it better. My suggestion is make sure you fit in relaxation time just for you and don't be afraid to ask for help! I agree with the other pp, smile, smile, smile, and be approachable to all. You can do this!
     
  6. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    Aug 13, 2015

    I am so sorry you had such a terrible, traumatic student teaching experience. No one should have to deal with something like that.

    I saw this article on facebook the other day and your post made me think of this (long but definitely worth a read!):

    http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/marigolds/

    It's written for new teachers, but it applies to all teachers I think. It's so important to find those positive people who will boost you up instead of telling you how much the job sucks, or how you are going to cry every day.

    It can be hard to see the positive when you are surrounded by such negativity. Try to remind yourself why you went into teaching - there had to have been a reason!

    You WILL have a life outside of teaching if you give yourself one. Make sure you manage your time well while you are in the building, and you will be fine. There will be times where you will be stressed, and yes maybe you will even cry, but just focus on the students and everything will be okay. You can always come on here and vent if you need to! :) Or if you need advice.

    And like you said, your contract is only for a year, so if after the year you decide teaching isn't for you, then you can move on. And yes, people do transition out of teaching!

    In terms of yearbook, you will be fine!! I had zero yearbook experience and was put in charge of it this past year with absolutely no guidance. Not going to lie, it was a complete headache and a pain in the neck, but it got done in the end! We didn't start the process until March, and we only met once a week. I'm sure that you will have much more time. I would just look through previous years' yearbooks, if you can get them, for inspiration/ideas.

    HUGS! You will be okay!!! <3
     
  7. misswteaches

    misswteaches Companion

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    Aug 14, 2015

    I'm so sorry you went through that; I think you should be proud of yourself for giving teaching a chance after what you experienced. A lot of people would have given up already. So maybe you are meant to be a teacher! :)
    I've heard a lot of negativity too...you'll cry every day...my first year was horrible...I feel sorry for my first year students...as soon as you get used to it you'll switch positions...I'm so sorry you have students X Y and Z...you'll have to have help...etc. It's not exactly helpful, is it?

    I encourage myself that it's just one year. If I hate it I'll move to another country and teach in a grass hut (I'm not even kidding...this is really what I have decided...)
    Definitely give it some time. YOU decide how you teach, how you feel about your job, and how you spend your free time!

    Also, if you want to keep in touch throughout the year you can private message me! School starts next week and I wouldn't mind having someone who's also scared to talk to.
     
  8. Merc

    Merc Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2015

    Hey, sounds like you had a brutal experience and may have suffered some PTSD as well. Its ok to be scared. I'm going into my 5th year in one of the most violent school districts in my state, and I still get scared at times! My first year was crazy, like yours. I was caught in the middle of a full fledged riot, had several students murdered and had threats leveled against me constantly. I don't know how I survived. My last 4 years has seen the extreme violence drop massively. That first year gave me the knowledge to deal with all sorts of crazy. And its been easier and easier as time goes on.

    I think a lot of anxiety comes with doing something new. I wouldn't worry about meeting new people in a small rural town. You might be surprised at how many people are there. Keep an open mind. Its probably going to be much easier than your last go around.
     
  9. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Aug 14, 2015

    I agree with the above posts.
    I was recalling some of the mistakes that I made when I began teaching that might be helpful to mention.
    1. My biggest mistake was trying to "save time" by not eating correctly and not getting enough physical activity and sleep. It resulted in not feeling well and being too sluggish during the day, and as a result I ended up losing more time than I saved. I was an elementary teacher my first year, and I literally fell asleep during a spelling test one day! The kids' giggling immediately snapped me out of it, (and I just laughed with them and went on with the test). I learned to concentrate on vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, especially adding green leafy vegetables like kale, and plenty of water, daily. Too much reliance on fast foods became a disaster for me. 30 minutes of activity 5-7 days per week, such as walking, will also be a time saver--I was surprised, but it works.
    2. As time went on, I realized I was being too diligent; in other words, I'd spend too much time on some things, and there were many unnecessary tasks that I added onto myself. I learned to focus on the curriculum, and add my own ideas as time allowed, which it would.
    3. I wish I would have started this sooner in my career, but I've found much help in taking 30 minutes to relax after school; either relax individual muscles at a time, or I find it easier to just concentrate on any part that feels tense until I'm totally relaxed. Then I think about something pleasant--I personally prefer going over Bible verses I've memorized. (It's also a great way to get to sleep at night!)
    4. I've taught in small towns and big cities. I prefer small towns and have found they can be surprisingly large in their offerings for fellowship or entertainment--I guess with less to offer, more effort is concentrated on what is available. A great way to find what is available is through the local newspaper.
    I wish you much success! Trust us, give it a shot; I think you'll find this career quite rewarding! For me, it got to the point where, no matter how I felt in the morning, when the students entered the classroom, I was the happiest person on earth, and each day of teaching was the highlight of my day. Honest! Even the stressful days were somehow enjoyable. (I'd see them as an interesting challenge to solve). And though I was ready for a break come June, by July I'd be counting down the days waiting for school to start again.
     
  10. vlcmchick

    vlcmchick Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2015

    Everyone else has covered the life stuff pretty well, so I will just focus on yearbook. I did it my first year teaching as well, and it wasn't my favorite thing, but I made it through and you will too!

    Like you, I am adept in Photoshop and InDesign....but sadly, those probably won't be what you use. It's just too expensive to buy licenses for the kids to use. And you DO NOT want to make it all yourself!

    We had specialized, web-based software that the school had been using for a while. It wasn't too bad to use. Check with the outgoing teacher, or if that isn't possible, ask the office manager/school secretary. He/she will probably know where the checks were written.

    Definitely find old yearbooks and see what everyone will be expecting.

    My biggest piece of advice: from day one, start getting pictures, whether it means sending a student or asking for submissions. (Do not try to go photograph everything yourself--that's the kids' job!) I waited until later and it was the biggest pain the butt trying to find stuff from the beginning of the year. You can start working on layouts right away and try to avoid some of the end of the year madness.
     
  11. Bak2Math

    Bak2Math Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2015

    I am in the research phase of becoming a teacher and thus like to read these boards... but I am coming from a very stressful job. I don't know how I came across the serenity prayer, it's well known in 12 step programs and alcoholics anonymous (neither of which I have been in), but I still found it very helpful in getting through the days sometimes. Here is the first version I came across with a quick google search.

    "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference."
    -Reinhold Niebuhr

    If you haven't seen it before I hope it helps.

    And it sounds like you still need therapy. Boards like this are great. But you still need to work through things that should not be mentioned on these boards.
     
  12. Mintcookiecat

    Mintcookiecat New Member

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    Aug 19, 2015

    I want to say thanks so much for answering me and giving me such nice answers. When I wrote this I wasn’t in a good place, but reading these posts really helps with my anxiety about teaching and it doesn’t make me feel as alone. I’m going to go into this year not knowing what I am doing, but giving it my best shot. I decided to make a schedule and focus on time management so I can get everything done and still have time to relax by painting every day. I met a few of my students today about yearbook and they seemed really kind and nice. I think that as long as I know that there are some great kids in my classes, I will feel a lot better.

    I’m still nervous for the first day of school, since I don’t know what to expect, but now I just want it to come and be over with. I feel as if my anxiety will lesson once I know what to expect out of this school and my students. I’ll be stressed for planning, but I will be able to handle myself, I have more confidence in my abilities as a teacher. Also, I think I will let you guys know what happens to me. I’ll be sure to update monthly on my status as a teacher. I’m planning to write a diary as well. I don’t know if I am going to be a teacher that will make it past my first 2 years, but I will just go into this year with a positive outlook. I can’t beat myself up for my mistakes, because I’m new and everyone knows I will make mistakes, so it’s okay. I will learn to let things go, be flexible, and try to be happy because that is all I can do.
     
  13. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Aug 20, 2015

    My first year, I taught in a very small town and was in charge of yearbook (I had no clue how to do it). This was 20 years ago, but back then, Jostens was the yearbook printer, and they had consultants who helped with everything by phone. Also, the kids who chose to do yearbook were type A overachievers, and they were super competent, especially the ones who had done it the year before. That part should be fine. I mainly edited their writing.

    I found the kids in the rural town to be very polite, but they didn't attend school regularly. And they could have multi-week excused absences during hunting season, which was a shocker to this city gal.

    Yes there were bad days, but there were many amazing, wonderful things that happened, too. Find the "ray of sunshine" staff members, and hang out with them. I also went to the school counselor on a particularly tough day, and he was a great support.

    Wishing you a great year,
    Leatherette
     

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