second day on my own and

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by smannes, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. smannes

    smannes Companion

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    Sep 11, 2007

    I'm ready to quit. I feel like such a failure. I took over for a retiring teacher and today was my 2nd day on my own. I don't know if I can do the job. I wake up at 5am to get to school by 7am. I don't leave school until at least 7pm then it's a 35 minute drive home. I'm exhausted and feel so unprepared for tomorrow. I have 26 kids in my class and they are so not on their level (I teach 4th grade). We were doing math today and they were to do the even numbered problems. Guess what? Half of the class didn't know what even numbers were. I assigned spelling homework, to write definitions. Half of the class told me they didn't have dictionaries at home. I felt horrible. I had to change the assignment. I want to buy them all dictionaries, or at least ones they can use in the room (I only have 7 in my room). I haven't gotten paid yet and I had been unemployed for 2 months prior. Therefore I have no money. Then I get called to a mtg this afternoon after school and they're conducting a student assistent mtg about one of my kids and I have absolutely no idea what's going on. 4:30pm hit and I just started to cry and have been crying ever since. I don't even know where to start. I'm afraid I will fail these kids.
     
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  3. Linda8416

    Linda8416 Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2007

    i feel you. Its hard at the beginning. Just tough it out and speak with the other teachers to see if they can give you and suggestions. Dont give up, those kids need you.. and dont need someone to quit on them...
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2007

    Take a deep breath. Now go back and re-read your post. Is it all possible that you're being just the tiniest bit too hard on yourself???

    You walked into a position after the school year had already started. Of COURSE you don't know it all... YOU weren't there, but there were conversations and memos and meetings before you got there. It will take you a little time to get up to speed... that's entirely normal.

    I observed a new teacher on Friday-- she was teaching a freshman (HS) Algebra I class. It took her several minutes to explain the homework problems: she wanted them to do the multiples of 3 from 3 to 60. So your 4th graders struggling with which problems are the evens sound pretty much what's to be expected. I bet they can count by 2's... they may have forgotten that there's a name for numbers divisible by 2. And last year's teacher (and this' year's teacher(s) ) just didn't assign problems that way. So relax, explain it, and move on.

    It's also entirely possible that they DO have dictionaries in their homes, but just don't know about them. If they've never gotten homework that required one before, they just may not know about where their parents keep the dictionary. We have a dictionary and a thesauras, but I'm not sure my 2 older kids would realize it if the teachers asked. Is there a glossary in the back of one of the textbooks you can use for those skills until you can speak to someone to get a better idea?

    You will NOT fail these kids. No one who cares as much as you do could possibly fail them. But I think you are failing yourself just a bit. Give yourself a break, OK? It will get easier, I promise!
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 11, 2007

    It may seem like an impossibility, but you can do this. Sometimes it is shocking when you find out what kids can't do (my 3rd graders didn't know how to put their spelling words in ABC order). Other times, they will surprise you and come up with great responses out of the blue.

    First of all, you are spending too much time at school. Wearing yourself out won't make you a better teacher. Find some daily lessons that are worthwhile but require the kids to work harder than you do. When the kids write in journals, read silently, work on editing, or write responses to literature, take a one minute breather for yourself and regroup. Read aloud daily, for your sake and theirs. Have short activities ready in a binder for when you need them - brain teasers, magic square puzzles, even math computation review.

    Keep protein snacks (a few nuts, piece of cheese) in your lunchbox to nibble on.

    Don't focus on what they can't do. Don't focus on what you can't do, either.
     
  6. sasafras1000

    sasafras1000 Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2007

    I feel your pain. Whoever said teaching was easy? I seriously want to punch people who say teachers have it so easy; weekends off, nights off, summer off. Yeah right. I pull long days (though not 7 to 7, I make myself leave at 5 or 5:30, though I take tons of work home).

    Anyway, I am a new teacher and feel like I have no clue what I am doing. I have to fill out all these forms and put a bunch of kids on instructional plans (just today I learned what they are). Then all these terms are thrown at me and I have no clue what they mean. I feel like my kids are really low, especially in writing and they get tested in that at the end of the year. But I do know things will get better; soon I will know what I am doing. I guess if your kids don't have the background knowledge then give it to them. I just gave a test and I realized some of my kids don't know what some words mean such as decrease and increase. So I need to make sure I go over it with them and clarify those things. As time goes on I'm sure you'll be amazed at how much better they are doing.

    What I am trying to say is things will get better. It sucks to be new anywhere, especially teaching. You not only have to meet new people, figure out school policies, learn the ropes, and on top of that teach. Just do your best and don't be afraid to ask for help. No one that is worth anything will deny you help. Good luck and keep your chin up.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2007

    I totally agree with the above posters. Take time to breathe! It's just the beginning of the year, and things WILL get better. If your students aren't getting a particular concept then go back and reteach it. And it is tough to come into the school year when it has already started, so don't be too hard on yourself!! I wish you luck for the rest of the year.
     
  8. wdwteach

    wdwteach Cohort

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    Sep 11, 2007

    Maybe a small tip from a former 4th/5th teacher? For Math, I always gave a worksheet. We did a random sampling of the problems on the overhead together in class and the rest were for seatwork or homework. If they took notes well and were attentive, I let one kid choose one more problem that we would do together. Any word problems at the bottom of the page were for a bonus point. Really try to incent them. Make the assignments not too long for now. Short for them to do and short for you to grade. Tell them you are giving them a great deal and you expect them to try every problem in return.
    As for Spelling homework, a puzzle (word search, scramble, or crossword) of the words is a good, semi-fun homework activity that they can all do. I hope this helps to lighten your load a little. Hang in there!
     
  9. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Sep 13, 2007

    It is hard to be a new teacher stepping into someone elses shoes. Give yourself a break and take a deep breath. The kids will not be traumatized or damaged if a lesson/homework does not work.
    Just a few tips I have learned:
    Always have them start the homework in class, let them do the first 3+ and walk around and check to make sure they are on track... then they have no reason to be unsure of what was expected (although 1 always will).
    Also, pretend it is day one. Give them work that will allow you to assess their levels. Give some sample 4th grade problems from your math text and see what they know OR pull some questions from a colleagues 3rd grade Language Arts book and see if they can answer them. That will give you a starting point.

    In spelling/vocab, instead of homework, give them 5 minutes at the end of each class to complete the definitions - if they can't get them all done by say Thursday, then have them join you for a few minutes at recess to complete them.

    You CAN do this! You have passion, I can feel it in your post. It just takes time - there is a huge learning curve for new teachers. Don't give up!
     

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