should I just quit?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Kenz501, Dec 2, 2017.

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  1. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I'm not working at the youth center anymore. I've got a better teaching job, and I should be doing okay, but, in some ways, the same thing is happening. I now have a whole class of middle school students to look after, and I'm not doing as well as my coworkers at all. I feel like I have no idea how to do this job, and I think I'm bringing almost nothing to the table. I have an idea of what I want to be, and I'm embarrassed, upset, and frustrated that I can't turn my classroom into Ron Clark Academy. I feel like I've lost any rapport I've had with my students by making and breaking promises, being too disorganized to function properly, assigning work that they haven't been trained to do, and allowing the kids who want a little extra attention rule the classroom.

    I'm failing as an educator, even though I've asked for help. I can't keep up with the suggestions other people have given me, and it probably looks like I don't even care. I do care, though, but I'm so upset that I don't know what I'm doing, and I don't think I'm helping the kids at all. Why is it like this? Why didn't teacher education prepare me for the job I wanted? Why can't I do this job effectively? It's almost Christmas, and I still feel lost and confused. I still feel like my students would rather be anywhere but in my classroom, while laughter and fun fill the halls next to me. I know my students expect more. I think they're disappointed in me, and if I can't get them on my side, what can I do?

    I think the most frustrating part is I don't have a friend in my department who will share her lesson plans with me. I also don't really have anyone in education to go to when I don't understand something, and it seems like I'm still making the same dumb mistakes.

    I'm no longer struggling as a teacher against impossible odds at an inner-city school; I'm just a new educator failing at a relatively good school where my coworkers send their own children. This is humiliating at least. Why am I doing such a terrible job? I'm to blame this time, no one but me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
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  3. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Have you sought out counseling yet? I really think that’s the next step. Stop worrying so much about school and worry about you.
     
  4. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    What good will counseling do? The counselor doesn't know what goes on at my job.
     
  5. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    A counselor could help you process your feelings and help with coping skills.
     
  6. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Coping skills for what? Being incompetent? I don't want coping strategies; I want a cure.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    The coping strategy may be the cure. Or at least part of the cure. If you can deal with the small issues, then you are more able to deal with the bigger issues.

    And if you are looking for a quick fix, you aren't going to find it.
     
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  8. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Fixating on failings probably leads to more failing.
     
  9. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I'm sorry; I'm just frustrated. Why am I failing at a job that I would absolutely love if I knew how to do it? Why can't I figure out how to properly handle discipline, grading papers, connecting with kids, and coming up with engaging activities? Why is it almost Christmas, and I'm still probably performing like someone in her first couple of weeks of teaching?
     
  10. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    So teaching is not for everyone. A teaching program builds on the skills you have acquired to that point in life. I don't think it is a matter of being in your first few weeks vs first few years. Some people a lot of this does come naturally to and others have to build the skills. Teaching is a job that requires a lot of emotional intelligence and a lot of skills in everything from organization to critical thinking. It is a multi-faceted job and one that requires you to be able to think on your feet and adjust to an onslaught of change. Only you can answer if teaching is for you but if you want to give it a go, know that many individuals with many different skills and needs are successful teachers. If you want to give it a go, I would make a list of what is problematic for you, prioritize those things and pick the most important ones to focus on. If you can make progress on those few things, it will make a difference. I would also encourage you to look up Michelle Garcia Winner. She is a specialist in social communication and some of her stuff might help you work on those things you are finding difficult (like feeling comfortable circulating in your classroom).
     
  11. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Sorry, I'm just so frustrated that I feel like crying. I went to school, got a master's degree, and went in to debt to learn this profession, and I feel like I know nothing. I also feel like no one will teach it to me, because I either "should have learned it during student teaching..." or "will learn it once out in the field..." No one treats painting or carpentry work like this. No one just expects you to know everything when you first begin the job, but here you have to put in so much work and still come out looking like you don't know what you are doing.

    It doesn't help that the others can make it look really easy.
     
  12. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I also sometimes feel like I have very few marketable skills in general...I have ASD, most likely, so I'm not good with people. I can get really lonely, but no one cares. I just have to deal with it. I'm so disorganized that it doesn't make sense, and I sometimes can't find things when they are properly organized, for some reason. I sometimes forget to comb my hair, or I feel like it's too much work...
     
  13. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Please don’t take this as an insult. I’m genuinely worried about you. Are you looking for someone to tell you it’s ok to quit? If it’s not making you happy, that’s what you should do. You have a right to be happy.
     
  14. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    How am I going to be happy with no job and a mound of student loan debt? I don't know how things are where you live, but supply teaching does not pay well, and long-term positions are difficult to find anyway. I'm just upset because it seems like I missed a step or two, and no one is willing to fill in those gaps for me. I get that I'm on my own now, but that's just not the way things work. You find jobs where you can, and you work to make money and survive, even though sometimes your personality doesn't fit with your position.
     
  15. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Plus, I'm not doing THAT bad. I'm just so frustrated that I could do better if I could get A, B, or C right. I don't understand why I can't get someone to help. Our school doesn't have an instructional coach but maybe a more experienced teacher could chip in? The more experienced teacher would probably do it for someone else, but she's probably getting tired of me...
     
  16. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    We are all too overworked to look over another teachers shoulder to fill in gaps. It’s an unreasonable expectation. Even an instructional coach isn’t designed to hold your hand and predict your shortcomings. They model practices for you. You then must apply. You spend a lot of time posting here. You could be watching examples on teahing channel that you could attempt to replicate. https://www.teachingchannel.org/

    You could do many other jobs besides teaching. I’m not suggesting you try living on the street like a homeless person.
     
  17. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    What other jobs could I do? I've trained to be a teacher for seven years, and I'm still failing.

    Thanks. There's a way out of this; I'm just really frustrated right now, because I can't do the job, even though I've done the things a person does when he or she wants to learn how to do something. I'm sorry, but that's just very frustrating and unfair. I get that "life isn't fair," but it's hard to see people getting opportunities every day that I never had as a child and not being able to be a part of that in some way. I just don't matter. No one cares that I even exist, and I'm not contributing anything of value.
     
  18. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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  19. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Nope. I've interviewed for that, too. I can't multitask well, remember?

    Thanks for the link, though. I guess I just need to study, keep failing, and keep trying to pull my own weight. If I ever do learn enough to keep a teaching job, I guess I'll pay it forward by giving my student teacher all of the help and support he or she could imagine.
     
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Kenz501--I'm really worried about you right now. If you were one of my students, or one of my friends, I would be calling a crisis hotline with/for you. Right now, you need to work on you; when you are this anxious and stressed you can't possibly work on the teaching skills you want to develop.

    It sounds as though you have a vision in your mind of what a "perfect" teacher looks like and you are frustrated because you can't see how you can possibly get there. You won't get there all at once. It's a process. Many of the things you are struggling with should have been addressed through your teaching training program and student teaching. If they weren't, that's unfortunate, but that can't be changed. What is the number one thing you need to change in your classroom, starting on Monday, to make things run more smoothly?
     
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  21. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I have two or three precious little darlings that are sometimes total imps. Yesterday, I was giving the students a practice exam, and one of my classes just erupted. I didn't get a chance to see what happened, but it was pretty distracting. There was loud talking and a lot of things that were really irritating me. You know. It's a testing situation; the kids are supposed to be quiet enough to hear a pen drop, but one student kept accusing the students outside of talking and distracting her; I think she was doing it on purpose to distract the other students, and I thought about writing her up for it, but the other students joined in and told me they were making noise outside. I checked outside, and I didn't see anything but a group of students quietly taking tests. That was extremely irritating. It's irritating when they won't do what I tell them to and I have to constantly remind them.

    I also feel like I've somehow gotten to a point where the office doesn't really do anything when I send a kid out. I've gotten at least one or two of my troublemakers returned to me with no notice of disciplinary action being taken.
     
  22. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    That's probably an accurate deduction. After a while, they will simply tune you out. And that means the students and admin.
     
  23. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Are you saying they've already written me off as a bad teacher, and they won't help me anymore?
     
  24. CharRMS

    CharRMS Companion

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    What specifically about teaching do you want someone to help you with? If you could ask for one specific piece what would it be?
     
  25. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    teaching something my students understood would be nice...
     
  26. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    How do you think that’s done?
     
  27. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    in my case, probably through fun games that get and keep the students' attention...
     
  28. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    No, I'm saying that you can only go to that well so many times before it dries up. Well over a quarter into the school year, there are expectations that you will start dealing with misbehavior "in house", or stop them from occurring in the first place. It becomes your job to find a way to prevent students from creating the distractions in the first place. Change the seating chart, create a seating chart, create acceptable behaviors that you can reward. You can't buy their cooperation, but you can reward it, subtly, once it starts to appear more often. For that to happen, you have to recognize the good behaviors, be attuned to your students, if you want more of the same.

    https://www.succeedsocially.com/
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  29. CharRMS

    CharRMS Companion

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    Have you mentioned what subject you teach? You may have and I missed it. First, not everything can be taught through fun games. You will wear yourself out trying to make everything a game. Sometimes you have to teach through notes and practice. Games are good, but not for every single lesson and skill.
     
  30. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Has anyone observed you in your class yet? What have they had to say?
     
  31. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    OP teaches MS science.
     
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  32. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    OP, I would suggest that you use some of the time you spend online to work on the problems you bemoan. I think I counted 3-4 new threads that you started in about 24 hours. I understand that you are trying to find help, but your threads tend to overlap, meaning you are writing the same lament over and over. Perhaps a self assessment on your part would help identify specific problems so that you can get more specific strategies. Just a thought.
     
  33. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    That is in fact, not how it’s done.

    You start by looking at your standards to determine what you need to teach. From there you create an objective. Students will be able to (insert here). This objective doesn’t need to be a secret. Let them know what they will be learning.

    Want to go inquiry-based? Google 5E Lesson format. Otherwise I think I remember you saying you had a textbook. That is as good as any place to start when you feel lost.
     
  34. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Get your behaviour management in order first. Without that, the best laid teaching plans will not be successful. At MS, I find trying to form meaning relationships with students based on Mutual respect to be the best way forward. You would probably have to go out of your comfort zone for this. Be prepared to follow through on everything, ring parents regularly etc.
    And whilst that is happening, like Always Attend has mentioned, look at the Standards and curriculum you have to teach, then think about the most effective teaching strategies to teach the Standards. In MS science, you are spoiled for choice. You can’t always use games as the only strategy, because it would get stale after a while, and students do have to learn to self-regulate their behaviour even if that particular lesson is ‘boring’. You can play physical and online games, you can get students to do PBL, you can have self-directed learning through webquests, you can have explicit teaching, you can do hands-on activities and experiments, demonstrations, think-pair-share, debates etc.
     
  35. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Just so I don’t get called out on this later, this is for this teacher to deliver lessons. I use UBD framework (more or less) for curriculum and units when I’m writing from scratch. I realized I didn’t talk about that in keeping it simple.
     
  36. Kenz501

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    Sorry if I confused anyone earlier. I was teaching a lot of different subjects at the youth center, including science and math, but here I'm teaching English / Language Arts, which I have a bachelor's degree in. I have a lot of choices, and the standards are not that specific. The advice I received was to find a lesson and then pick standards that go with it.

    I've been given a lot of help, including access to a few web-based applications that will help the students prepare for their tests. I just wish I were doing a better job. So many factors go into all of this. If I'm tired, the kids might decide to totally ignore me, for instance.
     
  37. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    OP, where did the diagnosis of being on the spectrum come from, and when? There should be no "probably" involved when it comes to a diagnosis like that.
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Did I miss this?
     
  39. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    OP has alluded to this on numerous threads, but uses terminology like "probably" or "likely" on the spectrum or having Asperger's. It would affect executive function and organization, but I am just wondering if it is an official diagnosis or self diagnosis.
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Ah, gotcha. Yes, I'd like some more clarification on this, too, OP.
     
  41. Kenz501

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    I was diagnosed at the psychology clinic at the college I was attending at the time and qualified for special education services. I say "likely" and "probably" because I was diagnosed by a student under the supervision of a doctor, and in the state I came from, people with an "official" diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder can apply for a card from the health department that identifies them as such, for first responders, like any other disability. I don't have that card, but I did have a doctor who was seeing me for severe OCD, and she also held the opinion that I most likely had ASD.

    I'm now living and working in another state, and I'm not sure what I would need to do to qualify for extra help. I'm also reluctant to get tested again, because my brain sometimes does funny things; it's sometimes really hard to detect that anything is wrong with me, and I think the doctors could easily miss it on my good days. On a really bad day when I'm having OCD flare ups, it might look like something more serious, even like psychosis because I sometimes say things aloud to calm myself down. Of course, I've developed coping mechanisms to hide this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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