Should I quit?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Newkindermom, May 25, 2016.

  1. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    May 25, 2016

    Hello,

    I am considering quitting my position as a kindergarten teacher and trying to find a special education position. I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice…
    I have been teaching K for two years, before this I was a (very good, if I do say so) special ed teacher. In my role as a special ed teacher, I mostly taught phonics programs and remedial math for small groups of students with disabilities all day and felt like I was missing out on all those fun activities you get to partake in as a classroom teacher. I wanted to see what it would be like to have my own classroom... share stories, do art projects, teach science, and get to work with a variety of students, as opposed to just the struggling students.
    Well, while most of my students have made great progress and growth in their learning, I really struggle with managing behaviors and also day to day classroom management (ex- organizing the activities of the day or even planning movement in the classroom). I feel like I am constantly managing behaviors (not effectively) and that is all I do all day… and it is not fun. I work in an urban area where the behaviors in my school are out of control. I know if I worked in a suburban area it might be different, but I am worried it won't be. I still might struggle with managing behaviors and organizing activities for a large group of students. I just wonder if I don't have the personality for managing large groups.. I have read just about every classroom management book out there and it hasn't helped, though I have improved a bit over 2 years.
    I feel sad because about 10 years ago, I set out to become a classroom teacher and I was so excited about it!! I ended up going into special ed because I had that certification and at the time there was a job shortage in my area. It feels wrong to give up something I worked so long for, but I also don't want to move to a new school district and continue to feel like I'm struggling all the time. My school has also been a really stressful environment to work in and it's been a tough 2 years...
    My question is… if you are a veteran teacher, did managing behaviors become much easier as you gained experience? If you switched grade levels, was it a big difference switching from early childhood to older grades? Did anyone switch to sped and never look back??
    Thanks for you help!!
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    May 26, 2016

    I would think that an interim position as in class support may help pay the bills, while giving you a front row seat in other teacher's classrooms, providing exemplars free of charge. You can learn from what they do right, as well as what they do wrong. It is easier to see in others traits we may share with them. Finding out how they conquered their demons may create a path or course of action that would do the same for you. Just a thought.
     
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  4. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    May 26, 2016

    I would say classroom management takes a few years to find your niche. Also each class is different and has different needs. I sucked so bad my first 2 years. I got better over time but it wasn't until my 8th year I realized it. This year I have a few challenging students that are making me question how good my classroom management is again but I realize that a majority of my students respect the routines and the few challenging ones have different needs in order to be managed.

    My 2 best managed classes were different grades K and 5th. So switching levels might not make much of a difference really until you know what works for you personally. I do better with managing older kids because of my personality. But the one year I taught K I stepped out of my regular personality and figured out what worked for that class. I personally don't like managing 2nd grade, I was in that grade for a few years and my personality just didn't mesh well with those ages even though I survived those years.
     
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  5. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    May 26, 2016

    Thanks Bunnie, for saying you didn't do great your first two years.. Maybe I shouldn't give up as it seems like it's gotten better for you. This was just a really bad year and I have lost a lot of confidence in myself.
     
  6. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    May 27, 2016

    If you are dedicated to trying to classroom management better, you'll be ok.
     
  7. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    May 27, 2016

    I definitely wouldn't quit, but do what you need to do to get into SPED. Teaching jobs are a bear to find (I know firsthand), so it would be tough to give one up for just about anything. Asking for help is a good positive step towards that end.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 27, 2016

    If you felt you were a good sped teacher, why not go back to that? I've done both and honestly prefer gen ed, but I had to go back to sped to get into a better school (the school I taught gen ed in was absolutely horrible).

    What kind of school did you teach sped in? I've only worked in low SES schools. I actually find management to be harder in sped, but I suppose this would depend on your school population. In gen ed even though I had many tough students, I also had a lot of good peer models. In sped, it's not uncommon for the whole group to consist of severe behavior students (with no positive peer models or just 1 or 2 very outnumbered peer models). Often, my kids are separated in different gen ed classes because they set each other off behavior-wise, but in my class they are 3 feet away from each other. I also found it easier to build relationships and a positive classroom climate having the same students all day. Although I do have good relationships with most of my students now, I would bet that all of them still consider their gen ed teacher to be their "real" teacher and it's hard to build a classroom climate when you only have kids for 30-60 minutes per day.

    That said, Kindergarten can be a lot more challenging than other grade levels, IMO. Our kids come in really developmentally behind (even the gen ed kids) and even though they're 5, they may think/act more like a 2-3 year old. It's also tough for it to be their first "real" school experience. You might find management to be a lot easier in 1st or 2nd grade.
     
  9. Newkindermom

    Newkindermom Rookie

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    May 28, 2016

    Waterfall, I switched from sped to gen ed because I had always wanted to try it and a position came available at my school in kinder. Honesty I would not have chosen kinder but that was what was available and what the principal offered me. I taught sped in this school as well, I totally agree that it is hard to create community as a sped teacher.. And I also felt like I was constantly having to accommodate other teachers (more like an aide than a teacher). I also had to sub in classrooms all over the building as a sped teacher and didn't want to do that anymore... I decided I would rather just have my own.
    I actually had a much easier time managing my sped students although I did have behaviors but they were mostly grade 1 students!
    I feel like kinder just might not be for me but maybe I could try to find a position in an older grade and give that a try before returning to sped because there are so many aspects of gen ed I do like.
    This class was just super challenging and needy.. And were way way below meeting kinder standards for behavior or academics... So it was so tiring everyday.
    I also had an awful principal who has really been giving me a hard time.. To the point that I have lost a lot of confidence in myself and don't even feel comfortable being at this school anymore (another reason for finding a new job). The school is also an urban school with kids who come into school not ready at all and then teachers are forced to use practices that are not developmentally appropriate, no recess , no play, etc. It's been hard.
     

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