Slump/Unpleasant year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by yellowdaisies, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Mar 14, 2017

    Has anyone had just basically a bad year and then bounced back from it and rediscovered their passion for teaching? Are slumps like this normal?

    I'm a fifth year teacher, and I'm just not having a good year. There are lots of reasons I won't go into here, but I'll just say it's due to both kids and adults.

    I'm taking steps to secure a new position for next year. I need to change schools. I've known that since the beginning of October. I also think I may need a grade level change, although changing schools/districts is first priority. I'm starting to wonder if 5th is not the grade for me and I just got really lucky with two awesome classes the last two years. Maybe those were flukes.

    What I'm most worried about is that the way I feel about my job this year might be permanent. For the last 4 years and for years before that (I've basically been working with kids since I was 13 without many breaks), I've absolutely loved teaching. It's been my passion and a huge part of my identity. I have never second guessed my career decision for a second, even on hard days. This year, though, I'm struggling to get through each day and each week. I'm not feeling the passion I once did. I haven't taken work home in months, just for my own survival. I used to search blogs and websites for lesson ideas for fun all the time. I just can't this year. I've had a total shift in my attitude towards the profession I once loved.

    Has this ever happened to anyone? Did a change in position/grade level/location help you regain your passion? I really don't want this to be permanent. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't teach. I've never wanted to do anything else.
     
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  3. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I just stopped doing work at home. In some ways, this has been a blessing. I'm able to explore other things and take care of some life responsibilities like a normal human being. Sometimes I miss the energy, though. I was really obsessed with my job, and it was kind of exciting. Now it's just....my job. I can't put a finger on what it is. I did switch schools this year, and it honestly hasn't helped. If anything, the more stable environment allowed me to give myself even more permission to step back, because I feel like the kids are going to be okay even if I'm not on Pinterest at 2am finding distinguished activities.

    The political climate 100% did me in. I feel attacked as an educator on a local, state, and national level. If history is any indication, this pendulum will swing back in our favor at some point. I'm just hanging out until then. I couldn't seriously entertain quitting just yet. I have no idea what else I'd do.
     
  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    In short, yes! Changing locations really helped me get back in the swing of things. For me, year 6 was really challenging, and this year, year 13, hads also just about done me in. One of my coworkers said the same thing happens to her every seven years--her bad ones have been 7, 14, and 21. I think some years are just like that. One of the great things about teaching is that June will come, so there is an end in sight. August will also come, giving you a fresh start. Hang in there!
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I was feeling like that last year (#6 for me). I agreed to take on a student teacher this year because I just wanted a new challenge. I'm not at all saying I was "phoning it in" last year, but I wasn't putting in as much effort as I usually do with things like being really well planned, etc. This year I had to do that because I wanted to be a good example for my ST. For me, it got me out of my slump and even though my ST is gone now, I'm still keeping up the pace with being extremely well planned/prepared/thoughtful etc. (and my data is amazing this year). The funny thing is, my ST was pretty bad and it wasn't quite the experience I had envisioned! Even so it was still a good experience to get me back on my toes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  6. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Mar 14, 2017

    Last year was my 5th year and I felt extremely burnt out and had lost my passion. I think I was just going through the motions all year. I switched schools and grade levels thinking it would help. While I'm happier at this school, I still have no desire to take work home, I still don't do the "Pinterest-y" lessons I used to, and I don't feel the love for teaching that I did my first few years.

    I'm looking to move into more of an admin/resource position for next year. I think I just need a break from the classroom.
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I hit a slump at the end of year six. Part of it was that I found balance and a groove so I wasn't constantly working anymore. Like a previous poster, I always found the planning and research energizing. Now I'm in a coaching role and really missing having my own classroom. When I go back to that, I know I will attack it again with new, refreshed energy.
     
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  8. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I once heard an administrator say that if you're not switching it up now and then throughout your career--school, grade, etc.--it's seen as, if not a red flag, at least in the pink area. Burn-out and boredom happen and the most energized teachers took precautions against that.

    A gal on my team is really struggling. Not with her teaching or management, that's fine, but her views on her job. Our school is Title 1 and a fairly tough crowd. Our team veteran says she generally loves Title 1 but has intentionally taught at richer schools at a few points just to refresh herself.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This must be my slump/unpleasant year, also my 5th year. Part of it was because I am in a new school that I really don't enjoy. I'm leaving after this though, hopefully on to better things.

    However year four at my previous school, though I loved that school, I could feel a slump oncoming just from doing the same things repeatedly.
     
  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 15, 2017

    This is my 4th year in my current position (5th year overall). I am extremely happy with my job and everything overall, and I wouldn't say I lost my passion, but I'm not as enthusiastic as I used to be. I used take work home - happily - , googled lessons and activities just for fun all the time, I was thinking ahead for months down the line, even next year, what novel we would be reading, new approaches, etc. I don't really do that anymore, but I am very comfortable, I'm not killing myself but I am producing great results. I relaxed and calmed down a lot.

    Maybe you're feeling this way, and somehow think you lost your passion for teaching? Don't confuse the two. And if you have a rough group of kids, not the best admin, it's easy to feel low about your job.
     
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  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I was starting to feel like I was burning out. Changing positions and schools has totally reenergized me.
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    These are really honest, self-appraising kinds of insights, so kudos to all of you. I really think that those of you who have managed to separate life and work are the healthiest among you. Sure, you want to rekindle the fire and excitement that was there in prior years, but isn't that just a normal ebb and flow of the job? Changing things up is usually a good thing, for many reasons, but so is recognizing that you are coping to a long-term commitment in a realistic way. Working yourself to death to be the most perky, Pinterest-y, enthused teacher is not a positive goal. Don't be so hard on yourselves!
     
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  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    This is really the point....the long-term commitment piece. I think I realized that if I genuinely love teaching and want to do it for 30 years, I couldn't possibly maintain the pace I was keeping. I had to detach to stay attached, in a way. It's definitely a VERY different mentality.
     
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  15. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Thanks for all the replies! They've given me a lot to think about.

    I definitely agree that some of it is shifting into the "long term relationship" point of view. It's kind of hard to get to that point. I see new teachers at my school (we have quite a few), and I honestly envy their passion and excitement about everything. But I don't envy the Sundays I know they spend doing work like I used to... ;)

    But the other part really is that it's time for me to move on. I don't want to go into too many details on here about why my year has been rough, but it definitely has.

    I think part of it is that I know I'm leaving - if not this year, then the next, or whenever I get a job elsewhere - and I don't feel that same long term commitment to my school that I once did. That really has changed my perspective.

    I definitely have read The Book Whisperer and implement a similar philosophy. :) I switched up my classroom structure a few weeks ago - added more structures, actually, because this group of kids needed it - and that did help some.
     
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  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I was feeling burnt out last year and the year prior (years 5 and 6). I switched to a new school between those two years, and I switched to another new school this year (year 7). Both of those years I was close to leaving the field altogether. I was burnt out!

    This time around, I very carefully researched schools and decided that I was not willing to accept just any job. It had to be the *right* job. Many things have changed: I got out of sped and went back to gen ed. I took a bit of a pay cut but countered that with a shorter commute and better working environment. I've adjusted my expectations for what is realistic, and I'm a bit less idealistic than I once was. As others have said, I've also adjusted my habits. I don't stay late as routinely as I once did, and I make time for myself and my hobbies. I go to the gym several times a week now, and I have a life outside of teaching! Quite honestly, I'm as effective or even more effective than I was when I was working myself hard... and I love my job again!

    It *is* possible to find your love for teaching again. You just have to reflect and make some calculated changes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
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  17. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    I know this post was written in March, but I'm sooo feeling the same this year. I haven't been very active on the forum because I am just so "blah". Especially now that it's towards the end my feelings are super BLAH. I changed schools this year, and it hasn't been a bad year. It's just not been an amazing year. I went through a honeymoon period being at a new school with a new grade level, but it's kind of shown me that I miss where I started as a teacher--middle school (I know I'm crazy). I've really enjoyed teaching high school, but my personality and teaching style does so much better with middle school kids. I have a contract with this school for the next school year and I'm not super jazzed about it. I am burned out, lacking the passion I've always had for teaching, and want a change. I'm getting my Master's right now in reading and would love to become a literacy coach or possibly get out of the classroom for a few years because I need a break.
     
  18. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    People who love teaching middle school should definitely teach middle school. I don't want to teach 5-9 graders for any amount of money!
     
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  19. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Right! I agree! I honestly miss their energy level. I like high school, but I truly miss my MS days.
     
  20. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    After my first couple of years, I've started saying No more. Admin used to ask me to do this and that all the time and I used to feel like I couldn't say no, but after a couple years I realised I had to, for my sanity. Since I started saying no more often, I've enjoyed my teaching more and the quality of teaching has gone up because I have the energy to care more. When I was overworked and miserable, my care factor and patience was near zero and I hated that because it was the kids who suffered.
     
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  21. GPC0321

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    I've gone through two significant slumps over my 15 years of teaching. The first was brought on by a new principal who completely stressed me (and the entire school) out. I got very down about my job and was on the verge of trying to find a new occupation. Thankfully, she moved on and we got our current principal. That was five years ago.

    This year has been my second major slump. I think several factors contributed to this. I was moved from English I to English II in the 2015-2016 school year. Not a huge deal, I taught English II way back when I began teaching, but I had hit such a good groove in English I that it really did put me out of my comfort zone. On top of that, I was moved primarily because the EOC state test is in that subject and I was expected to improve the scores (pressure!). The first year went fine because I had moved up with a group of students whom I adored and had an excellent rapport. They were accepting of whatever we did in class (I was still figuring everything out), and scored well on the EOC for me.

    Then this year came along, and I had been warned about the students I would have. We're a small school, so I'm the only English II teacher. As a result, I get every sophomore in the building. They came to our school with a pretty bad reputation and were doing their best to live up to it. Between the difficult students, the change in what I was teaching, and the pressure to produce good test scores, AND the fact that they decided to add in a section of English IV, which I'd NEVER taught before, making my English II classes larger and harder to manage...well, let's just say I was overwhelmed and my job became a nightmare.

    Add to that some personal issues with aging parents and dying pets and just LIFE, and this has not been the best school year. I've missed more school than I usually do, and on days I was there, I felt like I was subbing for myself. I just had no enthusiasm, and when I'm not giving my best effort at work, I feel crappy in all aspects of life.

    BUT! I'm already excited about next year! It took going through what pretty much boils down to a nervous breakdown (brought on by factors outside of school), but once I'd hit bottom I started realizing that the job wasn't the major issue. I had been obsessing about money and where best to invest any extra cash I had, and was still halfway thinking about changing professions, when it hit me. I needed to invest in myself as a teacher. So I vowed to toss the dang test prep workbooks at school back in the book room, and spent $350 on teaching materials and even my own set of Julius Caesar books, and started revamping lesson plans and how I was going to teach. I actually am going back to some of the things I used to do back in the day in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and writing. And I'm focusing on three major pieces of literature that we can really dig into!

    I haven't been this excited about teaching in a long time. I am planning a bit of a make-over for my room this summer, mostly new posters, displays, and such that support instruction.

    All this to say...it happens. And sometimes I think it HAS to happen in order for us to grow and improve as educators.
     
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  22. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    I have one more year under my contract teaching 9-12, so I'm seriously considering going back to 7th or 8th grade. I truly miss it.
     
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  23. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Anon, what is it about high school that doesn't fit with you? I want to compare notes, lol.
     
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  24. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    The thing I always loved about teaching is that not only each day was different but so is every year, new kids, possible new grades to teach and even maybe a new school. I had a big slump my 5th year in the same school. I am having a slump this year my 3rd year in another school. Same as you, and I know this is months old and you've found a new job for next year already, I'm looking for a new school. Sometimes change is what rejuvenates you. I did for me with my first slump. I hope it happens for me with this current slump I'm feeling.
     
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  25. platypusok

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    A few years ago, I hated my job (mostly due to one class that I had twice a day). But the next year was pretty awesome. This year started out pretty difficult mainly due to what I feel is a lack of respect for the junior high/high school teachers from the superintendent and the elementary faculty and staff. That was combined with a couple of really difficult classes. But then I stopped bringing papers home to grade. I stopped staying late to get caught up. I think just creating a clear divide between work and home made all the difference because I ended the year pretty happy.
    Also, the world didn't end because I handed back essays a bit later than I did in the past.
     
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  26. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Very stressful year for me. Mainly due to monitoring cell phone use, and still having to interact with a colleague that I had to get human resources involved with. I think next year will be better with our new program. Hopefully next year will be better. I just continue to hate that we have to monitor so much cell phone use.
     
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  27. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I felt I hit my stride after 3 years at a middle school. Then got pink-slipped and took the only job offered to me. At a high school. A whole new world!! It was a LONG learning year of surviving and making mistakes but I made the most of it. Got pink-slipped there and landed a new position at another system. Who knows what would have happened if I had been tenured after my 1st 3 years? I could be facing burnout or just hated doing the same thing over and over again. My new position will let me continue growing as a high school teacher. Perhaps OP needs to find a place to continue to grow professionally?
     
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  28. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  29. John Lee

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    Like in life, I think it just means you need to add something to it (your job) to give it some new meaning.

    I had a veteran teacher who I taught with, who says the year working with me was her best. She had a bad few prior years, clashing with her teaching partners. She said it was good because (a) we got along well, but also (b) I brought something new to the program (a garden program). She was fired up to do it, and it ended up being a great year. It motivated her, got her juices flowing as to future years in the garden, etc. I think it is a case like yours, where she fell into a rut in her teaching life and just needed something new (in her teaching). Even if it means investing money into it, it is worth it for your mental well-being and personal.
     
  30. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Hey, this thread got resurrected! :)

    Since I originally posted this, I got hired in my first choice district. I'll be teaching 5th grade again, but at a very different school from the one I've been at. I think the change is going to be enough to kickstart my motivation. I'm already feeling much more excited about teaching than I have in quite awhile. I just got beaten down by a lot of different things this year.
     
  31. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Jun 13, 2017

    Congratulations! Sound like the change is exactly what you need :)
     
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  32. Peregrin5

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    Congratulations!
     
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  33. linswin23

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    I taught 7th grade for three years and then I did a stint of teaching ESL in China to elementary students (I'm DEFINITELY not cut out to teach elementary even though I'm glad I tried it) and now I teach grades 9-12 English. I really enjoy teaching high school, but I feel as if my personality and teaching style is more geared towards the middle school ages. I could go on and on about the pros and cons of middle school vs. high school, but what I think it boils down to is your own preference, personality, and teaching style. I felt most passionate while teaching 7th grade because of the energy the kids brought to the classroom. I also appreciated how my 7th graders were still in many ways kids and at the same time were teenagers and knew a lot about the world. It's a weird mix--middle school kids, but I really miss teaching them.
     
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  34. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I haven't experienced that yet.....I've been teaching for 8 years....At first I liked it......Then I slowly grew to love it. I've been teaching in my current grade for 5 years and love, love, love it. I'm a teacher for life.
     
  35. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    That's awesome. I do think it's possible to love teaching but not love a particular situation. That's where I was this year. Now I'm going back to what I'm most passionate about (teaching a lower income population) and cutting my commute from 30-45 minutes to less than 5. Also, the $10k raise won't hurt. It's never ultimately been about the money for me, but I'd like to stop struggling so much. I was underpaid and not getting paid for my masters (while paying down my student loans FOR the masters...)

    I really think if you love middle school, you should teach it, at least eventually! They're an...interesting...group and they take a special person who's really suited to work with them!
     
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  36. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 13, 2017

    Completely agree. Situations can be difficult, and doesn't mean you don't love teaching. I think part of why I LOVE teaching is my wonderful school. Great admin support and present, hands-on parents (it's a private school). I often worry that when we return to the states (we live in Mexico), that I won't ever find a school that makes me as happy. Will I even want to continue to teach there? It's just a completely different ball game.
     
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  37. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Jun 13, 2017

    Teaching is such a roller coaster, isn't it? I've got two days left of school and my grades are done. I'm now taking things off the wall and cleaning, and I'm feeling refreshed and am already thinking of curriculum for next year. *Sigh*

    Maybe to get out of my slump I just need summer vacation? :p
     
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