This job makes me feel stupid every day.

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by MissEducation, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. MissEducation

    MissEducation Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 16, 2009

    Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying my first year. But when am I going to stop feeling like an idiot? I am not a person with an overly inflated ego, but one thing I always felt like I had going for me was intelligence. While I haven't lost any IQ points, my vast lack of experience makes me feel like I don't have a clue what I'm doing sometimes! Every day there is a new situation that I have no idea how to handle. I have never had a job that made me feel so inept or so inferior to the people around me. My fellow teachers get excited about conferences and test scores and data and I'm struggling just to plan decent lessons and stay on top of grading.

    I guess I am more frustrated than usual because teaching is my second career and I feel like other friends my age are much more comfortable/advanced in their careers.

    I know it comes with experience, just need a little encouragement I guess. Tired of being a newb. Thanks for "listening"
     
  2.  
  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Nov 16, 2009

    If I put you in a pair of ice skates for the very first time in your life, would you immediately glide out and perform a triple lutz? No, you'd probably let go of the wall and fall on your rear. Would you tell yourself you're stupid, or laugh it off and say that this is all new to you so you need a little practice before you can glide smoothly across the ice? My bets are on option two.

    This is no different. You've let go of the wall. You're wobbly on your feet. You need some practice. This is a tough job. Keep your head up and in time, you'll feel confident that you can handle most situations. If it helps, look around you. Even veteran teachers post questions about situations they're unsure of. How can you expect to know how to handle everything that could possibly come up in your very first year? You can't. You'll get there eventually.
     
  4. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Nov 16, 2009

    I don't know when that feeling goes away, but I'm still waiting. I'm more confident this year, but last year was difficult...You just feel like you should know more than you do.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    1,659

    Nov 16, 2009

    I'm a second year teacher but am doing completely different coursework this time around. I feel your pain. The only reason I get through from week to week is with an extremely gracious, supportive mentor teacher. If your school doesn't have an official mentor program, you might want to talk to your department chair or team leader for some support.
     
  6. NaiCH

    NaiCH Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 16, 2009

    Hi MissEduction what do you teach? Did you receive your certification yet? Ive only been doing it for 6 weeks now and I am wondering if I should go and complete the certification before I go back to teach. On top of that I do not have the respect of the students.
     
  7. MissEducation

    MissEducation Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 18, 2009

    I know I cannot expect to know everything and that it is probably silly to get discouraged over it...it's just hard being a novice again. I have not had a career long enough to ever begin to feel experienced and comfortable, so I guess I'm just impatient. I just needed to vent that day but not every day is so tough! I think part of what is hard is that other teachers seem to assume you know things that you've never been told or had the opportunity to encounter. I've learned that you just have to ask and pester people if you really want answers.

    NaiCH, I do have my certification. I actually went back to school to get an education degree. My first degree is in English/Spanish. For me the most helpful part of going back was the experience I got from student teaching and other classroom involvement.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Nov 18, 2009

    Vent all you want, dear. That's what we're here for. Teaching is a tough gig. I'm sure you're doing fine.
     
  9. wrice

    wrice Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 18, 2009

    Awh don't feel bad. Teaching really is an art and a science. The science part comes from understanding content and child development, a tremendous task in itself. Add to that artfulness-your delivery, how you and your kids relate to each other, how you adapt your curriculum to inspire the best from the kids, and you get an unusually demanding job. But very rewarding when it all comes together.

    Just portraying confidence and competence even though you might feel lost will get you halfway there. You're certainly allowed leeway even if you feel you should be further along. I think my first year I began every adult conversation with "This is a stupid question, I know, but....." haha

    Hang in there!
     
  10. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 19, 2009

    MissEducation - Do you have kids? If not, expect to feel that way as a parent!

    On a lighter note, it will get better. Have confidence in yourself.
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 19, 2009

    I struggle with confidence this year too and didn't expect that. I have worked in my school for 4 years as an aide prior to taking on my first year as a teacher. I never felt more like an idiot. I know exactly what you mean. It doesn't help that there is another new teacher who is my grade level partner who feels (or at least shows) a lot more confidence than I do. I feel like I'm always floundering. I do get better with that as the year is going on but I never really feel completely comfortable. I'm so blessed to have great students. That's what I keep focusing on. At the moment I am up at 5am in the morning to plan for the day. I had the overall idea of what I want, now I have to find activities to go with it. It embarrasses me that I am so day to day in some ways still. That's not a good way to be but I have to accept it as part of getting the job done. Here's the kicker. My P (over 3 schools, never see her) emailed my VP (I usually refer to this person as my P) to tell her that there is an overworked first year teacher in my building and she is concerned. How did she determine this? She looked at my ID badge hours and my internet usage. My internet usage was greatly inflated because I leave websites up and running even when they aren't in use but the ID badge hours don't lie. I almost cried when my VP approached me. I asked her what I was supposed to do about it. I still have to complete my job. It takes me longer and at the end of the day it is still my responsibility. If anybody had any clues I was willing to hear them. Until then, I have to do what I have to do. I did admit that I am very worn out and ready for the break. Then the next day I show up to work and my face is lopsided. One cheek is puffy and my smile is crooked. I haven't been to the doctor yet and they can tell me a different story but my mind is going to know it is all stress related. In fact, I have a doctor's appointment on Monday to talk about anxiety this job is causing. My body isn't responding to it well and I have to take care of me. Seriously though, what am I supposed to do. Stop planning? Stop figuring out those assessments? Stop filling out the paperwork? Tell me what to cut down on and I would gladly do it. Nobody can do that because the answer is I'm just your normal over stressed first year teacher. It goes with the territory. I have been on this site for several years and have seen enough of these posts to know that. That helps in some ways.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Nov 19, 2009

    Good heavens, cutNglue. I am incredibly glad you already had that appointment with the doctor...
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 19, 2009

    I haven't had the appt yet but it is coming up this coming Monday. Now I have to make an appt with the dentist to see what the heck this cheek swelling business is about.

    I've decided to take it easy on myself today. I can't prep like crazy this morning so we will have KWL and Literacy based Thanksgiving activities today. Then tomorrow we will have craft day. Monday I will do the lesson on Native Americans and Pilgrims (then and now) and some on the First Thanksgiving. I need more time to get it together. I'm learning to pick activities I can reasonably scrap together. That means my kids don't always get those fun file folder games or the stuff I did in the past and our literacy centers tend to be the same each week (I try to change one per week) but that's how we get through it. Debbie Diller (author) says that's the way to do it anyways. I wish we had more student centered products instead of me always modeling. That's what I'm going to start shifting to now that I've done enough modeling but then they change what they want us to teach and I have to model that some more. I never have enough time to think about how they are going to practice it and we never have enough time for that. I have to solve that. I have, however, scheduled for our teacher specialist to start coming to my room two times a month to problem solve whatever I feel is not working for me and whatever I feel I need help with the most. It's only a 30 min appointment but at least I'm starting somewhere. Overall, I really am doing okay. I'm just your first year teacher that has grander expectations.

    It doesn't help that my team is so full of drama (myself included when it comes to the fieldtrip part) and it causes delays. We have yet to meet about what we are doing at the harvest celebration we have already invited parents to (on TUESDAY) and parents have said they are willing to donate stuff. I can't tell them what that is until we meet. Yet one teacher has to leave on the dot to feed her baby (nursing) and we have meetings after school today. Not to mention I really just need to go to the doctor instead of a meeting.

    It's like I told my boss....

    I came in 3 weeks early to look at the curriculum, learn what the day should be like, to look at the materials provided and just get a feel for things. Then I discovered that time was wasted because the new curriculum hadn't been posted yet and the materials change with that. I got the curriculum halfway through the first week of school! (Not our school's fault). Then I got our materials 6 weeks later. When I got the materials, I was already drowning trying to figure things out without them (because the pacing guide was written as if you have them) and then I get 10 books all at once and I'm supposed to magically know how to implement all of this. I'm still learning them. In the meantime it was my month to learn how to implement 9 play thematic learning stations (lots of prep for that) for an entire month. Then we were told to make up our own schedule but we had conflicts in the day. We told everyone we could think of that our schedule was not working. FINALLY last week we had a meeting with people and changes were made. Now I have more time to teach and all that lost time. Yet it still doesn't give us enough time for some areas. Can you believe we only have 20 min for math. The pacing guide is written for 75 minutes.

    THEN here comes report cards (we thought were the wrong ones because they had end of the year objectives on them) and nobody came to help us figure them out so our 1/2 professional day was wasted. Then bam comes along my first wave of IEPS. Did I mention that I've asked people how I'm supposed to track progress for a good 3 weeks and have never gotten the answer? Then we had 10 parent meetings in a week (school is still in session so this is our prep time). Then we had state reports to do (which I never really collected adequate information for because I still don't know what I'm doing). If I barely manage to plan my week, prep my materials and teach, then it stands to reason that these other things will bog me down and I will be overworked. What am I supposed to do about that? Nothing. It goes with my job. I have to do it.
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 19, 2009

    Plus my husband is on a business trip this week and I have my hands full at home.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Nov 19, 2009

    Cut, for starters: turn off those computers!!!!!

    Hang in there guys... it all gets easier!

    Sorry, gotta run!
     
  16. MissEducation

    MissEducation Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 24, 2009

    Cut, I am with you when people tell me to take it easy or work less. I know it won't always be like this, but sometimes the alternatives are either to "take it easy" and let everything at school slide down an abyss, or to overwork myself just to stay on top of it! There aren't any other true first year teachers at my school, so it's easy for people to say to take it easy, or not to worry about it.

    I hope your swelling issue improves. Hang in there. People keep telling me that the first semester is the hardest, and that is almost over!
     
  17. Hope2Teach9

    Hope2Teach9 Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 24, 2009

    Miss Education, (and others)
    Please know that people like you are an inspiration to people like me who haven't set foot in a classroom yet and are still terrified. I hope to be teaching by next fall, but it is very intimidating. Keep your head up, it will get easier! It's great to know that there are other teachers out there who will be feeling the same way. It sounds like you are there for the right reasons. Keep working at it and everything will fall into place....Also, remember that you are all making a difference in someone's life! Whether you think so or not.
     
  18. looneyteachr

    looneyteachr Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 29, 2009

    1st year teaching is the hardest EVER! just keep plugging along - add some crazy activities to your lessons to entertain you and your kids and have fun while you're learning!
     
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    1,659

    Nov 29, 2009

    Ugh, now I'm feeling stupid. Tried to put together a unit on 1984 because I didn't want the teacher who dropped the ball on it to cause our English IV kids to miss out on a good novel. Now I'm the one dropping the ball because I've run out of time. I was really hoping to make a good impression on my department but instead I'm letting them down. As is, I still need to put together a Jekyll and Hyde PowerPoint presentation and am completely stuck.
     
  20. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 29, 2009

    I did go to the doctor. He gave me an "emergency" stash of meds in case I need it. I'm not sure how I feel about the way he put it, but I have another appt in 3 weeks. In the meantime I went in today with more than my fair share of stuff to do, worked 8 solid hours, don't even have stuff ready for tomorrow morning and I remained very calm throughout the whole thing. Kudos for me. I have to get up bright and early though and go in again in the morning to get ready for tomorrow. I did manage to plan everything for the week except shared reading and guided reading. That's the part I have to go in and work on. Then I have to spend the next few days prepping along the way (started it). Then on Tuesday, I have to make sub plans for Wed. I am looking forward to observing another school/K classroom on Wednesday though.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Nov 30, 2009

    Kudos for you indeed, cut, and a bunch of hugs.
     
  22. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    583
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 30, 2009

    I think it says a lot about your school system that someone cared that there was an overworked teacher in the building! Most schools I have worked at were concerned about teachers working more hours, not less.

    Hang in there! Middle school is my favorite grade to teach, but they do keep you on your toes!
     
  23. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 30, 2009

    Yeah, it does. Though the irony is that person wasn't in my building but rather an admin outside of my building that I have seen maybe three times this year (in passing, and only once in my building). I did have her as a college professor though. :)

    I also started getting more help the day I broke down and cried for a few hours to the behavior specialist. Apparently she shared that. The problem is the help came from another department and it wasn't exactly a legal use of money so that stopped almost as soon as it started. It embarrasses me a little though because there are 2 other new teachers in the same wing as me and I feel like such a mess in comparison but that's probably not true. I loved the title of this thread though because it tells me I'm not alone. I need that. ESPECIALLY when there is a 29 year teacher who just moved to our school/town and she is putting in about the same hours as me. That scares me a little. I don't expect I will stay at the same school or the same grade forever so by others comments, that means that I will have to repeat this sad sordid overworked life again throughout my career. I think the main difference is the lack of confidence. That will improve with time. I'm not sure I'm confident that the other stuff will improve. I can't live like this forever though. I have kids and I need breaks.

    Last week was a 2.5 day week and all about teaching about Thanksgiving. I loved it!
     
  24. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Nov 30, 2009

    cut~I switched grades this year (my 3rd), and while my workload is bigger than it was last year, it nowhere approaches what it was like my first year. Like you said, the confidence you build up helps. I'm getting better at the process of planning lessons, creating assessments, grading, etc., so even though I have a lot more of that stuff to do, it doesn't take me as long.

    I hope you're refreshed from your break. Have fun observing, but don't feel like you have to change everything you've been doing or adopt every good idea they have (I've been there...)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. miss-m,
  2. MrTempest
Total: 267 (members: 2, guests: 229, robots: 36)
test