Very Uncertain/Nervous Teacher

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by ELArules, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. ELArules

    ELArules New Member

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    Jul 19, 2013

    I am a first year teacher who has resigned after 2 months of teaching. My first job (started towards the end of the school year in Jan. 2013) was at a Title 1 middle school in a small town. The school was the result of consolidation, so many of my students were bussed in from surrounding towns. I graduated college Nov. 2012 and I was so excited to begin my first ELA teacher position. It turned out to be the worst experience of my life. I taught 8th grade to begin with, and I was threatened every day. I had no control over my classroom, depsite my efforts to implement every classroom management tool I know. I felt like I was failing, and so I asked the principal if I should resign. Instead, she sent me to teach the 6th graders which seemed a bit better at first, but soon I lost control of them too. There was at least one fight in my classroom every week. Often times, drug testing interrupted my lessons. After two months of trying to teach at the school, I resigned because I was having nervous breakdowns every night when I went home and I felt unsafe while I was at work.

    I feel that a lot of variables contributed to my poor experience such as the lack of accountability expected from students. The only punishment the school had in place was In School Suspension, which most of my students tried to get in to avoid doing work. The school also had a fairly new principal who was less that tough. During her weekly speeches in the gym, she would talk over the students rather than having them calm down. There really was just an "anything goes" attitude around the school. Even after one of my colleagues found out she was being poisoned with hand sanitizer, the guilty students were merely put in the ISS room. I also feel that my young age and petite size factored into the bullying my students forced upon me. People say "Oh, you have to speak loudly and show authority," but I tried everything I could. Every punishment I set was undermined by the faculty. Other teachers told me to take away gym time or recess, or to make them eat lunch with me. Every time I tried one of these, I was told that I wasn't allowed to anymore. My principal told all of us not to yell at the students and not to "get in their personal space." My hands were tied as far giving out negative consequences. I tried to remain professional the day I resigned, but I could hardly speak in the principal's office because I knew I would burst into crocodile tears. I was just so angry and upset that I could not make it work. I still feel defeated. The principal was kind and the last thing she said was "Do not stop teaching because of your experiences here. This is not an appropriate introduction." You think that would convince me to keep trying, but I remained skeptical.

    Since then, I've gotten married (June 2013), and I am quite happy to be done with my previous employment. My husband and I have recently moved to Texas and he has a successful job as an engineer. I don't have to get another job, but I feel like it's something I need to do for myself. I want to become a librarian and, eventually, I'll be working on a master's degree in library science. Until then, I wonder whether or not I should try to work at another school. There is a high school near my apartment that needs an English teacher. There are a lot of schools here and I feel like I would be successful in finding a job as a full-time teacher or a substitute teacher. Part of me wants to try again, but part of me is terrified. I don't want to get stuck in another school like that one. I don't want to cry every night because I am afraid to go to work the next morning. I want to teach English. I love English. I want to enjoy teaching it to students, but I was so burned by the last school. It really changed me and my personality. I'll never be the same. I'm glad I survived it; it makes me feel stronger, but I'm not sure I could do it again.

    Worst case scenario: I hate teaching at another school, I quit, and I never teach again. I'm just worried about what another experience like that would do to me mentally. I just don't know.... Thoughts?

    P.S.:help:
     
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  3. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2013

    That sounds like a really bad experience - not all schools are like that. It takes a certain type of person to work in a school like that, with administration like that. Don't feel bad about not succeeding in an extremely difficult environment.

    Why don't you look in to some charters or private schools, or perhaps public schools in a suburban environment?
     
  4. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jul 19, 2013

    I have a friend who doesn't have to work (her husband can support them.) She took her time finding a position at a private school with lower pay, but minimal behavior issues. She is very happy there.

    You could also consider tutoring.

    Your first experience sounds like a nightmare. I can't imagine teaching at such a challenging school right out of college.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jul 19, 2013

    I echo the poster that suggested waiting for a private school that seems like it would be lower stress. YOu have the option so take advantage of it.

    I'm sorry you had such a bad first teaching experience.
     
  6. elateacher4life

    elateacher4life Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2013

    Sorry about your first teaching experience. I do hope you give teaching another try at a better school. Congratulations on your marriage!
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 19, 2013

    Find a school that seems like a good fit. I first taught at a private school with weak admin and had behavioral problems. I had an okay year but didn't want to return.

    I found a new job this past year at a public school with an amazing principal. I love it and can't wait for next year!
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jul 19, 2013

    I teach ELA at a Title I middle school in a small town. My school is not like that.

    Brush up on management skills. Try again.
     
  9. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    Jul 20, 2013

    You took the first job available to you and that's normal for new teachers. You have to understand the teaching experience can vary greatly between schools, let alone districts and state. I say give it another shot but this time do more research into the school you are applying for. Don't settle for something that will make you happy. At the end of the day, if you don't try again, you will continually ask yourself if it was you or the students.
     
  10. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Jul 21, 2013

    I would give it another try also. Perhaps you might like to start with subbing in some schools that are known for their positive environment? That way you don't have that initial long-term commitment.
     
  11. hospitableme

    hospitableme New Member

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    Jul 28, 2013

    I agree with everyone else. Your experience sounds similiar to mine and I relate to HATING getting out of bed going to work in an environment like that. I second the notion of others to try and find a job at a private school or a charter school. These schools typically have smaller classroom sizes that may be more managable. I second that it also depends largely on the administration. You may want to try substituting at different schools for a year first to get a feel of the different environments. If you get called to a bad school environment, you will only have to get through the day and you can just ignore that school when they call in the future. You can take note of the good schools and try to apply for a full time position at those for the next school year. :)
     
  12. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Jul 28, 2013

    I say try again. You will question yourself forever if you don't.
    A change in school makes a world of difference - most of us that have been around a while can attest to that.

    I think the idea of investigating schools is a good one. Take your time. You have that luxury.

    However, a cautionary word from a fellow Texan, avoid the charter schools. Most have less than than desirable situations. It's different here. A few of the "chain" charters sre pretty decent. If you are interested, message me for details.
     
  13. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2013

    My old elementary teacher, whom I keep in contact with, is the BEST teacher I have ever seen. Every parent loves him, every child loves him, and the school loves him. He is the shining example of a wonderful teacher.

    With that said, he is a very kind, sensitive, and smart teacher -- he would not survive in the school you taught at.

    My point being, there is a perfect teaching role for everyone--some thrive on that type of situation you were in, and they are able to shape those kids up, but they don't have the patience for other types of students. Students you would thrive with.

    Don't quit because of that one experience. Obviously, next time research the school intensively to see what it is like before applying. Make sure you are a fit. You could be one of the best teachers and you are about to throw it away.

    Good luck and congratulations on the marriage!
     
  14. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 31, 2013

    My first job was very similar, except it didn't last as long. It was horrible. I wanted to go back to retail. I decided to try subbing only up to 6 th grade. The first job was one of the hardest things I've done. I literally talked to myself the whole way there. Obviously Jr High isn't for me. The subbing helped. The following fall I was hired for 4th grade and never looked back. I found my niche and I'm still teaching 4th grade 16 years later. I know right now it seems hopeless, but don't give up and don't count yourself out.
     
  15. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Jul 31, 2013

    Not all schools are the right fit. Plus, starting in mid-year is difficult! Give it another try. It is nice that you are in a position where you don't HAVE to do so.
     
  16. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Don't give up! Try again.
     
  17. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 31, 2013

    Many of us have a horrible experience like that to share. You are certainly not alone. There are some terrible school environments out there. Give it another go.

    Also, if you ultimately want to be a school librarian Texas requires teaching experience (2 or 3 years, I forget which) in addition to the degree and certification. UNT is ranked number 8 in the country for library science masters degree program and has a 99% online program.

    Good luck!
     
  18. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Aug 1, 2013

    As above..... this is not your average experience. also as above ... I think you should look into smaller private schools as you do not need the money. I worked at a small christian school last year and only had 10 students in my class. It was a great introduction to having my own classroom and now I have moved on to an urban STEM school in a big city.
     
  19. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Aug 1, 2013

    My first year was a disaster. I had a position at a high school through until the end of January that was fantastic. When that job ended, I took another job at a middle school. The kids hated me, the admin was unsupportive and I just couldn't find my groove. I went home crying every day and, by the end of the year, I was convinced that teaching was not for me. I made it through the end of the year, but that summer, I started applying for non-teaching jobs.

    By the end of the summer, I still hadn't found another job, so I decided to give teaching another try. I subbed through September and October and then found a mat leave that would take me from November through the end of the year. Best decision I ever made. It was a great school with a supportive staff. The division offered me a permanent contract with them and then two schools go into a "bidding" war to have me - the school I was at and another school. The other school ended up "winning" and I had the best 3 years of my career there.

    I say give it another try at a different school. You'd be surprised at how much of a different school climate can make.
     
  20. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Aug 1, 2013

    My second job, which I fled after a year, was horrible but not nearly as bad as the OP's experience. It was very damaging to my sense of professional confidence, and it took some time to regain that.

    If any good came of it, it is that I have become very skillful at snooping/investigating any other schools I consider working at, and I have become good at inferring any red flags.

    I suspect the same will be the case with the OP. There are plenty of good schools out there.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 1, 2013

    Consider talking to a therapist before taking on another teaching job. Quitting on kids might be good for your mental health, but not for kids. Don't take on teaching if you aren't sure you're ready.
     

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