What a difference a week makes...a vent

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Sep 13, 2008

    I posted here last week asking all the other first year teachers how their year was going. I was happy to announce that my first two weeks were stressful, yes, but that I was enjoying it so far.

    YIKES! Now that another week has passed I'm not feeling quite as chipper. I'm exhausted (still pulling the 6 am to 7pm at school, plus 8pm to 10 pm at home routine -- which I know has to stop), I got sick (due to my schedule), and I am lost beyond belief about my literacy program, Literacy First.

    My kids are more talkative than ever, but I take comfort in knowing it's my whole team that struggles with this, so perhaps it's the group as a whole, rather than my poor management.

    I have papers up to my ears, and no place to file them. I have a file cabinet, but it doesn't hold hanging file folders - there's no place to hold them :confused:

    I hardly ever have planning because that time is taken up by meeting after meeting after meeting. There's always an email from someone in my box (the phsycologist, the ESL teacher, etc.) wanting to know if they can meet my team during our planning.

    And I've had lots of after school meeting, too!

    What I really wish I had was one whole day at school to re-organize my room, and do all the tiny things that can't be done from home that are looming over my head.

    My life is consumed by school. I work that crazy schedule Mon-Fri, then on Sats I meet my teammate at the library for 5 hours or so (she's struggling just as hard as I am!), then I go home and type up plans, or create the centers we designed. I also work on school most of the day Sunday.

    Honestly though, there's already light at the end of the tunnel. The main reason I struggle is because my teammate and I have no idea how to plan using Literacy First. We were essentially just thrown in. My mentor helps, but I don't think she realizes how lost we are, so she leaves us to our own devices a lot. But, this week I finally have my first all-day Lit First training, so I'm hoping it'll help. Let's pray!!

    Quitting is not in my vocabulary, and I keep reminding myself it's supposed to get easier. I just hope it "lets up" a little soon - I don't want to spend my first year this lost, confused, tired, irritated, and sick! :dizzy:

    Wow, if you made it this far, thanks for listening, I love y'all :atoz_love:
     
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  3. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    Take care of yourself first! No matter how well prepared you get, you can't do your job if you are sick.
     
  4. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I feel for you and I've been there...not that long ago. It really sucks that you have so many meetings. Our union has it in our contract that our prep time can't be taken up like that and our principals are not allowed to schedule more than one meeting a month. Even with that I've often felt overwhelmed, like I'm spending every waking hour on school. I have no advice, but I do understand. :hugs:
     
  5. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Our contract also restricts the number of meetings allowed during our prep time. Honestly, this is the time daily when I return to my classroom, turn off the lights, put my iPod in its home and listen to my music and make personal phone calls to schedule doctor, dentist, catch up with my niece, etc...I DO NOT work on my prep other than perhaps checking my mailbox in the office for important fliers that need to be sent home. I've found that the washroom can also be a great place to "hide" so no one bothers me! LOL I don't use that option often though!! Most of us just veg out in our classrooms and we all know to limit our interruptions. I also only check my school email two times a week from home. I think it's awful that someone would send you an email for a last minute, unplanned ahead-of-time meeting!! The nerve!!
     
  6. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    NC has no unions :(
     
  7. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    ugh, that sucks...:(
     
  8. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Sep 13, 2008

    There is an device you can order to put inside of you file cabinet so that you can hang files in it.
     
  9. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    What's it called? Are they expensive?
     
  10. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  11. crayoncaper

    crayoncaper Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2008

    We have meetings like that as well. Your outlook and attitude is going to take you SO far. You are so positive and you found the good in all of this. Way to go. =-)
     
  12. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Sep 13, 2008

  13. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    That's weird, it's working for me. Anyway, the product is Pendaflex® Dual Purpose Letter-Legal Plastic Snap-Together Frame.

    If you go here: https://www.schoolspecialtyonline.net/ and enter the product number 30023146 into the search box at the top right of the page the product should come up.
     
  14. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sorry everything is going so badly. It DOES get better though!

    As for the filing cabinet, you don't need hanging folders. I just stick the manilla file folders right into the file cabinet. Using hanging folders just makes it more expensive.
     
  15. grade2rocks

    grade2rocks Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2008

    Me,too

    I'm a 25 year veteran, and your post could have been written by me. I've been living and breathing school for three weeks...can't sleep because I have so much on my mind...and am exhausted.

    There is just so much being piled on us (my school did not make AYP for the second year, so that's a lot of it).. and yes, the constant meetings eat up prep time so I can never get stuff done.

    But, in the past things usually turn a corner in the next week or so. Kids settle into the routine. I pray that's true this year!
     
  16. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Pisces!!! :hugs: I feel for you!!! I can totally emphathize with your situation. First of all, being a first year teacher is just plain HARD and then to have a lit. program that you are not familiar with is even harder. Here are some things that might help you:
    1) It is AWESOME that you are meeting with your grade level peer to plan and talk about what to do etc. THAT is key. Knowing that you are in it together is probably the best part of that too.
    2) I would suggest that next time you meet with your Literacy First mentor, that you explain the situation because like you said you haven't had training yet. You haven't seen it in action. I know that our coaches for various things will come in and actually do a demo. type lesson in our classrooms for new things in order for us to see it in action. OR- could you ask her to be with your class while you go to another classroom and watch a lesson. I am a VERY visual gal, so that is the best for me, but it may help a lot to see how a person who has been doing it for a while does it and plans etc.
    3) you MUST give yourself atleast a day to chill and NOT be in school mode or you will burn yourself out. I think that, IMHO, you should take Sundays and make them YOU time. Go somewhere where you cannot be at home or near school. Just go! Get a manicure, get your hair done, go shopping (not for school lol). You just NEED to have atleast one day to NOT think about it.
    4) Give yourself a cut off time at school. I know it's hard being a first year teacher but you must or you will be killing yourself all year long and burn out. Can you make a deal with yourself that you will leave by 6:00 each night instead of 7:00? I don't know. I have just recently started to give myself a cut off time because frankly I could be at school until it closes every night and 6:00 which is more reasonable than it had been previously.

    Above all... you have to be good to yourself because you will not be any good to your kids if you are exhausted and burned out. Pamper yourself a little!!!!!!!
    You can do it!!!!
    Ask for help when you need it and don't be shy about it :)
    BREAK A LEG--- I bet you are a fantastic teacher!!!!!! :hugs:
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Everyone has given some great advice. It will get better!!! One thing that is hard to understand as a first year teacher is that you don't have to be perfect the first year, and your room is not going to run like a veteran's room. It's great that you have time to meet with your teammate and I'm sure it makes it easier to know you aren't alone. My sister is starting her 3rd year this year. They got a new curriculum that is strictly online so she is back to putting in a lot of hours trying to figure that out.
     
  18. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    First year is usually nuts! Then it gets better. Your post sounds just like my first year - I rarely had any time off from school. My kids ate cereal for dinner!

    You have a full plate. Can you turn down some of those meetings? or at least say, "Yes, I can meet, but I will only have 10 or 15 minutes." Then cut it off. There is a saying that work will expand to fill the time available. Well, meetings are the same way. If someone has to meet with you and you tell them you only have a certain amount of time, they will have to get to the point quickly. I have found this very refreshing when I need to talk to my P - he is overscheduled, and usually only has a few minutes, so I get straight to the point and he responds straight to the point.

    As you go through your days, or maybe on the weekends, reflect on how you could streamline certain things. Can the students do anything that you are doing on your own time? Have them do as much as they possibly can with cleaning, organizing, grading, collecting, putting things in files, etc. Cut out anything unnecessary - the desks do not have to be washed every day, the dust does not have to be cleaned up every week; if you are putting in extra time for center creations or projects in the classroom, ask yourself if it is really necessary, or is there a quicker way to achieve the same goal.

    I do feel for you. Remember, they do not have to learn everything in 5th grade. Hit all the high points, but if special projects are eating up your time, cut them. Your room does not have to be perfect. Your teaching does not have to be perfect. Do the best you can, and make your cut off time reasonable. If you were sick, you would be going home earlier to rest and get well, and the class would still go on. So take that time for yourself, and the class will still go on. It is ok if everything is not perfect.
     
  19. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Thank you for all the advice! Hopefully next week I'll be back saying it's gotten a little better. I plan to ask my P if I can get someone to watch my class for 2.5 hours sometime this week or next so I can go observe a 4th grade veteran teacher's literacy block. I'm so visual, so I need to SEE it. My mentor thought this was a good idea, too. The veteran already said she'd be happy to have me come watch :)
     
  20. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Such a good idea!!!!!!!!
     
  21. pamms

    pamms Comrade

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    You can buy inexpensive file frames to put in those file drawers. Ask at your office, they may be able to get them from the warehouse or something. Also...you can get those plastic 'milk crates' that have rails along the top edges to hold hanging files. They have them at Walmart/Target for about $5 each, but I love the ones they often get at Bed bath and Beyond or Linens and Things...and they are often even cheaper...they tend to only have them at the beginning of the school year..I think they are an 'off to college' item.
     
  22. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    I feel for you. It was pretty close to what you stated for me last year on all levels.:hugs:
     
  23. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    I'm in year 9 and I totally feel that way. I've not taken pictures of my room yet, b/c it is still not finished! I have stacks of paper everywhere. I cannot find the top of my desk most days, I cannot get my papers graded. I don't have lesson plans finished until late Sunday night...I could go on.

    I am doing some things that I feel are important: I walk everyday after school with a colleague. I am totally depressed about my weight so I make time for the walking. I prioritize at home b/c I have a 4 year old and an 8 month old depending on me. I use disposable plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery to save time. Lots of packaged food for convenience. I just don't have time to do every thing. I am feeling tons of pressure from admin about passing the darn test. I teach sp ed, people!! They're not going to pass unless I take the test for them...vent aside.

    I have never used special frames in my filing cabinets. I just put the manila file straight in. I do have hanging files for the student drawer so I can keep IEP in a folder & parent correspondence, etc and have it all together in a hanging file per student (at least that's the plan...still haven't organized that.)

    Good luck! I can say that it will get better. Some years I've felt great, others not so. It changes, so I've learned that I must also.

    I agree about taking time away from school. Just like childbirth, there's no medal at the end. The one who lives at school doesn't finish first, just exhausted and burnt out. I try to live by the creed of not taking things home so I am with my family. Haven't done that yet this year b/c my room is so chaotic that I can't get my work done at school.

    Hang in there, and hopefully it will get better soon. Definitely have a cutoff time that you must leave the building, finished or not.

    Kerry
     
  24. Souxiekue

    Souxiekue Rookie

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    Aaaah, all the stuff they never tell you about in college, when you are working toward being a teacher! For the files, any office supply store carries hanging file folder brackets. I had to put them in my file cabinet last year. Hang in there!! It will lighten up a little bit! Best of luck!!
     

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