What's the hardest thing you have experienced as a new teacher?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by AFine, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. AFine

    AFine Rookie

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    Feb 11, 2012

    I was surprised how many extra meetings I have as a new teacher! I also struggle with doubting myself. Talking to other experienced teachers for feedback gives me more confidence that I am doing to right thing.
     
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  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Feb 12, 2012

    Right now it's watching my previously sane seniors lose their minds. A group of them just vandalized our old elementary building when they were supposed to be helping clean it up.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 12, 2012

    I'm in my 4th year and still feel new, but my biggest adjustment in my first couple of years was getting used to the observations. It felt like I had to keep reapplying for my job. Thankfully, I've grown used to it and see it as a way to keep evolving my work.
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 12, 2012

    I think one of the best things a new teacher can do is find a few veteran teachers at the school and try to learn from them as much as possible. Most of these teachers will be kind and willing to help out someone new. Why go through making mistakes and learn from them, f you can avoid some by learning from someone else's mistakes? Some things take me weeks or months to figure out, but an experienced teacher can shed light on things, saving me tons of time, energy and frustrations.

    When i was a student teacher, I was very lucky that a lot of teachers were willing to listen to me and give me advice. These teachers were awesome with years of experience. I was doing better than one new teacher, because all she did was complain and vent, but never really asked for advice. She actually got fired mid year.
    At my current school I also feel blessed that everyone is very supportive and they want to see me succeed.
     
  6. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Feb 12, 2012

    I'm on year 2 and the biggest adjustment learning curve that I experienced last for about 2 and a half months. I went through several substitutes before I go a fulltime co-teacher. I felt like I was missing my other half... everything fell back on my shoulders. It was extremely draining and mind boggling. Thankful for the growing experience, but WAAAAY more thankful that that period has come to a close and I know have an awesome co-teacher. Feels good to brainstorm with someone who knows the children as well as you do.... its a constant state of reinventing yourself daily as you discover what works and what doesnt work.
     
  7. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Feb 13, 2012

    The district politics. I thought I was prepared, but my district seems to be way over the top. And classroom management. I'm definitely struggling with classroom management.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2012

    It's been a long time.

    But what I found hardest at first was the fact that I had crossed the line from student to adult. It was hard to know that I had the authority to tell a kid what to do, particularly since the kids I was teaching were the same age as my youngest sister.

    That first year, I made too many polite requests instead of telling kids what they needed to do.
     
  9. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    Feb 13, 2012

    I'm in my second year and still consider myself a newbie. I was especially surprised at all the extras last year you don't learn in college. For example, when and where to turn in things for copies, what to do when the laminater is acting funky, who to tell when there's a problem with the copier, etc. All the extra stuff really adds up!
     
  10. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Feb 13, 2012

    I would say the hardest thing for me was and is figuring out how to handle the day to day stress, and realizing that while I can't necessarily change the world from my classroom, I can still improve every day and deliver my best instruction. In my first teaching position I was so stressed out that I didn't take very good care of myself, and it hurt my performance and affected my students. It was a very overwhelming position that I just wasn't prepared for, I didn't even have the right license for it nor the experience or support. Now, I make sure to look after my well being by working out, prayer, having fun with friends and doing things I enjoy, basically having a life outside of work. This really helps me to be totally present for my students and not get too caught up in the worries that pressure can bring.
     
  11. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Feb 16, 2012

    Learing how to duck!

    I had to learn discpline and control far faster than I would have liked. My first day in a classroom, I walked in and had a metal stapler thrown at my head--and then "Get the f*** out!" I also had to learn how to handle discpline issues without out proper backup from the administrators or clear school consequences for action.
     
  12. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Feb 16, 2012

    For me, I'm sometimes astounded by the rudeness of some students. Last week, I had a senior who was being rude, distracting, and disruptive during class for the whole week. (not to mention, he didn't do ANY homework for the whole week) The day before the test, while I'm trying to review, he started complaining about how he wasn't prepared, and how that was somehow my fault. Ugh. He nearly failed the test, while most of the class did very well.
    But, most of the students are really a pleasure to teach. I enjoy it a lot. The planning is tough sometimes, but I imagine that'll get easier next year, when I'll have the summer to prepare plans/worksheets/tests.
     
  13. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Feb 16, 2012

    The hardest part for me is keeping up my confidence being in charge of a whole group of kids. I've always been very short and never really fit in with my peers, so sometimes when I'm in the classroom I feel like I'm... back in the classroom. Somewhere in my brain there's always a little voice telling me that there's no way any kid is going to listen to me because my eyeglasses are so thick and give away my supernerd status. :cool:

    I'm gaining confidence with my management as I go, however, and the kids respond well. I walked out the door of my last position feeling like I had grown 6 inches in just those three months!
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 16, 2012

    I cannot fathom the stapler throw.
     
  15. ArnieM

    ArnieM Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2012

    Well, recently I had a parent sort of reprimand me during a lesson. I teach virtual school so any number of kids or sometimes parents and teacher listen in or log on too. This particular parent is very dedicated, always on top of things and has a great attitude. Her student is very respectful too.

    One of lessons just began to unravel. Students were entering the lesson late along with this parent. I made a mistake explaining something and I tried to finish lesson quickly to move on to another appointment. She basically sent me a message during the lesson eluding to that I am not managing my time well and that I speed through lessons which can be difficult to do because it is difficult to differentiate the lessons without knowing what students will show up. Another time she said I was confusing her student. The lack face to face interaction makes it difficult to gauge if students are really understanding it. I'll admit I do improvise in my lessons so sometimes it does not go smoothly. I'm a first year teacher so maybe that has a lot to do with it. It's been a really stressful year.

    I have a habit of overdoing my lessons to where I don't keep it simple. I just never know for sure what students will show up to my class and what their abilities are. It makes me very anxious especially with students being able to come in late.
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 19, 2012

    Arnie, shoot me a PM sometime. I'm a fourth year online teacher and know your pain.

    Do you record your live sessions? If students come in late, I tell them to check the recording or to call me after the session to go over what was missed. It is the students' responsibility to log in early enough to make sure they are there for the duration of the lesson. Otherwise, it's their responsibility to get the material they missed.

    I also REALLY recommend working with other teachers as a team, if possible. If I'm teaching the main lesson, my teaching partner handles typed questions and comments. It took time to find the right pace and partnership to make this work.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2012

    I wasn't prepared for parents. I made the mistake of thinking that they would be like my own parents, which is to say that they'd be supportive, come to open house nights, and make sure that homework gets done. What I actually encountered were parents who were either completely absent or who hovered with such ferocity that I felt suffocated as the teacher. Of course there are reasonable, present parents, but the ones I seem to notice are the ones who cause me problems.

    I'm facing a situation with a parent this year who wants lots of remedial tutoring for his child (who sleeps and goofs off during my class, which is why he doesn't know what's going on with the material). I've arranged peer tutoring, but the parent doesn't want that. The parent wants me to stay after school, after my contract time, to tutor the student. When I have made myself available after school, without additional pay and outside my contract hours, the student is either unavailable or has been a no-show. Right now my admin is telling me that I need to start staying after school to tutor this student, and I'm very unhappy about that. My contract time has already been set, and I don't feel that it is fair for my admin to require me to remain at school well beyond that time to tutor a student who is failing because he chooses not to pay attention during class. I'm talking to the union about this issue, which is not something I want to be doing. (I don't like to appear on anyone's radar....I am of the opinion that it is best to keep my head down and do a good job.)
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2012

    Are you tenured, Caesar? Does your school have a tutoring policy? Can you make extra help available sometime during the contracted school day?
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2012

    I do have my state's version of tenure. We do not have a tutoring policy. I've done my best to give options to this parent and student, and in fact I have made myself available outside of contract hours for tutoring (but the student doesn't show). The student and I have different lunches, and I have no prep period during the day. The parent wants me to both stay after school a significant amount of time, well after my contract time, and tutor the student during class (not realizing or caring, of course, that I have 40 other students in class whom I must teach, monitor, and supervise). I've made arrangements for peer tutoring, both with a sports teammate of this student and with one of my AP students. The parent will have none of it. I have received literally hundreds of emails from this parent just this year and am feeling harassed at this point. My supervising administrator isn't supporting me in the way I need and I am beyond frustrated.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2012

    Document everything, Caesar...the time you make available, when the kid shows up and doesn't show up, classroom behaviors...:dizzy:
     
  21. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Feb 19, 2012

    My first year, I remember being shocked at the way parents spoke to me - rude, demeaning, demanding - a couple even called me at home!

    Ironically, time management wasn't a problem at that school whereas it's a huge issue at my current school. Much nicer parents at my current school, though :)
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Feb 26, 2012

    Caesar- Can you make a policy where you only give extra help to students who pay attention, try hard, and do their work? Or is your admin against that?
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think a policy like that wouldn't go over well and could quickly turn into a he said/she said situation--"But I DO pay attention!" (yeah, right). The biggest issue I have is that I don't want to be forced to provide tutoring for anyone outside my contract time without compensation. If my admin wants to compensate me fairly for my time, I'm happy to do it. Until then, I think that the parent can shell out his or her own money to a private tutor. Or, of course, the kid could start doing work in class. Either or.
     
  24. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Feb 26, 2012

    That's very annoying. I love giving extra help to students who make an effort and show respect, even if it needed to be most days after school.
    But to a student like that? No way.
    I would document every time the kid doesn't hand in an assignment or do classwork. Make him sign a slip or something and show it to his parents.
     
  25. lilune

    lilune Rookie

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    Apr 22, 2012

    Observation

    Have any of the administrators observed this kid? (I think I know the answer, but thought I would ask) I would think that if they saw that he was not putting forth the effort maybe it would show them that it is unfair to ask you to put in extra time for a kid who doesn't even try.
     
  26. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Apr 23, 2012

    Paperwork was a shocker for me. We had paperwork for everything. Every time a kid had a failing grade we had to record it and fill out a huge piece of paper saying why we think they're failing, and what we and the kid can do to help it. In order to send in a write up, we had to have at least 3 prior interventions recorded with a one-page paper for each. Every time we got a state or county test back, we'd have to analyze the results with a 3-page paper work and fill out a 2-page chart on how we were going to go back over what the kids got wrong. And when we had meetings about how to get the kids motivated for the state tests there was a 2-page follow up paperwork.

    And of course there were portfolios which meant a piece of paperwork per goal per portfolio per kid.

    Good grief.
     
  27. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Apr 23, 2012

    I would agree with a previous poster that the hardest thing for me to adjust to was district politics and policies that I didn't agree with. There is a fine line between doing what I think is right for the kids while being a respectable employee at the same time. Sometimes I had to go along with policies I didn't agree with in order to keep my job. For example, I had kids my first year who had been in the RtI process for up to 2 years and the district was still telling me I couldn't identify them for IEPs. I knew it was wrong, but what am I going to do, sue my district?
     
  28. sizzla_222

    sizzla_222 Companion

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    Apr 23, 2012

    I don't know as next year will be my first year teaching!
     
  29. wonderingwhat2d

    wonderingwhat2d Rookie

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    May 8, 2012

    Parents are my biggest problem. They aren't too nice. They want a perfect teacher but they only got one with a perfect heart.

    They aren't even perfect parents...

    Also, politics at schools astound me. Principals having affairs. Principals playing favorites. Teachers snubbing new teachers. Teachers snubbing because they are snobs.

    I assumed teachers were classy professionals, but found they are human like we all are. Some so human I want to scream.
     
  30. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    May 17, 2012

    I've only had my student teaching and subbing experiences. Before student teaching I had the pleasure of visiting my senior English teacher once a week for an entire year to observe how he conducted class. I even had the pleasure of teaching a few lessons and being a judge in one of their huge projects. The kids were extremely nice to me and my teacher who I've come to fondly think of as my mentor would never even allow the students to briefly consider being rude or disrespectful for me.

    So I go into Student Teaching going 'this is going to be EASY. My cooperating teacher will be as supportive as my English teacher was and the kids will be super nice.

    Ya...the first day in class one of the students said "You're not even a real teacher, so I don't have to listen to you, you c**t." I was shocked and horrified. When I tried to send the student to the office to explain why she felt she could speak to me that way to the principal--my cooperating teacher would not allow me to do so because "disciplining them might hurt their feelings."

    Needless to say my supervisor was NOT pleased when she found out an got me an immediate change into another school. But--I learned that not all experiences are going to be good--some glasses may be good, some may be bad. You just have to be prepared to roll with the punches.
     
  31. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    May 17, 2012

    I am challenged by the petty adult politics.
     
  32. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Jun 4, 2012

    Ooh, parents. That's a good one. Parents can definitely be difficult. In fact, I had a rather nasty email on the first day of schoo after the student took my supply list home. I had requested each student have a box of map pencils. She went on and on about how she already bought one box of map pencils for science (the science teacher takes them up), and are map pencils really necessary for an English class, if her daughter's going to need them for my class, I should supply them. That was my very first day of school. Fun times.

    Not all parents are like that, though ;)
     
  33. laelia

    laelia New Member

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    Jun 13, 2012

    The hardest thing this year was having very little support. I was given my classroom keys, the district policies and told to make it happen. Thankfully, I had a great teacher prep program and an awesome Clinical Teacher, who shared all of their documents with me. I don't know how I would have survived without them.
     
  34. lowes48

    lowes48 Companion

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    Jun 29, 2012

    I am going into my second year, and the hardest thing for me is planning on block schedule. :eek: I had to look for everything for my classroom as far as resources which is overwhelming for a first year teacher.
     

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