Feeling a bit down (teaching)

I’m feeling a bit bad lately. I’ve been in a teaching job for about five months. At best I can say it’s gone okay. I feel bad because the job is about to end, and I don’t feel I’ve left the best impression…yet at the same time I’ve worked on average 60 hours a week and I don’t know how I could have put in more time without losing my mind. I’ve had to teach a wide variety of new subjects, as well as three extra-curs. With the large teaching load, I feel that my I wasn’t able to deliver as strongly in my better areas (music) as I spent most of my planning time on the new material, and that the impression I’m leaving with music isn’t the best. I started in January (mid-year) and have had to deal with many transitional challenges with the kids to my expectations.

I don’t know what my employment status will be in September (working, subbing, or even beginning something new). I’ve worked hard and tried my best, but I feel like it’s just not (perhaps not ever) good enough for what everyone wants of me. I’m taking a short nap before I get back to planning and organizing for the week. Right now I just feel like a bad teacher who just can’t keep up with the hectic pace of my job and school. I’m somewhat dreading summer based on my unknown employment in the fall. I’ve met a really cool girl of late, and I hope going through a job transition doesn’t scare her off (I know it shouldn’t be reliant on my job status, but it still worries me). Thanks for listening…I needed to say something to someone tonight.

I’m sorry to hear you feel like this; it sounds like you’re a good, dedicated teacher trying to juggle everything thrown at you, which (as you’ve found) is not easy. With the teaching load you’ve had of course something had to give; it’s just a shame that it’s the subject you were most passionate about. I don’t know the specifics, but it doesn’t sound as though you could have done anything different. Could you be judging yourself too harshly?

I do hope that you get something for September. The fact that you’re worried about this and how you did clearly shows your concern for the students, and they deserve teachers who care. While your particular situation may not have been tenable even with a more seasoned teacher, you will find that it gets easier with time. Not just classroom management and lesson planning, but having a realistic idea of what can (and cannot) be accomplished, given time constraints.

It was hard enough for me to start in August and try to get to know everybody, and adjust to new preps and new schedules, so mid-year would be really difficult. I bet you did better than you think you did. It’s so easy to remember what didn’t go well and to forget what did.

Also, by this time of year the kids are squirrelly and the teachers are tired. Next year will be better. Good luck in whatever you end up doing.

Welcome to my world. Hopefully tour stay will be brief.

My sister is wrapping up her 5th year as a middle school band/choir teacher and feels like this every day. Although it’s not as severe now as when she was new to teaching. So it gets a little better, but not much. All I can say is either get used to it or find another career (she’s doing the latter).

I love teaching, but the astoundingly intense lack of appreciation from the don’t-take-my-money factions and the constant supervisional undermining from my-kid-is-perfect-like-me parents drove me to seek other career paths than public or private schools. Neither of those groups understand (or perhaps they’re just not willing to acknowledge) the extra hours, energy, money, and effort that teachers invest in educating kids (and adults, for that matter). Our modern media tends to paint even the kids as ungrateful prisoners of a system that isn’t conforming to their needs and desires. With that kind of feedback, it’s not surprising that most teachers eventually leave the profession – with most survey respondents noting that they would gladly continue teaching if the politics and parental problems weren’t involved.

Let me encourage you to watch an old Twilight Zone episode called The Changing of the Guard. The point that it conveys better than I can is that teachers can and do inspire their students to achieve. Some may achieve great things that help the human race progress; some may just inspire a kid to do something that helps someone else survive; some may inspire a kid to inspire others later on; some just inspire the student to do better than he’s done so far. And while the Twilight Zone episode is pretty tightly written and suggests inspirational literature helped students commit heroic acts later in life, I’ll note that I’ve seen amazingly positive changes in a kid just from his teacher telling him (honestly, I assume) “I believe in you. You can do it. Come back to me when you’re ready to try again.”

Quality teaching is more than just being knowledgeable about a subject and passing it along. Quality teaching takes talents not everyone has as well as skills not everyone can learn. Since you’re in the profession already, don’t give up on yourself.

Believe in yourself. Believe you can do it.
Come back and let us know the results of trying again.:wink:

Your children well
Their parents’ hell
Did slowly go by
…–Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young)
[COLOR=Black]Teach your Children[/COLOR]
…CSN&Y: So Far

I’m an occasional teacher with an interest in the history and theory of teaching, and coming from that background, it’s astonishing that parents have any expectations of teachers at all.

Our system of education is based on classroom teaching, which replaced individual teaching because classroom teaching was so much cheaper and more efficient. The idea that you can have individual teaching in a classroom teaching environment is just insane. Demanding individual tuition in a classroom environment is just insane. Expecting teachers to provide individual tuition in a classroom environment is just insane.

I’m not sure how we go down this road. From outside the country, I hear that the USA is returning to an earlier educational system: rich people get individual tuition, poor people get classroom teaching. And the classroom teachers are getting the blame for it, which must be very tough.