i don't do, i teach

Second year teacher and find myself very unhappy in my current district. The amount of problems actually have me questioning my career choice. How can I know if I'm just disagreeing with the administration or if I've made the wrong choice in becoming a teacher at all? Very confused

Anonymous

the easy answer is to try to get another job at another school/district and then see how you feel.

the hard answer is i don’t know - because no one can tell you how you feel/think, only you can answer that.  you can ask yourself the series of questions that i gave the previous ask who was also questioning her commitment to teaching, that might be helpful.  you can try to do something on the side: private tutoring in either a small group or 1-1 setting, and see whether you feel invigorated by the experience or not (aka if you still hate the experience, might be you).  that isn’t a foolproof plan because teaching in that kind of setting is soooo different than a classroom experience but it might be helpful.

xteacher

Dear @iwasyourteacher, I am a first year-intern special education teacher and I am burning out quick. A lot of people say I am experiencing the normal first year of teaching, however I am extremely stress. I am also a candidate in a master's program. I really enjoy IEPs, 504s, and a lot of the administrative aspects of it, however I do not enjoy lesson planning, certain components of teaching, and behavioral management. Should I quit? I love my students, but I feel like I cannot handle this. TY

Anonymous

well, burnout is a problem in teaching, and feeling like you’re burning out definitely is something many new teachers experience. 

i can’t tell you whether you should quit… i don’t really know you or your situation (although i can certainly empathise with your feelings, having experienced it myself).  i think the question is what you want out of your life.  no one loves EVERYTHING about their job.  one question you could ask yourself is whether the stuff you really DON’T like outweighs the stuff you DO like.  another question you could ask yourself is what you think is important to actually like in your job.  like, if you said “i can’t stand my students”, i probably wouldn’t have such a lengthy response for you and would tell you you’re probably in the wrong career…

know that the next few years is going to be tough.  when a friend of mine started out, she told me that she cried almost every day after school.  but to my knowledge she’s still in it and she definitely cries less.  lots of jobs are actually like this, but probably with less crying: a lot of stress and anxiety before you find your groove and settle in better.  so the other question you can ask yourself is whether you’re willing to put in that hard time for this.  sure, you might come out of the other side still hating the job.  but you might also come out loving it more.  i don’t know which one it will be.  if you left, would you think you’d regret it because you wouldn’t know for sure, or would that not matter, like “fuck that i don’t give a shit”.  how you answer that might help you form your own answer to whether you should stay or go.

hope that helps.

xteacher

Any advice for dealing with know-it-alls? I've had a few in the past, and have been more than happy to have them add to any discussions, but the one I have this year is obnoxious about it and it's really starting to annoy me.

oh this is a hard one.  you want to let your students have their voice but you don’t want that to be at the expense of others, and also you don’t want them to be annoying/dickish about it.  i think it’s part of my job to break down students’ argument and show them the fault of their arguments in order for them to get better at developing statements and arguments. (but doing so not in a dickish way of course).  this sometimes gets them to realize they don’t know everything (but you’d be surprised at how often it doesn’t).  if they’re rambling i usually interrupt them (politely of course) and tell them to get to the point, quicker.  or i’ll just say straight out, i’m not going to ask upon them because i want to encourage others to speak.  none of these really deal with the underlying issue of them being obnoxious but it does give me and the class a break from their obnoxiousness.

xteacher

HS/MS/College teacher here re: advice. The one thing I've found about teaching advice on methods is that it really depends on the kid, your disposition, and the setting itself. I change approaches depending on a dozen things every day, it's a workout.

image

Has any of your advice actually helped anyone?

Anonymous

image

no idea. so if anyone wants to write in and tell me i’m the best, or the worst, and give an update on your situation, feel free.

xteacher

I'm like A-Level politics and I don't want to stop the course but literally every lesson my tutor make negative remarks mostly to the few women in his class. He's a bigot and it sucks but I don't want to make trouble for myself. Any ideas?

don’t stop taking your politics class just because your teacher sounds like a douchebag. 

1. if there is another politics class, see if you can switch into that. 

2. have you ever talked to the teacher to tell him that you feel some of the things he says is negative?  i wouldn’t necessarily do this by yourself.  i don’t know this teacher but in case it gets into a your word against mine situation, see if you and another one of your female classmates can approach him together.  because you’re in a power relationship, and because sometimes when people feel attacked you never know how they’ll react, it would be important to not make it feel like you’re attacking the teacher.  talking about it in terms of you and your feelings etc. might be one way to approach that.

3.  if you feel it’s necessary or important, talk to another teacher (one you trust) or your parent/guardian, about how to handle the situation, especially if the negative remarks are sexist or racist.  you shouldn’t have to put up with sexist or racist remarks from anyone, esp just because they are a teacher. of course, even if they’re personal attacks, if it’s causing unnecessary interruption in your learning it might be wise to pull another teacher in to even the power situation out.

4. see if you and the other students (boys and girls and [if applicable trans?]) in the class can come together and deal with it as a group - there is power in numbers. 

5. if you can, take a stand IN class (which would be bolstered by #4).  not by getting really mad or yelling at the teacher, but when something negative is said in class, just very calmly say that you find it hurtful and negative and that it makes you feel uncomfortable. 

i’m intrigued to know what happens if you confront the teacher so feel free to keep in touch. 

goodluck, and goodluck with politics!

xteacher

Fellow teacher here. Have you ever had to deal with a young student (5th-6thgrade) who showed little to no remorse for their inappropriate often hurtful actions? If so, how did you deal with it?

Anonymous

i’ve had to deal with high-school students who have been like that.  i tried everything: caring attitude, guilt trips, getting angry, being super patient.  nothing i did worked but the student also had a huge sense of disrespect for me, so nothing i could do would have helped.  if anything, it was the student’s friends who kept the student more in line and managed the student’s sense of … whatever.  if the student did something to another student, it was them who actually was like “hey you shouldn’t do that” or “you’re being a fucking asshole”.  i guess i run my class like lord of the flies where they just manage themselves?  i don’t know.  

Do you know if teachers are everywhere the highest risk-group for Burn-Out? I am only aware of the german statics.

Anonymous

i know in western english speaking countries the burn out rate ranges from 25-50%.  so yeah it’s pretty high.

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