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ssalazar7 ssalazar7 is offline
 
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Nerves and Teaching
Old 02-05-2019, 08:10 AM
 
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Hey everyone, I have seen a lot of posts about this, so I THINK I am not wholly alone, but I need people who can understand and suggests solutions. I have always been a nervous person, and I remember my first year teaching, I thought that with the behavior, I couldn't do the job until retirement. I have only been teaching for 7 years, and for those who have been teaching more than 10 years, you have seen the changes in behavior, accountability, and parent contacts. After my first year, I really started to develop my own teaching style and personality, however, I partly knew that was because I had good kids that weren't violent or aggressive. Last year, the whole campus had a pretty violent and aggressive class; I teach high school by the way. Students are becoming more aggressive and violent, and to be honest, this worries me. My nerves at times feel shot. I worry myself about having to confront aggressive students who can turn violent or destroy a classroom setting for ten minutes or so. Because of my other students, I do confront these students when they do not follow procedures or rules because it would not create the appropriate classroom atmosphere for my other students. Anyways, I think I am rambling, but the point of this post is that my nerves in the last two years have gotten so bad that I literally fear confrontation from students. This could be due to school admin sending a violent kid back into the classroom. I am really small (4'11) so perhaps it is the fear of getting punched (we've had students in the past become violent with adults). I have considered a therapist but our insurance doesn't cover it and I live in a small, remote town, so the closest therapist is 45 min away.


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Old 02-05-2019, 10:00 AM
 
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It sounds like you are in a very stressful situation. Can you take yoga or a karate class? The reason I suggest this route is becaus yoga and karate can greatly improve self-esteem, confidence, physical, and mental health. It might help with dealing with the negative energy from the students.

And remember what William Shakespeare said, ďAnd though she be but little, she is fierce.Ē Repeat it, and repeat it until you believe it.

Donít hesitate to take a mental health day when you need to regroup and restore yourself.
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Ugh
Old 02-05-2019, 10:10 AM
 
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I'm sorry you're working with violent, aggressive students. Perhaps you can transfer to a different school next year. You shouldn't have to deal with all of that.
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:38 AM
 
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I feel you. This is my second year teaching. The first year was so bad I had to seek counseling. If there's a church nearby to you see if they have any counseling connections. I attend counseling in a church for a cheap price because they just do it to help. And they don't pray it out or talk faith with me they seriously talk through things. That's just a possible resource. There are also apps and online services that will connect you to a licensed counselor that might help. So try those. Also, I would check in with a doctor and get vitamin levels checked. We found out some of my anxiety was caused by a vitamin deficiency that had plagued me for years under the radar. Also find things to focus on outside of work and things to not worry about. I have yoga, walks and playing with my pets, puzzles, game nights with friends etc. I hope this helps even a little bit. My school drives my anxiety through the roof.
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Nerves
Old 02-05-2019, 12:16 PM
 
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I was much more nervous teaching children. I now teach adults and I am much
Better. I still have some nervousness. With kids, too many potential problems
arise. I am now older and after 20 years, I have calmed down a bit. I now know
I am trying my best. Nothing is really crucial in the grand scheme of things.


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So sorry...
Old 02-05-2019, 12:54 PM
 
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I am sorry that you are working in fear of a student confrontation. I am also sorry that a therapist is not covered by your insurance. You might still want to explore the cost of a few sessions and maybe a payment plan could be worked out with the therapist if you feel the sessions are beneficial. You also might be able to deduct the cost of the therapy from your taxes and recoup some of the cost through medical deductions if you itemize. There also are mental health hotlines that may be free and offer some assistance to you. I think my union newspaper always has the phone number of ours in the paper we get as members.

Wishing you the best with everything. It is sad that teaching is so challenging these days both intellectually with all that is required of us as well as mentally and emotionally. And you're right, it didn't always used to be that way.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:11 PM
 
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Holy cow! Is this the same school administration that said previous teachers didn't even teach or had a lesson plans? What a surprise!!

To answer your question is yes I have felt the same fear. As a matter of fact, one time I completely had an anxiety attack that lasted 2 months. I was on xanax and depression pills after that. I had a realization that day that my safety was the least of administration's problems. I felt my life, not my profession, was expendable. I have never being the same after that.

I am sorry that you are going through that. IMO, a good administration, can make a huge difference in the culture of a school.

I wish that I could have some words of wisdom for you.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:01 PM
 
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I am also a tiny person teaching high school, and have thought this situation through a number of times. I don't really deal with violent students, but the day I get assaulted is the day all legal hell will rain down on the district and the parents of the offender. So there's that, at least.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:38 PM
 
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A couple of years ago I had a similar experience.The students were disrespectful. They were damaging and destroying my classroom environment.
It was an awful year. I knew if I had stayed, I would've had health problems. The stress was unbearable. I left elementary teaching.
I teach in college now. People do this quite frequently now , and transfer into ESL or junior colleges or some other environment that is less insane. Please do
yourself a favor and make the change because you deserve better and some respect.
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I feel like this shouldn't be your battle...
Old 02-05-2019, 05:58 PM
 
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Because inheriting kids who haven't been taught how to behave or self-regulate their behavior is rough. I'm sorry you're having a hard year.

You've gotten some very good advice. I'd just add to please look into learning de-escalation strategies. A lot of teachers paint themselves into a corner getting into needless power struggles. Sometimes it's better to "lose" a battle and win the war. De-escalation helps kids to calm down and puts you back in control. You'd also be taught how to read physical cues so you would know when to back off.

Giving students lots of choices helps, too, particularly very defiant or oppositional kids. Two choices that are both acceptable to you make children feel in control.

I would take "confront" out of my vocabulary. It puts you in an adversarial mindset and creates resentment in kiddos who are already disturbed. If a student is behaving in a threatening manner, call for help. If they give you any "we're busy right now" BS, then you say, "You have 60 seconds to get to my classroom or I'm calling 9-1-1."

Hang in there. I'm convinced that 95% of kids like going to school and enjoy learning.


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A thought on therapy
Old 02-05-2019, 06:44 PM
 
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I know you said that you insurance won't cover a therapist, but if you call around, you may be able to find a therapist or a therapists group who offers counseling on a sliding-scale basis...the less you earn, the less you pay. I know that DH found one who operated like that, and we're not in a huge town. Also, sometimes if your primary care person writes the referral for someone in network and lists it as "medically necessary," it can grease wheels with insurance. I hope you are able to get the help you need. It sounds like you are in a very difficult situation. Best of luck to you in finding help.
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I can relate
Old 02-06-2019, 02:00 PM
 
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I've been in this situation a couple of times in 11 years. It was really stressful for me because, while I'm not physically diminutive, I know how the system works, and i fully realized that if a kid got physical with me, I basically had to take whatever they did to me because nobody can trust administrators to back them up if on the off chance a kid were to accuse me of being physical at all back, even if I was just trying to get a kid off of me. I should say that I'm very fortunate that no kid has ever tried to get physical with me.

It's really stressful having a class of volatile kids these days, even if they're not capable of physical violence or not (and for far too many of us, this is a real possibility), because I think a lot of teachers know deep inside that no matter what kids do, people in charge are going to excuse it and throw the adults under the bus. Basically, we have to let kids do whatever they want if we want to keep our jobs. Some years are so stressful because we realize that every second at work is a house of cards. I totally understand considering therapy.

Last edited by Surly; 02-06-2019 at 02:32 PM..
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