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RookieTeach92 RookieTeach92 is offline
 
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First year and I am miserable
Old 01-25-2015, 09:16 PM
 
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I just am really hoping to talk to other people that understand my situation. I am hoping it will help a little. Doesn't misery love company after all?

It's my first year and I absolutely hate teaching. I work at an inner city school teaching English to freshmen and sophomores. I am honestly at a loss as far as what to do with my career. I have been going back and forth about quitting since October. I figured if I was going to quit during the year the right thing to do would be to quit over winter break so they could find a replacement and have a fairly smooth transition to second semester. However, actually quitting was just not something I could do. I am a total pushover in these situations and would feel bad leaving mid year even if it was over break. The mentoring system at my school is a joke. My department chair, who is also on the sophomore team, always responds that she is "doing her own thing" when I ask for lesson ideas or plans or even what unit I should be working on. When you log on to our districts curriculum drive over half of the folders are empty because they quit paying teachers to write them And the ones that are there are awful- just a list of standards and nothing more.

My husband (love getting to say that!) and I were married over break when I went to his basic training graduation from the air force. It was my first time seeing him in almost three months. Immediately after he graduated they sent him to Mississippi where he is now completing specialized training. I won't see him until school is out in May. I will then be relocating to wherever the Air Force decides to send us.

I know I won't be returning to my current school but I am still unable to shake my anxiety. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I cry every single night. The majority of today was spent crying and barely able to move because I was just feeling so apathetic. I don't know how I am going to make it until the end of the school year.I know that it's technically only four more months but it feels like forever. People have recommended seeking professional medical help for my anxiety but I know it is from my job so I question whether it is worth it to take medication since I know the cause and that I won't be teaching again. Teaching again is not something that I see in my future. I just wish I wouldn't have wasted four years and $35,000 on a degree I am not going to use.


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My advice...
Old 01-27-2015, 04:12 AM
 
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First- I want to commend you and taking on freshmen and sophomores in an inner city environment for your first year of teaching!
My thoughts after reading your post is that this particular school environment/grade level & population may not be the best fit for you and since you have to resign due to a relocation I am going to try to encourage you to complete the year. If you were to resign now It could harm your chances of other opportunities in better matched districts... I know ALL to well the feelings you are going through- I resigned last year after my first year of teaching- I started off strong then quickly disintergrated as the student behavior worsened, workload increased, lesson planning never ended, demanding parents, and lack of support...etc., took a Hugh toll on my health- finally, in tears I admitted to the P that this just isn't for me..he agreed. But when he asked me if I wanted to leave now ( December) I took a deep breath and said no. It was very important to me to finish the year- and I'm glad I did- I realized that the school and how things were implemented were not the right match for me. I have completed
several long term sub positions before that school and loved it! It was hard work- but I never experienced the overwhelming stress- both physical and mental as I did last year. Once I left all my stress was gone and I was myself again.

I am currently a teaching assistant in a wonderful district and I love it! I took a Hugh pay loss- but I found my love of teaching again and I am not giving up!

Anyways- I agree that your anxiety is due to this position and it's not the right
fit for you- also first year is always the most difficult year no matter what...
I know it's easier said than done- but if you can try to complete the year you will be glad you did- take ONE DAY AT A TIME and don't be so hard on yourself!
However- your health should always come first and if you need to resign then do so and move on...
Gosh- I'm not sure if I was much help... In the end if you need to resign it's not the end of the world and you will have a new beginning with your new husband in a new state! Good luck and please let your PT friends know what u decided and know u can always vent here anytime! Good luck!
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Same!
Old 01-27-2015, 06:30 AM
 
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I'm a first year teacher, teaching the 4 core subjects to 8th graders in an inner city school in a self-contained classroom. I am feeling just how you are, full of anxiety and counting down the days until June.

My advice? Take it day-by-day. My mentor sucks (despite being a nice lady) and being the only first year teacher at my school does not help either. I use Teachers Pay Teachers and Google every single thing so as to not reinvent the wheel. Because I don't get help from my mentor and because I'm teaching for subjects, I just don't have the time to invent things. I use the teacher editions of books to my best ability. At the end of the day, *I* know I'm trying my best, with what little I have.

I do think not having your husband home is making matters worse for you. Have you considered going to therapy/counseling? I wouldn't recommend anxiety medication because you're right, it may be only directly linked to your job (I know mine is) but perhaps talking your stress out and getting some suggestions from a professional may help alleviate your anxieties.

I do think you should try to finish the year out. I'm just like you, I know I went be returning to this school. But I don't want to burn any bridges and I'd hate to risk not finding another job because of it.
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:16 PM
 
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Thank you so much for the feedback and support! It feels SO good to talk to others who understand. I do plan on toughing it out for the rest of the year. I am nervous for evaluations because kids have been awful so far this semester, vulgar language and cell phone use mainly, and all evals are unannounced so I never know when admin will pop in.

I feel like maybe taking a year off and working as an aide or subbing will allow me to catch my breath a little bit and make more permanent career decisions with a clear mind. I don't know if it is teaching overall I don't like or as you have suggested maybe high school just isn't the right fit.

Only 76 more instructional days! Not that anyone is counting
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:17 PM
 
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I would love to talk to someone but I don't know what the cost would be and I feel like I barely have time to shower some days let alone make it to a counseling session! I should definitely look into it though.


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Old 01-28-2015, 06:41 PM
 
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Does your district provide your benefits? Check to see if they have EAP services. Employee assistance program offers counseling, which should be free or at least reduced cost.

I feel for you. I work in a high poverty area with elementary kids and cannot imagine trying to deal with all their issues and attitude a few years from now.

Please don't let this experience change your whole view of teaching. There are other opportunities in different environments. Hang in there if you can but keep yourself healthy.
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You're not alone!
Old 01-29-2015, 02:45 PM
 
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Your story could have been my story last year. I teach 9th grade English and social studies. I was miserable and felt held captive by my anxiety until I finally got a prescription. I was turned off by the idea of being medicated for similar reasons that you mentioned - I thought, hey, it's due to my job, so that's not really justifiable. I was wrong. I remembered back to student teaching, getting married, everything that made me stressed out, and my brain was a non-stop broken record of everything I needed to do or what was overwhelming me. Teaching full time just amplified these feelings to the max. With medicine, I feel like I definitely have a clearer head.

That's not to say medicine will be right for you, but I could relate so much to your post that I felt the need to share, just in case it helped you too. Find ways to take care of yourself in other ways, like forgiving yourself for what goes undone or not to your expectations, because you are doing all you can. Seriously, you rock for continuing to provide your kids with what they need, despite it all.

I have a little post-it note on my desk that reads, "This too shall pass." It's a gentle reminder that it won't last forever. When I left my first school last year, kids I struggled with all year gave me a hug and thanked me for helping them. You are making an impact in so many ways, even if it isn't exactly clear until after the dust settles.
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be encouraged!
Old 01-29-2015, 04:33 PM
 
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Wow! My story is similar, except I was in an elementary inner school ( although my 2nd graders acted much like high schoolers!) It was the WORST year of my life. This was just last year. IT DOES GET BETTER!! Hold on to that hope, remember why you wanted to become a teacher in the first place. It sounds like this is not the place you are meant to be, but please don't give up. I am so glad I stuck through it. There were MANY days I went to school crying the whole 30 minute drive over, but by God I made it through! Now I am at a school I absolutely love! My students love me, my coworkers love me, and my principal encourages me. I was in such a horrible situation last year and I came to pro teacher many times searching for answers. I debated so many days on quitting.
Please don't give up, especially if you know you are meant to teach.
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Old 01-29-2015, 05:33 PM
 
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Truthfully, you don't need to feel guilty if you want to leave. As a matter of fact, I thin you should strongly consider it. Starting a marriage separated by miles is not optimal, although lots of military families live through it. Consider tutoring when you get back with your dh. I am sure that military families have a high need for qualified tutors to help catch kids up due to some of the move situations. Check on base at the education center or the community center. That would be an ideal position for a person, I think.

Goodluck making it through the year, but if you want to go, don't let anyone stop you. You deserve to be with your spouse.
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The sun will come up tomorrow, shine today.
Old 02-04-2015, 07:26 PM
 
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From a retired teachers of 33 years, each day I focused on making it a better day for a least one student each day. Even though days, even certain periods of the day,( I taught my last 15 years in an inner city with gang problems), were challenging. But through all of it I made it a point to brighten someones day. Here is an example: M was a student with multiple sclerosis, as a sophomore I met M on a walker between classes in the hallway. I had never seen him on campus, a school of 3000, but that day we crossed paths. After greeting him I ask him how was school going and a sense in his voice was of disappointment. I asked him what were his interests. He loved sports. Here he was in a walker just barely making it down the halls and you could see his face light up as if he was the star of football team. Being a teacher/football coach and asked him if he would be interested in helping out the team as a manager. Excitedly as resounding YES! YES! echoed through the halls. For the next three years he never missed a practice or game even though he had progressed into a wheel chair. The players and most of the school called him "Wheels". He became an endearing part of the football program and school. At graduation he asked me to escort him and I had the honor of wheeling him across the stage to pick up his diploma to a standing ovation to his peers. He loved high school. The sun will come up tomorrow, shine today. Your passion wasn't wasted it just has to be refocused to make an impact that you may never ever realize you have made.

God bless,


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Old 02-04-2015, 07:38 PM
 
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Sorry came in a guest. Here is my reply.

From a retired teachers of 33 years, each day I focused on making it a better day for a least one student each day. Even though days, even certain periods of the day,( I taught my last 15 years in an inner city with gang problems), were challenging. But through all of it I made it a point to brighten someones day. Here is an example: M was a student with multiple sclerosis, as a sophomore I met M on a walker between classes in the hallway. I had never seen him on campus, a school of 3000, but that day we crossed paths. After greeting him I ask him how was school going and a sense in his voice was of disappointment. I asked him what were his interests. He loved sports. Here he was in a walker just barely making it down the halls and you could see his face light up as if he was the star of football team. Being a teacher/football coach and asked him if he would be interested in helping out the team as a manager. Excitedly as resounding YES! YES! echoed through the halls. For the next three years he never missed a practice or game even though he had progressed into a wheel chair. The players and most of the school called him "Wheels". He became an endearing part of the football program and school. At graduation he asked me to escort him and I had the honor of wheeling him across the stage to pick up his diploma to a standing ovation to his peers. He loved high school. The sun will come up tomorrow, shine today. Your passion wasn't wasted it just has to be refocused to make an impact that you may never ever realize you have made.

God bless,
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Maybe
Old 02-07-2015, 10:39 AM
 
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First, I'm sorry this is happening to you. Being a brand new teacher is a difficult job, especially as so many lives depend on us. Also, being a brand new teacher in today's hostile environment is difficult.

I personally love teaching. Do I love it every day. NO!!!!! Do I love all of my students? NO!!!! There are some students I've had in that past that I didn't like at all, but I worked hard at never showing it. Do I enjoy working with the people I do? Sometimes. Some I really like, others I tolerate, and a few I can't stand. Again, do they know this? I certainly hope the ones I really like know it, and for the other two positions, I hope they don't know I don't, since I work on always being professional.

Are we all cut out to be teachers? NO!!!!!!!! But having written that maybe the issue isn't your being a teacher, but rather what you are teaching, the grade you are teaching and the place you are teaching in.

I know people that hated their teaching year and the next year moved to a new grade level and loved it.

So, please ask yourself these questions:

1) Is it the school and environment I'm teaching in that I don't like?

2) Is it the subject that I don't like?

3) Is it the grade I am teaching that I don't like?

I can't imagine that you hadn't realized during your student teaching year that you didn't like being a teacher? I would assume, that if you had realized this, you would have changed majors?

I will say people that have an education degree are often in demand in other positions and fields because of the training we have gotten. Use this on your resume when you look for a new job.

Congratulations on getting married. I hope you and your husband have many years together being best friends, lovers and husband and wife.

I know you are saying that your teaching position is making you sick, but maybe not being with your husband is also a part of making you miserable. I know being separated for an extended time would make me miserable.

I admire your not quitting and sticking it out, but if you are so miserable are your students feeling this and tapping into your misery? If so, that may be making it that much harder for you and them.

I wish I had some encouraging words. Knowing the year is almost over for this semester is some sort of encouragement. At least you know this isn't a forever thing. Also, moving to be with your husband is another exciting thing to think about.

You have a lot of decisions to make, but also have the potential of an exciting change in your life. Marriage, location and profession. Your $35,000 degree will come in handy in your next profession. Much of what we learn to do as teachers is transferable to any other profession / career. Plus who knows, maybe you will decide to use your teaching certificate in a corporation or even another field of education. Maybe you'll end up teaching a lower grade.

As for the curriculum. If others aren't sharing with you and your websites aren't helpful, please search here at PT. You can always ask the question on your grade level board. OR you can do search yourself on the net and find ideas that you can use in your classroom now.

As for asking for professional assistance. Your health plan may include it already. If you don't want to use that reach out to your local union or your state or national union. I know my union is providing, free, its members to speak to professionals. My state union also has a free 24/7 service where people can call in if they "Need to talk." Check these services out to see if there is someone that you can speak to on a professional level.

Just so you know, feeling the way you do, doesn't belong solely to first year teachers. I am a veteran teacher and I still have days and even years when I feel this way. Each group of students and administrators and co-workers bring on different feelings and experiences. I also teach in an inner school. We have our own unique set of issues in these areas, but at the same time we really make a difference in the lives of so many of our students.

Good luck in whatever you decide.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:01 AM
 
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Califteacher, your post made me cry. Not sad tears, but happy tears. Well, sad in a way. Sad for the student because I am always sad when people are sick. But happy tears, that you had the power and choose to use your power to be a positive influence on this student. By your actions you gave his dream a reality. By your actions you also modeled for the other other students compassion for those of us that may be different from us, and allowed them to see this young man in a different light. You allowed him to shine and the others to show him that they respected him and were glad he was a part of their team.

I thank you for your post. I've been feeling a bit down lately, due to my school year. I have been doing what I can to shine the light on all of my students, but it is hard when the environment around us is difficult. Your post gave me the strength to continue because deep down I know I am making a positive difference in the lives of my students. I am their cheerleader and need to give them the tools to be people that like themselves and want to be successful.

By the way, do you still stay in touch with this young man? I hope so. You sound like an awesome teacher. Even though you are now retired, once a teacher always a teacher.

I still remember a moment many years ago when we were teaching patterns in poetry. I had one student that just wasn't getting it. After school we spoke and then again the next day. Suddenly her face lite up and she said, "OH, it's a pattern." That moment made my day. I knew that anything was possible if I kept at it. She ended up writing a winning poem that we submitted to a local poetry contest and won.
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Military dependent?
Old 02-07-2015, 03:59 PM
 
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I just wanted to say that if you are now married to a member of the Armed Forces -- you are now considered a military spouse -- and if you dh has done the paperwork -- you can get medical/mental care for free.

I hope that your year get better! <<<hugs!>>>
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:49 PM
 
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Dear RookieTeach,

I'm with you--I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic because of one nightmare or another about my classroom-- I've been discovered lacking at some (impossible) feat that I should have remembered, and I have to be fired.

Before I started teaching a little bottle of pepto bismol lasted me 3 years.

I've gone through three bottles this school year and I finally bought a bigger one.

After all the grading and planning and reading, you finally sit down for your weekend ... on Sunday... and realize it's 4 pm.

I'm not returning to the school that initially hired me, so I can see where you would be anxious: will I get a good referral? will I find another job? Will I find a school that fits? Are all schools/classes like this? ....
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Glad to know I'm not alone
Old 02-18-2015, 12:51 PM
 
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So what are your plans for next year? I am so undecided on whether or not I should try to find another job in education. Is it teaching I don't like or am I just in an awful environment?

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Old 02-24-2015, 03:29 PM
 
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It sounds like you are in an awful and unsupportive environment, but also teaching is not what I thought it would be. Teaching is absolute bull####. I am also in my first year teaching. Please, I spend most days just managing a classroom and dealing with mouthy kids. I will see how I feel in June. If I were you, RookieTeach92, given your anxiety, I would quit now. You will be relieved.

The fact that you're unsure about quitting shows that you are dedicated. You believe this is your calling, that you will not be happy in any other profession. But you have to figure out if the stress will be worth it for you. Girl, many days I think to myself, how did these vet teachers make it for 20+ yrs? Impossible!!!! Teachers are expected to give so much, yet get NOTHING in return. I think they should stop training new teachers. There's more than enough teachers out there. They should better train principals; they can derail a new teacher's entire career.

It's not worth it to stay in the game, especially if you're not in it for the long haul.

I just quit my first teaching job and landed another one. I absolutely wanted to finish that year at my last (HORRIBLE) school just because I had everything figured out and the kids got used to me, but my last prince was horrible and made it impossible. Now I'm starting over at a new job mid-year.
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Move forward!
Old 02-24-2015, 03:46 PM
 
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By seeing a physician/counselor. You may be surprised how much this can help you. Four months is 80 days! 80 days that could be a lot different if you get some help. Sounds like you need to leave with a reference letter to hang on to in case you return to teaching at some point. Please don't look at it like a wasted four years. You gained a lot of experience that you can't put a price tag on. I hope you feel better soon.
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Need help.
Old 03-26-2017, 07:24 AM
 
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I know this is old. But This is my first year teaching english to 9th graders and I am a male who has hardly EVER cried before but I am breaking down every week due to anxiety and stress. I Know I don't have a disorder but I have been wanting something to help me through. Like OP I have been hesitant to even think about meds because I would feel bad thinking I don't actually need it. But honestly sometimes I wish I was in a coma or would get in an accident on the way to work so I wouldn't have to go in.
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Old 09-27-2017, 03:13 PM
 
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Empty handed- during my student teaching I would have those thoughts literally every day. I hope a deer runs out in front of me and I get into an accident. Not a life threatening one but enough to at least not allow me to work for a few days. And yet, I went every day, completed my degree, and just started my first year of teaching... it's not even October and I'm questioning why I even applied to teaching positions based on how unhappy I was. This school is way better than my ST position but I still feel so miserable. I'm not glad that you were (are?) unhappy but I am relieved that I'm not the only person with thoughts like that. Hope you're happy with whatever path you are on.
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