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musicnote210 musicnote210 is offline
 
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musicnote210
 
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Don't Think I Can Do It...
Old 01-26-2016, 08:25 AM
 
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I hate to be a statistic, but I just don't think I can teach any more. I'm a first year teacher at a tough district. Tough as in academically. I have amazing support from my administration and department. Here is my situation.

I got this job last August. It required me to move 3 hours away from my family. My fiance (boyfriend at the time) works in the trades with his own business, so he was able to move after his current contract was up in November. Man those were the hardest 4 months. That's when this all started. I started getting panic attacks from being alone. Nothing to do with the job (I thought.) People started noticing that I wasn't my "happy" self. I was in denial and asked what they were talking about.

Finally the fiance moved in with me, and things seemed fine. He got a great job and seemed happy, but every day was a struggle to get up and go to work. I quickly used up more than half of my sick days on exhaustion and real sickness. The district just expects so much from the teachers, and I wasn't able to keep up. Keep in mind that I have never had this problem before. I've always been a straight A student and have always gone above and beyond. But this job was killing me. I loved the teaching part; it was everything else that I couldn't keep up with.

Christmas break came, and I dreaded going back. I barely made it the first week when I was diagnosed with a UTI. I took too long to do something about it, and it turned into a kidney infection. The second week back from break, I had to use up the rest of my sick days because I was in so much pain. But I was actually happy. In a weird way, this sickness gave me an excuse to just rest. But then came the end of my sick days.

That morning, I woke up with a panic attack. I just couldn't go back. I couldn't do it. I had an emergency call to a therapist to finally get to the bottom of this. She told me that I had pretty bad work-related anxiety and that I needed to take a break. My fiance was understanding. He even went to talk to my principal at his own insistence, to let them know what was going on. I went to the doctor and got on meds for anxiety and depression.

Now, I'm on an unofficial sick leave. I have a note from a doctor, but was not eligible for short-term disability or FMLA in this district. I'm supposed to go back next week, but I'm thinking of getting an extension from my doctor because I'm still feeling the anxiety.

The problem is, I don't know if I want to go back at all. They have been so understanding, planning my lessons and taking care of finals for me. But even doing the minimal grading that they gave me is taking everything that I have.

I would also like to note that I am: planning a wedding, dealing with losing my support system, buying a house (although we are rethinking this...) and dealing with the soon-to-be loss of a close family member.

My dream, really, is to teach writing at a college or community college. Is that going to be any better? I guess I'm just wondering...If I quit now, and decide later that I want to try again, will I be able to get a job? Even if I cite medical issues? I'm just so confused and lost...this was my dream job and I'm not doing well here.

I feel so relieved in the idea of quitting. But I'm also ashamed and terrified. I took such pride in being a teacher, and I have no idea what my next steps would be. Go back to school? I only have a BS, and I know you can't teach college without at least a masters for community college.

Help?


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Oncidium Oncidium is offline
 
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Oncidium
 
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:53 AM
 
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That is terrible. You are dealing with a lethal mixture of the biggest anxiety-creators that people need to deal with. A new job, moving, buying a house and having a wedding or getting married. It is no wonder you are feeling the consequences in physical illness. It is never a good idea to do all of these things at the same time. These are huge life changing events. Why not simplify?
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K12ESLteacher K12ESLteacher is offline
 
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You are not alone
Old 01-28-2016, 09:08 AM
 
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To begin with, do not feel terrible at all. Your mental health is the most important thing you have. As I was reading your post I thought you were actually describing my first year. This is my second year and even thought things have gotten better, it is still far from being perfect. I always thought I wanted to be a teacher and to whoever told me it was a bad idea I would ignore. But now I realize it is not for me. The stress alone, being now a fused part of me, is not worth it. Not to mention working around the clock at all hours of day and night. I need time to myself. I need time to explore my hobbies and desires. With teaching, it will never happen. The day I pictured myself as a 50 year old teacher standing by the copy machine making 200 copies, or lesson planning in a wheelchair while all other friends of mine were out and enjoying their golden years, I decided it was time to quit. I will, of course, finish this year. But on the last day of school, which is June 28, I will finally take a deep breath of fresh air, with no anxiety at all. I cannot wait till that day comes.
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musicnote210 musicnote210 is offline
 
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:26 AM
 
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Thank you both for replying. I wrote this in a moment of pure anxiety. I'm still having these anxious feelings, but I can at least think a little clearer now. I got my leave extended a couple of weeks to hopefully at least help the medication I started start working and ease the panic attacks. I really don't want to finish the year, but my family and fiance are pushing me to, knowing that I will regret it if I don't at least try.

On top of all of this, my fiance lost his job yesterday. I'm taking all of these things as signs that we are not meant to be here. The plan was for me to quit in the summer/at the end of the year and tutor part time while I get my masters. Now that my fiance is jobless, we're not staying here.

K12ESLteacher - What is your plan after leaving? I think I might be interested in being a school counselor. Does anybody know the challenges with that occupation? I know that I still want to teach, or at least try, at the college level. Does anybody have experience with that? I might start a new thread to get some answers.

Oncidium- I really appreciate your response. I know it's a lot to take on. In a moment of relief I joked to my fiance that we've had a lifetime worth of problems in one year. Luckily, I am not ever losing him, so I will always have that support. The only logical way to simplify would be to stop the wedding. In reality, that is the one thing that has gotten me through this far. My mom and mother-in-law are taking the planning now; so I guess I did simplify in that way. Other than that, we are not buying the house, but I can't get rid of the stress of the job, moving, and losing somebody without moving back and quitting right now. Unfortunately, I am now our only source of income so I have to stick the year out unless he finds something back home.

I don't know. I don't think this was much of a question thread as much as it was a reach out for help. It helps to see that I am not the only person who has gone through this. I love the job, but I don't want a job that I have to take home and think about constantly. I need the separation, and you are right when you say that it will never happen with teaching.
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LetsTEACH2day LetsTEACH2day is offline
 
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Consider this...
Old 02-03-2016, 06:41 PM
 
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If it's feasible for you to go back to school, I'd suggest that. Going back to school will do a few things. First, it'll allow you to decompress a bit and get your thoughts together as far as your career, family, and health is concerned. Second, it will allow you to become more prepared for the next opportunity. What I mean is that there may be a great counselor position at an awesome school but without your Master's you'd be unable to take advantage. In the process of earning your Master's you could also realize that you do want to be a teacher and you can re-enter the teaching world much more qualified and knowledgeable than when you left. Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


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