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Student Teaching
Old 01-26-2020, 06:34 PM
 
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Hello,
So I'm now in my full time student teaching. I'm having a really hard time emotionally right now. I was sick with a minor cold, and not wanting to get sock because it was drilled into my head that teachers should go to work sick by my CT and Advisor, I came wearing a mask. I didn't think much of how parents or the children would think of it, which was an oversight for sure, but I ended up being brought aside my my advisor.

I didn't mind the fact that she ended up telling me not to wear my mask, but she then started to pressure me to go home. She mentioned that I admitted to making a (small) mistake and accused me of not being prepared despite having spent a decent amount of time creating a lesson plan and even practicing it. She also mentioned that she felt I was faking being sick. She also pressured me to be more open with her and be honest with her and my CT. At this point, I was already in tear, and not knowing what to do, I blurted out that I have several mental illnesses, including ADHD, PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety (all diagnosed).

I don't know what to do at this point. I really love working with the kids, but I feel like I'm failing them. My CT is very kind, and offers a lot of good advice, but I don't think she trusts that I'm capable.

And I'm not even sure I want to teach anymore. I loved my daycare job and I loved volunteering in the classroom, but I'm absolutely dreading my Student Teaching. I'm feeling suicidal right now. Everyone around me is suggesting I stick with it but I honestly don't know what to do.


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Old 01-26-2020, 07:17 PM
 
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I am going to disagree with "everyone around you". Do not stick it out if it is effecting you this much. No job should make you suicidal.

I think that it sounds like your adviser may lack social graces and not be quite sure the best way to go at some sensitive topics respectfully as opposed to confrontationally BUT-if you are getting to the point of tears from a harsh conversation then is sounds like you really may not be in a head space that is ready for the challenge you are taking on. Students, admin, parents ect can all be horrifically harsh and if you aren't in the right place to deal with that this might not be the best time to be pursuing student teaching.

There is no shame in taking a break and doing some self care. Get, help, get support, get what ever you need to feel good and strong again. Your mental health needs to come first.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:14 PM
 
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Yikes! I agree with Kindercr4zy. If you are not currently mentally stable enough to handle criticism (justified or unjustified) without falling apart, then teaching is probably not the right job for you.

I highly recommend getting immediate care for yourself since you are feeling suicidal. You may need to take a leave from school and focus on getting healthy. Once you are past the crisis, it would be wise to discuss with your therapist (if you don't have one, find one) how to handle situations of this sort. They come along often in teaching; criticism and colds exist in ordinary life also. Once you are stable and able to cope with ups and downs better than you are doing now, you (with the help of your therapist and university advisor) can consider whether teaching is a good fit for you.

Please, please, please get help for yourself Monday morning. It's important.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:26 PM
 
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I think if you have that many medical issues, you might consider looking into a different career. You are going to have to deal with admin, teachers, parents and children “dissing” you. You are going to have problematic, potentially traumatized children in your classroom. You are going to have to say singularly focused at times and be accountable for timely responses.

With the ADHD, PTSD, etc. I suspect teaching will put you over the edge your first year.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:35 PM
 
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If you are feeling suicidal; please, please get help right away! No matter what job you're in, it's imperative to get help.


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Old 01-26-2020, 08:52 PM
 
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Thinking of you tonight. Hoping clarity comes to you in the morning.

{{{{hugs}}}}
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I can relate
Old 01-26-2020, 09:17 PM
 
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I can relate to the hopeless feelings. Teaching is rough with all of the criticisms. It can be especially challenging if you already have a tendency to be plagued with dysfunctional thoughts.

I don’t think you need to give up on teaching altogether. However, I DO think it is a good idea to seek treatment for these conditions (Therapy, medication, whatever will help). It will help you learn how to handle stressors without “falling down the rabbit hole.” Once you’ve got some tools under your belt, I think you will be in a better position to give teaching a go.

I am very similar to you. I have anxiety, depression and ADD. I can take constructive feedback well but harsh criticism is another story. I’m still learning how to let it roll off my back.

Good luck to you, sister.

Also, I highly recommend the book “Feeling Good” by David Burns. It has helped me TREMENDOUSLY.
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:39 PM
 
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NewCATeacher~My DD could probably benefit from that book you mentioned. I went to Amazon, but there are various books of that title by the same author. Is there one, specifically, that you are speaking of?

TIA!
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:11 AM
 
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A couple years ago I went to my doctor (a new one) as I was getting over the flu, and he came into the exam room wearing a mask. I had never seen a doctor do that before, but it didn't bother me at all. A year later, I went to see him for a minor issue, and he came in again with a mask. He said he had a cold, and he didn't want to transmit it to his patients. I appreciated that.

I honestly think you were being very thoughtful wearing the mask, but for some reason, that just isn't done in schools. Perhaps it happens somewhere, but I've never seen it.

I agree with the other advice you've received. Please seek help. I'm getting close to the end of my career, and teaching isn't getting easier.
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Sorry
Old 01-27-2020, 06:01 AM
 
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I'm sorry things are hard. Please make an appointment to see a therapist right away if you are feeling suicidal. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing right now.


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Yes!
Old 01-27-2020, 06:28 AM
 
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It has a yellow cover and the title is called “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns MD. Love it!
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Quit Teaching?
Old 01-27-2020, 06:30 AM
 
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I am really shocked and disappointed that someone said teaching isn't right for you because you have a mental illness and cried when being criticized. I really do not care at this point if any of you come after me, but I know several of you have complained about admin telling you something hurtful so how can you tell someone who is merely in the student teaching stage that "teaching isn't right for you?" From what the poster has said, those are some really harsh comments by the adviser and you're NOT supposed to go to work sick because you will just spread it around. Also, from looking at these posts for about 7 years, most teachers have mental illnesses and a lot of them develop mental illnesses due to the job. Let's stop glorying this job like teachers have to be martyrs wiling to be talked down to, overworked, or sympathetic to a student who intentionally hurts us.

Yes, there are people born to be teachers and by that we mean that we can connect with learners, KNOW our content, and enjoy what we do. However, good teachers can be made or developed. It could be you're not used to the atmosphere because most people do not really know what we deal with. Right after my student teaching, I went and got my MA because I didn't care for a lot of what I saw. 7 years later and I am not only still a teacher, but one who is in demand in my county. Either you were placed in an unsupportive school or it will take take time for you to grow a tough skin. Student teaching and your first year teaching will be the toughest. The fifth year will seem tough because that is when teachers tend to burn out and wonder if it is time to leave.

Also, in most states (if not all), we have a shortage of teachers so admin and advisers running new teachers off is laughable.
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Please find a new placement
Old 01-27-2020, 06:33 AM
 
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I hated my student teaching experience as well. I should have been brave enough to ask for another placement but I needed to graduate and get a job.

Nothing is worth your mental health and well being.
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IcyPeppermint
Old 01-27-2020, 06:49 AM
 
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You are my hero. Preach it!!
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Honestly
Old 01-27-2020, 07:07 AM
 
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I would evaluate if you want to teach or not. And I'm saying that because I had the worst time student teaching. My mentor was awful and I did end up crying in a meeting once when I felt that she as coming on as too critical. I thought about quitting teaching, I had anxiety that made me feel like throwing up (ended up thinking it was just really bad nausea for a few weeks before I connected it to anxiety). I hated every day and even had wandering thoughts about being hit by a car so I wouldn't have to go to work (which is actually more common than I thought).


But I stuck it out. I did what I could, and I ended up getting good marks minus one that said I needed to practice receiving criticism which was totally fair. Then I had a summer off and started a new job at an awful charter that was the same charter as the one I student taught at, just a different campus. And even on the WORST days of teaching at that school...I still felt much better than when I student taught.


Student teaching is it's own special beast. I think I had such a hard time because nothing is 'yours'. The kids aren't yours, the school isn't yours, you don't have your own teaching supplies, everyones watching you all the time, and at least I felt a lot of pressure to deliver. And while parents and admin and co-workers can put that same pressure on you, it's generally not all at the same time like when you student teach.

So back to my original point, evaluate if you want to stay or not, because this doesn't mean that you aren't fit to be a teacher. Make a list of what makes you anxious and depressed while student teaching. Is it related to your mentor, the observations, the lack of control? Or is it focused on teaching as a whole, long days, not enjoying the actual teaching, etc.
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Medical Intervention...
Old 01-27-2020, 07:38 AM
 
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I would definitely schedule an appointment with your medical professional(s) to make sure that your diagnosed conditions are not impacting you adversely here. Today's teaching world unfortunately is a pressure cooker and you need to be physically at the top of your game.

Your advisor sounds like a bully to me. You did nothing wrong by wearing the mask, only doing what so many in the public do when they feel ill and don't want to spread germs. It should not have been drilled into your head that teachers must go to work sick. If your cold was impacting your energy level in your ability to work and/or you were coughing and sneezing to the point where you felt you would impact others, there is nothing wrong with staying home. That's why teachers have contractual sick days.

The positives here are that you enjoy working with your students, and your CT is supportive and welcoming. You deal with her on a daily basis, and the advisor hopefully less so. Do not let the advisor drive you from the profession if you feel it is what you want to do. I myself had the opposite in one of my placements, a CT who had to take me on at the last minute due to changes in the staff of the school and who was not supportive or constructive. It was my advisor who saved the day and made the situation bearable for me. I never forgot his kindness and I went on to teach 42 years.

Do not feel you are failing your students. You obviously care about them and care about your performance. You are a student teacher. Even as a classroom teacher, we can teach a lesson that fails, or not relate strongly to individual students in a given year, as hard as we try. You are putting too much pressure on yourself.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best. Today's teaching world is very hard, and getting harder each year. Just make sure you make the best choice for yourself, not influenced by an outside advisor who is seems to be anything but constructive or helpful.
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I agree with IcyPeppermint
Old 01-27-2020, 10:53 AM
 
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There have been many people here posting about struggling with mental health (yours truly included) and how if they receive one more piece of harsh criticism they might just break. These same people can be great teachers. Actively seek out a plan to help you since your thoughts have become suicidal and take good care of yourself. Teaching is tough and it's not for everyone but I definitely believe even those who struggle with mental health can make it.

I have reached a point where I'm thinking it's time to move on and not look back but that was after years of evaluating my situation. I still think I'm a good teacher but I have been not treated well and have grown tired of it. I just wanted to make that clear in case you've been following my posts and wondering why I am trying to encourage you. I would say give it a try after you've taken the steps to take care of yourself
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I beg
Old 01-27-2020, 03:59 PM
 
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You to call the suicidal hot line immediately!!! PLEASE PLEASE get help now, do not wait. Do you have family or friends around that can come to you until you can get to your dr, or even take you to the hospital??
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:25 PM
 
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Justthatgirl,

I am so sorry to hear you are struggling. Please, please get help. Go see a doctor or counselor. Take a mental health day. Look after yourself.

I also have ADHD and generalized anxiety. I have taught for seven years now, I love it and believe I am good at my job. Those diagnoses don't mean you can't teach! I would go so far as to say ADHD is an asset when it comes to teaching kinders- similar attention spans and energy levels

BUT- mental health issues can and will make your job harder at times. You may need to think hard about how you will manage those issues, prioritize self-care, deal with critisism etc. Now is probably not the time to make any big decisions, since you're feeling so low. But they will be worth thinking about later, when you're feeling a little better.

Please be kind to yourself and get help. Talk to people who love you about how you're feeling. I'm praying for you!
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:27 PM
 
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Years ago I postponed my student teaching. I'm pretty sensitive and shy. I've grown out of this from 20 years experience in the classroom. My first experience with student teaching wasn't very good. I had a controlling mentor, so I got out. The college supervisor wasn't very inspiring either.I tried it again the next semester,and it was so much better. My favorite mentor was in first grade. She was positive, but a bit of a rebel.
Ironically she's now that same school's principal. This is important because though she was a good teacher, I'd never imagine her as principal... and I hear that she's pretty good. So don't sell yourself short.
You can make the necessary changes for next time. I had to change a little when I did it a second time and I succeed. You can too.
I've learned that there are some situations in life that are not a good time for us. Sometimes we need to try it again with different people.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:59 PM
 
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Thank you IcyPeppermint for saying what needed said!

OP, I had similar issues during my internship. My first placement was horrid. My CT told me daily that I shouldn’t be a teacher, my Advisor was unsupportive and believed everything my CT said. I was going thru severe medical issues at the time and I did break down crying more than once. I advocated for myself and found a new placement. My advisor, degree program, college of Ed, were all against me on this and it was quite the battle. They even made me meet with them to determine if I would be removed from the program (was on the final semester of it) and tried to get another $5000 out of me for an additional semester.

Long long long story short, I won (did not have to pay any additional money). I got my degree and subbed for a year and a half before finding a long term placement that turned into a permanent placement at my dream job. I am on my second year of teaching now and even though it is exhausting, I enjoy it greatly.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:44 PM
 
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I was pregnant during my internship. There were times I had to stay home due to illness. Your advisor is feeding you bs. It’s also how I was made to feel after I landed My first job as well. You come first. Don’t forget it. Stay home when you are too sick to be at school. Always.
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Old 01-28-2020, 02:22 PM
 
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I hope you're feeling better today both emotionally and physically. It's totally okay to take the rest of the semester off and take care of yourself. You can always start student teaching again next semester. I did that 30+ years ago when I got a horrible case of the flu smack in the middle of student teaching. It all worked out.

Do what is best for your mental health right now and forget about all the expectations others have of you. Please let us know how you're doing in the coming days. Best wishes!
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