Well, I hate this place that I am in life and wish things were different. I accepted a teaching job at the beginning of the year to teach fifth grade. I was switched about a month ago to kindergarten because I was told that I wasn’t setting expectations for my students to the degree that they should have been and I was not meeting expectations as a teacher. I thought that it would be better in kindergarten due to not having as much stress with the students passing tests and meeting certain expectations.
I was thrown into the deep end of the kindergarten pool without any assistance on how things were supposed to look like and what I needed to do to be the best teacher that I can be for my students. I went one day to observe another kindergarten teacher, but was only there for a bit over an hour. I asked to observe her for an entire day, so I could see what they all looked like but I was told that would not be possible. I have not had any sort of modeling of the correct way of teaching.
Today, I was told by my admin that I failed to deliver a lesson on Monday in the correct way. The curriculum is complex and can be difficult to understand. I mentioned to my admin that it is completely different to switch from fifth grade to kindergarten. We had about a thirty minute conversation. Everything I said was wrong or I wasn’t correct in my thinking. Am I a terrible teacher? Am I not supposed to do this? I love teaching. I love seeing the lightbulbs go off…but maybe I am wrong.
I don’t sleep anymore. It’s a good day if I get four hours of sleep. I am losing weight like crazy. All I do is work, eat and sleep. I have drawn away from things because I am so anxious, depressed and tired. I want to put my two weeks notice in on Wednesday since it is our last day of school before the Winter Holiday. I should have stuck to my old plan and been a substitute teacher and finish my teaching certification. I feel like I have failed.
Oh, Star, I’m so sorry. You need to know that this isn’t happening because you are a bad teacher my friend, it’s happening because you were not given the proper training or support you needed as a new teacher. I bet you are an awesome teacher, you just need to be in a school (district) where the environment allows you to flourish and be the best you can be.
We all know here what an awesome person you are. You are very much loved.
Substituting sounds like a good move for now. If the administration at your current job is willing to criticize, but not train, they really aren’t qualified to criticize. In other words, if they knew what the hell they were doing, they’d be able to explain how to do it.
There’s also a systemic problem; school funding is based on educational milestones, and it’s even become competitive so “underachieving” schools get funding cut. No consideration is given to student demographics. Therefore students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds become further disadvantaged because funding and staff that could help them catch up rarely exists. Such students languish, while the class grade averages remain in the toilet. Then the teacher gets blamed for it.
Some if not all administrations are demanding an unreasonable amount of extra paperwork from teachers too. My brother in law taught for 30+ years, and for most of it, he put in a lot of extra time preparing lesson plans that could compensate for the lack of a decent background of students and absence of parental support. He got great results, bringing up class grades above expectations. Administration still told him he was doing it wrong.
I think teachers should critique the school and it’s administration, just as they evaluate the teachers.
I worked for a school district for 7 years, and saw a huge variation between how schools operated within the district. In some schools, the teachers were generally happy, while in others, teachers were always looking for an escape.
I think once you have your teaching certificate, you’ll have much more confidence. Isn’t a form of internship involved with getting certified? That will make a huge difference in your confidence and approach to the work.
It sounds like you jumped into the deep end of the pool without swimming lessons. Take a deep breath and learn to swim.
Nope! You just discovered an approach that doesn’t work very well. That’s progress.
i am so sorry to hear that. thank you for reaching out to us.
they put you in a place, in a new place and have the expectations to go right from the start. there is a difference
between 5th graders and kindergarden. they should listen to you and your colleagues, not to their books or
guidelines. schooling is complex and needs preparation and can’t be done from one day to the next.
i also can’t switch from my job as a technician to being a baker on one day.
i can relate how you feel a lot more that you can imagine right now. on the beginning of this week i structured my
complete work schedule to more and more administrative work because of my illness and struggles lately.
i am working in an office on my own now, building up a structure there.
for me it’s like from working constantly under pressure, constantly trying to stay on pressure, thats how i always functioned best, to a quiet place. i feel like worth shit right now. i can’t handle that. i struggle with doing stuff that others do every day. i could do so much more, like in my past. i would like to do so much more, like i did. i hate where i am right now, who i am. that switch is so difficult to handle, so much to sort for yourself.
it’s like the same to you right now.
you want what is best for your students, for the kids in your class. you love to see your students evolve and grow
right in front of you. you love it when all of that come together and the kiddies in your class suddenly get everything
that you explained to them. that is what a teacher should be like. this is what makes a great teacher.
is there a correct way of teaching ? when you teach out of a book ? when there is no motivation or purpose behind?
there are so many teachers out there that should be questioning thereselves. they should maybe run a shop where
sand is being sold, or rocks sold near a mountain view, snow in a ski resort.
YOU are not one of them. you have heart and the right values for that job. you have the right motivation that is
needed in that job. every school teacher should be like that. i would love to had a teacher like this when i was in
school, from a students side. when someone is doing something with purpose, with heart, with passion, then it is
the right one to learn from. because you stand for that what you teach. and you do great my friend. be proud of
the way you are, the way you see teaching and the way you teach. you only failed at calling me stinky, because it
was at my monthly shower day just directly after my shower, where is smelled partly good.
we all here are so proud of you, what you do, who you are. you are beautiful the way you are. you are loved, the way
you are. you are so kind, you have a great and pure heart. feel hugged. we are all proud calling you
a friend. i am proud of knowing you.
Just to be clear, this administration rather spend 30 minutes all that you did “wrong” but wouldn’t spend 10mins showing you what to do right!!
I don’t believe you are a bad teacher at all. I think you have some admins who are so full of ego they refuse to help and support their teachers. This school doesn’t sound like a best fit for anyone. Probably why you didn’t get to look at a full day’s worth of observation!
For what it’s worth, here I have so many brilliant friends who got into teaching after they did and excelled at their bachelor’s degrees. And every single one of them had to go back to school to do a diploma in education because there were massive changes in standards and everyone had to learn the new way of doing stuff, and it was an intensive program!
Teachers were forming support groups and work groups to help each other through it, exchange notes, etc.
So yeah, being taught what they expect you to teach, and HOW they expect it is ON THEM.
It’s very much like a parent scolding you for not cooking the breakfast toast the way they want, but they give you no examples, no guidelines, and you’re just blindly trying things hoping to stumble across the magically perfect bread.
And when you do that, they say… oh, i don’t like that type of bread anymore, use something else!!
I’m proud of you for stepping up going into it full-time. Teaching is often a job that people don’t understand how much free-times goes into planning stuff, grading etc. You need a supportive environment, especially as you start a new grade.
You aren’t a failure. You’re so willing to learn and be otld the right way, but the admins refuse to help or guide you. That’s on them.
I think you can teach in any way that the kids can grasp and understand, and the curriculum is just a guide, not instructions or orders or demands, to help you know how to do it in such a way. The teachers that raised me didn’t go by curriculum and you don’t really need to either.
My Dear Friend
I am so very glad you have reached out, the thought of you dealing with all of this alone is heartbreaking. You have said yourself, you were thrown in at the deepend and expected to swim perfectly! who does that? I recall you waiting to start this job and talking with such passion, excitement and a little nervousness (which is helthy) You were thrown in at the deep end in an already struggling school from what I could tell,
You have not fully qualified and thus should always have been supported and felt supported and not used as a scapegoat for a failing system.
Recognising how unhealthy this has become for you far from a failure, it takes courage to and strength to recognise that and I am so proud of you. These people have no idea what they are doing pushing away someone with your passion for the job and then they wonder why there are not many good teachers around. its a sorry state to get into. I would love for you to stick them in the eye and show them that you are not going to be pushed away or shoved around but I do understand how damn hard it is when you feel like you are fighting a losing battle. So all I will ask is that you look at your replies today and use that love and strength to help you to keep your dream a reality. I want next year to be different, in a really good way, I want more positivity, more fun, more happiness and a lot less anxiety than this year, I want that for you too my friend more than anything. Love you very much indeed.
my starry foxed friend, i’m so sorry you have been going through this and facing such criticism due to a failing on the admin/district’s side.
i could go off on a whole tangent on how being a positive, supportive role model in a child’s life is more important than knowing who the 8th U.S. president was… so while i echo all the encouragement and love all our HS pals have sent your way, i want to get angry on your behalf. even though you share only the funny stories about your students with me, i can say with full confidence that you are truly passionate about teaching and care about your students. you wouldn’t be as affected by the one-sided conversation your admin gave you if you didn’t care.
the transition from 10 year olds to 5 year olds is a huge leap and you deserve that understanding and support from your administrative staff. it’s not that you aren’t supposed to do this or that you’re a terrible teacher, star. we need more teachers that care like you do. we need more teachers that strive to make the classroom a place to foster curiosity, creativity, and a feeling of safety. you love what you do… so a lot of where your resolve should lie is to find a better workplace that will take the time to work WITH you. those schools are out there. so once you recover from this shitty experience and put your notice in tomorrow, always know that supportive schools are out there.
with the teacher shortage our country faces and the unfair salary ranges states offer teachers, it’s beyond heartbreaking to hear that people with a true passion for the career are feeling like you are. i’m sorry, star. even if you continue subbing and complete your certification in the meantime, follow your heart on what will be best for your own body and mind.
i’ll end by saying if i had a teacher like you, who volunteers to support people through life hardships, loves gaming and GTA RP, has the cutest cat, is extremely funny, and loves teaching and making her students better versions of themselves with each day… you’d be one of my favorites.
okay i’ve rambled too long i’m sorry but i care about you and hope things work out for the best for you. you’ll be in my thoughts tomorrow with whatever you decide to do. keep your HS fam posted if you can because we got your back till the end. love you, star
The circumstances at work are difficult and were not in your favor, but you are not failing. High expectations have been put on you in a short amount of time and with little help. It’s not your fault. On you end, you are showing up, you care about those kids, you try your best and do your job. You are learning and you are dedicated. You are a good teacher. I believe in you.
PS - Just a little drawing made for you that I hope will cheer you up. We love you.