Encouragement needed

Most of the time here at the Persistent Platypus, I like to provide enouragement to those in need. However, this time I am in need of a little encouragement. I am very frustrated, and slightly anxious, about my job for next year. I am a special education teacher who works at a school with a high turn-over rate. The turn-over is mostly due to the fact that my school is literally in the middle of the desert and most people use it as a launch pad for their careers. Due to this turn-over rate, my position is always up in the air at the end of each year. Special Ed positions are always last to be scheduled because they have to wrap around the general education classes to be able to service the students in special education.

This is always a very stressful time of year for me because I am always in limbo. It is hard for me not to know, or not to plan for next year. I am fully aware that my anxiety doesn’t help the process get any easier. 

What are some ways that you have found to be helpful for you when dealing with uncertainty? 

42 thoughts on “Encouragement needed

  1. This is going to sound corny, and probably I won’t be the first or last to give you this advice…but do anything that keeps your mind off the topic. Doesn’t have to be over the top, just enough to keep you busy and not give space to rumination. It’s frustrating at first because when you begin the activity you choose you’ll still be thinking about what’s bothering you, but give yourself the space and time to relax. You know when you’re watching a movie and you get completely engulfed by it and forget your day to day life? That’s the kind of “relaxing” I mean. To be present in the moment you’re living. As time passes you’ll realize you’re thinking less and less about what’s bothering you. You might not be able to forget it 100%, but at least keep most of your thoughts away from the anxiety. Keep busy, stay focused!

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  2. My faith. I have faith that every obstacle I encounter has the potential to make me a better person. In that way, I see even the bad as working for my ultimate good. I know that when I get through this I will be stronger. I genuinely believe in “whens” not “ifs.” This opportunity might pass me by, but when it is my time, it will be for me. So sometimes life says “no,” so it can say “yes” really loud and amazingly. Also, I ask myself “What’s the worst that can happen?” And even in the worst situation, I am alive. Where there’s life, there’s hope. But usually my worst situation is nothing so bad…just humbling and quite bearable. The hard part is doing the waiting between now and when the thing (whatever it is happen). And it’s gonna be hard, because that’s where the growth happens. Good luck.

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  3. Moms like me are so grateful for teachers like you. Your involvement in the lives of the students reaches far beyond the classroom. You are blessing and comforting moms who go through times of grieving in knowing their child has special needs. I’m trying to get my thoughts together since it is a little late in this part of the world, forgive me for doing a poor job of explaining myself. Be certain of this, you are changing lives. I can tell you are a caring and inspiring person. Your blog has encouraged me during one of the most difficult years of my life…anything that could possibly go wrong, did. I survived the uncertainty of last year through faith, perseverance, and great strength. I also relied on my husband’s listening ear, and a few sweet and trustworthy friends. You are not alone. I am not sure how you can message me through WordPress, but I will be happy to encourage you any time!

    Praying God will hold you close in the palm of His mighty hand,
    Sandi McCravy
    Isaiah 41:10

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  4. Anticipatory stress is brutal. Your situation is much different then what I’ve experienced as an educator (unionized environment where once you are in, you’re in). Teaching assignments, however, can change and although a teacher may not like the assignment they’ve been given, it is their responsibility to be professional and seek assistance to ensure they are doing the best they can for all of their students.

    You are in limbo, but you need to believe in yourself and know that even if you are not the Special Education teacher next year, you have an AMAZING tool box to assist students in ANY class setting as a result of your Spec Ed background. You will be able to advocate for students who may have fallen through the cracks because of the turnover rate in your school. Every teacher should be a special education teacher, and many have those qualifications just because they believe the mantra: knowledge is power.

    Have confidence in your abilities to adapt to the change if it happens. The one thing all educators at all levels need to be is flexible. We often get too comfortable in our roles and when faced with a potential challenge (new assignment, new planning, new students), we panic.

    Hope this helps ease some of your anxiety. Been there, bought the t-shirt.

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  5. I say hold your head up high. Even if the system or location or whatever it is treats your demographic as secondary, you and I and all the parents and kids out there know how absolutely necessary you are not just for the students you teach but also for the evolution of the entire system. If you put your all into what you do and truly love it, you will undoubtedly make an impression on the school, one that makes your ‘superiors’ see you as a teacher of value and not a filler-inner. If they don’t see you this way, maybe you can try being loud about it. Kind and intelligent and thoughtful but concurrently loud and proud. It seems like you’re coming from a place wherein you feel you need them, but it seems to me as though they’re failing (recurrently) to see that they are the ones who need you.

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  6. The stress of uncertainty is the worst kind. I myself also hate the lack of control. I echo the sentiments of Sandra above and say that what you are doing is really beyond special, and you can tell from such responses. I hope all goes well and works out for you!

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  7. I will be praying for you. I understand how it feels not knowing. But don’t make your thoughts catastrophic, it won’t help. Think positive and let it be in God’s hands. Let it go and pray.

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  8. I don’t believe in behaviorism, so I don’t believe there is any “recipe” to calm anxiety, but honestly I think this is not the pathologically negative kind of anxiety, because it is rationally based. In this kind of moments, anxiety is normal and sometimes even healthy. If you feel you’re experiencing a little too much of it anyway, I think the only thing you can do is not to feed it, maybe getting your mind off of it. Try going for a long walk (exercise helps a lot), watching movies/TV series, listening to music (either calming music or motivating music that you can even dance or jump around to) or yoga! Good luck and lots of hugs πŸ˜‰

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  9. I don’t know if I can be much help, but I think the best thing you can do when you cannot control an outcome is to focus on things that you can control as well as things you enjoy doing. For example, perhaps you can focus on your artwork that you’ve been doing or your writing on this blog. Also, you can focus on how to control your anxiety, prove to yourself that you can find ways to handle a situation that you have no control over. Just like “Riding the Life Coaster” suggested, praying is a great thing to do when you have little to no control over a situation.

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  10. I understand your anxiety here! We just found out today our placements for next year and this is super early for us. I always turn it over to the Lord in prayer and talk with my administrators openly about my desires for the next school year.

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  11. I was a teacher at a school similar. If youre doing a good job be confident in yourself. I crochet to make myself less anxious but also I’ve been working out and that helps a lot!!
    Good luck. Believe in yourself. You will be ok no matter what!!!

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  12. I find it helps to know my options. For a long time I worked on a contract basis and it was difficult not having the security. So if the worst happens I have thought about it and have a backup. Also my psychologist always asks me the question ‘what is so bad that could happen?’ and my husband also poses that question to me too. So it helps me to focus on positive aspects rather than negative. Not that you need to worry though, a teacher such as yourself will always be in demand to support the kids and parents who need you πŸ™‚ which is sad that there still are kids with special needs still if you see what I mean but I bet they are glad you have their backs.

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  13. This is where your blessing jar comes in. Go back to it and read through the blessings that God has given you over the last year. It helps me to remember that God has come through before, and He’ll do it again. Keep us posted. πŸ™‚

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  14. When I have job uncertainty, it makes me feel better to job hunt. Look at what’s out there, apply to a few things. It feels a bit more like I’m taking some control over the situation vs. waiting for them to hand me my fate.

    And in between applications – get that paint out and create something. That helps too. πŸ™‚ (Even if it’s a caricature of your LEAST favorite person at work, and you then promptly punch a hole through the center and burn it. A little twisted but highly cathartic.)

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