Today was rough for me. The stress of my new teaching position caught up with me and I ended up crying in my husband’s office (he is my assistant principal). I have just been feeling very overwhelmed and almost a little bit like I am drowning. This is my fourth year teaching but teaching two grade levels, with four different subjects, plus writing IEPS for my students in special educating, is quickly making me stressed and very anxious. It almost feels like my first year all over again, except without the classroom management issues I just want to be sure that I do my job well and help provide the best education I can for my students.
Today it all felt like too much and I began to doubt in my abilities to do the job. I needed to unload emotionally so I could move on with the day. I felt better after my husband’s encouragement and the rest of my day went well. I did, however, still have moments of anxiety when I began to realize how much I still had to do in preparation but I am going to work on taking it one day at a time.
After these last two days with my students, I am feeling incredibly exhausted! However, in spite of my exhaustion, I am feeling completed fulfilled and refreshed. I feel accomplished and completely satisfied after being able to spend time with my students. I realize that I have a deep passion for teaching and building positive relationships with my kids. So many of my students come from a home that doesn’t provide them with love and respect, so I try to demonstrate those qualities while they are in my classroom. I feel so blessed to be able to be in a profession that aligns with my passion!
While my students were incredible over the last few day, my anxiety was a little off kilter. Since this is my first year in several years being back in a classroom of my own (since I was previously a special Ed co-teacher) I felt anxious about my ability to be successful on my own. It was very intense, since I am not use to teaching without a co-teacher, but I made it through. My anxiety was very high this morning because of a mix up in scheduling, however, I was able to come back down. It is wonderful to be able to control my anxiety instead of being control by it!
I am looking forward to next week and getting to know my students even more! I hope that my anxiety will be eased as I get further into the year and get use to being on my own.
I have to admit that today was not my best day. Work was rough, the kids were wild, and anxiety decided to follow me around all day. When measuring it on my Anxiety scale, it would rank at about a 4, which isn’t overly high but it is still uncomfortable. At one point in the day my eyes welled up with tears while I was working one on one with a student. Luckily, I have had that student for three years and he was very sweet about it. By the time I headed home my anxiety level had risen to a 6.
What I found most helpful in my anxious moments is distraction. I was at home so I decided to listen to my audiobook while I packed for my business trip (I am heading to a technology training tomorrow). I love listening to books so that helped decrease the anxiety. Also, I cuddled my pups, which is actually proven to lower stress levels, so I am going to cuddle even more now! Once I was finished packing I started a new tv series on Netflix to further distract from the anxiousness. I have to admit, it all helped a lot. I am sitting at about a 2 right now.
There is a large part of me that doesn’t want to go to work tomorrow because I want to avoid all stress triggers, but I love my students and they are why I continue to fight this battle against anxiety! I want to be there for them and help them discover the joy in learning! I am going to focus on the positive to keep the anxiety at bay.
What are your strategies for dealing with your anxiety or stress?
There are times in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroads. We either give up or we push onward. It is a difficult decision to make, and the stakes are high. When we pour ourselves into a career, relationship, hobby, or any dream we hold, we open our hearts in a way we never thought possible. Countless hours go into these pursuits, and in those moments of dedication and practice, frustration and roadblocks begin to work against us. In these moments we come face to face with our biggest fear. Failure.
It’s human nature to be afraid of failing. We all set out to be good, if not, great a something. We do not set out to try something new with the intention of failing. The idea that we will succeed drives us onward and ignites our passions. However, life is never easy. It is messy, and hard. It even seems that there are moments where there are more tears than smiles.
Personally, I am currently at this crossroad in my career. I love every moment that I spend in the classroom. My heart sings with joy when I am able to interact with my middle schoolers and show them that learning is fun. Learning is the reason for living! Each day we learn something we didn’t know and without learning we are stagnant. Teaching these lessons sets my soul on fire and I burn with passion! I love being a teacher. However, being a teacher comes with a plethora of outside interference. There are mounds of paper work, workplace politics, adult drama, and endless hoops to jump through. It seems that there are so many things thrown our way that we are distracted from the true reason why we became teachers in the first place. To teach. I find these extra add ons to be utterly frustrating and wearisome. I feel very beaten down by all that is going on and I am feeling low.
It is my crossroad. Do I continue to push onward to pursue my passion? Or do I give up because the distractions outside of the classroom are too much?
As I sit here and contemplate the choices, I find there is only one answer I can choose. And that is to carry on. My students need me, and I am fairly certain that I need them just as much as I need them. I cannot abandon them. They have taught me to push on when times get hard, and I want to do the same for them. I will not give up no matter how hard it becomes. They are my inspiration and I will be here for them no matter what.
While growing up I was never a cool kid. I was never invited to parties or asked to sit at the popular table in the cafeteria. But I was perfectly okay with not being apart of the in crowd. I did not see people as being either popular or unpopular, druggies or geeks, bandies or thespians. I saw everyone as people. I did not place people into labeled boxes or nice neat categories. Everyone was just a kid like I was, and I knew they were just trying to figure out who they were and where they fit in. They experienced the same pains I did, felt awkward at times, and even out of place. I knew we all were the same once the outer surfaces were scratched away and the true heart was revealed.
However, it has recently been pointed out to me by a few of my closest colleagues that I am one of the “popular” teachers at school. I was shocked to hear that because never in a million years would I have imagined being considered cool! I have always been ‘nerd and proud’ and rarely have I ever cared about how others viewed me in popularity. Obviously, due to my anxiety issues I tend to feel uncomfortable when someone is upset with me, but I never cared much about fitting in. It just seems completely foreign to have people look up to me..
I have been reflecting about this conversation and trying to figure out why people are viewing me in this different light. My priorities and values have not changed much since high school, and I have never sought coolness or popularity, so I was curious as to why people saw me this way. Upon reflection, I believe students and a few other faculty members see me as being someone they want to be around, because I do not judge others. I will talk to anyone and everyone. I treat everyone with the respect they deserve, even if they do not show it to me. Again, I believe we are all the same behind the walls we hide behind. I think that the students and other teachers see my attitude and feel safe being around me because they know I will not judge them. They know that I will love them no matter what.
It is just interesting that popularity is such a coveted thing within human nature, and people are willing to change who they are to achieve it. However, I am learning that if you just be yourself people will sense your realness and want to be around you. Do not hid behind fake personalities or bitchiness just to fit in. Be yourself. Good and bad. People will respect you for it, and you will begin to love yourself.
I know I have written this in the past, but I truly love my job as an educator. Over the last few days I have been very frustrated and stressed about the political side of my job, and it has really worn me down. I have more responsibilities as well so it was beginning to pile up and weigh me down. However, tonight I was reminded why I love what I do. It’s the kids. It is so rewarding to be able to make a difference in their lives everyday. There are many kids at school who don’t have a loving and safe home, and I feel honored to provide them with that within my classroom walls.
Tonight I made a podcast for my kids (since they have to make one) and I pretended I was a middle school girl talking about her day! I had so much fun making it! I cannot wait to show them tomorrow! Just by making this podcast I reminded myself why I do what I do. I love making learning fun and showing them that life is an endless road of new and exciting things to learn! I love that we all share laughter and adventures in academics in my class!
If you happen to be in a rough time at work, school or even just in life, try to find your joy. Your reason for why you carry on everyday. If you cannot think of anything, do something you love and it will reignite passion and help refocus your mind onto the good. Remember that you are not alone and we are all here for you cheering you onward towards happiness!
I am throwing around the idea of doing lot circles with my students, but since most of them have reading disabilities I am hesitant to assign a novel. I am thinking about possibly using short stories and going through the same process, just with a shorter text.
What are some of the ways you have addressed your special education students in lit circles? This sounds like a fun thing to do, I just want to be sure I do it effectively and without frustrating my kiddos.
Thanks for your help!
I really should be sleeping right now instead of lesson planning!