Non-teaching related stress compounding new teacher stress Grrr!

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that I had to have emergency surgery in the beginning of September.  I was out of work for 6 days and I’m still on the mend.  Those 6 days happened during the 3rd and 4th weeks of school.  Needless to say, that was crappy timing.  Just when my kids and I were getting into the swing of things, I had to leave.  It definitely felt like starting the year for the first time when I returned.

I have been trying to tweak my classroom management because it clearly isn’t working.  All three of my classes have NUMEROUS class clowns and perpetual talkers.  It’s a never ending battle to say the least.  I am changing seats tomorrow in all my classes (this will be the 3rd time already) and going to try a point behavior system for each student.  I’ll discuss more of that later.  I feel like my kids that want to learn are getting severely stunted due to all the disruptions caused by my misbehaving kids.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many talks I’ve had with all of my classes about how unacceptable and disrespectful their behavior is to myself and their fellow classmates.  Over the weekend, I refreshed myself and revamped my spirit towards this whole teaching thing.  I was feeling pretty good.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I get a frantic phone call from my mom saying they had to rush my stepfather to the hospital.  Turns out he had a brain aneurysm and they are now giving him a 20% survival rate.  My mom is a mess and we’re just playing the waiting game until they can determine the amount of damage that was done.  How in the world do I concentrate on getting my classroom back in order when that’s all I can think about?  But I can’t wait until this ordeal is settled before I get my classroom is in order because I am sure to lose my mind by the end of the week.

Any advice you wonderful teachers have on dealing with personal stress when trying to teach would be greatly appreciated.  As would any advice on how to deal with nearly entire classroom full of talkers.  I’m feeling like throwing in the towel. :(

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3 thoughts on “Non-teaching related stress compounding new teacher stress Grrr!

  1. David Wees says:

    I’ve always found stress is relieved by talking to someone about it, and just being open about what struggles you are having.

    As for the talkative kids you have, I recommend talking to some of their other teachers in your school and see what strategies they have tried. In general when I have more talkative classes I try to do less of me lecturing, and more “minds on” activities. Puzzles, games, investigations, etc… can all punctuate the time nicely and keep your chatty kids engaged.

  2. kristin says:

    I’m sorry to read your post.

    I have been frustrated, too, with a class, but not with the additional personal stress.

    Unfortunately, I have not found the magic solution.

    When things get bad, I start calling parents. Once I have made the initial contact, if things don’t improve, then I feel it is okay to write a referral and send them to the office with the explanation that they are keeping me from teaching along with further parent phone contact.

    However, I am not sure how things work at your school.

    Do you have an administrator or mentor teacher that you can consult?

    Another thing I used to do would be to send the student to another teacher’s classroom for a “time-out”. But since I am at a new school this year, I am not comfortable burdening other teachers.

    Have you talked to other teachers with the same students? Maybe they have some tips, or maybe they are having problems, too, and a parent/student/teacher conference is needed.

    I hope everything turns out okay!

  3. Leif Segen says:

    Hello,
    I just found your post through Erin Goddard.

    First, I was going to offer a seating chart maker I made. With some modification, it could become a “random” seating-arrangement-maker for your class – with only a small number (200 – 400) of actual arrangements. I’ve found it useful so far this year – creating new seating charts on the fly when need be either for classroom management or pedagogy.

    Then I saw that your step-father had an aneurism. My mother had a certain type of contained aneurism – which flew me immediately from Iowa to New Jersey, disrupting my teaching. Of course it’s scarey, as people can guess, but I was just in shock – delaying emotional response so as to be strong for my more-scared sister.

    I know I’m catching your post two weeks late, but feel free to reach out regarding either topic if you like. [mr DOT segen AT gmail DOT com]

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