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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. 😦


If only…

My Hemmingway-esque first day speech was all set and I thought I was ready for the vainglorious teenagers to push through my classroom door.  And then I felt the first of several many meltdowns come about.

How in the world do you get through the first week of school without having at least one ten meltdowns?   I know NEXT year will be better because I won’t have to figure out the school, start my classroom from scratch (management, layout and design), figure out a brand new curriculum, AND get to know my students.

Unfortunately, my college semester last fall didn’t start until several weeks AFTER the school for my student teaching placement started.  We were encouraged to go to the school to help our cooperating teacher set up and begin the school year, but I was taking two summer courses and working and, quite frankly, couldn’t be bothered.  I wish I realized then that this was SO important!  At least I would’ve had some sort of idea as to what to expect when setting up my own classroom for the first time.

I mean, in all my training and in all my textbooks they talked about how crucial the first day and first week of school are in setting up the tone and expectations in your classroom- I get that.  I did need to tweak several things by the end of the first week: posting explicit instructions for some of my procedures and rearranging desks (unfortunately, groups of four did NOT work, so I’ll try pairs next week).

I must say I also wasn’t prepared for the gazillion emails containing uber-important information from administration, with very little information as to what actually needed to be done.  The emails were definitely written for the veteran teachers, not the ones who were new to the school.  I wish I had more school-specific training, so that I wasn’t freaking out that every little thing that needed to get done had to get done IMMEDIATELY.  Don’t get me wrong, the administration at my school seems great; the Principal and Assistant Principal are very avuncular, and the other Assistant Principal seems very nice (I haven’t had too much interaction with her yet).  I know they are incredibly busy trying to get the school year off to a great start, just as the rest of us are.

I also wish someone would have told me that I would feel like I was a crazy person for awhile.  I think my husband thinks I’m insane, although he is very supportive just as he had been while I was in school full-time.  I also feel my students think I’m peculiar; I can’t tell you how many times they looked at me as if I just asked them to take the square root of okra.

Nevertheless, I HAVE to push through.  I keep telling myself that things will start being routine and I’ll be able to handle all of the insanity sooner or later.  Any advice all of you inspiring veteran teachers have for me is more than welcome and I promise my next post will be full of inspiration, as well.


At 7:05am Monday morning 25ish 9th graders will grace me with their presence and will forever be known as “My First Class Ever.”  The nightmares haven’t started—yet.  You know the ones: students tying up the teacher and dancing on desks.  But I’m sure they’ll make their way into my subconscious over the weekend.

My goal for the first week of school?  Survival.

Last Friday I was informed I was teaching Informal Geometry and nearly died.  I hate Geometry would prefer not to teach Geometry.  I finally wrapped my head around the whole thing and then, BAM!  Monday morning they switched me to Agile Mind Algebra.  OK, so Algebra is wonderful, but what is this Agile Mind business?

I wasn’t formally introduced to Agile Mind until today during training.  I was thinking I was going to be handcuffed to my computer all weekend exploring the Agile Mind site.  (The whole curriculum is online- no textbooks!)  Not so much.  They’re performing maintenance on the site this weekend.  (Cue in panic attack.)

Luckily, I was able to print out a lot of stuff today and had the opportunity to navigate the site.  I would have still liked more time, but, really, what can I do.  I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of person (aka I’m anal), so I’m still anxious about trying to teach this brand new (to me and the district) curriculum on Monday.

To top things off, my classroom is still not completely set up.  I’m thinking I will do the essentials over the next few days and then just make changes as the school year progresses.  I really just don’t like this unprepared feeling.  Ask my husband- I think he’s ready to kill me.  (At least he has already made the determination that he will not be seeing much of me this weekend.)


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