Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 27 2009

“It’s getting better all the time…

…it can’t get any worse.” — The Beatles

I am not sure if this was a national thing or not but here in Miami we were given a chart and article on the phases of first year teaching.  I am definitely in disillusionment phase.  Apparently rock bottom happens in October and doesn’t really go away until you come back from winter break. 

All I keep thinking every day is that I hope, I really do hope.  Especially for my kids sake.  If it keeps up like this I will barely be making it through my lessons and the performance art that is teaching will definitely suffer.

Most of the time I’m really thinking, what am I doing here?  I majored in Media Management and Political Science, emphasis on the media bit.  I know about running businesses and the newest technologies and where the future is headed in that sense…I know nothing about children and how to control them and teach them and make them valuable successful adults.  I barely feel like one myself.

So far all of the people I have reached out to and all of the resources I have found have not made me feel any better.  I even texted my colab partner, to find he has already quit and has found a new job.

At what point do you realize this isn’t what you should be doing or that you really are going to make it through it?  I always say that I am not a quitter but does being a quitter mean that my students will actually benefit?  Am I being too hard on myself, too much of a perfectionist?  What should I be aiming for right now?  I am so full of questions without a single answer.

Where do I go from here?

2 Responses

  1. ruchigoes2philly

    Don’t worry. You are not alone in this worry and question. I will give you advice that made me feel at least marginally better about the question of, “Am I wasting my kids’ time being here?” I could care less about wasting my time in a sense–life experience is life experience, and learning is always valuable for me. But I worried that my own intrinsic lack of skill when it comes to all things teaching-related was seriously doing my kids a disservice. And what a friend of mine said is, “When you feel like you cannot discipline, when you feel like the content is not coming through, when you feel like kids aren’t listening, when you feel like you are little better than a kid yourself, just remember that above all, they need someone to talk to, to listen to them, and to care.” Anyone–EVERYONE–can extend themselves in this way. Start small; pull a kid or two aside every few days and have a deep conversation with them, starting with, “How was your weekend? What kind of things do you like doing? Why is my class helpful/not helpful for you?” Etc., etc. You will find your reason. I guarantee it.

    Hang in there!

  2. Sorry I’m a bit of a lurker, but I just want to let you know how much I relate to this whole post. I’m teaching in Jacksonville right now, and I’m going through the exact same thing. (I guess this means we went to the same Institute. I probably/possibly know you… weird)

    I feel lost all the time because I spent Institute and Round 0 preparing to teach one way… making unit plans and trackers and the likes… and then I get in to my school and it’s a whole different ball game. Really strict scripted curriculum in all subjects… and one that is especially hard to deal with in math. I keep seeking help within my school and also within TFA and I’m just finding more confusion…

    The debate of quitting is definitely on my mind too. I can’t seem to make sense of whether I’m doing more harm by being so lost in my classroom or by leaving…

    But apparently this is normal for October in the world of teaching? I keep stubbornly pushing through day by day, hoping for a change…

    Just know you’re not alone.

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