Let’s start this time with a practical question from a fellow teacher…
Hope you’re enjoying the series. Teach on, everyone!
I’m in my first year of teaching, and it’s exhausting! I have always been quiet and kind of a loner. I love teaching my 9th and 12th graders, but getting mentality prepared for the day is getting harder and harder. Especially when my 7th hour class is huge and full of talkative 15 year olds! I’m amazed at all the stuff you do with this blog, 20 time, and the tpt store! I’m just hoping it gets easier each year. Thanks for all you do – it has been a lifesaver for me!
Oh yeah, Heather, this work is SO exhausting, and that first year is probably the worst in terms of physical and mental fatigue. During my first year (W-A-Y back in the early 90s before husband-kids-life), I’d get home from school and collapse on the couch, sleeping til about 6 p.m. Then, I’d wake up, throw some dinner down my throat, grade/lesson plan until 11 p.m., crash, wake up and ride the crazy all over again the next day.
Hang in there! It does get easier. New teachers, like you, should give themselves at least three years. And if you can teach the same preps next year and then the following year, you’ll be amazed at how much more free time you’ll have/how much easier everything will be/how you’ll start to have a life again. Have faith and stick with it! Oh, and that last class of the day? They’ll always be maniacs. Everyone’s fried by 3 p.m.
So glad you found me! 🙂
I just had to comment on the part of this video where you talk about your insecurities and making videos. I have to say, it doesn’t show at all! I know you did some as Prezi’s, but I prefer the in car videos. Somehow you magically (I know it’s not really magic and actually lots of work and planning, but it seems magic), make if feel like we are hanging out chatting…you are so comfortable, natural, and engaging. Glad you are willing to step outside your comfort zone for all of us. As for your forehead comment — look what Tyra Banks did with hers! Maybe there is a supermodel career out there for you.
To speak to the question you addressed, I feel like lately, I have been seeing lots of articles and blog posts about “how does an introvert teacher survive in education” — those might be of interest and can probably be found with a simple Google search.
Ha, CWE! Supermodel? As if. More like super-tired. Thanks for your comment – it really does help knowing that I’m not coming across as awkwardly as I feel inside. I usually am able to get three takes before my 7th grader is released from school and jumps into the car. I just grab the least-annoying of the three tries and go with that one. Perfection is the enemy of progress, right? I’m sure, also, the pedestrians and the folks sitting at the city bus stop across the street must think I’m some insane lady talking to myself.
Thanks for reading and watching – and especially for commenting. It’s good to know I’m not actually talking just to myself. 🙂
I totally agree that you have an engaging way about you. You actually remind me of one of my good friends who is also an English teacher. As an introvert, I totally get the “acting” of teaching. I think my students would be surprised to learn that I HATE public speaking almost as much as they do, and it wears me out to teach. I’ve gotten more extroverted as I teach more. Mainly to connect better to the kids. I still have minor panic attacks at conference time or calling home…
Ah, thanks so much, Rebekah. I think we all have an introverted and an extroverted side, sliding along a continuum. When I’m teaching, I’m definitely “on” and have big energy, but I also need my cave time, a few hours on the weekend where I don’t go out and really don’t talk much to anyone. It’s sort of like I’m re-juicing my battery because work is so loud/busy/intense; most weeks, I feel like I’m recovering from the stress of air-traffic controlling.
I also love that you’re developing that extroverted side of your personality. We teach a lot of lessons at school, but we should be learning, too. Kudos!
And…confession time: Back to school night still gives me butterflies and an unreasonable amount of pit sweat. I’m not as nervous about it as I used to be, but it’s never going to fun. Ever.
I love, love, love this post. Instead of responding with all of my introvert-teacher feelings, I’ll leave this link. I wish we could all have a cup of coffee together and discuss it in 1-1, relaxed introvert style!
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Indeed, Chelsey. A cup of coffee and a quiet meaningful chat would be wonderful. Great article by The Atlantic, too. So on point. Thanks for the tip!
Just wanted to leave a quick note to say I love and look forward to these videos every week! I feel like I’m getting valuable advice from an old friend and not just sitting in my classroom, watching a video of someone I’ve never met. As a second year teacher, I still find myself questioning my teaching and classroom management all the time. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of never feeling like you’re doing enough or to wonder if other teachers have more engaging lessons or better classroom management skills than you. Your perspective reminds me to reflect on the strengths I do have as a teacher, and your lessons are lifesavers in the classroom! Thanks!
Thanks, Janey. I really appreciate this. And please know that even in Year 18, I’m right there with you, regularly doubting myself and wondering if there’s yet a better way to teach a particular skill/deal with a difficult student/etc. I don’t think we’ll ever be done figuring out the “best” way to do this job because – surprise! – there is no best way.
Keep that chin up!
Laura – you are so fabulous! I love heading to your page on my Sunday nights with a cup of tea, ready for the week. I always joke about my “teacher friend in California” who helps me with my planning. For Heather – don’t give up! I’m a second-year teacher, and I was just reflecting today about how much I have grown in a single year. I can’t believe how ridiculous I felt those first few months last year.. okay, let’s be real, how ridiculous I felt ALL YEAR. I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but at least its only 1/2 to 3/4 of the time instead of all of the time! Thank you for your pep and honesty, Laura!
Ah, Kay, I just love this! I am totally your teacher friend in California. Maybe that should be my new sign-off? And thanks for your commiseration with Heather. We all feel like frauds at first, but each year just gets better and better as you learn new tricks/successfully face more challenges. We can do this! Happy Monday. 🙂
Interesting article, Chelsey! Thanks for sharing! It actually helped me feel less guilty about not wanting to eat lunch with the other teachers. I don’t want to seem like I’m being rude, but I really like that time to regroup and be alone.
Oh, this is a guilt-free zone, MsHrm. You do whatever you need to do to recharge and get ready for those afternoon classes. 🙂
This is my first year in the high school classroom (former middle school teacher), and I’m painfully insecure about my lessons on most days. This video is a helpful reminder that I need to accept that I am doing fine, and that I will improve with each semester. Thanks for your tips, Laura! I look forward to them every week. Rock on \m/
The fact that you’re reading an education blog on your free time is clear proof that you’re a dedicated teacher who must be doing a great job, MsHrm. You keep that chin up! And, hey, this is only your first year at this new level. Mastery takes t-i-m-e, so be patient with yourself.
Thank you so much for recognizing the struggle that introvert teachers have. In college, I was pretty much told that I would burnout or have a miserable life as an introvert teacher. I have even found myself getting nervous when my classroom is quiet during independent work, thinking that there is no learning taking place; when I look at my students, though, everyone is diligently working and I can see the gears turning, and I have to remind myself that it’s okay to have a quiet classroom. It doesn’t necessarily make it boring.
There have been several times this year (after having 5-8 days of teaching where I am fully “on”) where I struggle to hold the tears back. It’s not from a student outburst or anything going on, it’s just stress and exhaustion from too many days of “on” time in a row. As I’ve been planning for next year, I’m making it a goal to plan at least one “silent” day every two weeks. Now that I’ve been reading your blog, I think I’m going to start SSR, and that will be one breather day every week!
Thank you for being a real teacher and sharing your struggles while also sharing encouragement!
Absolutely, Grace! I often tell my husband that teaching is like being a performance artist and we do five shows a day. No wonder we’re all so exhausted! I love the Friday SSR routine because it’s a built-in quiet day. I’m not “on stage” – well, except for maybe a little bit if I’m hosting a Qtr. Trio competition – and the bulk of the time is quiet reading for them and quiet one-on-one conferencing or paper grading for me. I NEED that time to check in with students and it just wouldn’t happen without SSR. The kids who need the most help will never come in for lunch tutoring and I selfishly need time to eat a sandwich, too. Students, I think, also need that Friday break from me. I can be sort of…um…annoyingly enthusiastic.
Give it a try. Maybe at the start of the next nine-week grading period? You’ll love it.
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