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Are you hitting the wall? Three tips to avoid meltdown.

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by James_Williams, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. At this point in the training year, if you are on teaching experience, you are probably feeling quite stressed and under intense pressure from all the planning, marking and assignments.
    So what to do?
    Remember first off that you are not the only person who is 'hitting the wall'. All trainees (and there are up to 40,000 of you nationally) will be feeling hard pushed to eat sleep, work and succeed. There can be strength in numbers.
    1. Set up a network of other trainees and share ideas, resources etc. This could be through your providers virtual learning environment or informally by e-mail.
    2. Make a pact to be there to help and support each other when things get tough. Having partners, husbands, wives and family for support is good, but only other teachers and trainees will truely understand the pressures you are under. The pact should be to be able to ring/text/message or e-mail when things get tough. When the call comes DON'T get into a mutually downwrad spiral of depression over the workload. Look for solutions and problems together - a problem shared is a poblem halved.
    3. Look back at your lessons and see which were the most successful and spend some time to analyse why they were successful. Then create some lesson templates on these ideas adapt the lesson structure to provide quicker planning for future lessons.
    James
     
  2. At this point in the training year, if you are on teaching experience, you are probably feeling quite stressed and under intense pressure from all the planning, marking and assignments.
    So what to do?
    Remember first off that you are not the only person who is 'hitting the wall'. All trainees (and there are up to 40,000 of you nationally) will be feeling hard pushed to eat sleep, work and succeed. There can be strength in numbers.
    1. Set up a network of other trainees and share ideas, resources etc. This could be through your providers virtual learning environment or informally by e-mail.
    2. Make a pact to be there to help and support each other when things get tough. Having partners, husbands, wives and family for support is good, but only other teachers and trainees will truely understand the pressures you are under. The pact should be to be able to ring/text/message or e-mail when things get tough. When the call comes DON'T get into a mutually downwrad spiral of depression over the workload. Look for solutions and problems together - a problem shared is a poblem halved.
    3. Look back at your lessons and see which were the most successful and spend some time to analyse why they were successful. Then create some lesson templates on these ideas adapt the lesson structure to provide quicker planning for future lessons.
    James
     
  3. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Bump up good advice
     
  4. Thank you for this! It's good just to know what I'm feeling is normal, 'hitting the wall' is the exact phrase I used to my partner today. I'm really enjoying the work but am so tired I'm wondering how I'm going to survive the next few weeks, never mind improve the way I want to.
    I'd add to your list to make time to rest. I'm aware I'm not doing myself any favours by feeling guilty if I don't work every second of the day.
     
  5. if your ill, take a day off and rest, i'm sure school will understand and hopefully it will help you get better sooner.
    i've had today off as feeling awful, i'm at the point where i'm catching every bug going. my school mentor is great and says take the time off, dont make ur self ill. i'm lucky i've got an understanding mentor.
     
  6. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    I was really pleased to find this thread, as I feel I've definitely hit the wall! I started off in Reception/ nursery and I felt my teaching and behaviour management was really making progress, but I had my first lesson with a Year 2 class today, and it didn't go so well. It wasn't dreadful, but I came home feeling depressed, particularly as I was observed. It didn't help that I'd only spent one day with them previously.
    I can cope with the tiredness and having no social life(!) when the teaching is going well, but I'm really down now, and my confidence has taken a knock.
     
  7. i come home most days feeling depressed. i dont think i have any confidence left at all, i now can function on as little 3 hours sleep for atleast 2 nites in row, social life, what is that? i barely have time for my partner never mind anyone else. just glad i'm not trying to raise a family and do this, think that would be too much for me.
    better get back to the lesson planning.
     
  8. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    Poor you, Sarah, I do know how you feel. I have two little boys, and I feel as though I hardly have any time with them. I had a really good day today though, and I feel much more back on track. I suppose I was back in my comfort zone, because I had my usual class. My observed lesson went really well, but most importantly, I gained so much from being with the children, and I remembered why I wanted to do this in the first place.
    We'll get through this, and I'm sure it will get easier. xx
     
  9. I've completely hit the wall but I feel like I have done since the first day of my placement. I was so looking forward to getting into a class and teaching after all those months of lectures at uni, but now I feel demotivated, tired, negative, and, in all honesty, like I want to give up. I'm normally such a positive happy person, but all I feel at the moment is utterly depressed. I feel physcially sick at the amount of work I have to do and I've had time off school this week as I've been ill. I haven't enjoyed my placement at all, and it's making me reassess if this is really what I want to do for the rest of my life. I've not had any of those teacher 'epiphanies' people go on about, and there hasn't been that lightbulb moment when a child understands what I've been teaching him. All my lessons feel like I'm battling against a class that doesn't like me and isn't open to learning at all. I can honestly say that I don't feel like a single lesson has gone well. I get sick of the sound of my own voice and by the end of the day I feel completely depressed.
    Sorry to be so negative - I try not to let it out, and although I speak to my fellow trainees on the phone, they're all having such wonderful experiences that I feel like I'm totally alone in wanting to pack it all in. I always thought this is what I wanted to do, but now I'm doubting myself.
     
  10. i feel exactly the same, i keep in touch with other ppl from uni by email and they all seem to be having a good time, there finding it hard but not feeling the way i do. i was off mon tues, went back wed and have been off today and i'm dreading going back tomorrow, i have yr8's 1st period and not a clue what do with them as i have now missed another lesson of work with them. this is putting me off going back in on friday, thinking of speaking to school and going back in on monday, finding out where there up to and plan over the wkend, its my last wk in school so i feel completely drained and even more so after been ill.
    i know that if i can survive this yr i will enjoy the teaching part of the job, no one will be always observing my lessons, and critesising me ( brain not working on spelling). I just feel like its all negative comments, and things i need to do, and have to do. i'm expected to have a whole wks lessons planned, most of my lessons end up changing as i never manage to cover everything.

    been trying today to get hold of my uni tutor, we were given her mobile number, but shes not getting back to me. i feel very supported on this course so far.
    hopefully after xmas, new school it'll get better.
     
  11. Literally I feel exactly the same way!! I have even looked into applying to other postgraduate courses for next September. Have been really ill this week and had way to much time to think. I live in a shared student flat and am in a long distance relationship so am alone a lot of the time. I though this would be good as I could really concentrate on my work. However, I have discovered that I HATE the work. Teaching the kids is primarily enjoyable but all the pleasure is overcome by the unneccesary and tiresome paperwork. My course is badly organised and fairly un-supportive. I'm just so tired all of the time. I don't do much work in school or at home because I have no motivation. Therefore I spend a lot of my time feeling stressed and as if I am falling behind.
    I feel so sad all of the time, its soul destroying and because I'm alone a lot I really am struggling to pull myself out of it.
    I'm at a new uni in a new place, and I'm really feeling it.
    I literally mark of the days every night on my calendar with a big fat marker pen until the course is over (29 weeks 1 day)
    I feel the same in that I don't want to be negative all the time, but I can't pretend either. I wanted this career for so long and so much! I applied the first day the applications opened last year. And now its a big fat let down.
    It is comforting to realise others feel the same way.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Reading your post was like reading my own story. I haven't had more than a couple of happy days in school since starting and I am constantly stressed. Lesson planning takes me literally hours per lesson and I rarely go to bed before one a.m. - I have endless targets and focuses but once I get in front of class, all I can think about is whether I'm getting my message across and everything else goes out of the window. I haven't opened a textbook since september nor have I any time to read up on my subject knowledge. I think I am probably suffering from depression as I feel under such a black cloud that I can't stand back and see think in any perspective. Even when things were going quite well, I would still wake up feeling physically sick with dread, which would last at least until I got into school and, if I wasn't teaching straightaway, up to the point of the lesson starting. Yet magically, I usually feel fine in front of the class and generally have good relationships with them.
    I'm tempted to see doctor and ask for something to help me stay on a more even keel but I really don't want to get dependent on medication. I don;t want to give up but I cannot face feeling this dreadful every day for the next god knows how many weeks. I dream of handing in my resignation and the wonderful relief I'd feel - but I know that after that pressure had lifted, I'd soon regret leaving. I'm wracked with self-doubts which is a problem I've had for many years and i'm seeing a counsellor about that. I am becoming a atotal pain in the bum to people as I'm always so gloomy - I totally understand why you feel this way.

    One day at a time hunny. I'm with you in spirit!
     
  13. Dear 2 B or not to B a teacher,
    First, what a lovely 'name' ! Very much to the point......and 'holistic'
    Second, When I realised that all postgraduate degrees in teaching - in my case primary teaching - are fraudulent and involve personal and professional abuse of trainees I quit.....it took me 14 months to appreciate this fact; yet, I did quit.
    And, I began another bachelor degree, for 4 years which will qualify me as a teacher: a B.Ed.
    The Postgraduate diploma/certificate to train as teacher is now informally recognised within some universities as a 'bogus/false/irresponsible/irrational and ineffective way to train excellent teachers. It is increasingly understood by potential applicants and by the numerous post-grad students who trusted they were being offered a bona fide educational/ teacher training experience for a professional position - and who found out otherwise - to be fraudulent.
    I recognise your hopes/purposes/intentions for your future work life - I too had and have retained similar.... It was most, most unexpected and traumatic to realise I needed to proceed along a different route/path to attain my deeper purposes which are, in a nutshell - that
    I simply love learning! And being with and amongst other learners.....and the twin of the learner: the teacher.....the 'dance' of learning/teaching is, in my world, ineluctable... mind-blowing...'outa sight'.....
    29 more weeks , you say?.....Holy Mackerel/god forbid/.........I bet you a tenner you never last that long.....why would you ? what you have become involved within is a very deep hole of incompetent educators who offer false and misleading hopes/carrots which, when you do not attain them say ****** things like "...if only you'd tried harder/better..." and related attempts to wash your and me and other's blood off their hands.
    all the best,
    cjwainwr
     
  14. Dear cj
    Please do not make assertions that are unsubstantiated. You are making serious allegations against people but cannot possibly justify those comments and back up those allegations. It is very unwise to do this.
    I appreciate that you and many others have difficult experiences that colour your judgement substantially, but while a PGCE is undoubtedly stressful, many 10s of thousands of students do complete and do so successfully. You past experience was clearly not a good one, but you have now found a route which for you will deliver your goal of qualified teacher status in a way which suits you. Not every route suits every person.
    I assume here you are characterising people like myself and mentors in schools as incompetent, which is a serious professional slur. Again, with no evidence other than your own experience and perhaps annecdotes from others and comments on this forum. If such charges were to be made in anything other than an anonymous forum, you would lay yourself open to a charge of professional misconduct with the GTCE, which can be made even with a trainee teacher, not just if you were a qualified teacher. For your own sake, please do not make such comments in public professional settings.
    Your experience must have been deeply distressing for you and for that I feel sorry for you. But the way to change a system that is not right is not to make comments which cannot be backed with evidence, it is to take the professional high ground and work with people to change the system into something that is better. That is what I do. Things can change, and over the past 10 years major shifts in government policy and in the TDA requirements have been made, often not publicised since they are proposals which are consulted upon - we (teacher educators) oppose and present an evidenced case for opposition and the proposals are dropped e.g. the demand some years ago that all secondary science teachers MUST be able to deliver two science to GCSE and meet standards to show that they could. This was opposed and dropped.
    On another thread you accused me of making an unsubstantiated claim (when I was merely pointing out the size of the ITT population) asking
    "What's your evidence ? Or, is this just another anxiety-evoking statement? Is it a hunch? a wild guess? Another hoary belief?"
    Look again at what you have posted and ask the same questions.
    Your previous experience on a primary PGCE was clearly very upsetting and very negative. Making accusations of 'fraud', 'incompetence' and of educators being guilty of 'professional and personal abuse' and applying these to ALL postgraduate training routes is irresponsible.
    You also state that "The Postgraduate diploma/certificate to train as teacher is now informally recognised within some universities as a 'bogus/false/irresponsible/irrational and ineffective way to train excellent teachers."
    Again, what is your evidence. I, for example, will agree that the PGCE is too short, that it needs more time to train a teacher and that we should have a more progressive entry to the profession to help with retention and reduce workloads and stress.
    I completely reject the other elements of the statement that the PGCE is 'bogus', 'false', 'irresponsible', 'irrational'.
    I'm glad you have found the route that suits you. I wish you all the best in attaining your goal of QTS, I offer a friendly word of advice for attaining professionalism. When looking to criticise and judge others on the basis of your own experience, stop and think about the evidence that you have to back it up. If you really wish to reform ITT then work intelligently from within the system, that way people will listen and may well take notice. Sitting outside throwing wild accusations around will never effect change.
    James

     

  15. 2B, On a more useful note - I was in exactly your postion last year. PGCE in a new place, away from friends, family and also in a lond distance relationship. I really felt it too! It's only two weeks till chrsitmas now. Try and do as little work as possible over the holiday and concentrate on yourself - catch up with friends, see other half etc.
    The PGCE is full of highs and lows (unfortunately a lot more lows though!) but it does get better. Once you get to NQT it's totally different - theres a lot more freedom!
    Also, stupid question but do your friends/other half know how down your feeling? I know a lot of the time i keep it hidden cos i don't want to bring people down/moan at them but it can be really helpful on a day to day basis to have conversations totally unrelated to teaching - gives you something else to focus on.
    Hope it gets better, feel free to moan in future if need be!
     
  16. Dear James,
    Let's not fight.
    Let's not accuse anybody of anything.
    And let's keep asking and answering questions as far as we are able - even those which compare and explicitly question standards of professional conduct across disciples.
    As re-assurance for yourself and to obviate any more of your responses to me which begin, "I am glad you....", "I feel sorry for you...," and "Your experience must have been..." - which frankly make me cringe and withdraw from discussion with you - I will remind you, together with readers to this thread, that I have never met you and you have never met me.
    We know each other like the proverbial 'bar of soap'. On top of which, we live and work/study in two different continents approximately 24,000 kilometres apart.
    And, provide the information that I am a mature-age student, with four degrees and two professional qualifications, and various certificates of work-related attainments, in social and health science.
    Hence, I politely decline your advice about how to conduct myself professionally. Perhaps you may wish to grant me the courtesy of re-reading my posts in the thread '40,000 teacher trainees....' and record the fact that I asked you questions.....perhaps not in a manner to which you are accustomed, yet certainly only question.
    If you wish to characterise these as a "serious professional slur" - or characterise my public replies to any person on this site as "allegations" which are "unsubstantiated", or write to me saying, "you accused me", so be it.
    The records stand for themselves. In my view and in that of others, my writing on this site is always explicit, concise, precise, within the site Guideline for Contributors. Where I have been in error or expressed myself without clarity I have corrected these.
    I certainly do doubt the basis for the reputation of the PGCE and the educational judgements of those who continue to teach and promote this qualification as it currently stands and has stood un-refurbished for a very, very long time. And, I certainly am 'critical' of your contribution "3 tips for...'
    But I jump the gun.As I have written to you on a post in the last few days, I will be making several posts to the '40,000 teacher trainees....'
    These will attend to some educational/pedagogic issues bearing upon teacher training and adult development; and teacher training and the development of excellent teachers. I aiming to provide these short discussion topics before Xmas.

    with respect,
    cjwainwr
    Christopher Wainwright
     
  17. Dear James,
    Would you please clarify for me the group/s of students to whom you are refering in the first and third paragraphs of your post - merely the parameters of each set. I am not particularly interested in the size of each set.
    And, can you please clarify the phrase you have used, "hitting the wall". Does it refer to anything in particular ? I have heard the phrase used by mountaineers in the context of becoming 'totally exhausted and mindless' while climbing, to the point of immobility and near coma. Is this the sense in which you are using it here?
    We come from different cultures and I do not fully understand some of the figures of speech you and others use on this site.
    With respect,
    cjwainwr

     
  18. Dear Christopher
    I am not here to fight with anyone, merely to offer help and advice, to correct false information and counter misleading comments.
    I have re-read your post and as far as I can see answered all of your questions. I clarified the group of trainees I referred to in the 40,000 thread; you asked what I was doing to help and I gave you details of what I do for all my trainees (including the session on dealing with stress I held last Friday afternoon); I have stated what I do privately and publically to try and change the way we train teachers for the better. I'm not sure, therefore, which questions I have not answered.
    You are free as an individual to doubt the basis for the PGCE. As I stated, I feel it is too short and needs to be changed. But to characterise ALL PGCEs as fraudulent and to state that educators contributing to them are incompetent are serious charges that are unsubstantiated. In addition, to state that I and colleagues of mine encourage and stimulate trainee teachers to enter 'ill-health' and 'unsafe' training situations and circumstances is simply wrong and a professional slur against me and my colleagues.
    By all means contribute some ideas as to how the PGCE could be improved. Please do comment on how your experience now is better than that which you have experienced in the past. But I reiterate, making sweeping claims of fraud and incompetence is neither helpful nor professionally sound judgement on your part which I now know you will now understand given your past experience and professional standing, as outlined above. My apologies if I made you cringe by wishing you good luck and being happy that you have found a way to reach your goal of becoming a qualified teacher and for being sorry if you had past bad experiences. I offer these not in any sarcastic way, but as genuine expressions. Although we have never met I can still be courteous and genuine as I hope I am with all the anonymous posters on this site.
    Best wishes
    James
     
  19. Sorry, Just noticed the other post.I don't know which of the posts you arereferring to. If it is the 40,000 figure, that's just the approximate number of PGCE students each year. There are many others on teaching practice who are undertaking BEd courses, yet others will be doing Post 16 teaching qualifications and some doing teaching qualifications in higher education.
    All will have points of stress at times.
    My apologies for using a colloquialism. 'Hitting the wall' is often used by marathon runners who, at a certain point, suddenly face a serious depletion of energy and struggle to go any further. It is caused by glucose depletion, especially when the glycogen stores in the liver (which normally compensate for depleted glucose in the bloodstream) are also used up. It was meant in its broadest sense, that, on placement, once the initial stages of building up to a teaching timetable have passed and trainees are now doing their full timetable (full that is in the sense of a trainee not full as in the sense of a qualified teacher) they feel that they have an obstacle to overcome and have to summon extra energy to get over the wall.
    In other countries and in other sporting arenas similar phrases are used with different physical manifestations. The climbing one you describe is not close to my meaning at all.
    James
     
  20. I would just like to say that, even though the course is very stressful and requires a lot of hard work, there is lots of support. My Uni are very supportive as are my fellow cohort members. No one said it was easy and it is a PG route with the required Masters level. I would like to thank you James for your advice.
     

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