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Why do we do what we do?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Shabas, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Just feeling a little disheartened about why i am a teacher. I have been teaching nearly 16 years and have just moved schools. I work on a part time basis, and am trying to do a good job at school and also run the family home. Teaching at this new school is proving to be a negative experience being criticised at every turn (by senior leadership) - my class and parents are great. I have worked nearly full time trying to sort the classroom out that i have inherited. We were subject to a learning walk and given poor feedback and told to just get it done!! I can't work any harder - laminating every night, putting up displays in the afternoon etc. Is the job worth continuing with - seriously debating whether to go on supply. Any words of wisdom/encouragement? PLEASE!!
     
  2. Just feeling a little disheartened about why i am a teacher. I have been teaching nearly 16 years and have just moved schools. I work on a part time basis, and am trying to do a good job at school and also run the family home. Teaching at this new school is proving to be a negative experience being criticised at every turn (by senior leadership) - my class and parents are great. I have worked nearly full time trying to sort the classroom out that i have inherited. We were subject to a learning walk and given poor feedback and told to just get it done!! I can't work any harder - laminating every night, putting up displays in the afternoon etc. Is the job worth continuing with - seriously debating whether to go on supply. Any words of wisdom/encouragement? PLEASE!!
     
  3. choralsongster

    choralsongster New commenter

    I know how you feel. I often get down, but when I see the impact my hard work has on my lovely kids, it suddenly all becomes so worthwhile.
     
  4. read the 'I can't deal with this' thread, you might find some encouragement.
     
  5. Wotworklifebalance

    Wotworklifebalance New commenter

    Oh Shabas, you have my sympathy. I would be being dishonest if I said that it gets better but I will say that you won't feel quite so wretched all the time!
    I've been where you are, I've been trying to find that elusive work life balance - the one where you don't feel like a terrible teacher and useless mother/partner, oh yes, and the one where you have 2 minutes to yourself occasionally.
    Hang in there. I gave in to the supply lure when I felt as wretched as you do and have lived to regret it. I still felt like a rubbish teacher because you are usually using some-one elses plans and other people's plans, I find, are like other people's shoes - they never quite fit.With supply you also feel like a terrible parent because you are constantly having to re-arrange things when the phone rings and the bank manager is banging on the door! Inevitably last minute supply also co-incides with a Mother Hubbard moment so you get home late with grotty children who are fed up with having picked up by some-one else's mummy at short notice and the only things to eat in the house are cereal (but there's no milk), the heel of a loaf and not quite enough pasta for everybody.
    After several years, in which I became steadily more expensive and unemployable I managed to get a permanent job in a very small school. The funding for very small schools is different so the cost of a teacher has less of an impact on their budget. Guess what, I am now in exactly the same situation as I was in when I threw in the towel last time ... no records, no assessment procedures, precious few resources and what I do have is jumbled up, broken and mislabelled, 3 year groups instead of the 2 I had last time. Fortunately I do have senior management on my side.
    I have been at my current school 4 terms now. I am proud of having stuck it out. My classroom still isn't completely organised but we do have procedures for most things, some sort of on-going assessment (although I am ignoring APP in the hope that it goes away!) and the children are making good progress. The head has just reviewed the SEF and upgraded the EYFS assessment to good. The parents are happy and the children love coming to school.
    Boy has it been tough but I know that had I given in to the siren call of supply I would feel guilty at having thrown in the towel and I would be trying to find another "proper" job.
    Be realistic.
    Make time - if possible with your job share partner - to set priorities for improvements.
    Decide whether you really need to laminate stuff, it's a terrible waste of time and money and too often the stuff really doesn't need it.
    Try not to get side-tracked when looking for resources and ideas. I can easily spend hours googling, following links and not actually getting any real planning/marking done.
    Try to do a sort of cost/benefit analysis. If I spend 2 1/2 hours putting up this display will it really be 5 times better than if I spend 1/2 hour doing it? Will the children's learning really be 5 times greater or will I just feel happier because it looks fab?
    Look at the list of things to do after the "learning walk" and decide on your priorities. Try to put some of the quickies at the top of your list so that you get a sense of achievement. Tackle them one at a time, otherwise you risk starting all of them and completing none. If you are not sure which are the priorities ask your head or who-ever it was that thrust them at you which they would like you to tackle first. If necessary ask for time for this.
    Most important try not to read too many TES posts. Again I can get sidetracked and spend hours reading threads. Some of the teachers on here are obviously fantastic, experienced, well organised paragons. They make me feel completely incompetent. Most of the detailed planning/assessment that others do I will never in a million years achieve. Somethings mentioned on here are gobbledegook to me and I have been teaching 20 years - albeit mostly part-time on short-term contracts to fit in with my family or on supply but I reckon that if I really need to know it some-one will make sure that I do and if I don't then finding out about it is less important than trying to find a practical managable way of assessing 3 year groups Letters and Sounds or whatever my current priority is... but if I let myself get sucked in I have sleepless nights panicking about my inadequacies.
    I still feel as you do much of the time but I know that I feel like it less often than I did. My children like the stability of knowing that I will be working 4 days each week. I have a routine for shopping and cooking, the bank manager likes knowing that the mortgage will be paid.
    Somewhere on my list I should have included make sure that you switch the computer off at a set time each night, set realistic boundaries for the amount of each evening that you are going to work and get to bed at a reasonable time each evening - NOT STRAIGHT FROM PLANNING etc.
    Smile and set yourself a goal. I promised myself (and my children) that I would stay in this job for at least 3 years. Each half-term I celebrate that another 18th of my promise has passed. I believe that after 3 years in my current job I will have a much better chance of securing another job (preferably teaching only 1 year group at a time!) but I might find that I am actually enjoying my job so much and that the classroom is so well organised that I fancy staying a bit longer!
    Good luck, I hope that you feel better soon.
    Emma

     
  6. It's one thing trying to get top-side of a demanding job - it's another to be subject to a stream of negative criticism.
    If this proves to be the norm in your school, tuck your head down and start looking for another job with a head with oodles of humanity.
    A good head can support and bring on his or her staff through professional development without making them feel inadequate, overworked and unhappy.

     
  7. Wotworklifebalance

    Wotworklifebalance New commenter

    I'm worried that my previous post might have seemed a bit snotty about some of the other posters on the boards. That was certainly not my intent. I am often overwhelmed by the generosity of time and resources that people are prepared to share - although I will confess to being slightly bemused sometimes by the passion and vitriol that some subjects arouse!
    Also, I forgot to say that you should make sure that you make regular time for you to get a complete head-break. My Saturday morning dog walk with my friend is sacrosanct. For 2 hours we walk chat and have a coffee. Find what works for you and stick to it - DON'T FEEL GUILTY.
    Have a good day.
     
  8. Wotworklifebalance - I thought you posted excellent comments and they didn't appear at snotty to me.
    I'm guilty of putting too much time and attention into work - but I actually urge everyone to do nothing for work over the weekends.
    Only yesterday when I was in a school up north doing some training, I told everyone my view that teachers should have no planning over the weekend - and that we have far too much needless paperwork to churn out. Where are the time-management studies to justify all the expectations and demands we have had over a number of years?
    I think at the heart of our working conditions is the way people feel treated.
    This ranges from our direct working colleagues, senior management, advisors, and people who churn out initiatives from the top - and inspectors.
    We have had, in many instances, unsatisfactory working ethics and expectations for a long time - but if our senior managers cannot manage and buffer these - and be genuinely HEAD teachers, then our schools will be a sorry place.
    My view of the original poster was that she did not feel well-supported or appreciated despite what she knew regarding her considerable efforts.
    She may well need to work hard to get a grip on the scenario - but this shoud not be excessive (surely we should all agree with that), but the bottom line is that she should feel supported and appreciated - even if she may well need to address certain aspects of the classroom and management of the class and children.
    We are too hard on ourselves more often than not, and we are too pressurised with NO VOICE.
    Over and again I call for a mechanism of upwards evaluation and urge people to stand up for themselves.
    Whilst there is no proper mechanism for teachers to have a voice, they can still voice their professional view person by person.
    If we ALL penned our views on 'whatever', those on high would soon get the message that teachers need, and want, a mechanism through which they can comment on all manner of aspects of their working life.
     
  9. Many thanks for your response, it has made me rethink a few things - i need to keep a sense of perspective and grow an even thicker skin - i am trying my hardest!! Wishing you luck with your endeavours.
     
  10. And probably most of us need to do this too!
     
  11. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Blast the laminator and other newly 'indispensible' equipment. How much of what you laminate could be done quickly by hand and chucked at the end of the topic? How often is laminated stuff re-used?
    Words of encouragement?

    S0d Senior Management!!![​IMG]
    Have fun this weekend.

     

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