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I'm not particularly sure where to post comments, but I'm just going to post my thoughts here, about my first year of teaching.
After teaching my first year and starting my second year, I have come to conclusion that teaching is horrendous. The only thing that has kept me staying in teacher is my fellow staff members of whom are great. I'm going to go through the major problems of how I see it, from a younger perspective.
Firstly the workload, it's just stupid. When I first started teaching I was enthusiastic about it, eager to pre-pare my lessons and interested. However, it took about a term before I really didn't care. I was so overworked, I lost all my enthusiasm, I did not care what I was teaching or how I taught it, as long as I was ticking the right boxes so admin would stay off my back. All I could think about is, how can I make the work load less severe. I hope more graduates start to quit, so the system realises that this is A HUGH issue. I encourage people to quit. Because why waste your life, working so hard for little pay in comparison, when the only thanks you get, is some student giving you the finger?
At staff meetings, I hear members of admin encouraging teachers to work harder, saying bullsh@# about teaching is one of the better paid jobs. Who honestly, would, believe that! The deadlines are ridiculous and unrealistic. At times I've been encouraged to give up lunch breaks and not to eat to make sure I get the work done, from admin. I just flat out said no. I already come in early in the mornings and leave late in the afternoons, with still copious amounts of work left, that I 'need' to get done
I felt like I wasted quite a few years of my life studying teaching, as the pay to work ratio is so out of whack, it's ridiculous. This is coming from someone who got full-time work straight away out of uni, and was told, they have the potential to be a great teacher (apparently).
I can't wait until I quit, I'm just waiting to get the right opportunity. The school I work at is great, it's supportive and the staff are great as well. The only problem is EQ itself, it's just utterly broke.
Honestly, just quit and find something better
Howdy all. Recently returned to Aus to get certified to teach. Moved to a state that has serious literacy problems, not hard to guess which one, and I can say right now that behaviour management is exhausting, and that is putting it politely. I've taught EFL for years and enjoyed it, so it's not as if I just walked in and had absolutely no clue about how to teach and what students can be like. However, what I have been doing here is more about behaviour management and less about teaching.
I've had things thrown at me and constantly sworn at, constantly. It is not uncommon to have students outright refuse to do work day in and day out. Even if they do get on task it doesn't last long. Within a few minutes they are off task again. Since I am just reliefing, there's very little I can do. I've supervised other teachers and the scary thing is students are still very disruptive, obviously not what they are like me but it's obvious that a large portion of the students aren't engaged or learning. It's very exhausting and I've been looking desperately for anything to get out of teaching. The funny thing is at most interviews I've been told that I'll find the job boring as it is not challenging like teaching, and that obviously since I've taught so long then my passion must be teaching.
I guess this is for anyone who reads this and is thinking of getting into teaching. Only do it if you have an absolute undying LOVE for the career, and I mean it runs through your veins. I think teachers are seriously underpaid. I can't stress that enough. The public and politicians have no idea about what goes on in classrooms and how hard teachers work and dedicate themselves to what they do. I'm trying to get out while I still have my sanity.
How are things going? Sorry to hear things were getting tough. It is a pretty brutal system and the lack of support makes things worse. I had only one day of teaching last year; this was at the school I had been previously and they called me in for a relief because they were literally desperate. The look of anger on the face of the principal when she saw me took me by surprise. I of course was never called back nor given a reason why my services were no longer needed.
I am questioning whether I want to go back to teaching. The thought, at the moment. literally makes me ill; I think I am suffering from some sort of post-trauamtic stress disorder from my last contract and the way I have been treated in general! I also believe certain people conspired to get rid of me and - alas - they succeeded!
Teaching can be a very ugly, brutal world, unfortunately , and the good experiences you do have somehow become lost and forgotten.
It is so true that is is the good teachers - hard-working, sincered, enthusiastic, passionate - that get damaged the most. That is my opinion, and I have heard others say this as well. I am trying to work out whether my mental and physical well being is far more important than teaching. At the moment, I have no enthusiasm for teaching and I don't even know if I can cope with the behavioural management issues I, once upon a time, could cope with when I first started and when I wanted to 'change the world' (lol).
I do hope you are well. I don't think the system is worth getting sick over. I have seen a friend of mine become so depressed and ill over her experience but she has come to the realisation that it is not worth it. I doubt these kids go home and worry sick about their behaviour!
Mari Jane says...Firm expectations which are clearly written for the students to see, try not to have more than 5. Short structured activities will help, for example try a 15 minute session of one activity and assess how that worked. Do not have activiities any longer tham 30 minutes. The students' sound like they are at a low evel of social and emotional development, eg maybe 5 years old. A reward system is vital, be specific with the behaviours you expect and will not not accept. Eg; feet on the floor, no feet on desks. Vicki's suggestion about the particular software is excellent. Ness, to be honest these suggestions are 'stopgap' survival measures. You clearly need the work however I would be looking at other avenues if possible, eg; a TESOL certificate just as an example, to get out of the public school system in Queensland. Regrettably unti the system chaneges a successful career in teaching is not possible in this state right now.
Firm expectations which are clearly written for the students to see, try not to have more than 5. Short structured activities will help, for example try a 15 minute session of one activity and assess how that worked. Do not have activiities any longer tham 30 minutes. The students' sound like they are at a low evel of social and emotional development, eg maybe 5 years old. A reward system is vital, be specific with the behaviours you expect and will not not accept. Eg; feet on the floor, no feet on desks. Vicki's suggestion about the particular software is excellent. Ness, to be honest these suggestions are 'stopgap' survival measures. You clearly need the work however I would be looking at other avenues if possible, eg; a TESOL certificate just as an example, to get out of the public school system in Queensland. Regrettably unti the system chaneges a successful career in teaching is not possible in this state right now.
Hi Ness. How are you? So the Principal has not designed a Program for these students? my, that is negkigent and not very prfessional. I read other people's replies here and the reward system keeps coming up.
That's what I've seen used at the 2 Special Schools I've worked at too.
One was a Privately run Special School (for behaviour, not for Intellectual Disability). The students were allotted stars at the end of every session. They are awarded 20c per achievement.
Each student has a sheet displayed with their name and room for stars and each 20c. Every morning the group looks at their chart and staff discuss explicitly what the student did to earn a star.
At the end of the week they get cash. People will argue against 'paying'students, but I know of a number of Special Schools who use cash, they have tried and trialled amny things. One rationale is - it is something students value. If you're concerned about what they'll do with the cash and any backlash from parents/principal etc, then have that box of trashy attractive stuff that they can purchace from. So this introduces choice for them.
At another Special School (for mild intellectual impairment and aslo behaviour and autism) they use the Positive Behaviour System. this is state wide for Victorian schools. Each school implements their own system. Students are given a 'raffle ticket' each time they do something which reflects the school rules.
Info on ticket - Teacher writes initials, student name, year level. Teacher ticks the school rule. They are all printed with the school rules in simple language. Hand out ticket, student places in collection box. Each ticket is worth 1 point. Once a fortnight all the points are added up. Points buy prizes. Students can save up for big ticket items. (football etc)
Also - when you hand out ticket - be specific about the thing they did that was praiseworthy. That's what they've done in the settings I know of. Staff throughout the school can reward any student at any time - hallway, lunch time, bus stop etc. Leading Teachers and Principals are involved in the rewards and 'punishments'.
Prizes - Colorful Cool multi packs of Sugar Free Gum
Ice Cream Shop voucher
Base Ball Cap
It's really popular and kids who scoff at first, get interested when they see their peers getting rewards.
If your Principal and Student Well Being Comittee were competent they would trial something like this and fund it.
If they were competent they would already have a program for these kids, designed after much research and discussion with all staff and have a leading comittee. They would have sent a team to a Special (behaviour) school or conference to learn strategies and see what works. They would never have ONE teacher in a room / program alone with a class. At the Special School /behaviour, the Primary class of 8 students had 2 staff at all times. The whole school was trained to respond to situations that escalated. 'crack ' Response Team is called when a student is non-compliant or iminently about to harm themselves or someone else. All other students are taken out of the room.
Every morning have 10 mins free time followed by 15 - 20 mins circle time.
Short lessons with a small reward for work done or staying on task. Or points awarded that lead to longer free time later for outdoor basketball etc.
It would be completely exhausting to do this all on your own and who should? I'd get out of there before you get Post Traumatic Stress and permanent damage (that might pop up later and affect your ability to concentrate and do meaningful work).
These students need a program with hands on activities and even though I know women can do anything, they need stable firm calm fit men in charge too. Start hands on with safe tools and when they display safe work procedures, they are rewarded with the sander. (drills need a qualified teacher and more supervision than one teacher)
Hands on activities: gardening, basic mechanical / auto (lawn mower maintenance, bicycle/ skate board maintenance, change oil, water, globes, buy old furniture from tip/recycler and sand, paint, collage with images of personal interest.
As a 19 year old female I could do all those things. But now I see wayward boys respond to men and I'm not out to prove my abilities.
ness says...Moved to a new area in Queensland at the beginning of the year. I was offered and accepted a job with a school I had been relieving at. Basically I needed a job. The program I am running was structured to relieve current teachers of overloaded classes of difficult (very difficult) students. I have a group of 7 boys in year 6 and 7 who were deemed suitable for this pilot program. These boys would be accepted at schools for extreme behaviours issues.
Moved to a new area in Queensland at the beginning of the year. I was offered and accepted a job with a school I had been relieving at. Basically I needed a job. The program I am running was structured to relieve current teachers of overloaded classes of difficult (very difficult) students. I have a group of 7 boys in year 6 and 7 who were deemed suitable for this pilot program. These boys would be accepted at schools for extreme behaviours issues.
I wrote this article having used BtB successfully, but you need teachers who think outside EQ's mediocre circle. http://lasa.org.au/docs/Buddy_the_Bully_2014.pdf
I teach coding, which schools don't. The boys might go for it. Have a look at the Coding link on my website.
Hang in there (or retire:))
I have just deleted a couple of comments that I thought could be harmful. I will explain why.
The CMC is for people who are disclosing misuse of public funds - see the Djarragun Story - or misuse of power - see the Runaway Bay Story - it is not for teachers who are dealing with a difficult group of children.
Your principal could be said to be neglecting his responsibility to provide you with a safe workplace - see the Werribee Story, which is very similar to your own - but complaining about your principal would be a big mistake. You would never work in Queensland again - and your principal would be allowed to investigate himself, fabricate any silly story and destroy you.
This is not the official policy, but it is what happens.
Your principal knows these children are awful. He has given them to you, the weakest of the weak, a contract teacher, and he does not want you to bother him with your problems.
Make your priority keeping your health and your professional reputation.
Get a set of cards - Vistaprint will allow you to design your own very, very cheaply - and give a child a card every time they do anything right. Tell them they can buy a prize when they have collected 30 cards. Keep a box of junky "prizes" in a box in your car boot.
Have competitons - quiet competitions - for everything.
Look after your health. Get off the medication as soon as you can - see the Burpengary Story. Be very familiar with the side-effects of your medication.
Do not self-medicate with alcohol.
Do not mix medication with alcohol.
Have "healthy lunch competitions" for the children to encourage them to get off the junk food.
You are not alone.
Teachers all over Queensland are dealing with pretty poor workplaces. The problem is not you, it is the system.
Use the next few months to look at your alternatives.
Good wishes to you - it is a hard road.
Ok here I go.
This is what I would do now, I didn't do it myself so this is my though process now.
i tried a little of this with girl type activities when I was on classes where no program was left. I did origami or similar. Actually boys like origami too. Be calm.
From 20-30 yrs of experience. Students are usuall tired at the end of year. Starts in September ,...so you STAY healthy.
Coming in part way through the year is never ideal so don't be hard on yourself at all. It may not be in your nature but let them "chill" abit. Draw something like, graffiti drawings.
Have a drawing book from the newsagent. I give them each the option. Or schedule in some focused direct lessons for those who want it. Make the topic free or fit it 2 the C2C (that covers your planning).
Provide different types of pens. (See if school has any money left to buy drawing books and pens pencils, felts, chalks, etc. beg, borrow and st--l. Don't spend any more of your money. Display their work in the room then maybe Organizing a culminating activity to have other classes visit The Gallery. Locate construction equip. Lego or it's big brother (forget the name) BUILD stuff. Yeah they may go funny about Lego at first but show some videos from YouTube. And fit planning, assess with C2C.
Have the day in a chill mode. Some will just want to talk all day. Let them talk quietly. Just be calm when in class.
I am /was exactly like you-taught 150%. My last day of supply teaching was in April this year.
1. Look after yourself.
2. Week 2 of Term 4. Students are tired, or hungry or angry or neglected or abused. Who knows. SO - keep things simple.
3. Someone mentioned about computer activities. Be careful getting too excited about that because the best "gear" is with the favourite staff. You will only be given the junk stuff which will make students angry and frustrate you too. So you will have to insist on the technology people to set up the network properly (through the Principal) and I would expect that would take them 2.- 4 weeks if they even agree. Remember end of year they will be starting to wind things up now.
4. If every thing turns pear shaped say nothing to your superiors they will close ranks and stab you in the back. write to the CMC.
5. Just see out the end of the year BUT spend your energy (even in class time) and document your planning.
6. I also had an exercise book with a double page for each child and started to write everything down (in class) as it happened. My right and a definite sanity saver. Also when I rang parents I recorded date time and topics.
7. This record that you keep is the most valuable document you can develop!!, Covers your butt.
8. Use your energy to find out and write to the CMC. dept will send you round on circles and jumping hoops just to use up your energy.
9. If I was not so exhausted (I was the compliant type) I would have had my day in court and won. It has taken me 6 years to recover but you have to have your day in court by 2 years or so. So can you see what the Dept tries to do.... That's so they win.
Enough for now. I hope you survive and get well soon. Find someone to do origami or something like that with. Away from school - just once or twice will help. ATM.
Hi Mari and Vicki, thank you very much for taking the time to reply to me. I have just spent two days in bed with depression and I have started on depression medication to try and help me stay on track. I worked very hard during the holidays to differentiate the C2C lessons so that they would be more engaging and relevant for the students. I use ICT, but perhaps I should put more of an emphasis on this. They absolutely hate doing any amount ot work (writing). When I can see they are off tasks I take them out for a quick run or a short game. This week straight back from holidays they were absolutely wild and they bounce of each other. I am still exhausted. I have been doing alot of thinking in the past couple of days and I am now applying for other jobs. Not in teaching for a while. I have spent so much of my own money enhancing the curriculum that I deliver. I have really dealt with the students on my own most of the time, but I have and will be asking for more support when I return this week as my health is really suffereing now. I will use the measures you have suggested and I hope this helps to keep things more under control. I am a strong teacher but there is only so much you can personally handle. After two terms of exactly the same behaviours over and over again I feel drained. I am sorry to hear that you are unable to get work Vicki, I would certainly follow this up. Sometimes it's the area you are living in but no work at all seems odd. Good luck and thank you