Anyone Feeling Overwhelmed?! -By Kimber
If y’all are feeling anything like me, at this point in the year, you are tired, burnt out, and feeling a little overwhelmed. Spring is such a busy time of year, and on top of that we are almost to the end of the school year! In my district, we only have 48 days left (I’m OBVIOUSLY not counting down or anything 😉 ). When I find myself feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, I try to take a step back, breathe, and focus on the big picture items; what has me feeling the most overwhelmed, and what do I need to do to overcome that feeling? When I sat back and began that thought process at the beginning of the semester, what I found was the most overwhelming was the curriculum. As a brand new teacher, you hear terms being thrown around all the time. I am the type of person that never wants to show that I need help, or don’t know what I am doing. So, when I would hear “teacher jargon” that I wasn’t aware of, I would just nod my head and play along, like I knew EXACTLY what I was doing. At my school, every Tuesday during our conference time, my team, along with our instructional coach and principal, meet to discuss our plans for the following week. It was always during those meetings I would find myself nodding along and acting like I knew what everyone was saying, but in my head, I truly had no idea what was going on. I would go into the meeting feeling like I was finally grasping the role of “teacher” and I had the hang of things…about 20 minutes into the meeting, I would feel like a helpless little puppy, needing someone to hold my hand and help me out. When I thought about it, what was confusing me the most, was the curriculum and the standards that were discussed during our planning time. I felt like there was so much I needed to teach my students, but I had no idea how to figure out what exactly to teach them and when. Among our team, I am the only rookie teacher…with that being said, our planning time was swift and surface…our team didn’t need to go too far in depth about what needed to be done, because they all had done this so many times before. It worked for all of them, because they having all been teaching for a long time, but it definitely did not work for me. Every week I would leave the meeting feeling like I was never going to get the hang of being an educator, and every week, I would leave work calling my mom and crying to her about how I would never be a good teacher. One day, we sat down and looked at this big packet I was given during one of our planning meetings. My mom explained that this was called a scope and sequence and it was basically a break down of our curriculum. It told us what exactly needed to be taught and when we would be teaching it. I had this in my possession from the time I began in this position, but never truly looked at it. It sounds so silly to me now, but I was so overwhelmed with so many things, I completely overlooked this important document that was going to help me tremendously. At that point I realized that I was getting too hung up on the big picture….I wanted to be the perfect teacher, I wanted my room to look perfect, I didn’t want to ask questions…all in all, I was focusing on the wrong things. I had to realize it was okay to ask for help and let people around me know that I didn’t know what I was doing. If you are an aspiring teacher, what I want you to take away from this post, is ALWAYS utilize your resources. NEVER be afraid to ask for help. Since that day, planning meetings have been so much easier for me. I know what is going on, and I know what I will be teaching each and every week. As a new teacher, everything can overwhelm you to the point where you feel like giving up. Don’t give up. Ask for help, take everything one step at a time, and focus on what scares you and what needs to be done to fix that. If you focus on one thing at a time, and ask the right people for help, everything else will fall into place…trust me. If you are a brand new teacher, hang in there, we are almost to the end of the year! If you are a veteran teacher, I’m sure you can read this post and look back at your first year and laugh! And if you are an aspiring teacher….times will get really tough, but you will be okay. If you persevere, you will make it and everyday will get easier! Good luck and sparkle on!