Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Do You Fight Stress about Parent Issues???

I am sorry if I am annoying anyone who is used to my anecdotal writing, but lately I'm in a mood to get advice. My job is hard this year, and I am doing the best that I can, but I want to get better, truly, I do.

I spend a lot of time flirting with the idea of quitting teaching. My favorite analogy for teaching is that it is like a bad boyfriend. You can be in love with him, but he is always threatening to break up with you, mistreats you, and constantly tells you you're not good enough for him. You love him, but he's bad for you. It's breaks the hearts of your loved ones to see you in a long term relationship with teaching, but they're not quite sure how to talk to you about it because you love him.

Seriously, I could bitch about this all day, but it is not getting me anywhere. Either I want to continue teaching or I don't. So, recently, I am trying on the idea that I will keep teaching for my entire career.

That is a tough thing for me to believe. I worry, frankly, that teaching will just suck the life out of me and destroy who I am before I notice what it has done to me. I try to remember what my life was like before teaching was my full time job. It's only been four years, but I can barely remember. I liked to read a lot more. I was more social. Was I happier?

I sometimes wonder what would be different if I wasn't teaching. Would I be in a long-term relationship. Honestly, I am so tired that it makes me not want to meet new people. I think about work when I'm not at work. I don't know if I would still be like that without teaching or not.

One of the things that makes me think I don't want to keep teaching forever is my reaction to unreasonable adults. I get twisted up inside anytime a parent has an issue. I am jealous of people who shake it off and forget about it. I would enjoy my job more if I could not worry about parent issues. I know that they come up for everyone, but not everyone loses sleep over it.

So, I want to know, what do you do to let go of anxiety or never have anxiety about issues with parents? If you are like me and you can't figure it out, I'd like to know that too. Misery loves company. Seriously, though, a part of me wants to stick this gig out, but there are things that have to change about me before I will be able to sustain a long term teaching career. Help me change, blogging friends.


A~ said...

This comes from a total outside perspective. I dont know you, obviously. I dont teach. I dont experience the things you experience. I do however read your blog daily. My sister and sister in law teach elementary. I have a child who just started kindergarten this year.
Many times reading your blog, Ive felt, while I can understand your frustrations, if you really dislike it as much as you often seem to, then why are you teaching, and how would I feel if my daughters teacher felt the way you do. As a parent, I want my childs teachers to be people who enjoy their jobs. Who have more days where they love it, than day where they wonder if they even want to come back.
As a regular working person, I understand. I work in the healthcare field for an ambulance company. There are days I get patients who are so rude, demanding, mean, Ive been bitten punched and cussed out by patients who have since fallen into alzheimers or dementia. But there are enough good days that i quickly get over it. I see what the nurses go through or even the cnas and i know thats a job I could never do. Its a job I would hate. Its a job I would probably start a blog about just to vent my frustrations. Sometimes, the feeling I get when I read some, not all, but some of your posts, is that you feel about your job, how I might feel if I had chosen to work as a nurse or cna.

Another thought thats gone through my mind quite often as Ive read your posts, is that maybe if you had something besides work to focus on, it might make thing less stressful, round things out a bit for you. Not to say you dont have anything in your life aside from teaching, but I know that for my sister and sister in law, having other thing to focus on, kids, husbands, working out etc helps them. You cant let your life revolve around work. Find something that has nothing to do with work or teaching or school or other peoples kids, something you enjoy, and make time for it.
And finally, have you considered switching to a different school? We have several elementary schools in our district and each one is run very very differently. Perhaps the school you are in now just isnt a good match for you.

I dont know if this is any help to you, or if it even made sense. I realize its 1am as Im posting this and I have no intention of rereading or trying to make it pretty but I hope I made some sense and maybe something I said helped?

KD said...

Good post by A. Perhaps with time the issue of dealing with parents will become easier.

Many people deal with situations like that in their job....I think in some ways you have to compartmentalize it, and leave it at the door.

Clix said...

I'm trying to recall how long you've been teaching & I just can't.

One thing that helps me with academic or discipline issues is that I remind myself - and, if needed, the parent - that we both want the same thing: success for the student. That is our objective. When I can keep the discussion moving that way, it works.

When I have "but I swear we paid!" calls from parents about the yearbook, I go into muted-panic mode. I haven't figured out a way around that one yet. :(

Not like other jobs said...

I just wanted to say (and I realize that this is coming a little late) that if you haven't been a teacher, you really don't get it. Imagine if you had the same aggressive rude patients in a row, every single day!

I went back to get a teaching certificate, after years of volunteering in schools and knowing full well, I thought, what I was getting into. I've had other jobs that are considered to be fairly stressful, but they were NOTHING compared to teaching in an urban school.

Depending on where you are teaching, it's unendingly hard. I do get it -- since I left after just under two years of teaching (subbing, one full year, then new principal and left after three months). I hated who I had to be to teach in that school (stern, unbending, repetitive) and the paced and scripted curriculum that we were held to under our new leadership.

Experienced teachers that used to be happy and creative and great teachers are burning out faster and faster. It's better where there's less poverty, but it's coming for everyone, it seems. I thought the pendulum would swing back by now, but it hasn't.

I'm looking for a job where I can teach still, but without the 60-70 hour weeks, the waking up in the middle of the night and not getting back to sleep, the unending demands, the fighting, swearing, unending battles, and the lack of a life that isn't consumed by the job. I do have a husband and kids and honestly, that's why I really had to quit -- the job was consuming me and it wasn't fair to any of us.