Monday, February 3, 2020

★How to Avoid Self-Doubt with Teaching★

If there is one thing that I regret this school year is that I let self-doubt wedge a space between myself and the parent(s)/guardian(s) of my students. I won't go into too much details because it is not my place but I can talk about how it effected me as a teacher moving forward throughout this year.

Through out the year I have become to doubt myself as a teacher and wonder if maybe I was not fit for this position. I think about wise words from pocketful of primary about being a first year teacher and even words that my own principal had shared with me. "This is your first year and it will NOT be perfect".

I think the biggest false thing is that I went in thinking it was going to be a scene from "The Sound of Music" where the children are gathered around me and we're singing about the sound "Do" and what it relates to. It wasn't and I am not okay with that. The first year is not going to be perfect and as PoP said that there are going to be feelings where you just want to give up and throw in the towel.

I have been given the opportunity to work with the most amazing, strong-willed, and bright students. However, I let some things get in the way of developing full relationships with the students and their parents. I could have done so much more this year to let parents know that I am here. I started this very day by texting a few parents.

So, when you are feeling that self doubt here are some things that you can do to help battle the self-doubt demon.

1. Reflect:  Take about 10-15 minutes to just sit and reflect on your day. Why didn't something go the way you wanted? Did it work out in the end? Be ready to start the new day! One thing I do everyday is reflect on my day and what went well and what I can improve. Keyword is improve or grow! Teaching, especially management skills, is a learning process and not all of us are blessed with programs to help teach you management skills.

2. Ask advice from a trusted teacher: We all have our teacher best friends but we also have our Jedi Master teacher friends. We can rely on these friends to help us give the best advice especially if they have years of experience in the certain subject! They can help out with ideas or even help you brainstorm your own. They can even help you catch those "what if" moments so you either avoid them or better prepared to handle them.

3. Include your Teaching Assistant!!!!: I cannot stress this one enough. Teaching assistants are there for more than just watch the kids and help them when they get stuck but they're your collaborating partner because they too are spending a lot of time with your students. I was a teaching assistant last year and I felt like I wasn't learning anything and when I saw the relationship of two teachers in a classroom in Texas, it was magical. I mean MAGICAL. They flowed so well with each other and you can feel there was a sense of balance in the room. I owe a lot to my teaching assistant because she does so much and I am so blessed to have her. These are also potential teachers that you can help kindle that fire by including them into things.

4. Ask you Admin team: When I am at my last resort and I am not sure what to do then I go to my admin team. It has been a busy year so they haven't gotten to every thing I had asked in the beginning but there are times where they make sure they show that they're there. Don't think that any question is a stupid question and if you think that there is something that should be discussed then have that critical discussion with them. If you're not sure something is right then ask them.

5. Take time for yourself: I have been fortunate to be in a situation where it hasn't been crazy that I need to take so many days off, but do take care of your mental health and let your admin team know. I thought that I wouldn't be happy to have a break but I was and I see what my principal meant by it's been a while and to take care of you when there is a break so get things done.  If you are not 100% then you cannot take care of 25-30 kids.

6. Look for outside resources: There are some programs that offer some training for classroom management. I'll explain in another blog about how classroom management skills are a key detail in preventing teacher burn out. I believe that its important that class management is taught to teachers especially entering urban schools. If you are in a greater Milwaukee area, I highly suggest checking out or Center for urban teacher. I had learned to reinforce my management skills and also had the opportunity to do summer school to utilize those skills!

After starting to follow these, I found myself in a better state of mind than I was in. I'm not afraid to talk to parents and I wasn't afraid to include my TA in things or beginning to ask questions I thought were stupid because it was all part of my growth as a teacher. My Self-doubt became my worse enemy by making me paint a picture of the teacher I never wanted to be. I want my students and guardians know that I do care about their students' success and that I want to make sure that they know that I am here to support them.  Don't let self-doubt control you and if you feel like that then use some of the things above to help guide you through this school year.

Side note: Apologies for the late post! I was sick with the flu or something and finally feeling better. Stay tuned for more things happening with FollowMei such as livestreams and potentially a podcast!

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