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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Understanding and preventing new teacher disillusionment

Understanding and preventing new teacher disillusionment

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Check out my Ed Week blog post, New Teacher Disillusionment: Inevitable or Preventable?, on why new teachers are susceptible to disillusionment, and what they can do to prevent it. Based on my experiences as a disillusioned newbie 18 years ago, and training/coaching hundreds of new teachers since then.

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Housecat's picture

I'm a new teacher in the sense that I've only taught in the States for one year. I am now teaching overseas and I had spent many years teaching (non-professionally) overseas before teaching in the States from 09-2010.

After that year, I moved back overseas because I found teaching in the States to be terribly, terribly stressful. And if I stay here, I worry that I'll never get over the fear of teaching in the States again, but what else will I do if I decide to move home?

I spent more than $20,000 and two and half years in graduate school getting my MAT, and only taught for one year. My school was a charter school in NE Arkansas. Last year, (the year after I taught) it lost its charter because it had been on academic probation already for three years and did not meet improvement standards, among other problems.

It was a rough school. Lots of poverty--100% free lunch. But the main problems I faced were isolation and loneliness. My mentor teacher barely spoke with me. If I tried to participate in meetings, I was spoken over. Things were very cliquish and I was an outsider. I was also serving as the Self Contained SPED teacher (I'm certified for English 7-12). It was a very tough class that should have been an ALE environment, where kids were housed when they simply did not have the social skills to participate in a normal classroom. There were a couple of kids who really needed a SPED class, but there was no real way to serve them, as everyone else was constantly trying to fight, and we were in a seriously overcrowded classroom. The principal and vice principal didn't even want to come into my room if I called for help.

I know that not all schools are like this. I know that not all classrooms are like that. But truly, I feel traumatized by my first year of teaching and afraid to try again in a different school.

I know that logically this makes no sense. I just don't know how to get over this and get on with my career at home. I thought I could come here for a year or two and give myself some time to get over it and feel better about teaching in the States again, but that hasn't happened yet.

I'm happy enough were I am, but I'm a single mom and don't want to stay here forever. And I don't have a lot of opportunity for Professional Development. If I stay here a couple more years, my license will expire and I'll end up needing to pay tuition to get it renewed again.

Any advice? Has anyone else ever felt this way to this extent?

Sincere thanks!


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