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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Lisa Dabbs's picture
Lisa Dabbs
Educational Consultant. Author. Speaker. Blogger.

I'm glad to see your post. This is an old thread, so I didn't cathc it until now. I too was a single Mom for 13 years, and despite the challenges, I pressed on. If I can do it, I know you can do it too. I wish that you would start by hopping over to this wiki to see if you can gain any new insights Then join me here on Edutopia for The New Teacher Academy that will be running on my blog here from January 17-February 14 2012. I will be sharing tons of ideas and resources to keep you motivated. Also consider visiting Inspiredteacher. Tons of inspirational ideas and peeps you can reach out to, including me. Have you joined a ning site to connect to others? How about classroom 2.0 to start.
I taught and was a principal at schools like you are describing. The difference is I never ignored my teachers...I supported them 100% I hope that you will consider also joining Twitter! Lots of support there from tons of educators. Let me know if any of these ideas are helpful!

Kelly's picture
1st Grade Teacher (Bilingual) in Wisconsin

Again, I too just found this post, but I felt I NEEDED to post here. I went to do my student teaching abroad in Latin America. During my four months there, a position at the school opened and I was chosen to fill it. I did not have a fantastic experience there being a new teacher but I enjoyed the country and the adventure I was having and I decided to stay another year. I had really little desire to teach in the US, but I met a guy there and we decided to live in the US since there are more opportunities here. I came back first and started looking for a job (the US economy was pretty much at it's worst - bad timing) after a year of subbing and barely making it, he got his visa and came over. Now I am teaching full time at an inner city school (not as bad as you described) but I too am struggling again and feel like a new teacher all over again. Seeing that it's really only my 4th year teaching and I have shuffled grades and countries, I will give myself some slack. I really am a new teacher. IT IS FRUSTRATING! I know exactly what you are talking about. I have wanted to RUN back to me husband's country and stay there forever. I will tell you though that it should be easier. We both have had a similar experience - weak leadership. One thing is super obvious: new teachers need mentors and guidance. We didn't get it. I read on here a little while ago about how many new teachers are giving up after their first year because they aren't getting the support they need. It's sad really. It's like having someone who just learned how to drive having to take a cross country road trip alone navigating through every major city along the way. I get it. It's not an easy thing to do. I think that if you look for a different type of school you might have a better experience. And the first year back no matter what is going to be rough... That's just the way it is.

Housecat's picture

Thank you so much, Lisa and Kelly, for replying and for sharing. I'd honestly given up on my post here and then didn't see yours until now. Lisa, I'm late comming in now, but I will join your New Teacher Academy! And Twitter as a teacher support resource is something I'd never thougt of--thanks!
Kelly, that must have been pretty tough, subbing for a year! I'm now thinking seriously about returning to the States to look for work because I don't want to end up losing my license due to lack of professional development (and AR license expires after five years anyway), but I do worry about how to find a job, where, and how long it might take. I know of, but I don't know much more than that about how to go about looking for a job in the States from overseas. One job I did apply for responded that they liked my qualifications, but that there were many other candidates who were already living in the area.
I'm still not over my fear of going back to work in US public schools. I've been working in Taiwanese public schools as the only non-Taiwanese person on campus and I find this MUCH less daunting and stressful than the thought of teaching at "home."
My student teaching experience was nothing like my job. The mentor teacher and I became great friends, and the other teachers were all wonderfully friendly and supportive! I know it CAN'T be all as bad as what I experienced my first year. Any tips on finding a position that won't make me hate a job I love? Wish me luck?
Thanks to you both--really. It helps very, very much just to know I'm not alone--to hear the voices of those who've been there!


akteachertobe's picture
student teacher in Alaska

I sometimes wonder why I am getting into this profession. I of course want to make a difference and have a career I can carry into my older years. A huge part of me is really glad that I am headed overseas where I have heard students are more respectful, engaged and interested. I know this is a large generalization but.....?
Where have you taught overseas?

Housecat's picture

Hi, AKteacherToby,

I'm in Taiwan now, but I've also taught in S. Korea. I've taught, as I said, in local public schools, and in private schools. Either option is pretty different than what you're likely doing there in AK. May I ask why you are planning to come to Taiwan? Most people who do, are at least those who stay here, have some other connection to this crazy, wonderful, island, so I'm just currious.

akteachertobe's picture
student teacher in Alaska

My girlfriend and I want to see a bit of the world so we signed on with UNI and a school in Taichung offered us a job.
The district here is making significant cuts so it feels like the right time to temporarily move.
We also look forward to traveling in "your" region.
What part of Taiwan are you in?

Housecat's picture

That's the problem--the cuts everywhere in the States. Well, it's one of the problems. It's one of the reasons I haven't bitten the bullet and moved back the the States. I worry about how tough it will be, economically, to move back.

At the moment, I'm in Kaohsiung. I've been in a few other places. You should like Taichung. It's got pretty well everthing; there's even a Chili's restaurant or two! When I first came here, in '99, it was still tough to find a lot of things, but now most larger cities have just about anytihng you could want.

It's nice that you've both found jobs in the same place. I'm not sure what UNI is, but I hope you have a great experience.

All The Best to you!

Rakesh's picture
Secondary Biology teacher from India

It is most interesting threads to get an updated infos on the ground situation for new teachers(or, even experienced teachers for that matter !!). I am presently teaching in India for the last 8 years, and have decided to try my luck in US.
However, it will be really helpful if the participating members/bloggers can provide details of job prospects, salaries, and other nitty-gritties in the region you are working in.
By the way, I am a Biology teacher (grade 8,9, 10). Housecat, I would like to know various job details available for me in Taiwan, if at all there.

Gio Samayoa's picture
Gio Samayoa
Sub Teacher from Whittier, California

Hello everyone. I just became a substitute teacher and already its been a tough week. I am having lots of problems with behavior/classroom management, transitioning through activities and just trying to keep the class together. I am already beginning to feel exhausted and wondering if this is what the teaching profession is really like. I am very passionate about teaching and enriching student growth but I'm afraid that the more I keep subbing, the worse it keeps getting and the more I lose my zest for wanting to teach. I definitely need help! What are some ways for me to improve, and how can I get in touch with a mentor?

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