Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Struggling With Self- Doubt


 This time of the year I always struggle with self-doubt about my abilities as a teacher. As I have mentioned before, teaching was never my intention, and it was frankly something that fell into my lap at a time when I was feeling completely fed up with the direction my life was going. I took the job with no idea what I was in for, and my first year was truly the definition of a "baptism by fire" or being "thrown to the wolves" ( you can chose). What I lacked in experience, I think I made up for in enthusiasm and natural ability,but that entire year I was terrified that any day someone was going to escort me out of the room and the jig would be up.

I was always nervous that I wouldn't be able to teach the material or control the class or handle the work load, and frankly, on the eve of my fifth year, I feel exactly the same way. It gets really discouraging sometimes to still feel so unsure of myself in this role. I've had plenty of people- teachers, parents, students, subs, observers- tell me I am a great teacher, but for some reason that just doesn't sink in.

Dress- Kohl's Necklace- In PINK Heels- Forever21


Being a teacher is such a daunting responsibility! What if I don't teach them the right way to write? What if we don't make it to The Scarlet Letter or Tom Sawyer or Shakespeare? What if they never understand the difference between a verbal and a verb? Have I failed them for life? Is their future ruined? Sorry to be harping so much lately with school re-starting but it's weighing heavily on my mind. So, tell me, how do you deal with self-doubt?


50 comments:

Hsboschke30 said...

I really love this dress on you! The colors are GORGEOUS with your lip color.... and as far as teaching I totally get it... I teach an undergrad marketing class part time and it's so easy to start second guessing yourself. I've always operated under "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" - and I have no doubt that this comes through with your students :)

XO
www.pearlsandpaws.blogspot.com

Colleen P. said...

I think everyone feels this way from time to time about their life choices (or the choices life seems to have made for us!). I sincerely doubt you have failed them for life, there are so many factors that contribute to a persons life. Though I must be honest-I'm not entirely convinced there is only one "correct" way to write, at least when writing literature for pleasure. Resumes proposals for contracts, yes, those things must be written in specific and accurate ways. In any case, your heart is in the right place, so don't put so much stress on yourself! Someone else's future is largely in their own hands, what they do with it is up to them. I would submit that teaching them how to appreciate classic literature, how to appreciate an author that can build an entire world with nothing but type on a page, this is going to have much more far reaching consequences than a list of definitions. But I'm not a teacher, I do not have to get students through state evaluation tests!

Deanna Stockton said...

Oh how I can relate to this. I'm not a teacher, I am actually a safety and environmental director, but there are days I feel like such a fraud. Honestly why in the world would anyone trust me to keep 600 people safe on a daily basis? I have an HR degree for crying out loud! But when these moments hit me I generally take a step back and make a plan, I think about where I need to go and how I'm going to get there. For whatever reason the simple act of writing it down is just enough to keep me (relatively) sane. Good luck!

Always Maylee said...

You look so pretty in this dress Katie! Aw, I think everyone deals with self doubt. But I'm sure you are an excellent teacher. Plus, I bet you will feel more confident with time, just think you have this past year under your belt! When I'm feeling the inevitable emotion of self-doubt, I always just talk to my husband. He'll either tell a joke to make me laugh, or reassure me that I'm being silly. It always works! :)

xo, Yi-chia

Tashia G. said...

I think it's ok to admit you don't know everything and aren't perfect. If you were absolutely satisfied with your teaching abilities, then you'd be bored! Just keep improving, bettering yourself, and doing the best you can:) I'm sure the kids are lucky to have you.

Selah said...

I think the fact that you obviously care so much means that you ARE a great teacher! The best teachers are always the ones who really care :)

Julie said...

First off, i love your blog! (Found it via J's Everyday Fashion) So nice to finally find a fashion blogger that i can relate too a little better in terms of my body type.

Secondly, i bet you are a great teacher! Why? Because you worry about being the best teacher you can be. You're still hungry to improve your game, you're not complacent.

Like your other commentators, i find writing things out to be the best way to combat self-doubt. Through my journaling i'm able to develop a plan of action, which in turn allows me to feel more confident & prepared, no matter what the situation is.

Christy said...

As a sophomore level history teacher, I GET it, believe me. This will be my 11th year teaching, and every year I have "out of body" moments where it's like I can see myself while I'm talking to the kids and I frantically wonder, "Why in the hell are they listening to me?? I'm full of crap!" The thing of it is, if you think you are an awesome teacher, you get complacent. I think that one part of your brain can believe you are a good teacher (and because you are wondering these things, I believe you are), while the other part of your brain questions what you are doing. I think that is important, and helps with refining your teaching style and constantly seeking to become better instead of stagnating. No teacher is perfect, but if you have passion and expertise and you care about how you are doing, every year you will get better and better.

Also, you look adorable. =)

Katty said...

I'm in year 20 at teaching. I am a great teacher, I am an intuitive teacher, I am a talented teacher, I chose to be a teacher, and kids love me. Yet, every single year I dread to start once again - will the kids and I hit it off?, will I be able to reach to them?, will they learn what I'm trying to teach? It is just natural to feel that way! You care! You can only be a bad teacher if you stop caring! btw, sorry if my English is faulty- I'm a Spanish speaker who's never been to an English speaking country!

Keesha said...

I agree with all the others comments! Just the fact that youre concerned means to me that you actually care therefore the kids will learn. Theyll get your book learnin' and your fashion sense to take with them :)

Carrie said...

I know exactly what you're talking about! I have two years of classroom teaching experience, am starting my second year of leave to finish up my degree, and am already a bit worried about how tough it will be to go back to the classroom if I can't find a library position. Teachers make literally thousands of decisions in a day, and it's easy to go back and second-guess yourself. I kept a binder of little notes, drawings, etc. the students have given me and would go through that when I wondered whether I am having any positive effect. Having a mentor or even just a sympathetic colleague to bounce ideas off and vent to is hugely therapeutic, too. :)
You are gorgeous in that color. :)

Jupe_Cambria said...

I completely understand second guessing yourself...esp if you really care about the people you're teaching or the material you're trying to pass on. I used to teach classical ballet (my one true passion!) to adults and kids...and it was nerve wracking just going to class everyday, because I really wanted to convey to them the correct techniques and appreciation for the art. but I'm sure you are a fabulous teacher...and you look just gorgeous :) Keep your heart focused on those kids and not on your doubts, and you can't go wrong!!!

<3 Cambria
jupefashion.blogspot.com

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Yes, I remind myself of that very quote quite often! Thank you so much :)

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

You definitely understand the pressure! And you are right- if I turn my perspective outward then I won't be able to obsess about myself!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Ah, Carrie, I have a Wall of Fame behind my desk at school and you are right- it's a wonderful reminder of the work I do! And having a friendly colleague is SOOOO important, and I've got several great ones!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

The fashion is going to be taught regardless! You know that! ;)
And it's interesting, many people say the same thing about me being worried means I do care!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Your English is amazing, Kitty! You don't want to see my Spanish- it's very rusty. Thank you so much for the reassurance!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Yes! Exactly!! Thank you so much for this comment!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thanks for coming over, Julie! A plan of action is super important and I always find that once I get past the first day, I feel so much better about things. The anticipation kills me!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

You are absolutely right. Thank you, Selah!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

And admitting I don't know everything is something I do nearly every day!! I tell my students that all the time :) Thank you, Tashia!

Jenny Lauren said...

Being a teacher is such an important job, I couldn't imagine the pressure. But I'm sure you are amazing at what you do. You really need to step back, take a look at yourself, and realize you are a fabulous teacher, mother and woman. Own it and be confident!!!

xo Jenny
www.crazystylelove.com

ereddy%westliberty.edu said...

I worry about this so much as I begin my last year of school before I start teaching. I student teach in the spring for both elementary education and middle school social studies. I am hoping to get a job with the middle school social studies so I have busted my butt this summer looking for good books, activities, etc. I think we all have the fear of being bad at something we enjoy. I am sure you are great and for the record, I love your blog. I follow a lot of blogs and your blog is one of the few I check everyday.

Marissa said...

That dress looks gorgeous on you Kate! I can't imagine what is must be like to be a teacher, I am sure it feels like a lot of responsibility is on your shoulders. You have to be confident in knowing that if you were doing a bad job someone would have told you by now! Trust me! It's evident fromw hen you do write about teaching that you enjoy what you do and that you're GREAT at what you do! Any student will be lucky to have such an awesome and fashion forward teacher!

Angela Keeley-White said...

I'm sorry you are feeling that way Katie! I have self-doubt with my job too though. Loving this dress on you, such a gorgeous color!!

xo,
Angela
headtotoechic.blogspot.com

Katie said...

I know completely how you feel! I just accepted my first teaching job ever and found out that I am going to be teaching AP US History!! I'm very nervous to say the least! I'm sure you are an amazing teacher :)

Feathers & Freckles said...

I'm sure you are an amazing teacher, Katie! Your students are lucky to have a teacher that still cares enough about their job to get nervous and have self-doubt... it proves that it means a lot to you and you're motivated. You will get back into the swing of things soon and remember what an awesome teacher you are :)

Southernliberal said...

Katie - I am a teacher, too, but I teach adults. There is truly nothing better in the world to see a "light bulb" come on when a student "gets it". I struggle about not being perfect every time I walk into a classroom. Yesterday, for example, was not the greatest. What helps me is to remember that I am only one stop along their road of life. I hope I have enriched it. I know they have enriched me. I know that some think I am great and some think I am not even good. I used to try to win everyone over, but that is not only exhausting and unnecessary, it's impossible! In short, I understand!

RedTagChicLosAngeles said...

I have tremendous respect & awe for teachers because my mom was a teacher....so quit those self-doubts Katie.....I love your colorful summery outfit!!!

Rebecca
www.redtagchiclosangeles.com

Marie_McGrath said...

I truly can only imagine how difficult and stressful this must be for you. I believe I would feel the same way in your position. Try to not focus on all the "what-ifs" and think of all the good you have done for so many students. So many children know so much more after being in your class. You are having a positive effect on their lives, and your work literally makes them better and more educated people. Congratulations ;)

www.thejoyoffashion.blogspot.com

Mini Me Style said...

Katie, I don't have any words of advice, but do empathize with you completely. I feel like I was thrown to the wolves as a "graduate teaching associate" - a term meaning we have none of the benefits or support of being an actual professor, but all of the responsibility. (But no formal training). Sometimes I look out on my 25-30 undergrads and cannot believe someone thinks it's a good idea that I'm in charge of their learning. I do believe enthusiasm is contagious - kids pick up on that more than maybe anything else, and I'm sure you are an amazing teacher! You also look stunning in blue. :)

Kristian said...

Teaching is just stressful like that, I lthink because of each year is different kids and different challenges. But I am sure you will be great!


Http://www.neverfullydressedwithoutastyle.blogspot.com

Lynne DeVenny said...

Such a pretty dress and a fresh print; you look lovely as always.

I think you might be a perfectionist. They're usually brilliant at what they do, but think it's never good enough. I'd be nervous, too, meeting such a large group of new people every single year :o

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thanks, Lynne! That dress is so old, but it still looks great.

I like to joke that I am a "failed perfectionist". ;) It is tough meeting a new group of students every year! I think students are the roughest crowd you can face!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Oh, definitely. I really hate change, yet I managed to get into a career that is CONSTANTLY changing. It's good for me though!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

I'm constantly amazed that teaching really has no on the job training. I don't count student teaching because it is not realistic at all (at my school student teachers get to observe AP classes. Ummm, real teaching is rarely 6 AP classes in a row!)

I agree that enthusiasm is so important. This is why my students end up loving The Scarlet Letter and Julius Caesar. I hype them up so much, you can't help but enjoy them!

Thanks so much :)

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

You always have the right thing to say! You are very kind and very wise. Thank you Marie!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thanks, Rebecca! Now if we could only get teenagers to feel this way ;)

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

I love that idea that we are only one stop. It puts things into perspective. Sometimes I feel so much pressure, so it helps to take a step back!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thanks, Megan! You are right. When I stop caring is when there's a real problem!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

I don't envy you! I don't think I'll ever be prepared enough to teach AP! I wish you the best of luck! Keep me posted :)

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thanks Angela! I try to remind myself that everyone struggles and deals with doubt. I think it's inevitable.

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thank you, bliend! That means a lot to me! I really do love teaching and deep down I know that I do a darn good job (most of the time) and look great doing it (all of the time)! ;)

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thank you so much for commenting and reading. I know it's tough to find time, especially when taking education courses! Good luck student teaching- sounds like you are on the right track! Keep me posted!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thank you so much, Jenny! Sometimes it's just nice to hear someone else say it! A kind of confirmation!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thanks, Yi-chia! It's so old and I found it cleaning out my closet! And you are right, I turn to my husband too! He is the same way. We are lucky to have such a great support system :)

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Right? I felt the same way when we brought my son home from the hospital! You mean, you aren't going to test me to make sure I can take care of a baby? I don't need a license or anything?

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

This idea of ruining them is one that persists year after year, even after a master teacher asked me, "What's the worst that could happen if you don't teach xyz?" And I said, "Well, I just didn't teach it to them so they don't know it." She said, "Exactly. It's not the end of the world!"

Tori said...

First off.. love this color on you! You're glowing today!! As for the self doubt, I think that's just human nature. I'm sure once you get back in the classroom and back to your routine, your nerves will settle :) Teaching is an incredibly hard job and I think teachers are grossly underpaid!! Thank you though, for caring so deeply for the next generation, your "self doubt" is exactly how I know you're an amazing teacher!! It's the cocky ones who don't care, we should get rid of ;)

grownandcurvywoman said...

I completely know what your are talking about. I tend to question my abilities from time to time but I know that Im good at what I do, so that helps ease the doubt.

I hope you never have doubt about your style because its so carefree and fresh! You always look amazing and relaxed!

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