These first few months are very difficult. I'm gotten through the worst of it though, and now it should be downhill. We have testing this week, and our kids have to bust it to help our school get up to its required performance score before going into corrective action. They kids all seem to have given up, and we're all trying to be confident in an effort to make them want to try. I think they can do it, I just don't think they believe in themselves. It's a bit of a paradox.
As far as coping with the day-to-day stresses, I've begun trying a variety of things to keep me sane. My grandfather keeps reminding me that there's no such thing as the perfect job, and if there was, everyone would be doing it. I have to keep that in the back of my mind when I am grading tests and they've all failed something I've gone over with them hundreds of times, or when I feel as though my classroom management skills will never be up to par. There's no perfect job, so I have to do the best I can to excel at the one I have.
I have also been making it a point to leave work in the walls of my classroom. No more bringing it home every afternoon and over the weekend. No more thinking about it day-in and day-out. I often stay at school until five to make this possible, but when I drive out of that gate, my work for the day is done. I can go to the gym/visit friends/eat dinner in peace. I also make it a point to put away the computer before bed and watch an episode of Friends. It's become a half-hour each night that I look forward to all the time.
In college I made a habit of making Thursday nights MINE, no matter what I need to accomplish. I've gotten back into that habit, only now I've got Jess in on it. Each Thursday, we go out and enjoy each other's company, and we are not, under any circumstances, allowed to talk about my job.
Things are looking up, and I'm enjoying my renewed optimism.