04 June 2009

Which Comes First, Stress or Low Self Efficacy?

Yes, it's a bit cliche, but still an honest question and pertinent to everything going on in my life right now. I've blogged plenty about the craziness of moving, wrapping up teaching, my licensure program coming to an end, and ongoing masters classes all in the face of actively searching for a teaching job. Am I stressed out? You betcha, and I've noticed my outlook of late seems a bit less than positive.

What really struck me after yesterday is the amount of time I spent stressed out and feeling depressed or dejected, just waiting for my phone to ring. This is far different from my attitude last spring, or even when I applied for nursing school. Back then, I simply knew in my gut that I would gain acceptance into both programs. Not so this summer. I sit by while colleagues receive call after call for interviews and wonder what's wrong with me. Where the heck did that come from? I don't doubt my ability to land a job, ever. Sure, I get nervous - very nervous. I'm not overly confident and spend scads of time going over my answers to potential questions, holding mock interviews in my head. This summer, I'm am terrified that I am simply not good enough, there must be something inherently wrong with me and what I'm doing. Why else am I not receiving a single phone call?

That's the internal speech I detected ongoing in my mind last night, and it's unlike me. So it makes me wonder, does stress contribute to low self-efficacy. Clearly I am beyond physically, mentally, and emotionally stressed, and if stress does contribute to a weakened sense of self-efficacy does it follow that this affects how we present ourselves. We know that doubt in oneself shows through clearly, so does this new line of self-doubt manifest itself in my interview process? Good grief, I hope not. With awareness comes opportunity, opportunity to consciously correct the self-talk and unintentional negative focus.

All that aside, it's more food for thought for how I conduct myself in the classroom, and how I respond to both group think and individual manifestations of self doubt. It tells me I must not only be cognizant of where my students are developmentally in terms of self worth and efficacy, but that the atmosphere and learning environment we create ranks even more important than I previously thought. That's a profound statement considering the fact that I already view the classroom environment as paramount in our students' learning success.


Toward the Positive said...

Two thoughts -- first, any school that lands you as a teacher is lucky! Second, I think how much we want something (in this case a teaching job in a school that shares our educational philosophy) is in direct proportion to how much we feel the angst of the job search process. A crapy economy, which increases competition, doesn't help. But mark my words -- you will have a good job -- no, great job -- within a week. Trust my gut!

Laura T. said...

I'm thrilled to connect with you again! I want to hear how the intern year went. You are such a phenomenal person - a school will snatch you up very soon!

Human Motivation said...

I am also feeling the angst of not having a job yet. I was laid off from a private school job last February because of financial issues the school was having. I was fortunate enough to land a long-term substiute job within a week of being laid off. Now that the long-term substitute position has ended, I have angst on whether or not I will have a full-time job in the fall. I had hoped that I would have an "in" with the school, but have not been offered a job yet. I understand first hand the stress, anguish, and feelings of self-doubt. We just have to repeat my mom's mantra of "It will all fall into place". We may not know how or when, but we need to believe that it will. I am sending positive vibes your way in getting a job.