My teacher and and one of my opera friends from this summer both assured me that it's normal to hate how you sound on tape. My teacher told me not to listen to it critically, rather, use it to remind myself of the exercises when I'm home. I kept that in mind and it really did help. And I can hear myself improving. My teacher says she can hear it too.
Let's step back here a moment. My friend who reassured me that it's normal asked about my teacher - he said there are a lot of "fake" teachers out there who will tell the students whatever they think the students want to hear. So...
My voice lessons are through Westminster Conservatory. It's the public music school associated with Westminster Choir College. My teacher was an opera singer with the Baltimore Opera Company. She's an excellent teacher. She teaches Early Childhood music classes with Westminster and was Alex's teacher for a year and a half. She has shown me all sorts of techniques and she's got the whole psychology side of it under control. She knows what to say to give me confidence, etc. So I do not believe she's "fake."
That said... I forgot what else I was going to write!
I've been in Florida since Sunday, just got back today. My next lesson is tomorrow and I haven't been able to practice. There's always tomorrow afternoon.