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A Job I Thought I'd Love...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by geordieinsheffield, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. geordieinsheffield

    geordieinsheffield New commenter

    I am Deputy Head in a large secondary school. My responsibilities changed in the last year or so to Inclusion, Behaviour, Safeguarding & Attendance. Over the past year I have felt more depressed and isolated than I have ever felt in my career. I've been a teacher for 18 years and used to love it. Now every day I dread going into work.

    My job is a thankless one - behaviour never improves enough; attendance is always too low; my team are not working effectively enough. I am the DSL (we do not have a safeguarding officer). I am expected to pick up all safeguarding issues and deal with them. I am currently working roughly 90 hours a week and cannot go on.

    Last year, I was put on an 'informal' support plan. It certainly felt formal enough for me. I feel that I am the scapegoat, and that I will be easy thing to change if the time comes. And yet, I have two children under 3 and a responsibility to them and my partner that I feel is so heavy that I can barely stand up.

    What do I do? My confidence is gone. I look constantly for a move to another school and have no confidence to even write an application, let alone go to an interview. I feel like a shell of the person I used to be.
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Get out - you must.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Agree with post #2.
    Pomza, Teacher_abc123, Jamvic and 8 others like this.
  4. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    Thankless job in many ways as there is so little you can do to have a real impact. You need to get out so perhaps need to look in a different direction. Could you manage on a mainscale salary? Once you go into SLT you can lose the things you went into teaching for. Firstly though you must look after yourself. Go to your GP - they are very used to seeing stressed out teachers. Even if you don't need / want to be signed off at the moment they will support you. With 2 children under 3 are you getting enough sleep? Perhaps sit down and do a list of the really important things to you and then make a 'changeable' plan to keep these without losing yourself. Walk away from your current school. You will get another job but I know how scary it is to give up a good income. Look after yourself and your family.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Peakster's advice is sound and you should take it.

    Yes, you have a responsibility to your partner and children, but if you go on as you are, you will wind up so ill you wont be able to work at all.

    First step is to sit down with your partner and tell them the truth. Exactly, what you have written here.

    Second step is to make a plan to reduce your outgoings so you can take a breather and work fewer hours. 90 hours per week is NOT sustainable.

    You can go back to classroom teaching or something entirely different.

    You will make it out. One step at a time.
  6. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    You have a partner and two children under 3 and you are working 90 hours per week. This is punishing enough for you but what sort of deal is you partner getting out of this watching you work over 12 hours a day every day? And those little children need time with you as a parent. How much of their childhood are you missing out on and perhaps more importantly, how much of you are they missing out on?

    As Pepper5 very wisely says, this job will make you ill - cancer, diabetes, heart problems, mental illness. You must find some way to either work smarter or move on to something less arduous for your sake and your family's.
    Pomza, Jamvic, agathamorse and 7 others like this.
  7. raj1986

    raj1986 New commenter

    Solidarity. Sounds like you absolutely need to get to the doc's ASAP.
  8. steely1

    steely1 Occasional commenter

    I hope there is someone in your school who is supportive and you can speak to.

    Please look after yourself. Do what you need to do. We really need to bear in mind that it really is only a job. A few years ago, I may have disputed this notion but I'm increasingly finding teaching a thankless job. And I don't think any job is worth putting your wellbeing and family's wellbeing on the line.
    Jamvic, agathamorse, tonymars and 3 others like this.
  9. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Established commenter

    Obviously I am not a doctor nor a psychologist but it sounds like you are on the edge of or in a state of burnout. I agree with the other posters that suggest you talking to your doctor.

    Also, as pepper says you need to try and talk to your partner. If talking is too difficult, then could you write down how you are feeling (it print out your original post)? Could you arrange for a babysitter or ask grandparents/aunty/uncle to look after the little ones so you can talk to your partner without having your attention split by the children? Is your partner back at work themselves or are they on shared parental leave/maternity leave/adoption leave at the moment?

    You might need to make some fairly radical decisions and trying to do so from a place of unwellness can be difficult and ill-advised if struggling to think clearly so you may need some time off work before you make any big decisions.
    Jamvic, agathamorse, tonymars and 3 others like this.
  10. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Just look at what you have writen.

    does that not tell you that your job is destroying you? its a job, its only a job, its not worth it. it is no reflection on you, none what so ever, that you can't live like this. Its totally inhumane. There would be something wrong with you if you COULD live like this.

    get yourself out.

    out. out .out

    its the only way forward for you.

    You'll find something else. You;ll be fine. It couldn't be worse than a job that destroys you, could it.

    Pomza, FollyFairy, Jamvic and 6 others like this.
  11. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    To be given responsibility for both attendance and behaviour is a two scoop poison chalice. Carrying one of these is bad enough but both is ridiculous. You have been set up to fail. Get out while you have what remains of your heath and your sanity.

    As @Corvuscorax implied, "Out, out, out, Oh my brothers."
  12. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    A few years ago, I made the healthy decision to finally put myself and my family first. Since then, I have no regrets.

    I am recommending you do the same. For your sanity. For your family. For your soul.
    pepper5, Jamvic, SundaeTrifle and 3 others like this.
  13. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    I can only echo what others have said. Please look after yourself and your family. It's a job. See the doctor. Take some time for you to talk through how you are feeling and what you and your partner can do. Being signed off could give you some time to think about changes. Lots of people have had time off for WRS and gone to other jobs successfully. Sometimes we have to put ourselves first.
  14. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    I have a similar role to you, and the risk is very much isolation.

    So in our school we have half termly safeguarding meetings with the DSL and three safeguarding leads, good chance to catch up and support eachother.

    I also make a point of staying in touch with secondary sencos at the schools near me, and we find excuses to meet at eachothers schools to share information, practice and moan.
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    This is the most important thing in your whole post.

    Yes you have responsibility to your family, a responsibility to remain healthy and able to have time and energy to enjoy a fulfilling family life with them. The job at the moment is obviously destroying any chance you have of achieving that.

    Doesn’t matter how much money is coming in, what kind of house you live in or what your job title is. To your two small children you are simply mummy or daddy and they will thrive more with a de-stressed mummy or daddy who has time for their needs (all simple ones at this stage i.e. your presence, your love and stability) instead of an overworked, stressed out, potentially depressed, parent.

    Read your OP through slowly a couple of times while imagining it was written by your best friend or a sibling. What would you think about their current situation? What would you be advising a loved one to do if that was how bad they were feeling? Be really honest with yourself and then share these feelings with your partner and together consider some solutions that will help you make positive changes to ease the pressures you are currently under.

    @rooney1 has posted excellent first step advice.

    Please don’t ignore how you are feeling and try to keep struggling on. Don’t think about it as putting yourself first, you’re putting your children first. What you describe is completely unsustainable, unfair to yourself and to your family. To carry on will only lead to you ending up either physically or mentally unwell.

    I wish you well whatever decisions you make, you have already taken a big step forward in recognising and acknowledging the problems before everything falls completely apart. Good luck :).
  16. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    Get out - this is way too much for anyone, let alone someone with two very young children. My advice would be to go for a post with less responsibility, perhaps a class teacher post, and consider part-time. You can then make up the money doing some tutoring - you'd be snapped up with your level of experience! Good luck - put yourself and your children first.
    Jamvic, Mermaid7 and agathamorse like this.
  17. thebookyouwish

    thebookyouwish New commenter

    As everyone is saying you need to get out of this environment. I am in a similar situation to you and I am plotting a move which is keeping me going in my present role.

    Although the safeguarding, attendance and inclusion aspects to your role are making things difficult for you now they may be a good route to escape through.

    My local authority regularly has SEND roles which are paid comparably to the UPS.

    Good luck and don't be afraid to go to the doctor if you need it.
    Jamvic, steely1 and agathamorse like this.
  18. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Not in mine! Unless you mean without a TLR. It is one of the reasons my LA routinely fails to recruit any quality management for SEND.

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