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Advice needed- I'm in a bad place

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Wandawitch_82, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. Wandawitch_82

    Wandawitch_82 New commenter

    Good morning all,

    Firstly I'm going to apologies for what could be a rather long and rambling post but I it has taken me a great deal of time to finally post this!

    I started in a new post September, before I went I was 'warned' it was going to be 'difficult'. However I didn't anticipate what it is actually like! The school has both s HT and an ExHT and it is safe to say has an atmosphere of fear! Several staff last year succumbed to stress and went off two staff left this year so far no one has but I am heading that way! The ExHT was brought in to pick up what was a failing school and has over the last few years told every member of staff they are unsatisfactory and has torn everyone apart at some point.

    Since being in school several things have occurred that have led me to almost going off with stress. I have had 4 formal lesson obs, plus two drop ins. Three formal obs have been by my HT and EXHT, of all of these none have been good and even had words like unsatisfactory and pointless brought into my feed back. I have be subjected to feedback that was ALL negative with no positives, unrealistic targets ( 15+) and telling a off infront of the children. Plus book scrutinised where everything in my books has been torn apart for poor presentation etc ( I teach year 3) .

    The school I previously worked at had an inspection April last year and from that inspection I was deemed a good teacher with my lessons in UKS2 being mention 2 times during the report as examples of higher order skills and outcomes. What I don't understand is how I can go from there to where I am now?!

    I am constantly being told I am not good enough, the standards are poor, my lessons are pointless and poorly organised and my outcomes are not being met. With all of this no guidance or support is being offered just constantly being told you are not good enough.

    The HT is aware that I am struggling (I have broken down several times and once in her office) but again no support is being offered. I feel like I am on the verge of a breakdown and flit between 'I can't do this' and 'I can't leave'!

    I am aware I am absolutely not coping and have asked for help but all I get from staff is 'we all feel this way' and as much as I agree it's not helpful. This has led to me falling behinds nd having negative feelings about school that I can't seem to shake!!

    I am sorry this is rather rambling, there is so much going on and it's difficult to put in words!! Basically I fear for my sanity, my career and my passion for teaching and I don't know what to do?! To top it all off I have been told constantly the influence of my Employers over people's careers and now fear for my own future uf i can't get myself out of this place!!

    Comments, advice general shut ups welcome.

    Thanks for reading
    thekillers likes this.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Pointless? Can you even begin to imagine how you'd be torn apart if you said that to a kid????

    Constitutes bullying in the workplace, I'd say.

    I fear my advice is: contact the union. Not glamorous. No instant answers.

    Who warned you btw? Don't beat yourself up about it. Even if you're the lousiest teacher in Lousytown that's no way to manage you. But someone needs to challenge these bullies. You can't do it alone. Definitely keep notes. Save emails (if any). Union. Do your best unless and until you go off with stress-related illness. It's NOT YOU. It's THEM. And, even if it is you, nobody should be treated like that.
  3. hayleyrm

    hayleyrm New commenter

  4. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    It sounds as though a visit to your GP in the very near future is needed. The levels of stress and anxiety you're going through is unhealthy and you might well benefit from some medical advice and/or treatment. Don't leave it until it's at crisis point (like I did!).

    The union needs to be involved. If you aren't getting helpful support at local level then you need to raise it at regional level.

    You would be sensible to log each incident, forward emails to your personal account and keep copies of obs etc in a file at home.

    Most important is your health and wellbeing though, you won't have the strength to deal with this dreadful situation without it.
  5. hayleyrm

    hayleyrm New commenter

  6. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I agree with @RedQuilt

    I've sent you a message by the way.
    Wandawitch_82 likes this.
  7. Wandawitch_82

    Wandawitch_82 New commenter

    Thank you grumpydogwoman for your reply.

    Yes being told my lesson was pointless wasn't exactly a highlight, the following observation I was told infront of my children I needed to read my standards as I clearly didn't know what i was doing!!

    As for warnings, was told my colleagues at my last school (there's a big reputation) and have been constantly told by staff at my school what it's like. The school has changed/altered its planning several times this term too and everyone only ever gets half the information making planning difficult!! It's generally not a good place to work at the moment :-(
    thekillers likes this.
  8. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    I have sent you a personal message, Wandawitch. x
    Wandawitch_82 likes this.
  9. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    Being told off in front of the children?! That alone is bad enough, definitely get the union involved.

    I've had some difficulty in my new school too, so much is different and lots of changes...but I've actually had some support, which you need how are you meant to make improvements when they've not given you any direction? They've given you targets, could you ask which ones are priority? If not do that yourself: make lessons number one; whatever you do follow the new National curriculum for your lessons (then if they still say pointless you can back up by referring to that) within your lessons give chn clear expectations of the work including presentation.
    All else is secondary as the kids must come first & as long as they're enjoyin & learning then it won't be pointless!

    If things don't improve then leaving maybe the only option xx
  10. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Start making secret recordings of every contact/meeting with theses animals. Could you speak to your previous head for advice?
  11. Wandawitch_82

    Wandawitch_82 New commenter

    Thank you all for your support.

    I am really in a tricky place as at the moment it's not emotionally effecting my home life and when I don't think about work I'm ok. The problem is the way I feel about it makes me resent working in my own time ( which I have to do lots) and I am lacking motivation and enthusiasm,

    As for targets, after my first observation ( where I was asked what the point of my lesson was) I received written feedback. Then was told I'd have a reibservation the following week. When I asked what the targets for this observation were I was told you need to action what we have you last time -a list of 15 +points!- the justification being well some of those are quick fixes!!
    I then went to my Ks2 leader and asked for some advice on what to focus on and we whittled it down to 5 which was the minimum!! Now call me picky but 5 is surely still too many!!!!

    After this observation I was then given verbal feedback and none of the things I auctioned were brought up - other things were- and when I then asked for written feedback from that second observation was told that as it was a follow up I wouldn't be getting any and so to action what I was told in the verbal feedback!! I have since had another observation and wanted to know what my new targets were.

    Now my issue is if between the first and second ob I made improvements (which I know I did) I now have no evidence of those nor any evidence of renewed targets!! I have had the next observation ( 3rd from my HT and ExHT) and have not had any further feed back though they say in my lesson and tore me apart throughout and had a go at me as I didn't have my planning file in school! I am now dreading receiving my feedback :-(

    The staff all keep telling me only I can fix this but I'm not so sure! I know only I can get myself out of my hole of how I feel but I'm also certain that all of this has been caused by the atmosphere and lac k of support given in the first place!!
  12. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    How awful for you. Please go to see your doctor and get signed off. Your health and well being come first.

    Is there some course that SLT go on and are trained how to be complete b**t***s to their staff? Do they really think this will improve things?
  13. Wandawitch_82

    Wandawitch_82 New commenter

    compass man the problem is I feel silly doing that :-( as its not effecting me outside of school apart from my reluctance to do anything school related.

    I feel like I am the problem here....perhaps I am that rubbish, after all I am far behind everything :-(
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    How do the children respond to you? What's your behaviour management like? How do you get on with parents?

    Do you feel out of your depth? Do you feel as if you don't know why you're doing what you're doing?

    I am not talking about keeping up with marking or planning. I'm talking about having a rewarding time with the pupils. KS 2. I hope they enjoy their lessons nearly all the time. Do they? Do you? Are there lessons you can really get your teeth into and enjoy doing?
  15. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I've read posts like this so many times that I'm running out of ways to phrase my advice since it all seems so POINTLESS (excuse the pun) given that it keeps happening over and over and over again: great teachers - praised, happy, hard-working - moving school (or new head, become and academy etc) and are suddenly worse than the proverbial.

    I can offer no advice. Instead, just a big old cyber-hug, a massive mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and the suggestion that teaching is not the place to be if you value your sanity and emotional wellbeing.

    So sorry

    Eva xx
    petenewton and melmmow like this.
  16. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Trust me chick, it's affecting you outside school but you are not yet aware of it. Your brain won't be able to pack all the sh*t away the moment you drive out the school gates. GP and union need to be informed, and covert recordings made of all your verbal exchanges with your toxic employers. xx
  17. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    It is not silly to go to the doctor. Some time ago I felt awful about what was happening at school. My wife kept telling me to go to the doctors and like you, I kept putting it off. Eventually, I did and I had a month off with WRS to get my head together. It was really worthwhile (even though the head was fairly unsympathetic)

    You are not rubbish. It is THEM not you.

    Sadly this is becoming a crisis of epidemic proportions in schools.
  18. Wandawitch_82

    Wandawitch_82 New commenter

    I think the children respond to me well... When I'm happy that is and it feeling the strain ( sadly becoming more frequent these days). I've always felt my behaviour management was good, I don't have any naughty children at all but I do have quite a few lazy and quite a few who are very poor academically and I have no support for them. I also have a non English speaker.

    I sometime feel out of my depth in terms of what I have to get in to my week - it's a faith school and RE has to be taught 2.5 hrs per week on top of everything else. I frequently feel like I'm very behind on other stuff.

    When I am able to teach how I want to teach- which doesn't happen often- I get excellent engagement and the children are fab but more often than not I am battling, screaming and shouting I get them to work faster to get the required amount in their books at an appropriate standard - by all accounts my presentation is exceptionally poor, my expectations too low and the children's books are atrocious!

    I am the kind of teacher who likes to engage and enthuse I love to dress up and deliver lessons that way but time constraints and being told 'they [ SMT] don't like that mean I am not teaching like me :-( I once dressed up as a Roman for a lesson and the staffs reaction was 'who are you trying to impress' and 'what do you think you are - a student?'.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    RE. Two and a half hours. :( Jeepers.

    You're feeling you have to (more or less) bully them to get the work out of them? That's no good for anyone.

    Sorry to say this but they don't like the cut of your jib and you'd best get out. You do know you're not the only one, don't you? It's probably no comfort but this sad story is beginning to sound NORMAL.

    Oh, and it IS affecting you. It's Sunday. You're not at school. You can't keep this from affecting your life. It's doing it NOW.
  20. Wandawitch_82

    Wandawitch_82 New commenter

    Yes that's pretty much how it is, I was told if they do it wrong then they do it again and again!! I've even been told to get them to do it in rough first before putting it in their books!!! Then I'm told off for not getting enough content in or getting displays in the wall!

    When you put it like that then yes I guess it is affecting me, I'm in work at 7:30 most days not home til 7 at night and then working more when I get in. I try not to work on weekends as I have step children andbthatsbthe only time I see them but I work all Sunday afternoon and night, needless to say my house is a mess!

    I am putting off work until I absolutely have to do it and then I am doing a rubbish job of it! :-( this is SO not How I work!!

    I am terrified however of what would happen to my career if I went off sick, I am only on a years contract and I can't afford to have a bad reference :-(

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