1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Advice please - another one with anxiety and depression....

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lantra, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. lantra

    lantra New commenter


    Like many people on here I am suffering from work related anxiety and stress and I would really appreciate some advice.
    It is a long story, and so I won't go into everything but just before the summer I had an awful meeting with my line manager - it was supposed to be supervision but ended up being about my performance. As a result, I went off sick with anxiety and depression. After the summer holidays I followed a phased return over four weeks, which was very difficult but I got through it. Then, two days after being back at full capacity I was called into my appraisal and basically sat through two hours of being annihilated. I actually ended up sobbing for over half an hour afterwards and as a consequence, felt too ill to go into work the next day.
    I went to the doctor straight away and was signed off for two weeks. I feel as if I have gone completely back to square one. I feel awful, worse than before. I have been back to the doctor and signed off for another two weeks, but my school are wanting to hold an attendance meeting, saying that they are entitled to hold one as they are counting it as a continuation from the last period of absence.
    Without going into details, I am being bullied at school and this is an ongoing issue that my union is helping me with.
    My union rep says I have to attend the meeting as I will end up being sacked on ill health grounds if I don't. The thought of going makes me feel sick. I am not sleeping, am getting palpitations, my hair is falling out and I am making myself bleed through itching - I can't even face going into school and he has asked for it to be at an alternative venue.
    I just feel like handing in my notice to get out of there - I can't see myself ever being able to return.
    My career is over and I feel like I have let myself down, I don't know what to do.

    Any advice greatly appreciated, thanks.
  2. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Is this school worth sacrificing your health for? Doesn't sound like it.

    Is your career worth sacrificing your health for? Not the right time to make that decision.

    Do you have the will to keep battling with the school?

    Can you get by financially if you walk away now? No brainer if so, get out and get well, it takes time and the longer you suffer the harder it is to recover.

    Put your health first, you only get one go at life.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Call your union today and explain what you have posted.
    Ask them to explain to you what your options are in connection with your situation.
    Call your GP if younfeel younneed to.
    Call the Samaritans if you need someone to talk to. They talk to people experiencing stress as well as those who may be suicidal.
    Call the Education Support Network to see what help they can offer.

    Your career is not over and you are not a failure. There will be a solution to your dilemma, but you just need some help from the above named sources to help you find it. In the meantime, I can assure you that your career is not over and you have let no one down including yourself.
  4. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Your career is not over but your job at this school probably is. You have not let yourself down - you have been bullied and intimidated out of your current position. The shame is on your line manager and SLT for not offering you support.
  5. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    Take a breath and step back from this.

    You have not been treated well by your school. This is not your fault.
    You are poorly. This is no more your fault than if you caught the flu.
    You have not let anyone down. You are in ill health and need to recuperate.

    I don't know whether the school can force an attendance meeting on you when the thought of it is making you so ill. Could you go back to your GP and ask them to add a note to say that you are currently too ill to attend the meeting and will rearrange for when you're more up to it?

    Please try and look after yourself. Drink tea, have a walk, watch a film, cry to a friend, read a book, watch a boxset...you need to nurse yourself in the same way as if you had a broken leg. Accept that days will be painful but that time will help you to heal.

    You are not alone in this.
  6. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    Loads of great, sincere and experienced advice above @lantra lots of TES community members are so supportive, caring and knowledgable - you are in the right place.

    Take a complete mental step back and focus on yourself and your own wellbeing for a while. If you're not well enough to attend a meeting it will just have to be rearranged for another time via your union and acting on GP advice or you will turn up physically but let your union rep talk for you and act as a conduit for all written and verbal communications with the school until you are well enough to do so again yourself.

    You are ill...accept this first...

    ... getting better is your top priority. Everything else will just have to wait. Including the bullies.

  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    "Then, two days after being back at full capacity I was called into my appraisal and basically sat through two hours of being annihilated."
    That is inhumane, and I wouldn't ever trust people who can do that to have any responsibility for my child.

    "My union rep says I have to attend the meeting as I will end up being sacked on ill health grounds if I don't."
    I would check out with your union rep whether that would actually be any worse than any other outcome. Okay, you'll have to put "dismissed due to ill health" as reason for leaving on future application forms, but if your health is restored by not being there, that shouldn't be an issue for another school. They'll have to give you proper notice, I presume, so they can't dismiss you before the end of April.
    I thought they couldn't insist on attendance at a meeting whilst signed off, but I may be wrong.
  8. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    This is NOT YOUR FAULT! A very similar thing was done to me. Utter scum, some senior managers, they really are. This is one example. Obviously I don't know what you were ill with before and for how long, but do check again with the rep. I did read up on this are but the rep should confirm with regional rep that this is correct. Yes they could stuff you over with the sneaky trick of being dismissed in grounds of ill health. But you are clearly being bullied and victimised,they've done such a good job in you that you mistakenly think you are at fault. Are you upper pay spine, perhaps? Over 35? I suggest that your union rep advises you right now to be signed off with work related stress. Saying it is WRS is important. You must see your GP today or tomorrow to get them to confirm it. Trust me, they will, they are writing thousands of sign off notes for teachers each month, it is a national outrage that is shamefully under reported. Once signed off with WRS, you could then start to plan a dignified exit. The rep could help steeer this through. You need them to undertake that they will write a good reference rather than do an agreed one which screams that you were on capability! Also that there were never any safeguarding concerns over you, and that they will not put capability references on the form. They may have triggered formal capability without your knowing, so this needs haggling over and stopping at once. When you return from WRS leave, you should ensure the rep has got you a phased return. As soon as you are back, apply for new posts. You can arrange the leaving date so it doesn't look suspicious. If the school I see stupid enough to go after you once you're on WRS leave, they are discriminating against you on grounds of ill health. It's in thier and your interests to handle this properly. Schools are an utter joke these days. Just to reassure you that there are less stressful teaching careers out there. Good luck.
  9. bigbev

    bigbev New commenter

    Hi Lantra
    My heart completely goes out to you. Trust me i fully understand how you are feeling right now as your story sounds so familiar to my recent experience.
    Many SLT have no understanding or sympathy for mental health conditions and so continue with how they treat everyone in their school.
    When I was in a such a bad way and felt unable to attend school meetings my GP supported me and backed me up by writing on my sick note that i was not well enough to go to meetings...My GP was/is amazing and supportive and helped hugely.
    By all means PM me if I can be of any help but dont just resign
    You take care of you ...sending a big hug
  10. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    If you get the GPS letter and the union rep to notify the employer that you've just been signed off with WRS, they can take their meeting and shove it. Focus. breathe. Assert yourself. You have to get the paperwork in place to make their mistreatment legally dodgy. Then they back down. Usually.
  11. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Seems as if the school is not following policy correctly and is trying to dismiss before the OP ha slime to be formally signed off with WRS. Despicable people. Just the sort you want near children all day.....
    hhhh likes this.
  12. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Having re read your post...a lot hinges on whether this could be seen as a continuation of your past absence. I'm not sure it is. New stress reaction, new GP letter already created. They are not making the situation transparent. My guess is they want you gone and a new teacher in by January. You could arrange this and avoid the dis,sisal on grounds of ill health. Your school is the cause of your ill health. If they succeeded in the dismissal, I think if might affect your pension rights, so best avoid this. I'd go for an end of Autumn term departure with a view to as short a period of time off possible, after which you decide whether to apply for new jobs or take a possible payoff instead and some well deserved time off.
  13. bigbev

    bigbev New commenter

    Then, two days after being back at full capacity I was called into my appraisal and basically sat through two hours of being annihilated. I actually ended up sobbing for over half an hour afterwards and as a consequence, felt too ill to go into work the next day.

    This part of your post particularly resenoated with me as i have been through almost exactly the same situation as this. I am so angry that schools/managers think this type of behaviour is acceptable. When are the unions going to do something about managers that bully and intimidate. I love being a teacher but am close to leaving - where are the managers who support and coach....I begin to feel there are none left :mad:
    Sorry.....rant over!:)
  14. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    You can't usually be dismissed unless you are at the last stage of the absence procedure. My school's policy allows for your rep to attend without you or for you to make your representations in writing. Check your policy.

    I am sorry it's happening and know how you feel.
  15. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Rant away, I think it's healthy and also surely good for the OP to not feel alone. Unlike others on TES, I think it is important to face the problem with bullying head on. Otherwise far too many teachers blame themselves and fail to see it was not their fault. I mean, how could anyone deserve this sort of treatment!
  16. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    It will be hard to accept this but keeping telling yourself. I've been there and it's only when you can accept this that you will be able to heal. Make it a personal mantra.
    Shedman, peggylu, lantra and 3 others like this.
  17. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    They are useless managers, pure and simple. They want in fresh malleable meat to break down and trigger a nice fresh new breakdown in. Sadly you yourself won't regain health until you escape the toxic working environment, but don't go down without a fight. With a clean record and fair payoff you have the chance of supply when you or if you ever fancy it, EFL teaching, working abroad, and, possibly, in another decent English school, if you can find one. Make them pay for this. Negotiate settlement and get out on your WRS leave asap. You really don't have to see these freaks again until your return to work meeting. Mine was an utter joke. Be prepared to hand in notice to leave at Heads discretion at that meeting. Settlement will probably be after this, even into the holidays. Amazingly, you can still get a job while the arrangements are going on, as long as you have returned to work. December is going to busy, but worth it long term. And a lot of jobs come at the last minute in those holidays.
    lantra and joanneclarebernadette like this.
  18. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Have they placed you on informal or formal capability proceedings as a lot pivots on these facts really. Helps you plan your next step.
  19. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Exactly. Very well put. This school is what has made you ill. If you want to return to teaching, another school might be much nicer to work in.
    lantra likes this.
  20. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Please do not look upon this as the end of your career. I agree that you need to look at being signed off with work related stress - schools have yo take this seriously. They should not be able to force you to attend the meeting if this will make the stress worse.
    There are other schools out there where working conditions will be more favourable.
    If you decide you have to go down the meeting route, could you take a friend with you for support?

Share This Page