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Advice please...very unhappy

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by TeacherX30, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. TeacherX30

    TeacherX30 New commenter

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961)]@TheoGriff and others I need some advice please. I am very unhappy at work. The workload of marking, spot book checks and observations are making me feel very stressed. I give it my all through out the day but I'm running out energy and drive. It's not uncommon for me to be working till 9 every night with marking and planning to try and make every lesson good.

    A couple of weeks back some students even threatened to harm me for giving them detentions!!- having reported it straight away they were suspended, but I have to go back and face this class again, even if I hope it's not them it will still be their friends etc.

    I have been off ill before the holidays after getting so run down I ended up with flu. I have been teaching for four years and have been considered an outstanding / good teacher in past schools. At this school I feel like nothing is ever good enough.

    I have been so stressed about going back even the thought of going back fills me with dread. I don't feel that I could handle one day of teaching let alone another 3 months.

    I want out of teaching as soon as possible. My gp has given me a sick note for 2 weeks which I could use, but what is going to change in that time?

    I've seen how one colleague who was on a reduced timetable in theory actually ended up covering lessons all around the school instead.

    I ideally would like to hand in my notice and ask for early release.

    Is this possible or am I trapped until July?

    How will this effect my job prospects if I ask for early release for health reasons?

    Everyone around me is telling me just to continue and get on with it as it could ruin my future but I end up crying most nights and have no work life balance.

    I don't want to leave my colleagues and students in the lerch but I don't feel remotely able to go back on Monday but am dreading the prospect of being off long term with stress and how that will affect my employability in the future.

    I would be grateful for any help please as I am so worried about my future.
  2. maud1901

    maud1901 New commenter

    Bless you. You sound in a dark place right now. There are lots of us thinking about you and you must understand you are not alone in this awful place.

    I don't know the legalities of your leaving dates but you could use the GP's fit note to have some thinking time about what you wish to do next.

    I read on the forums that some schools are much better than others and so, if you wish to continue teaching, then maybe it's time to apply elsewhere.

    I wish you all the best with your tricky decisions and send you a hug.
    Anonymity and TeacherX30 like this.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I am so sorry for you, so very sorry.

    You will probably know by now that you are not the only one like this . . . Not much consolation, except to make it clear that it is not your fault.

    You can ask, but it may not be possible. Here is one of Theo's letters

    Letter: asking to leave earlier than your contractual leaving date due to workplace stress

    However, you should bear in mind the potential financial loss if you do this at this stage.

    These "everyone" - are they teachers who can properly understand the stress and strain that you are under? If you are crying that much, you may not be in a fit state to return to school.

    If you have a fit note (new name for sick note), then you should use it. One question, though, at this time of year - have you been back to work on 1st April? This will trigger a new sick leave year.

    Sick leave and Sick pay

    I would hope that any new employer, whether in a school or not, would be sympathetic to this. However, I am going to give you my basic advice at this point.

    I believe that everyone in a situation like this needs to take some specific steps.

    1. Contact Union for advice and support. If you are reading this BEFORE you are in this situation, and haven't yet got round to joining a Union, then please read this:

    Join a Union. Yes, now!

    2. Keep records. The moment that you start to see - or suspect - that things are going haywire, start keeping a record. The best way is in a notebook with pages that you number, keeping a dated note of every event, drawing a line under each entry. A meeting, a chance encounter in a corridor with a comment, a request to do something unusual, receipt of an e-mail, a lesson observation and the outcome meeting. Write it all down in here. This is your contemporaneous record of events. Keep it at home, of course. Also keep all e-mails, and if there is a meeting of any kind formal, informal, planned, unplanned, send an e-mail to confirm what was said. Following this morning at breaktime when you saw me outside Form 8A's classroom, I'd just like to confirm that you told me that you expect me to . . . Ensure that your Union knows that this is available.

    3. See your GP if necessary If the stress has its toll on you and you are unwell, including panic attacks st the thought of going in to work, you should see your GP for support.

    4. If you are off sick, protect yourself Use any - or all - of my suggested letters if necessary

    Letter: asking school not to contact you when absent with workplace stress

    Letter: declining to set work, do marking, write reports etc. when off sick

    Letter: declining meeting called by Head when you are suffering from workplace stress

    Letter: asking to leave earlier than your contractual leaving date due to workplace stress

    Best wishes

  4. TeacherX30

    TeacherX30 New commenter

    Thank you maud1901 :) that means a lot. I'm just so unsure of what to do... my union adviced using the sick note to have time to think before handing in my notice.

    I would go back and grin and bear it and try to give it a shot if I knew I would be released early...after giving in my resignation next week.
  5. maud1901

    maud1901 New commenter

    It's odds on that your Easter break will have been spent worrying yourself sick as to what is going to happen next and how you will face the first day back - I'm always jittery anyway, let alone if there's something bothering me. You must look after yourself, take time to evaluate where to go next and the path you're going to follow. Nothing will be easy for you but keep posting - we all care about what happens to our fellow teachers.
  6. TeacherX30

    TeacherX30 New commenter

    Thank you Theogriff for your advice.
    The people around me are not teachers but do have my best interest at heart. I just don't think I can do it at the moment which I know is a huge disappointment to them.

    I haven't been back yet- the first day is Inset day so if I do go back I will at least have a day to prepare myself and hand in my resignation.
    I'm lucky that my partner has seen the pressure on me and we will get by on his salary for a bit once I am released from my contract.

    I will contact the Union today to ask for some more support.
    Thank you!
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    It is shocking students would threaten to harm you for issuing detentions and although the school has suspended them, I understand why you would be reluctant to face the class.

    Take all of the advice as above and that of your union.

    If you need someone else to talk to you can also contact The Teacher Support Network.

    You are in a good position to have a partner who understand the pressure you are under; it is sometimes difficult for those who have never taught to fully appreciate the stress teachers work under.

    All best wishes for a speedy recovery.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So you know one thing for sure. No more teaching. Yes? (Or did you just mean this particular school? That's a different kettle of fish.)

    1. Resignation letter asap.
    2. Expect to have to go on until last day of Summer term - sorry, but this is most likely outcome
    3. Manage that time
    4. If you are ill then you will be signed off
    5. If you get aggro from school - you'll get the union to support you

    Just break it down into smaller steps. You can do this. Four months from now and you will be out of it. Nothing to do with how good a teacher you are. Everything to do with the nature of the job. No shame. No embarrassment.

    It's not for you. Some other line of employment WILL be.
    Dragonlady30, TeacherX30 and pepper5 like this.
  9. Malaguena

    Malaguena New commenter

    I'm sorry you are feeling so bad but I would stick it out til the end of the year ( think of the 6 weeks paid holiday). Break it down, as others have said into small chunks - a day, a week, a half term - they soon pass ( and there are some nice short weeks coming up!) . If you really are going to leave, a lot of the stuff that is stressing you won't matter so much. Then please take the time to find a nice school. I feel a million times better than I did this time last year thanks to a change of school!
    TeacherX30 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  10. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    FWIW When in a very difficult (for me at least) school, I used to work out how much I earned per lesson/day/week taught (or 'survived'). Made the days go by more easily as I mentally 'banked' the money each day, I found...
    Dragonlady30 and TeacherX30 like this.
  11. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    It might not be possible to get early release but I bet you'd find that the very act of handing in your notice will take a weight off your shoulders and make the next few months easier to bear.

    Don't give up on teaching, find a school that deserves you. Good luck.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    You may find that once you've handed in your notice that the clouds disperse a bit. For starters, you will be no longer dreading the sack, because they can't. One problem I had was not running round the room during staff meetings shouting "ner ner ne ner ner, I don't have to do this any more" whenever they started telling us about new performance measures. (Sometimes they told me I didn't need to attend the meetings).
    Try to do the best job you can, you will probably want a reference from them.

    several other threads have ideas of people you can talk to about careers - you may even have access to the careers service at your old uni. I understand this facility would still be open to me, even at my advanced age.

    Talk to people and network - keep an eye on the jobs pages in the local papers. I signed up with some employment agencies, but none of them even delivered anything I'd apply for, let alone anything that delivered money.

    If you have any personal resources in your classroom, remove them sooner rather than later - especially if you continue to feel stressed or if the school management get nasty.
    Good luck
    Dragonlady30, wanet and TeacherX30 like this.
  13. TeacherX30

    TeacherX30 New commenter

    Thank you for all your kind and realistic words of wisdom. :) phlogiston and grumpydogwoman you have broken it down into a more manageable situation. I feel much more hopeful now and will count down the days although each lesson is worth £18 roughly. I'm going to go write my resignation letter and view this as an opportunity for a new career and challenge to come by hunting for an alternative career that doesn't take all my time. I might come back to teaching in the future as I do enjoy TEACHING just not all the added bits ( I'll wait till the government have got more realistic and there is less paperwork involved with pointless hoops to jump through)

    Thanks again :) x
    JRiley1 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    And teaching does veer wildly from light touch to micro-management and from this to that to the very opposite over the years. I had more than 30 years of it and you could see it was cyclical and the latest fad was the very initiative that had been dismissed as rubbish but a couple of years before!

    I hope your time will come @TeacherX30 For your sake, for common sense and for my grandchildren in this awful, stifling, miserable system.

    I love the fact you've broken it down to £18 per lesson.

    It was a great job. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone now though. Unless I thoroughly disliked them. ;)

    No. Joking. Not nice.

    Good on you. Get out and find something enjoyable.
  15. lkparkes

    lkparkes New commenter

    I have to agree with some of the other posts you need to get out! Not all schools are the same. Have you fallen out of love with teaching? I was in a pretty similar position to yourself about 2 years ago and really hated my job, school and everything that came with it. Now I'm in a new school and have found my love for the job again. Try to apply for other jobs! Please don't give up until you have seen other environments!
    TeacherX30 likes this.
  16. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I am delighted to hear that, @lkparkes - and long may it last.

    If you are going to be doing that, then come to JobSeekers (scroll down the forum lists) and ask for any help that you need. Here are just a few of my articles with advice on job seeking

    Get the TES Jobs App

    How to set up a Job Alert

    Get ready for the application season!

    Best wishes

    TeacherX30 likes this.
  17. missied

    missied New commenter

    Obviously everyone's situation is different but I've been similarly stressed and signed off during the last term. After returning I told the head my intention of resigning - the very act of doing that has made me feel SO much better. My letter has just been written - again a great feeling. I know I have a term to 'get through' but just knowing that it IS only a term has lifted a weight off my shoulder.
    I know that I don't want to give up on teaching and having worked in other schools know they aren't all the same as my current school. I hope you find this too....
    TeacherX30 and sabrinakat like this.
  18. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Will students who threatened to harm you be allowed back in school? Only asking as I've heard that people who are even rude to GP receptionists are banned from surgeries for life. Don't know if it's true or not, but these are sick people, stressed and desperately frustrated that they can't see a doctor to help them, perhaps acting out of character and only shouting-not threatening to harm (and no, I don't say it's ok to shout at receptionists-my mum was one-only that there's no comparison between a sick scared person shouting and what this OP says-I'm only going by what I hear in forums, I don't know the truth-I'm only saying what may be relevant to this OP about the students). Some of you on here might know and be able to advise her
  19. aab2

    aab2 New commenter

    Two years ago I felt the same as you feel now.Then I dediced to hand in my resignation and focus my efforts on what to do after September. Suddenly I was in control of things. I was still not sleeping well and working till late most nights but the end was in sight. I marked off the days left and gradually stopped bothering as I was too busy getting ready to leave. I dediced to supply teach and am now the person I want to be. As my children say to me" mum its nice to have you back".Sometimes in the midst of it all we can't see the wood for the trees. Take a couple of weeks off if you need to with the support of your GP and use the time to plan. Whatever you do next whether it be teaching or something else won't be as bad as how your feeling now. Don't worry about references or other people's thoughts.Do what's best for you. No job is worth your mental well being. Use your union and confide in a good friend for support. I hope that whatever you decide to do goes well for you and remember you are not alone.
  20. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Threats to harm a teacher should never be tolerated. Have you informed your union about which steps to take? I would be tempted to have a chat with the local constabulary, after all, if you intend to leave this school, then why not?

    I wouldn't rush into writing that letter of resignation until I had "used up" whatever period of sick leave l was entitled to. It will give you some paid breathing space while you consider your next actions.

    You sound most unwell, and your GP will recognise this. Your two week fit note will be renewed for as long as it takes for your health to improve. I do hope your doctor has written something like "Stress and anxiety in the workplace" on the note.

    We are reading far too many accounts like this from distressed posters. Will the last teacher standing please switch off the lights?

    Take care of yourself. xx
    TeacherX30 likes this.

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