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Anxiety depression and capability

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Simonmil, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    Hi all, a little bit of guidance please.

    My story goes that 3 years ago my career was flying. Moved to my current school from a HOD position to SLT but as I write, I'm now seeking advice as a mainscale teacher, in an Arts subject, facing capability procedures.

    I was diagnosed with depression in my first year, through the difficult birth of my second son and work life balance. As a acting HOD as well as SLT the pressure got too much, I lost the plot a bit, upset my staff which resulted in terrible results last year. I decided to step down to mainscale last September, on a support plan (or I was facing a HOD support plan). Ive sort help through occupational health and external counselling but I'm now in a situation where every day is one helluva battle.

    Last week in came to a head. Around January, in a pretty dark place I was stupid enough to rant on social media. This has got back to my new HOD and deputy head who has threatened me with capability measures. After a very frank and open meeting last week, I broke down with my issues of workplace stress. I'm in a position now where I'm applying for other posts but I've been told that I should probably go on supply and not apply for these. I'm tempted to hand in my notice for September regardless (possibly supply if I can't get a move) but the overriding emotion is to get signed off. My attendance record is hit and miss, Ive had an informal chat with HR but that's it, no official warning yet.

    Has anyone else had similar? How have you coped? What should I be doing at the moment to cover myself?
  2. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    I am really sorry to hear that you had such a dreadful time after the birth of your child. It sounds like it was the perfect (or imperfect) storm of early motherhood, too much to do at work and to little time to do it. I would suggest speaking to Teacher Support Nework - at least I think that's what they are called now. I would also go and take your GP's advice, as you may need some head space to think clearly. I certainly would contact your union at regional level. Please don't make any decisions or resign until you have taken advice and support from some outside agencies. Oh, and also remember and appreciate those two beautiful children you have been blessed with. They are TOP priority. Do some lovely things with them today, and try to forget work for a few hours.:) x
    sabrinakat and Anonymity like this.
  3. bigbev

    bigbev New commenter

    My heart goes out to you and as i am sure you know many of us on here do understand. By what you say (and if you were a friend of mine asking for my opinion) I would see your GP as soon as possible to discuss how you are currently feeling and be prepared to take some time out of work for yourself/time to think etc.
    I would also speak to your union and see what help they can give. Many on here have been lucky with getting excellent support for their union - I had shockingly bad support.
    Another suggestion is to dig out any OH reports you may have had in the previous few years to see what they suggested. During that time did school help with resonable adjustments to support you in school? My last school ignored OH suggestions and had to be reminded of that during final negotiations! Have you asked to be re reffered currently - I would ask to be.
    If you have an abscence of longer than 4 weeks the 'Fit for Work Scheme' can be accessed if you are in England and Wales (http://fitforwork.org/) and there is an equivalent in Scotland i think (there is a link of the English/Welsh site for Scotland)
    Take care of you and your family first - stay strong
    phlogiston and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You should certainly get signed off. You're in no fit state to work. You're very honest about your predicament and the fact that you didn't treat your own staff very well and that's admirable but it's probably for your own good that you step back.

    You must also contact the union.

    I have to be honest here. Your career trajectory and the latest social media fiasco is all very likely to have scotched your chances of much of a career. Your school doesn't want to have to be put in the position of declining to give you a reference. Remember that schools, rather than give a bad reference, may decline to give a reference at all. It is their right to do so. I think this is what they are driving at. You won't get a reference. Some supply agencies apparently accept this.

    Forget work! Look after your health. Get yourself sorted. I do think you may have to accept that you have such a lot going on (in your head, at home, whatever) that holding down a standard teaching job in 2017 (with all the attendant nonsense and inevitable stress for all concerned) may be too much.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You can't be threatened with capability for a social media rant. That would come under a disciplinary investigation, which would be from the head not the DH and HOD. So ignore that part of their nastiness.

    Who advised you not to apply for posts? They haven't a clue what they are talking about. People leave schools where things have gone wrong and find great success in a new post. You won't know until you try. Your head will be your referee and if the HOD wants you out they'll be sensible enough to keep shhh about the social media blip.

    If you have been on a support plan since September, your union are presumably involved already. What do they say about the situation? It's a very long time to have been on a support plan, so things should be moving one way or another pretty soon.

    Try to make a plan/list of possibilities and get started on taking back control. It's understandable that things all went wrong, but now you need to start to put them right again. It won't happen overnight, but you'll get there again.
    Simonmil and phlogiston like this.
  6. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Good advice above - no point in repeating it.
    At the moment it probably feels as if the sky has fallen on your head and your career is in ruins for the rest of your life.
    Well. I guess the sky probably has fallen, but it is not a permanent end to your career.
    Firstly, get your head back in shape, especially for your two children. This may well involve your GP. Once you are thinking more calmly, think about what you really want to do, what you have to do to support your family, and whether your outbursts were down to your state of mind or whether the stresses and strains of mainstream teaching are not for you. (They're not for me any more either!).
  7. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    You lot, thank you soooo much. This has really helped me today.
    Just to clarify, it was the Deputy Head who told me that my career as a teacher maybe over. But in a contradictory sense, they have also given me a good reference a few month ago for a job I didn't get. The formal side of the support plan is done but monitoring is still happening. One key trigger was before half term when I was absent looking after my sick boy, and a book scrutiny was undertaken on me. To put my perspective across, 2 year groups I was judged as good, 2 not so and I've been pillared for them.

    I think you're all right though, time away and a rethink. Whether it means the end of my teaching career or not fills me with dread...
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    No reason why anything you've written here should mean the end of your career, unless you want to do something else. It's your choice completely.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Have some time off courtesy of the GP.

    Go back when you feel somewhat better and resolve to steer a steady course.

    Teaching these days appears to be hideously stressful for vast numbers of staff so you need to learn to manage your workload. Look at Action Short of Strike Action (if your union still supports this) and see if you can adopt any of those measures.

    You have a lot on your plate. A lot. Let your managers do what they think they must do. Cooperate if you think it fair. Challenge what you think might be UNfair. Keep a low profile and just get on as best you can. A job is a means to an end. It's a pay-packet. Do what you need to do but remember that your health is paramount and that motherhood is bloody hard.
    Simonmil likes this.
  10. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    Thank you, sound advice.
    Freaky_Friday likes this.
  11. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Yet many used to choose teaching BECAUSE it was a caring profession which fitted around being a mum. I still meet many people in their 20s/30s who tell me they are thinking of going into teaching 'now I'm a mum/dad, so I can finish by 4 everyday and get those long holidays...'
  12. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    So here's another curve ball, been offered 3 months pay as redundancy, as an initial offer but I think they may want for after Easter hols. Would you take?
    In my mind, ill find out if I have been successful for other posts by May half term, redundancy package would tide us over the 6 weeks hols, I sign up to an agency and do supply until a new post/job opportunity comes along?
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Redundancy? Presumably you are going to be replaced? What about your reference?
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Please see my response on your other thread.
    Simonmil likes this.
  15. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    Got a decent reference from my previous employer and I would at least try and negotiate a reference from this one. I applied for a job a few weeks back and got a decent reference for that.
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    If the OP were to be replaced by somebody in the same role, it would not be redundancy. However, calling it that looks better than getting the same money via a Settlement Agreement. If nothing else, one can truthfully answer 'no' to the question 'Have you ever had a settlement agreement?'. This is assumig that you would not do better via an unfair dismissal claim of some kind.

    So, I would still get union advice, and ask them to be involved in negotiating an agreed reference if they do think you are being offered reasonable terms.

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