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Anxiety, Depression and Exhaustion.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Alexalex93, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. Alexalex94

    Alexalex94 New commenter


    I am currently in my NQT year and finding maintaining a work-life balance extremely hard due to anxiety.

    During my undergraduate degree in 2013, I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety. While the depression is under control, the anxiety likes to continue to make my life living hell. I have some extremely difficult classes and work in an extremely difficult school. I am finding that students are responding to their head of year and not me, and they continue to disrupt lessons, the school behaviour policy in ineffective on these students. I cannot teach many of the classes due to disruption from students.

    I am constantly worrying about my classes both at school and at home. Due to constantly worrying I am exhausted (e.g. This evening I got home at 6:30pm, fell asleep until 9pm after sitting down). Because I am exhausted, my depression is rearing it's head. Due to being stressed, I am breaking down at school while trying to complete work (e.g. planning, marking etc), which is making me more stressed.

    My NQT tutor is fully aware of these problems and has done more than enough to help, so has my HoD. However I am made to feel ineffective from members of SLT who claim that behaviour problems lie with me, making me more worried about my classes. My doctor wants to sign me off on sick with stress but I do not want to let my colleagues and students down, which again, is making me anxious and stressed!
    nqtnxiety likes this.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    What is this help you have received from your tutor? Practical suggestions? The chance to observe how other teachers manage? Or just empty words of comfort. "You're fine. You'll be ok." That's nice but it doesn't help.

    Sounds like a trip to the GP is in order. Sign yourself off. Self-certificate until you can get an appointment. Falling asleep at 18:30 isn't right. School can bog off. You're not fit to teach. Are you going to wait until you meltdown completely or act now. You have a legal responsibility to look after your own health and welfare. Do it.

    As for SLT. Easy for them to say.

    Longer term? Teaching is hard enough. When you have GAD it must be a nightmare. And sometimes people who want to teach just aren't great at it. They are probably great at something else.

    I don't know if that's you or if you have the makings of a good teacher. No clue. But the SLT response isn't helpful. They need to invite you into THEIR classes. Or put you on a course. Lots of things. Now they might have done all that and be at the stage when they think you're not cut out for that school. People reading this simply can't know. Only you know how much help you've had and if any of it has worked.

    Short term. Take a short break. To the end of the week maybe.
    Long term. Well, you have to get control of these classes. But it could be the proverbial Hell High. Maybe just get through this and move schools?
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Here, a long post for an unhappy person.
    Sit down, get a cup of tea, put your feet up, and then take a moment to look carefully at the above statement.

    This is the linchpin. This is where it all falls down. This is what is hurting you. I can't comment on your planning or your lessons or your colleagues, or the sort of classroom you have. But I know fine well from experience that even if these variables were crumbly and rubbish, it would still not hurt me as much as kids that disrupt. Decades into the profession now and let me assure you, all the usual nasties are water off this duck's back. Except poor behaviour.

    It makes my blood boil that SLT state the onus is on you; it brings tears to my eyes. This sort of leadership are salt in a wound, rather than a nice sort of leadership who are a sticking plaster. You are so unlucky in this. They blame you and that is wrong. Even worse, they blame you when you are vulnerable, a newb, and that is even more wrong. And yet worse still, you require their approbation at precisely this time in your career. And that is shocking, because you wont get it if you follow through their self-inflated watery nothing of a behaviour policy. And it's not your fault.

    If I have stayed up all night, ignored my family and spent my last reserves of energy planning a lesson which is not even my qualified subject area, and then battled rubbish traffic to get in on time to do printing, and then had to cover three miles back and forth trying to sort out reprographic glitches, and then found there is a room change and then been called to see a parent, then I can STILL do a great lesson. But not if the kids do not behave. Over thirty years a teacher and this can still be a body blow to me. It eats me up. And it continues to eat me up after leaving the work place. It eats my sleep.

    So I strategise. Be sage if/when you go back. Preempt these classes where they do not behave. Stand there in silence and dish out worksheets. Stuff the planning. Stuff the circulating. Sit down even. And watch. Watch an hour of a "me me me" fuelled chimps tea party and your work sheets rendered to wonky cark-handed paper planes landing at your feet. Just watch. At some point a hand will go up-"how do I do this please?". Go over and help. Ignore the pond life. Simply put-If they will not engage with your lesson, do not engage with them. If they engage with the work, nurture them. It's just one small strategy that may help you, but which your HoD is never actually allowed to recommend to you. So allow me. For sanity, that's all.

    I cannot comment on your next step, if you want to finish the year you embarked on. But I wanted you to know it is not your fault, your management are pants, and there are ways of surviving the sheer hell of child-disruption whilst still doing good. Because it is not your anxiety or your depression which is going to hurt you as much as kids that don't behave and a management who say it is your fault. This is not unusual, yet one of the most toxic aspects of teaching I know of. It's the ultimate con and they are trying to sell you it as the ultimate truth.

    It's not you.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
    Rachelmbx, henrypm0, pepper5 and 9 others like this.
  4. nqtnxiety

    nqtnxiety New commenter

    @Alexalex93 We are in exactly the same boat. The post above is just <3.
    There were some useful comments given to me by lovely posters on here that might provide you with some tips - either way it's a strange comfort to know you aren't alone in these feelings. I can no longer go to the pub quiz without falling asleep into a pile of coats! Sad that, when you're in your 20s.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    You know....if you like teaching and have the resources, you could get out of that dump now and be tutoring appreciative kids by the summer. If you’re in a union, all the rep. Then have a pint, wine, coffee or other beverage of choice. Then see your GP, ask him or her to do that ‘how low and anxious are you?’ survey, and see if you need to be signed off. You don’t sound well. Nobody else at that place is going to help you. I came to this epiphany moment whilst collapsed in a school toilet with a heart bpm of 240. The first aid area was across the corridor, but getting there felt like swimming six oceans. This isn’t Howe it can end up. This is the horrible reality of working in some schools today. No, not all. But a lot, including, it seem, your one. You need to react back to get things out of the rut. Don’t let those clueless cretins destroy your health. If you have these existing conditions and no adjustments are being made, the school sucks and you’re best off going for a summer term exit. It’s disgraceful, the way teachers are treated today.
    pepper5 and phlogiston like this.
  6. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    pepper5, drek and Mrsmumbles like this.
  7. 8sycamore

    8sycamore Occasional commenter

    Yoda, this is such an honest reply. It is exactly right. Disclaimer - I am very down at the moment, however I feel I can't go on with teaching. It's bloody thankless. I cannot imagine doing this into my 60s, not that you see many older teachers anymore! If I knew what I know now, I would have got out of the "profession" years ago.
    geordiepetal and pepper5 like this.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    sbkrobson's post says it all really. Thanks for posting that sbrobson.

    So, what you could do is come up with a strategy to get through the end of the year at that school if you think you are going to pass. As sbrobson suggests reduce the planning considerably - only do the very minimum and get your resources off of here or similar ( even if you have to pay a small amount of money to get them), reduce the marking to the minimum, and do not exert yourself to exhaustion wile you are in the classroom. However, most of all, stop WORRYING about your classes as do you think anyone is worrying about you? In any classroom if a teacher falls down at the whiteboard, the SLT will just scoop them up and there will be a replacement the next day.

    The other thing you could do is to find a way to leave this school and complete your NQT year somewhere else, but you would have to calculate deadlines and rules for switching etc.

    It has taken me EIGHT long years to come to the conclusion of sbrobson. I work as a supply teacher and have observed hours of the behaviour that sb writes about. Please believe everyone that it is not your fault that the disruption is happening and it is your fault you cannot change it. Yes, there are schools where the behaviour is good and the SLT manage their schools well, but there are many that are not well managed.

    So, if you are reading this today, decide today to go home early, have a bath, a nap, then a good meal.

    Do go to your GP and call your union so that you can also get the help you need.

    In the meantime, however, please get some rest and relax.
    geordiepetal likes this.
  9. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    We've all been there - the class that won't shut up and listen. Trying to do something at the front is just asking for disruption so get them writing something. Worksheets, even copying from the board. Actually, many students judge a lesson by what they've written down. Lots of writing = good lesson and they feel they've achieved something even though they've learned little. In my much younger days I used wordsearches of key topic words with my disruptive sets and offered a quid as a reward for the first to get it done. In making the searches I, purely by chance, included naughty words. Some of the students would spend more time trying to find naughty words rather than the proper ones.
    geordiepetal and sbkrobson like this.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I've always been given the disruptive groups.
    They are my forte. My classroom bread and butter. I don't mind. The chimps amuse me.
    But the idea of monetary reward for completed work jars with me-that would be one lesson times five per day, over £100 per month. That's twice my own gin money!
    My reward, something much more precious-an actual smile.
    I don't just give them away.

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