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Anyone else lost all their confidence?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Joobs06, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Hi all
    Just entering my 5th year and I just feel like I'm an awful teacher and that everyone is talking about me behind my back. I didn't have the best start as my first head was a complete bully and sucked any self confidence out of me. even thinking about it makes me shrink and feel completely awful. However las year I moved to a new and lovely school who are supportive and just so friendly. But I can't get over this total lack of confidence. I still think people are talking about me behind closed doors. It doesn't help that I have lots of adults in my class this year and keep thinking that they're judging me. My HOY wants to do an observation for performance management - which is totally normal! But being me I think it's because someone has said something and she's checking up on me. It also doesn't help that I'm always classed as 'satisfactory' with elements of good. I don't know what I'm supposed to do to get past this but I seem to put everything they say into place (although last observation I didn't really get anything apart from try and use more ICT). But all I can see is that I haven't improved since my NQT year. I'm at a point now where I have no idea what you need to do to get past 'satisfactory'. Actually I'm getting to a point where all this stress is making me not like the job anymore. I don't know what to do - my children get really good results every year and no one says I'm a poor teacher.

    Sorry for the rant.
    Joobs
     
  2. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    It's fine. You are doing fine, everyone will be getting observations, stop worrying. The main thing is that, whether you are 'good' or 'satisfactory', your pay cheque won't change.
     
  3. Firstly, remember that everyone has been there, most people more than once.
    It sounds like the thing you really need to get your self confidence back so forget about lesson grades and concentrate on getting back your joy of teaching. What was it that inspired you to go into the job? what gives you the buzz? Have a day where you just teach how you want to teach. If it still isn't happening spend some time doing something you are really good at out of school or spend some quality time with friends.
    It does get easier although everyone still has days when they think they can't do the job.
     
  4. The teaching climate and way of being judged and reported in is not satisfactory. If we turned the tables and were able to comment on those 'above', there'd be a few surprises.
    The best advice I ever received from a colleague who seemed to be perpetually observed but carried on stoicly was the 'says it all' expression...

    ...."Whatever...."
    In other words, you have to develop a bit of a tough skin - but know that it can be perfectly OK to be simply 'OK'.
    Another teacher said to her headteacher recently, 'Why do you constantly push me by saying I could potentially be outstanding? I don't want to be outstanding. I want to be consistently good enough. I want a work-life balance and to do a solid day's work for a day's pay.
    And how absolutely awful that Ofsted, and others, think they can crank up standards along the lines of what is 'good' one year is only 'satisfactory' the next - and that type of thing.
    It's about time 'ordinariness' was more appreciated.
    The people above have failed to do time-management studies as they pile more and more onto teachers' shoulders. They have failed to make teachers feel inspired and good about themselves.
    They bring in initiatives and then change them constantly - then suddenly they're not the in-thing and something else comes along.
    You should be able to go to your headteacher and simply explain that you're having a bit of crisis of confidence which is making you unsettled.
    Whilst the headteacher is supporting you (or otherwise), be a fly on the wall and enjoy thinking about the scenario intellectually along the lines of what you would do and say if the positions were reversed!!!
    Chin up.
     
  5. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    It is not a rant. Clearly you are under stress and (whether he/she is aware of it or not), your HT has a legal obligation to pay regard to your state of mental and emotional health and work/life balance.
    As an external observer, I clearly cannot be aware of the specifics of your situation, but it would seem to me that you would benefit from some support as soon as possible.
    Posting on this web site is a symptom of how you are feeling at the current time and, if I were your HT, I would advise you to take tomorrow off and have a three-day weekend on the understanding that you consulted your GP.
    Stress is insidious - it creeps up on you and its effects are not just cumulative but exponential. You may feel able to cope with things tomorrow, but at the end of next week it may be worse.
    May I suggest that you seek a suitable means of sharing and diluting your stress and anxiety right now, before it gets worse. Try ringing the Teacher Support Network which offers information, support, and coaching to all teachers:
    England - 08000 562 561
    Wales - 08000 855 088
    Scotland - 0800 564 2270
    Also, make sure that your GP is aware of your feelings. he/she may suggest medication and if so, take it! You will not be the first teacher (or HT, for that matter), who has needed to rely on medication for stress and anxiety to counter a lack of self-belief.








    On a separate note - bugger me - I actually agree with something posted by Debbiehep!!!!
     
  6. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Looks like Deb's house has been burgled and her laptop got nicked......
     
  7. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Don't be cynical and caustic, Lardy. That's my job.
     
  8. You must be a wonderful HT. (Are you a HT?) If I was a HT I'd say the same, but I'm never going to be, as I "just" want to be a classroom teacher, lol! On a serious note, I had a year like the one you're describing OP, was borderline for depression medication but as it wasn't too far off the end of term the doc suggested i see if the summer hols made me feel any better. Loads of stuff has happened since then and I have moved on somewhat but still doubt myself, stew over stuff at night instead of teaching, think people are talking about me, and feel like I'm not as good as the rest of my colleagues- think everyone feels it at some point so you're certainly not alone. Fix it though before you go off teaching forever- I nearly did and it's been (is being?!) a long, slow recovery. Take care.
     
  9. God- that should have said "instead of sleeping", not "teaching"!! Must be bedtime......
     
  10. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Yes, I am, and I do have a concern for the health and wellbeing of the teachers and other staff in the school.
    But it should not be forgotten that, on the practical side, it is only sensible practice for a HT to address a small problem (e.g. staffing, finance, etc.) before it grows into a big one. A day off given now may well negate the need for a week, month or year off due to ill health in the future.
     
  11. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    *SNORT*
     
  12. I feel exactly like the opening poster except I have spent the day on the edge of tears and really unsure whether to carry on...I have been teaching the same amount of time and have had observations ranging from Good to Outstanding... don't mean that to be a look at me statement.... but i still feel rubbish and struggling with all the extra nonsense and nothing feeling good enough!
    My results and progress the childrnen make are above average but I still feel after every traing or iniative I have to reinvent the wheel and that I am doing it all wrong.
    Totally fed up but Nomad... you really have inspired me, on what has been a really stressful day to realise that there are people in schools who just get it! And your words have made me feel a bit better.
    Think there are more people out there who feel like this than make it known.
     
  13. Joobs
    What you've written is exactly how I feel. I'm going into my fourth year of teaching and I have completely lost my way. I was observed many times last year and was satisfactory on all but two occasions when I rather miraculously achieved 'good'. But I couldn't tell you what made the good different from the satisfactory. I have been put under immense pressure to be consistently good so that we can 'push on' every child. I teach a mixed year 3/4 class and I'm told I need to move every single child two sub-levels every year. Overall attainment is generally at or above national expecations but it's now all about the progress. I get that we need to help children achieve their potential but it's a tough target and I feel doomed to fail - Year 3 is a tricky year nationally but there are no excuses; 2 sub levels is the target regardless. So, satisfactory is not acceptable. A satisfactory observation means they come back in 2 weeks to see if you're good. The pressure is horrible and it's destroyed my confidence, so much so that I really don't know what I'm supposed to be doing anymore. My last observation was inadequate - a deserved inadequate, I'll admit - but I was so anxious I couldn't think straight. Is being tired all the time, tearful and depressed a good enough reason for your GP to sign you off work? Part of me feels lots of people are like this and they just soldier on so I should too. I feel awful even considering this option because it seems such a cop out but I don't think I'm in the right frame of mind to take on board any support or help that would be offered by my school. I don't know if I want to stay in teaching. I don't know what else I could do. I used to enjoy my job and felt I was effective but now...
     
  14. I think it's really common that teachers are made to feel that they are not doing well enough. The teaching climate has been insidious for a long time.
    I'm always banging on about the need for a form of 'upwards evaluation' to be built into our professional practice.
    Not only are teachers made to feel bad, there is no mechanism through which they can report their 'feedback' on all manner of things - how they are treated within the school, within the 'system', as a consequence of inspections.
    There is no right to reply in the Ofsted public reporting system - and we all know how the reports are clinical, often inappropriate, less than transparent.
    Everything is geared to teachers becoming demoralised and frustrated because they are not able to express themselves in a professional way - other than something becomes a union-level complaint perhaps - but often that is not a satisfactory process and implies a conflict.
    Before complaint or conflict level, people should have a channel through which they can report anything for which they professionally recognise a need.
    I definitely think it can make all the difference to take a step back and have some time off for a respite. I'm not too convinced that 'medication' should be the blanket response - this may, or may not, be helpful or appropriate.
    Above all else, what is important about this thread is that so many people are empathetic with that feeling of lack of confidence and self-doubt. I hope that this offers a little comfort that you are really and truly 'not alone' in this feeling.
    If you are not feeling happy, you really need to do something to reach out with people you know (more than just this forum) and don't be the least bit self-conscience about it. You'll find that most teachers (and other people) have been there - or are feeling pretty much the same way.
     
  15. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Yes Pretty Petal they are good enough reasons for your GP to sign you off. I had a horrendous year last year and I can honestly say that I would not have lasted another week at the end of last term. I actually gave myself a few days at home in the hols to see if I felt any better and to go to drs for possible medication if not. I am lucky in that all the SMT and head have suffered a breakdown or depression in the past so are very sympathetic and actively push staff to see the docs if need be, sooner rather than later. I am ok now, though I am still rather sensitive and it doesnt take much for me to have a black day and dwell on things. I know now that if I feel like that again with no long summer hol to look forward to, I will have to be straight down to the docs. Have you thought that your inadequate obs may be a symptom not a cause? I think you need to take time off as this is always a tough term in the slog to Christmas. You may end up with more serious and deep seated depression if not.
     
  16. I think the length of time teaching is key here. I too felt the same at around 5/6 years after being an NQT. I had a great NQT year, lots of support, lots of positive feedback about how 'good' I was. Looking back, this probably wasn't strictly true as I was new to the job - so how could I be? I was keen and fresh.
    Several years down the line, our head announced he was doing his observations, then promptly handed out a helpful sheet detailing the (apparent) differences between good and outstanding from Ofsted. That was it, the pressure was on. I'd always been satisfactory or good - should I now be outstanding? Was good not good enough? Needless to say I spent hours preparing a lesson (totally unrepresentative of normal working practice) and still got a 'good'. I was gutted. Madness.
    Take a step back. You have to be good ENOUGH. Satisfactory. OK. At times, you WILL be outstanding (they won't be the times when anyone is one to observe probably). Why did you enter teaching? Like kids? Enjoy the variety? A people person? You've not lost any of that, but you've been sidetracked by all the b****sh*t. Don't let it get to you. Take some time off, re-evaluate, then go back into the job you know you love.
    You can be a teacher and have a work life balance - but you need to be confident and firm in your choices.
    Good luck!
     
  17. breadmaker

    breadmaker New commenter

    Don't know if it's the length of time or just what actually happens to you once you are a teacher? I have been doing it for 20 years and nearly walked at dinner-time.
    I have an awful class- only y1 I know, but there are 4 really defiant children in there who literally smirk and laugh in your face, then make loud noises and refuse to co-operate when you won't let them have their own way. I also have an ASD child who has a provision plan but no support.
    I too am going to work in tears each morning and whilst verbal support from other staff (I'm new to the school) is currently very strong and sympathetic, I am finding that the systems for support are lacking to say the least- or is it just me? This is how it gets to you- you lose all sense of reason and think it must be you who is to blame and then you are on a downward spiral with each day getting worse.
    Nomad- how sensible you sound. I wouldn't rule out the doctor's on Monday morning. My health must come first and how can I teach children when my own state feels very unstable?
     
  18. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I would suggest that any teacher experiencing stress, anxiety or are in an emotional state with regard to work read the following publication. I would particularly suggest that anyone in a position to do something, such as a line manager, deputy head or HT read this:
    "Common mental health problems: Supporting school staff by taking positive action"[/b]
    The publication contains advice, strategies and solutions for governing bodies, employers, line managers, teachers and school staff.
    http://www.lge.gov.uk/lge/aio/428696
    To my mind, one of the most valuable publications ever produced by the DfES, but sadly, one of the least known and used.

     
  19. I wonder also about the type of person that the job attracts. By that I mean, if you want money, status, kudos then presumably you would head for a job in the city. If you want a job less fiscally rewarding but where you help and nurture people, then teaching (nursing etc etc) will be where you find yourself. But by your own nature, this can mean being left feeling totally stranded and helpless when competing demands on your time mean you can't complete your job as you want/expect/need to. Stereotypical I know but you get what I mean?
     
  20. Can'T believe I agree with something Nomad said,.Actually..............
     

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