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Burn out.

Discussion in 'Personal' started by soapboxgirl, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Don't know where to start really - I've been teaching for nearly 4 years now and I am feeling thoroughly burnt out, constantly tired, headaches, don't sleep at night etc. I'm not posting for sympathy, I just don't know how to deal with this. I'm taking 100mg of Prozac per day and although I don't really feel depressed as such, I am struggling with the pressure of work and the constant stress we've been put under for the last year. We've just undergone our 3rd inspection of the year and we're not even a school that is in special measures. My doctor is telling me that I should find anthother job (believe me, I've been looking for some time) or consider going part time. I feel that if something doesn't give soon, I'm going to end up on long term sick leave, but fear having that on my employment record. Any advice from anyone would be appreciated.
     
  2. Don't know where to start really - I've been teaching for nearly 4 years now and I am feeling thoroughly burnt out, constantly tired, headaches, don't sleep at night etc. I'm not posting for sympathy, I just don't know how to deal with this. I'm taking 100mg of Prozac per day and although I don't really feel depressed as such, I am struggling with the pressure of work and the constant stress we've been put under for the last year. We've just undergone our 3rd inspection of the year and we're not even a school that is in special measures. My doctor is telling me that I should find anthother job (believe me, I've been looking for some time) or consider going part time. I feel that if something doesn't give soon, I'm going to end up on long term sick leave, but fear having that on my employment record. Any advice from anyone would be appreciated.
     
  3. angiebabe

    angiebabe New commenter

    Prioritise. Don't try to do everything - nobody else is believe me. Do what YOU think the children need and some of what SLT want you to do to keep them 'happy/off your back'.
    This is my philopsophy. I still get stressed but not as bad as I used to be. Its easy to become overwhelmed and yes I don't sleep that great (dream about work quite a bit and wake up thinking about how I can do this, that and the other better) but it appears to be part and parcel of the job if you are dedicated to your pupils.
    Take care of yourself.
     
  4. Richie Millions

    Richie Millions New commenter

    To be harsh you have been given the best advice by your Doctor but you are deciding not to take it. If you need Prozac to get you through the day something is wrong. A breakdown is around the corner and will not help your long term future. Take stock of what is really important to you and make life changing decisions for your future happiness. Good luck x
     
  5. Having struggled through my NQT year and second year in teaching while taking antidepressants, I made a decision to stop teaching.I was barely coping, resented the amount of time it took away from my hobbies and barely kept up with the basics. So whilee it was a hard decision, it has definitely been the right one for me. I am off the ADs, feel calm and content much of the time and I'm doing the things I want to do with my time.
    I'm not sure even part time teaching would be right for me, and while I flanneled to people about taking time out, this is probably a permanent thing. I still work with kids, as a voluntary sports coach, and I get more out of that now I'm not stressed by my job
     
  6. It's not that I am deciding not to take it, I am trying to get through this. I made a life changing decision to come into teaching and I love it. I'm in my 40s and have a family, so financially, it's not such an easy decision to make. I would rather be able to tackle some of the problems I am facing at work. My Head is very approachable and understanding, however never acts on anything, so I feel there is little point in trying to talk to him any more. The pressures are coming from my line manager who seems to try and adopt anything and everything that each inspector, friend of friends etc, suggest to her, without discussing it the staff. So rather that deal with the problems we are facing, we're just being thrown more paperwork, assessment, planning, recording, analysis, tick sheets etc. I feel my problems are down to poor management at the top of the school. I have no problem teaching and have a great relationship with the kids. It's clear to me that SMT are just panicing and throwing anything and everything at us in the hope that they can cover their own backsides, and in the process we are being bullying and pressured in to adopting all this rubbish.
     
  7. angiebabe

    angiebabe New commenter

    You are working in my school[​IMG]
     
  8. You have my sympathies if you are working in similar circumstances.
     
  9. Soapboxgirl, I agree with the previous poster who suggested that you are rather ignoring your GP's advice. I completely understand your fears about your family but at the end of the day, where will they be if you are eventually extremely unwell? Have you spoken to anyone at your work regarding this? Perhaps there may be help there if you ask for it and some of the pressures could be reduced. If you don't ask or speak up, you don't get.
    If that is not forthcoming or not an option, consider counselling or speak to your GP about some time off. At the end of the day, your health is more important than soldiering on until you are in the ground.
    Take care.
     
  10. Oh and one more thing - it's admirable that you are 'trying to get through it' but who is that for? If that is not doing you any good as a strategy, and it sounds as if it is not going so well, you do have to stand back from that and say well what would I advise someone else to do in the same position.
     
  11. It's all for the kids. They come from some pretty horrible backgrounds, and want to give them the consistancy that they so need and deserve. It's not their fault that LA inspectors and SMT are driving me into the ground. I know they come to school for a bit of normality in their lives and when they are there, they are at least happy and have a sense of achievement. I do it for them, that's why I love being a teacher.
     
  12. Hey soapboxgirl - you feel you are near to burn-out? Ask yourself, what comes after burn-out?
    If you carry on soaking up pressure day after day you will break.
    You write that you fear breaking down because it would look bad on your employment record. Is that any excuse to make when your health IS at stake by the sounds of it? [​IMG]
    What options do you have?
    You could become a slacker at work and be known for not meeting deadlines or providing info required from you. Pressure off slightly, but loads of guilt and likely to be nagged by line managers. (Bad on employment record.)
    Really, that is the only option teachers have in some schools. It isn't fair and many teachers do feel ill because of the constant pressure.
    Please think about having a break - even if it's only a short period of sick leave. You may feel renewed if you take your foot off the pedal for a while. (It may help, it may not. Sadly, when teachers are off sick they often don't enjoy the release because they feel guilty that someone else is taking their classes.) It will give you some time to re-charge your batteries.
    If you take some time off you'll be able to think more clearly about whether you want to continue in such a pressured environment. Don't keep going until you DO break. Take your Doctor's advice. Think of yourself and your health, because without your health there isn't a lot you CAN do.
    Best wishes.
     
  13. Thanks Archy. Back at the docs in a couple of weeks so will discuss with her what I should do. I'm hoping things will calm down a bit now, well at least until we get the report from the LEA.
     
  14. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    You don't have to put the amount of absences on an application form anymore.
    Is there any one at work that you trust that you can talk to?
    Taking time off will give you some breathing space in the short term, but unless something is done about the actual situation you are in then you will just be back in the same situation when you return. Is there anything you can practically do to resolve some of the work issues?
     
  15. Doing it for the kids is admirable but what good will you really be doing any child if you end up in such a state that you can't work. You sound like you need a break to seriously assess your priorities. Work should not make you ill. If it does you have to make a change, however hard that might seem.
     
  16. That is admirable but what about your own kids?
    They need a healthy, happy Mum. And they only have one Mum.
    Your pupils have more than one teacher.

     
  17. Thanks, that puts things into perspective.
     
  18. Soapboxgirl
    Some good advice from previous posters.
    I just wanted to add, that you are by no means alone. If you read many of the posts on 'workplace dilemmas; pay & conditions; health; and many others, it is shocking to see how many of us get dragged down in this way.
    It makes me angry that the 'non-teaching' parts of teaching IMO have become a monstrous burden, sucking the life out of the 'genuine' parts of teaching (such as love of subject, fondness of the nice kids etc)
    I'm sorry I can't help much, as I finally decided to chuck it in. It is no longer the job I trained to do.
    But I wish you all the very best.
     
  19. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    It is much easier to prevent burn out than to cure it.

    A pattern of absences, anti-depressants and sick leaves is best avoided - some employers do still ask for number of days absent on their application forms - 6th form colleges for starters. If you're getting to the point where your current health is dictating how others will perceive your future employability it's very important that you go at a time of your own choosing, and on your own terms, and not as a consequence of some sort of severance procedure, formal or otherwise.

    It's a sad fact of life that some of us find ourselves in a career cul-de-sac, or facing a no-win situation and we have to make a difficult choice about whether to stay or to go. In my case it happened after 27 years, most of them in the same school, within walking distance of home. I was about as embedded in that place as I could get, and had a secure post, but at 50 I was losing sleep about proposed changes to my subject area, was routinely arguing with SLT, and could see the writing on the wall. I realised I'd be struggling to find any real motivation within the next school year and decided it was time to get out. I hadn't changed, I was in good health, was still sane, and was still getting good results, but my job description had been altered to a point where I simply wasn't happy working there any more.

    I left at a time of my choosing and still on my own two feet, before any serious bullying devices could be employed to winkle me out, although one or two had already been started, and I'd seen them used without pity on others.

    The consequence? I'm now working supply and I've worked in 15 different schools since February, after having worked in only two for my whole full-time career - talk about variety. There's a lot less income and financial security and considerable uncertainty about where I go next, but in a sense that's very liberating, and at least I'm free to consider and try out the alternatives.

    To quote my man Jarvis Cocker in 'Dishes' - "And aren't you happy just to be alive? Anything's possible".

    I'd say get your life back and be there for your family when they need you - it's only a job. There are plenty of others both in teaching and out of it.
     
  20. lurk_much

    lurk_much Occasional commenter

    Your line manager is your enemy.
    Make it clear you want to do less properly, not more badly. Ask your line manager what two things can be dropped from the list of things they want when they add something to your work load.

    Or take a contract out.
     

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