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Constant worry.....

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Wandawitch_82, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. Wandawitch_82

    Wandawitch_82 New commenter


    Just wondered if anyone else gets themselves feeling the way I do right now.....

    Some may have seen my other post but to cut a long story short I'm in a horrible place where there's lots of targeted workplace bullying happening from SMT and as of lunch time Friday I am in the cross hairs of my SMT.

    Basically since that incident I can't seem to shake the feeling that something major and catastrophic is going to happen. I keep worrying that I'm going to get pulled in and basically torn to shreds over one book or that they are going to try and find more to have a go at me over or lastly my worst (hopefully irrational) fear at the moment is that they are going to receive a complaint from a parent that basically could end my career..... Does anyone else ever get wracked by these fears when even the simplest thing goes wrong??

    I should add I don't feel I have done anything wrong to have a complaint from a parent apart from being rather stressed on Friday and being a bit 'short' with my class due to the amounts of pressure we are all under to get everything in books at a required standard.

    Words of wisdom welcome :)
  2. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Get out of there. Run for the hills, run, and don't look back.

    If you're in the cross hairs, speaking from painful personal experience, it's only a matter of time. Protect your health, go.
  3. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Having to go into school and teach on Good Friday can't be good!

    On a serious note, it is not healthy when management rule by motivating staff by fear rather than pleasure in a job well done. Particularly if you cannot switch off during a holiday (it happens, I once had a breakdown over New Years!)

    No job is worth that level of anxiety and I would recommend you find another school, but I can't promise you won't just end up in another fire the way some schools are at present! Try and find out which are the genuinely good ones in the area and be selective where you apply.
    xandrahuk and phlogiston like this.
  4. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    I think that this is the reason that I left. You always thought that SLT were waiting for you to make your next mistake.

    Things would be OK for a bit and then you'd forget to do something (maybe your marking got behind because you were too busy marking the extra exams or doing data entries) and they'd pounce on you for doing something that you didn't have time.

    One member of staff still at my last school said to me recently, 'you're only as good as your last **** up'
    JRiley1 and phlogiston like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Hi Wanda,
    Hope you've got a Spring /Easter break coming up. Try to relax. Sadly the climate of fear infects many schools, and now rather than "don't worry about it" the response is the knowledge that minor errors are being noted - whiile most of the good things you do aren't.
    With a bit of luck it will all blow over. Kids need a bit of criticism from time to time.
  6. MisterW

    MisterW New commenter

    Sounds like you need to maintain a sense of perspective here. One complaint from a parent does not end a career. Most teachers will receive some sort of complaint within any reasonably lengthed career. Don't worry yourself too much.
    wanet likes this.
  7. johnberyl

    johnberyl Occasional commenter

    Tell the HT they're making you feel stressed and refer them to your union. If they persist, record it as an incident in the Health and Safety & Accident Record Book.
    Sinnamon and sabrinakat like this.
  8. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    In an ideal world I'd agree with you... what you said is perfectly reasonable...

    Unfortunately I think that might not be the best idea. I tried that route, raise my concerns with the HT and hope for the best. Thing is I ended up targeted by SLT with constant hoops being placed in my way to perform before being threatened with Capability.

    Going to the HT can be a double-edged sword.
  9. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Tell me about it!

    Never got to the Capability stage but suddenly found you are losing your teaching room, getting all the low sets and getting threatened with misconduct was perhaps and indication that I should look elsewhere.

    Sinnamon and ilovesooty like this.
  10. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

  11. Sinnamon

    Sinnamon Established commenter

    I too never got to the Capability stages, but I suspected it was on the way. I left my school, and left teaching, during the last academic year.

    I believe you can have a sixth sense for knowing the mud's about to hit the fan. If you sense all is not well, start planning your fallback plan, because you're right, if they've targeted you, they'll 'find something' and push you out with it. It could be book not marked up to scratch, an innocent comment made by a parent or child, twisted to serve their purpose, etc.

    Find a way out as soon as you can. Make your exit as dignified as you can, as memories are long in the teaching world.

    My own story began about 5 years ago when my HT viciously put me down in front of colleagues over some outrageous half-truths during a planning meeting. It came as a bolt out of the blue. These so-called concerns related to events which had occurred several months before this meeting had taken place. Nothing had ever been mentioned to me beforehand. Prior to the meeting, for many years, I thought I had a good relationship with the HT. How naïve. This was the start of a behaviour pattern. The beginning of the end. Looking back I realise this attack was contrived and perfectly executed. It struck at my heart, as was intended.

    Anyway, the shocked colleagues who were present at the meeting later went to the staff room to discuss the horror they'd witnessed. Others of course overheard, and no doubt requested details. Before I knew it, other teaching staff were analysing and critiquing my past and present professionalism. Sad thing was, many of those who developed doubts about my abilities had previously held me in such high regard. Once I'd lost the staff room, there was only one way this situation was going.

    Then came the head's nasty, ranty, goady emails. Still to this day, I feel apprehensive about opening new emails.

    Weirdly, my line manager (an SLT member), in my CPD meeting 2 or 3 weeks after the head's initial outburst, had nothing but praise for my work, for all the free time I willingly gave the school despite having a young family, marvelling at how I 'did it all'. In fact, ALL my subsequent annual CPDs continued to be highly positive experiences. Year after year. Lesson observations were always Good or better. The head's 'serious' concerns were never mentioned in a CPD capacity. Despite my line manager's positivity, my confidence was fast eroding.

    I took all the sensible steps of seeking advice from my union, seeing my GP, etc. I couldn't follow my union's advice as I just didn't have the nerve to write a letter to the HT, or to take out a grievance. I had no confidence or fight left. One evening, after a particularly nasty encounter with the HT I visited my GP, shaking. He's treated me for years, and couldn't believe the state I was in. He gave excellent advice, ie update my union in full, save all vicious emails from HT, and maintain a contemporaneous diary of events. I couldn't do any of these things as they meant reliving painful events, but you might be stronger than I was. When I couldn't follow good advice I started disrespecting myself for my lack of strength and character.

    After several terms of standing up for myself to the HT, I ran out of fight. I realised I had to leave or just be crushed. And I would've certainly been crushed.

    With my self-esteem in the gutter, I left the school during the last academic year and used some savings to set myself up as self employed, working from home.

    Now, although still haunted by what happened, I am much happier. I'm less exhausted, I've shaken off my anxiety, I absolutely LOVE my work - so much so I look forward to every working day, I have more time for my family and extended family, I moan less to my partner (I hope!!)... I could go on and on.

    It truly saddens me to read the stories of others on here who have been treated unfairly or who are exhausted with the many demands of the job.

    I hope you find something to help you with your own situation. In fact, I'm sure you will.
    petenewton likes this.
  12. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Some very similar situations that I found myself in.

    You felt you were being watched monitored all of the time. The slightest transgression whether it be an error on a report, a book not marked properly, a slightly messy room would be jumped on an commented on. This went on for two or three years until I decided I'd had enough.

    Emailed my head of department complaining about ever increasing workload and the stress it was causing and basically refusing to give up any more time. The result a threat of misconduct.

    I posted this before but:


    Mind you I think the HT did me a favour. Back to work tomorrow and perfectly relaxed and looking forward to the working week of being treated like a grown up rather than a child.
    Sinnamon likes this.
  13. Sinnamon

    Sinnamon Established commenter

    Compassman, I ditto that, about the HT ultimately doing me a big favour. It's an exciting world outside of teaching, and I'd never have got to see it without the awful experience I had to survive first.

    I have no regrets about leaving teaching, I just wish I hadn't had to go through the mill first. Having said that, I have occasional pangs of missing classroom practice. And I don't think I'll ever fully regain myself respect.

    Hey ho, such is life!
    Compassman likes this.
  14. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    To @Sinnamon - you will. You sound like a positive person, do not let a horrible one blot the rest of your life.
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  15. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Yet another terrible story. I'd say stand up to them if you can, but it's not my place as I don't know you or you situation fully. Talk to someone who does.
  16. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    They are out to get you = to make themselves look good.
    No other reason.
    Compassman likes this.
  17. Wandawitch_82

    Wandawitch_82 New commenter

    It's almost two weeks since I started this post.....
    I've had a hell of an Easter holiday (personally) which has given me time to 'forget' a little however last weekend I started to panic.... Literal nightmares about school began the beginning of this week, this was followed by a reluctance to do anything work related :-(

    I'm not one to give up I'm really not but I am finding it increasingly difficult to get motivated to do anything work related and so am not ready at all to go back! I am totally dreading what might happen when I do an do am still convinced I will be the 'new target'. Question is..... What do I do now :-( I'm sat here with a. Literal frown on my face :-( and everytime I pass any school not just my own I feel sick! This is not the way a I should be feeling!!!

    Sorry for the ramble, I've no one to talk to here :-(
  18. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    @Wandawitch_82 it's awful you feel this way. Your latest post I can certainly relate to :( I've been dreading going back into school pretty much all this week, not much fun when you're meant to be on a break. Like you the dread and worry has made me so unmotivated, I've not done enough work so now I'm even more worried! What a vicious cycle! I've decided that I'm going to have to do what I can over the weekend & that'll have to do, we're not robots, we work so hard during term time that we do need a bit of a break!

    On what to do, well I'm leaving. I don't know if you feel like you can, financially or whatever, but your working environment is making you feel so low. Do you think it's ever going to get better? Do you think you'll ever feel excited about going into work or these feelings of worry will go? If the answer is no then you need to leave, your health will suffer. Also if you're not happy in end that will affect your personal life and how you teach. I've thought about these questions over the break and I answered no to all. I concluded that I'm not happy & that it's affecting my teaching. We want to teach well but if you're in a climate like this you feel like you can't, nothing is good enough. So you feel low & don't want to do the work, so then you end up not being as prepared & doing just satisfactory lessons etc, which then makes you feel worse, then they continue to say you're RI, need to work on a million things, so then you feel more low....This is also a vicious cycle. It's taken me this break to realise this fully & know the only way for me is out. It doesn't get rid of the work I need to do now, it doesn't take away my worry for Monday & the term, but it does give me a glimmer of hope!

    Sorry didn't mean for such a long reply, just wanted to say that you're not alone in how you feel (& neither am I which has made me feel bit better!) Seriously think about moving on. For me, I'm looking for work outside of teaching, I need a break from it. As others have said there is a world outside & something good might just be round the corner. I'd just be happy to not feel so anxious!
  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Basically, this thread is about two possible reactions: Fight or Flee. :(

    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

    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  20. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    I think that 'planning' has become part of the problem. For years, teachers have been told that 'planning' is the only way to be a good teacher and if your 'planning' isn't up to scratch (coloured, highlighted and in depth question script) then neither is the teaching. So much so that many people feel unprepared and unsteady without that crutch and open to flaying criticism. Go in with what you've decided to do even if it isn't all singing and bells ringing - if you feel you have to go in.

    To be honest I'd try and see a doctor today.

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