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Crisis of confidence - Why do I feel so low?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by JR1001, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. JR1001

    JR1001 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I'm new to posting here and would love a bit of advice. I'm having a crisis of confidence and have been getting more and more down over the last few months. I'm doubting myself on a daily basis and now i'm starting to think that maybe teaching just isn't for me. I'm in my third year of teaching primary and I love the children and the day to day teaching but just feel like i'm struggling. I feel completely unsupported at school and on the occasions I have asked for guidance from the head I've walked out of her office feeling even more confused as I've come away with no real solution just more questions. I sit down at the end of the day and just feel like curling up in a ball under my desk. I feel like i'm just managing to keep my head above water, I go home most nights and just cry and cry when I think about coming in again the next day. Feel completely down in life generally and feel like school is a huge black cloud hanging over me. I've never felt so unhappy in my life and i'm only in my 20's! Feel completely lost and don't know what to do! :(
  2. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Have you seen a doctor?
  3. JR1001

    JR1001 New commenter

    Yes, I was given anti depressants last year but hasn't changed anything for the better or worse.
  4. snoopycat

    snoopycat New commenter

    I feel for you.
    I was in your position once.
    Please visit your GP and get signed off sick.
    This is your body fighting back - telling you this may not be your future!
    You are young.....this profession could seriously damage your health.
    Take some time out, consider your future. If you have a breakdown, the consequences may last for years. Do yourself a favour. Get out of teaching.
    Anonymity and notsonorthernlass like this.
  5. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Then perhaps you need to consider either another school or a different career. Have you talked to anyone else about this? Is it the school, teaching or is there another underlying reason?
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I do think that you are feeling so bad because of an underlying health reason, so do go and see your GP as soon as possible to get help and, if you are unfit for school at present, some time off to recover a little.

    I wonder who you may have at school who could support you? Is there a parallel class teacher? A KS Co-ordinator? Somebody to whom you could explain that you are a bit confused and need some clear answers to questions, a bit of guidance to help you on your way.

    That might work better than going in to see the Head who may not always understand the issues from your point of view.

    But do go and see your GP and get some help there first of all. You can ring in sick tomorrow morning on self-certification, without seeing the DR, if you feel too unwell to go in to teach.

    Best wishes

    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If you enjoy being with the kids then it'll be a work/life balance issue. Paperwork. Admin. Results. Progress. Under the cosh.

    You're working your butt off and still not satisfying the powers-that-be.

    In the old days you'd be really finding your feet in your third year. I don't know how you youngsters do it. The demands on you are immense.

    Go to Primary forum and ask some specific questions on the top 3 things that are getting to you. Work on those and, if you don't feel you are getting on top of things, it may or may not turn out that you are one of many recently-trained teachers who needs more in life than being a workaholic drone.
  8. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Just wanted to sympathise with you.
    The advice given seems sound to me.
    You need to see your GP and get yourself right.
    Be kind to yourself and recognise that your health must be your first priority.
    Landofla and notsonorthernlass like this.
  9. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    OP - You don't say whether you have a partner or live alone. At least with a partner you have someone to offload to, if alone (and I have been there) it must be so much worse!

    Physically and mentally, people can only give so much. Maybe you are at that point where there is nothing left in the tank.

    However, do consider that this time of year (post Christmas, broke, still cold and dark) is often a relative low point for most of the general population let alone in teaching. Is your mood something that may improve with lighter nights and Spring sunshine (and the prospect of Easter holidays and six weeks off in Summer?)

    Also, antidepressants do vary, some work better than others. You say you were 'given them last year.' Does that mean you are still taking them or have you given up on them. They do take time to work (at least 3 weeks) and one should not go cold turkey on them.

    Ultimately and frankly, if you properly want all of your evenings and weekends back and to leave work at the workplace, you need to get out of teaching as I don't know anyone who manages to do the job AND not take any work home or work long hours at school (usually both.) If you enjoy teaching, you may need to limit your workload and say NO and accept that perfection does not exist (difficult I know when Heads expect outstanding lessons continually!)
    wanet, JRiley1 and notsonorthernlass like this.
  10. Effiepie

    Effiepie New commenter

    I'm sorry to hear you are feeling this way.
    You don't say that it is the school that is making you feel low, or the job. They are not one and the same thing. You said the head gave you time, but you left feeling more confused. You haven't suggested that, since then, Senior staff have been additionally demanding, or in any way seeking you out, as can happen.
    I completely agree with Theo and strongly recommend you seek support from your year leader/ parallel teacher/ KS leader. When confidence takes a wobble, it very easy to isolate yourself and allow things which, when thinking clearly, are perfectly manageable seem totally out of proportion. Talk about how you are feeling. Don't let it build up.
    And don't let negative talk influence your thinking.
    You say you've been feeling this way for sometime, months, in fact. It sounds like your school hasn't noticed. Either they are unobservant, or it has not been apparent, because I am certain if they felt you were not coping and letting things slide they would have had conversations with you by now.

    All this makes me think you need to get talking.
    A) to the GP - maybe request a change in ADs
    B) your colleagues - a shared grumble can help to remind you you are not alone (but avoid excessive negativity)
    C) senior staff - if you don't know the stress you are feeling yet continue to outwardly cope they cannot offer help. (And some SLTs are genuinely supportive and will do what they can to help you get straight again.)
    D) family & friends- they are in your life and love you. Ask for a shoulder to cry on, an ear to bend, a pair of hands to do the ironing, whatever!

    If you think it is the school and unreasonable demands being placed upon you that is bringing you down, than I concur with other posters about looking for a position elsewhere.
    Best of luck!
  11. Fran32008

    Fran32008 New commenter

    Hello JR1001!

    I'm also new to posting in here but after feeling extremely down the past couple of months my SO suggested that I went on a forum as he thought I mustn't be alone. You've described my exact feelings on teaching at the moment. I'm also in my third year of teaching and continuously doubt my teaching abilities daily in addition to continuous "learning walks" by the head teacher! I've gone home in tears everyday this week.

    My SO has gone through a similar situation to this despite not being in the teaching profession. However, he found that a move of workplace really helped, as he was able to be supported, had a better manager and his work was valued more etc. Perhaps you should think about moving schools as it sounds that the environment that you're working in is your problem rather than the profession as you seem to enjoy teaching itself.

    I agree with others, you should definitely go to your GP and see if you can get time off.
  12. lilyflynn

    lilyflynn New commenter

    I would also say get signed off sick, but be prepared for you not to be supported at your school in doing so. If you're already feeling unsupported by the environment you're in, I would say focus on doing what you can do get better.

    Don't expect that anti-depressants will make you or everything better. I would say that they help - in that they remove the feeling so you can get on with normal life, much as a paracetamol might remove th pain of a cold but not the fatigue of having to sort it out.

    I've been through the mill with mental issues and teaching: teaching gives you a huge rush, it's an emotional job, you can become dependant on it for your happiness. Don't let this happen:

    AS well as antidepressants - no matter how fantastic they are, you'll need other things to restore the behaviours that have changed since youve been feeling like this.
    1. Routine - Eating, sleeping, washing, all the basics. Be strict, be vigilant. Use the tools available to you. Sleep cycle is a great one on your phone. Don't ever think you can't do these things, you can.

    2. Socialising (forms a part of your routine.) Spend time around people who make you feel good. Don't let your job feel like you don't have time. Avoid alchohol consumption situations. I know you're tired - having a conversation will give you energy again.

    3. Excersise. Again, include it in your routine. Winter is the hardest time for creating this: I recommend Yoga with Adrienne on youtube - not just for girls, and lots of different options.

    4. Nourishment. Keep. Eating. I'm not anorexic, but I have huge anxieties bout eating right. I can't function when I'm hungry - I'm almost phobic of being hungry. We work in a culture where everyone is too busy to eat. Make the time. Eat. Food. Good. Food. Multicoloured organiscally bright and vibrant food. If it helps you out, monday is my cooking day (in my routi
  13. lilyflynn

    lilyflynn New commenter

    I'm going to briefly nod to the fact that since I've been signed off sick, I've had issues with trust with my management.... every corner I turn I find doubt. Don't get yourself into more trouble if the people above you are rubbish.
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter



    Yes, I am. Very sad indeed.

    At the beginning of the school year I wrote about:

    The overwhelming despair of teachers faced with the stresses of the workload

    I am so sorry for everyone whose dream of teaching, of being in a school where they worked with their colleagues for the benefit of pupils, has turned to dust.

    Teaching has been, and still is, my life. I am sad that others will not have the fulfilment that I have had from teaching.

    Best wishes

    joannagb, seaviews and Yoda- like this.
  15. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Lots of love from a retired teacher coming your way.
    wanet likes this.
  16. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Don't we all have periods like that ?. I had a bit of a "wobble" just recently but am getting over it again.
  17. joannagb

    joannagb Occasional commenter

    Good advice Fran, I hope you're taking it yourself as well! Sounds like you need it :)

    OP, I think you should go back to your GP, explain how you feel, it may be that you need some time off, or a change of anti-depressants - it can take time to find the right one for you, or you may need to alter your dose. Whichever it is, you don't sound like you should be at school at the moment. Take care x
    wanet likes this.
  18. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    It is tough but sadly you will have to learn the game that is played by many in teaching. For example, I worked recently with a teacher who blatantly faked results and gave parents the feeling she was the best teacher ever. As cracks started to appear (they always do) she jumped ship and got a management job elsewhere on the back of the fake data.

    I have met many who do this, either by choice or due to pressure to keep their jobs.

    To be fair, not all teachers or managers are like this but in the UK there are huge pressures to be so.

    If you are working for such people - and only you know if your school is this way - then you have 2 choices only. One is to ride it out, sooner or later a parent will ask why their kid is a grade A student but cannot read or write and it all implodes. Or you get out pronto for unless you start to fake the data, what you do will never, ever be 'good' enough, even if you are being honourable.

    In essence why teaching in the UK is sick to its core.
  19. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Did the end of year QCA tests. I was pleased. Good results across the board!
    Handed them in to the Head.
    Not enough progress - could effect your pay progress.
    Moved all pupils up 1 fine point (only took 20 mins).
    Handed them back.
    Still not enough progress.
    Moved all pupils up another fine point - with FSM and SEN moved up 2 fine points.
    Handed them back in.
    Success! Everyone is happy (except the teacher who is teaching them next year).
    Honesty is always the best policy. I should have done it right first time - silly me.
    What about SATS tests? Please don't ask.
    yodaami2, wanet, Landofla and 2 others like this.
  20. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Then they get to Secondary school....the targets are set based on this info......the secondary teachers have their pay progression linked to these 'targets'. They fail to attained the targets they get disillusioned and they leave.

    The whole process is rotten to the core.

    Oh and how the hell can predictions be made of what a pupil is going to get at GCSE when:
    1. The TA assessment from the primary is not accurate
    2. They are taking a new exam (non coursework)
    3. The content for that exam has changed.

    The unions should be challenging this at every level.

    Last year I taught two classes who all had targets of 'C' or above. It was obviously to me that about 30% f those students were not going to get that grade. Of course, I was encouraged to do extensive intervention with these pupils, which I did. However, as a professional teacher of 30 years standing I still knew they wouldn't get it. Come August and those 30% did indeed get Ds and Es. More or less the same pupils failed their other science subjects.

    Of course the SLT told me and the other staff that we needed 'support'. Had three teachers experienced suddenly become rubbish or was it that the targets were wrong based on inaccurate data from the day they entered the school.

    Sadly, my former colleagues are now being subjected to all sorts of pressure to performs to what the so called targets say.
    janemk, yodaami2, wanet and 1 other person like this.

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