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Dear Sage, NQT off sick with depression

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by sagacious, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. The first thing you must do is make sure that you are looking after your health and mental wellbeing. If necessary, go back to your GP and get signed off or some more time. Occupational Health should be independent of your employer and work for you to enable you to come back to your job. I see far too many people given the 'resign' advice and for me it is not always the best advice - perhaps if more time and effort went into supporting NQTs we would have fewer leaving the profession and a better healkthier workforce. The 'resign' advice can, in my view, simply let employers off the hook and rather than deal with the problems (which may well be school problems rather than teacher problems) they get shot of the person and simply replace that person That will not always solve the problem.
    If you have not contacted your union, do. They should also work on your behalf to ensure that you are fairly treated. OH, your union, you and the school must work hard to have a return to work plan that takes into account and mnakes reasonable adjustments for your current health condition. |If that is done then there is a good chance that problems can be worked out.
    The Sage
  2. I have spoken to my union rep. His advice was that I should resign, because I am at risk of failing my NQT year. He seemed to think that was a better option than returning to work, and didn't seem able to give me much advice about that.
  3. Your union rep should be best placed to advise and clearly I don't know the full facts (please don't post anything else on here that mayidentify you. If you feel that the rep is not providing a fair assessment ypou can contact the union regional office. If you are to resign you must ensure that you get the union to help and negotiate your exit.
    The Sage
  4. You poor thing, this sounds like a very stressful time indeed.

    I hope you are feeling a little better and are figuring out a plan of action that best suits your current health needs.

  5. helen131

    helen131 New commenter

    I'm in a similar situation, though no where near as bad as yours. I am an NQT in Secondary Maths and have been at risk of failure since September, I was getting more and more depressed about it all (though nothing medical) and I hated my job. I finally decided I couldn't take any more and got early release 3 weeks, and signed up with an agency. I have just started my first job as a TA and I am so so happy. I struggled with behaviour management so I'm getting the chance to practise all of that with no responsibility, no planning or marking, and no work to do at home. I am learning so much by watching other teachers and I can spot the mistakes they are making and have the time to think about what I would do differently.

    I'm also 22 so I totally empathise with you, I felt too young, like I didn't have enough experience and just wasn't ready for it all. This was the best decision for me and I am back to my normal happy self, all my family have noticed a change in me and a friend said its the first time they have seen me laugh for months. I realise I am very biased but I honestly think that it is not worth ruining your health for, and if you don't think you can do it then get out. There are plenty of other options, and it won't have that much of an effect on your long term employment history- being a qualified teacher helped me get my current TA position!

  6. So it's been almost a month since I wrote this post, and I am now updating it.

    I took 2 weeks off work and returned... briefly. Within 4 days I broke down again and ended up leaving the classroom unable to cope. I ended up in the Headteacher's office, telling her I was seriously considering resigning. She told me to take time to consider if teaching was what I wanted to be doing. She also said that if I were to resign, she would remove the notice period, allowing me to resign with immediate effect.

    Ultimately I realised when I broke down the second time, that it simply wasn't feasible for me to remain in the school. I was miserable, I was failing my NQT, and students were missing out on an education as they were being shuffled from cover teacher to cover teacher.

    So, I quit.

    I have started working as a self-employed tutor of maths and science. Fortunately, I started at a busy time of the year, and am completely swamped with requests. So much so that today I started getting upset and anxious about the amount of tuition I had to do and prepare. But being self employed means I can step back, take stock, and if I don't feel I can take a new client on, I don't have to. And I won't fail anything for choosing to take things at my own pace.

    I do want to teach, and I am looking at jobs in schools. But now the only jobs I apply for are in schools that are right for me. The inner city comprehensive didn't work out, but a nice little private girls school might. It is possible that teaching in a conventional school may not be right for me. But I want to give it another go, I will never find out until I try again.


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