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Feeling sad and unworthy...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by laticsbird, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    I really don't know what to do for the best. For ages now, I've tried to put on a brave front with everybody. I think I'm feeling a bit low at the moment because I'm having mad thoughts about giving up teaching and leaving the profession altogether. I just feel so worthless as a teacher. I'm sick of the constant demands that are made of us - monitoring every little thing; observations, drop-ins, book-checks, planner-checks - and still they want more. I feel as though I'm the only one though, out of the department, that always seems to not quite be hitting the mark; always something that I should have done but haven't - even though I spend hours and hours planning and preparing, marking and checking. It's never enough or I've done it wrong. Now it's been decided that because a bunch of kids aren't hitting their FFTs - largely because of their approach, attitude and effort in class - that they will be removed and taken to work with another teacher to intervene. I feel like a complete failure now and this was compounded when I announced the decision to the class -that half of them are being sent to work with the other teacher to help them bring their grades up - and one of the kids said aloud, 'Well at least we'll have a proper teacher now.' This absolutely floored me as I've spent so much time and effort with this student in particular in order to help him improve: revision sessions, after school meetings, phone calls home - he has had more of my time than most but he just nods and says 'yes' but when back in class, reverts to type.
    I know I shouldn't let this one comment get me down but it has. I really feel that it would be in the kids' best interests if I leave as soon as is possible. I'm gutted and I don't know which way to turn. Has anyone got any advice? Should I stay? Should I leave? I'm just so down, exhausted, constantly crying and I don't know what to do anymore.
    Please excuse my long post but I really needed to get this off my chest and pride and embarrassment won't let me admit my failures to close family and friends. Sorry everyone.
     
  2. Hi, I am sorry to hear you are feeling like this.
    First of all I can completely sympathise with where you are coming from, I am in the same situation - feeling the pressure, getting home crying, feeling exhausted and having ill health when teaching. Can I ask how long you have been teaching?
    Have you thought about whether it is the staff or the school in particular that is making you feel this way? Or are you going through a difficult time in your home life at all?
    If it is the former, do you think it would be worth looking into a new school maybe (going on the basis that you have enjoyed teaching up to this particular point), or perhaps taking a career break at the very least.
    Hope this gives you something to think about. And I wouldn't hold back on telling your family, the amount of times I have arrived home and ended up crying straight away is unbelievable but without their support I think I would feel more pressured. I think they would want to see you happy, in a job that you enjoy, that is more important than anything otherwise you will make yourself miserable.
    Luckily with Christmas round the corner, you will have chance to spend time with family and friends, get you head together and hopefully things will click. (This is what I'm hoping for anyway!).
     
  3. Hi laticsbird,
    Thought I should post to let you know that you are definitely not alone. I'm not sure of the advice I can give because I am in just the same boat (I have also posted in this forum - "Rock bottom").
    I too share your feelings of sadness, unworthiness, failure, exhaustion, tearfulness :( and that my classes would be better off without me. I am actively seeking another job - ideally as a teaching assistant but whether I will be successful or not is another matter.
    The thought of returning to my present post in January is filling me with dread. All I do know is that I can't keep feeling the way I have been... life is too short.
    Sorry that I've not been more helpful but I just wanted to say that I understand what you are going through. Wishing you a lovely Christmas xx ColdHandsWarmHeart xx
     
  4. Unfortunately there are many people in teaching who can only validate themselves and their positions by behaving in a sadistic manner to anyone new/inferior in the pecking order.

    Go and smash some bottles at the recycling bank, and imagine that they are people's heads....

    And consider whether you are suffering form stress or depression.
     
  5. This reminded me of a really great member of staff at an undergraduate placement I attended who advised on bad days for me to go and buy a bag of jelly babies, eat them head first, imagining they are the little (or big) so and so I had encountered!

    At the time that this lady was giving me this advice, I must admit, I was really rather shocked and very wet behind the ears! But the more experienced I get the more I think this member of staff was somewhat of a legend! Makes me smile everytime I see a bag of jelly babies!!!

    (Here's to a stocking full of the fruity little fiends on Sunday morning!) xx
     
  6. Dear laticsbird and ColdHandsWarmHeart
    Sorry you're both feeling rotten. I heartily endorse oldgreywolf's advice: take the first part of the holiday for some serious "me-time" : eat healthily, take some exercise, treat yourself kindly. (Wasn't it Terry Wogan who said school holidays aren't holidays, they're convalescence for teachers?) Do the exercise about the pros and cons of teaching.
    THEN AND ONLY THEN, think about next term. (Even if you decided to jack in the job, there's next term to live through.) Here's what works for me:
    • Make a list of everything you'd like to have done in the way of prep before the term starts. If you're anything like me, your list will be more than three people could accomplish in six weeks!
    • So the next step is to prioritise. Give yourself six tasks <u>and only six</u> that you're definitely going to complete by first day back. Make sure each task is clear and has an end-point (like "Mark Y7 books", rather than "Prepare Of Mice and Men work".) Stick this list somewhere prominent and tick tasks off as you go. Lovely feeling of accomplishment ensues!
    • Make yourself a timetable for the last week of the hols. Do not spend more than three hours a day on school stuff. Really! And every day, <u>give yourself something nice</u>.
    • Got any cash left after Christmas? Buy yourself something to go back to work with - new outfit or schoolbag if you're flush; new pencil case or perfume if you're not! It has to be something you'd like, not necessarily something you need!
    • On the second-to-last day of the hols, get your clothes ready for the first week.
    • On the last day of the hols, do something pleasant just for you! No school yuck at all!
    • On the first day of term, sail into school with new kit and "bring it on" attitude!
    You will notice that there are lots of injunctions here about being nice to yourself. Why? Because you're worth it! You've run yourself into the ground for the little dears and worked like stink for a whole term; you've agonised ( a lot more than they have, I expect) over their progress; you've created resources and managed classes; you've dealt with management. Unworthy? I think not.
    You're a professionally qualified teacher. Remember that. Don't ever forget it. So you're not Miss/Mr Perfect Pedagogue? None of us is. You're not the best teacher you can be? Nobody is. But you care about being a good teacher, and that's what makes the difference between you and a rotten teacher. You'll continue to improve - they won't. When you are being "counselled" by senior staff, lob the ball back into their court: "Oh, thank you for pointing that out. Yes, Year 8 are a bit of a problem. What would you do? Could you show me?" Then they have to put up or shut up. Thank them for advice (even if what you really want to do is punch them on the nose), and smile at them. If you don't understand what they want, say so. With a wide-eyed, eager to learn look. Those who genuinely want to help, will. Those who don't, will be wrong-footed. And log everything.
    Crikey, I think I'll get off my soap-box. Have a really great, restful Christmas. I hope you're feeling better soon.

     
  7. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Hello again everyone...I'm absolutely overwhelmed by all your kind comments and advice. Thank you so very much for this. We've now broken up from school and although I've brought work/marking/planning home to do at some point, for the next few days I'm putting my foot down and sorting my own family out first.
    I'm still very weary and tired and still so unsure of myself as a teacher. My confidence, I think, will be at rock bottom for ages yet. However, I'm determined to put all of these thoughts aside and think nice happy Christmassy thoughts and to just enjoy the holiday and the rest.
    At some point I'll have to decide what it is I want to do but until then, as Sue Whatserface put it, 'let the *** wait'![​IMG]
    Can I just say again what an enormous help you have all been and I wish you the very best that Christmas and the New Year has to offer...
    ...goes to open the Bailey's...
    Cheers everyone!!!
    xxx
     
  8. Thick skin is indeed the word. Teachers by their very nature care, and good ones care especially too much. I think I was lucky in that I did almost 5 years in the Gaming Industry before turning to teaching. Believe me, I'd been called everything in the world by nearly everyone in the world... cigarettes extinguished on my hands as I pushed out chips, you name it. Dealing with teenagers is a doddle in comparison.
    You can only do as much as you are able to; if you are spending more than 10hrs a week planning/marking at home you are doing far too much. This will eat into your personal/leisure/social time and this in turn causes even more problems!!!
    Remember, no one teacher can be everything to everyone. Let me ask you this... do you feel you earned the grades you got at GCSE's? Or was it your teachers that earned them for you?
    Exactly. Now relax and enjoy the rest of your holiday.
     
  9. Hi lacticsbird, just wondered as to what you decided to do in the end? Hope your situation is a lot better now :)
     
  10. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Hi Blind_Faith
    Thanks for asking how I am...
    I had a really good and restful Christmas by the way. I feel much better however, but I still have doubts about my teaching ability. I'm just taking each day as it comes at the moment. I am looking at getting out of Education altogether though - just worried about the bills and so on....[​IMG]

    Thanks again..[​IMG]
     

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