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Finding it really tough

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by thesunalsorises, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. thesunalsorises

    thesunalsorises New commenter

    As a bit if background: I'm a secondary NQT who was rated outstanding at the end of my PGCE. I had a difficult first placement with a bullying mentor but then really enjoyed and thrived in my second one. I started this year prepared for it to be tough, but feeling excited and positive. The first half term was stressful but enjoyable and the environment at the school is supportive and positive. However I was observed towards the end of the half term and it didn't go well: I tried some creative activities that didn't work, recognised this and spoke to my mentor about what went wrong and how to improve. Now, since coming back after half term my mentor has scheduled extra observations with a member of SLT and extra meetings to check my lesson planning. I am also struggling with classroom management as there is a lack of any real behaviour policy.
    I don't think I am being treated unfairly and I appreciate the school is trying to provide extra support. However for the past week i have felt extremely stressed and anxious (I have suffered with anxiety before) and cried and felt sick on the way to work and really struggled to stay motivated. I am up to date with planning for next week and I'm not particularly behind on anything important but I feel very overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do (I am usually at school around 7.30am until 6pm and have to work a day on the weekend too) and the expectations the school have of me, and from reading about other teachers' experiences, I can't see that this is a sustainable career for me. This evening I feel like I would rather do literally anything than go into work tomorrow. I tried to take most of the weekend off but I still feel tearful, sick and I have lost my appetite. But I also feel silly for feeling this way as I know many teachers who work more than me and I know the school are trying to help me.
    I don't have a specific question but I suppose I'm seeking general advice or to talk to people in the same boat. I want to at least finish the year but I'm not sure if i can if I continue to feel like this.
    MehreenQ likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I am sure many, many people feel exactly the same. You need to try to relax a bit perhaps and not worry too far into the future. Break up the big goal of finishing this year into smaller goals: get to Christmas unscathed. You then have a nice long break. Go back in January and it is only 12 weeks until Easter with a break in between. Once you are there, the goal is within sight and you can finish the race.

    If you are up to date with your work then that is positive. Take the extra support and learn from their suggestions and also get some good books to help you.

    There are some useful tips on the Pivotal Education web site for behaviour management. Are you struggling badly, or just a bit? You are just learning so don't be too hard on yourself. Ask about the policy. They must have something to say what the procedures are for sanctions and praise. If you read some of the threads over on the behaviour forum, you might get some ideas on what to do or use.

    Once you stop feeling so anxious by taking one day at a time, you may feel you are able to cope. Don't worry about anything but just what you need to do each day/week.

    If you need any more help in connection with behaviour management, post over on the behaviour forum as there is a behaviour advisor who will answer any specific questions or give suggestions.
    thatmaninthehat and Moony like this.
  3. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    The teachers support network is a good source of general advice and counselling
    Please do consult your doctor to seek help with anxiety
    MehreenQ, pepper5 and Moony like this.
  4. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    The thing with support it needs to be the right sort for you and effectively done. Many teachers have experienced 'support' that has not been suited to their needs and has been over bearing. As one great assistant/deputy head (they've since retired) on a training day there can be a fine line between support and bullying.

    I do hope that yours is the effective type , just raising this as it's something to be aware of. I agree with talking to your GP and the education support partnership (it's the new name for the teacher support network). Also find/make the time to have an evening to yourself in the week. When I was finishing off my induction I was also learning BSL in an evening class at the college. It was really good fun as well as a nice handy skill to have in teaching. You can do what you want but make time to do something for you.
  5. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    The job is making you ill both physically and mentally. Do not look at colleagues who work more hours than you with some misguided admiration - they are damaging themselves, their partners and loved ones more than you are. Instead look to those colleagues who get the work done but have a life outside of teaching - find out how they manage it and do the same.
    Hijo and pepper5 like this.
  6. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Maybe they are looking at you and thinking they need to keep up with your working hours and creative classroom approaches.
    My first bit of advice is to stop caring about this. By all means jump through hoops for observed lessons but for everything else, ask yourself if what you are doing will actually improve outcomes for your pupils. Don't be afraid of boring lessons now and again and don't reinvent the wheel. Ask other people for plans, resources and activities.
    Lastly, this is one of the steepest learning curves you have as a teacher. It gets better by Christmas and much better by next session.
    johannalawler, sabrinakat and Moony like this.
  7. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    I really don't see that extra lesson observations by SLT and extra meetings about planning are providing 'support'.After just one bad lesson which didn't go well?The op recognised where it went wrong and discussed it with her mentor.It should have left at that for the time being instead of piling on more stress.Have these people no common sense?Does the SLT person even teach regularly by the way?This sort of stuff infuriates me and I agree with Moony,there can be a very fine line between 'support' and bullying.
    Alice K and Moony like this.
  8. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Yes, but I think many members of SLT are out of their depth when it comes to people management and even perhaps when it comes to teaching. In a desperate attempt to be seen to be copetent and decisive they implement stupid unhelpful practices which serve no purpose but to allow them to tick a box and say they did their job. If they really knew what they were doing, proper support would be provided and most struggling teachers could be put back on the right track instead of being driven to stress, sickness and worse.

    Almost every failing teacher is a failure of management somewhere.
  9. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    Senior Leadership members in schools who lack people management skills and never teach.You gotta laugh don't you?Still,if they're getting good Ofsted ratings they must be good eh?and the kids must be doing really well? I really am feeling very angry today!:mad:
    Alice K and pepper5 like this.
  10. thesunalsorises

    thesunalsorises New commenter

    I had another very stressful week for various reasons and today I was signed off with stress for 3 weeks by my doctor. I have never been in a situation like this before and I feel upset and disappointed that it's got to this. I have forwarded on the sick note to the school and wondering what happens next is making me very anxious. I'm not sure how often I should be in touch/hear from the school or what the steps will be at the end of the three weeks.
  11. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Before the three weeks is up, you will see your doctor again and decide if you need more time off. There should be no contact with the school beyond letting them know at that point if you intend to return to work or have been signed off again. You do not have to set work or speak to anyone about your classes.

    It's entirely possible that with a few weeks of rest you will feel entirely different and able to carry on. The key thing right now is not to second guess yourself. Take the time to rest. Get outside, exercise, sleep well, eat nice food with lots of leafy greens.
  12. thesunalsorises

    thesunalsorises New commenter

    I wanted to send you a private message but I'm not sure how?!
  13. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Click on the contributors name and then start a conversation

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