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Help?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by MissHoward, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I've been reading these forums for ages and have plucked up the courage today to write after seeing some of the posts on here.
    I've been teaching for 7 years now, and have in the last year become a member of SMT in a large city primary school. I loved my first school where I started as an NQT, although it was by no means perfect- lots of challenging behaviour and heavy workload as HOD-but decided it was time for a change- hence move 2 years ago. I'm really grateful for the opportunities I've been given at this new school, but have had creeping feelings of unease since I started and wanted to ask if it is just me...
    Firstly, please understand I am a hard worker. I love teaching, and have always been happy (well, you know!) to put in a long day at school and do bits on the weekend. However, since beginning my role at my new school, as teacher and then as SMT member, I feel as if all I do is work. Pressure from the head is intense and as I'm party to SMT discussion I know there is no sympathy whatsoever because we have 'to get things done.' I understand this and am as keen as anyone to increase progress and make our school better, but feel ways and means are not most helpful- for example, we have constant 'surprise' deadlines for major assessment data/work scrutiny/HOD/leadership projects which are unannounced until a week- or sometimes less- before they are required. This would not be so bad but regularly several of these surprise deadlines fall all at once. I have meetings every night of the week bar one, which is filled with a club which I am told I have to run. Drop-in observations from head focus on display borders etc which is quite soul destroying at the moment, as to top things off I have a very challenging class, who have been given to me apparently because 'I can cope' despite misgivings from many staff members about the combination of these children. Challenging behaviour from these children has included physical and verbal violence towards me and the other children. Anyway.. although its been horrendous, up to now I have coped to a point, albeit riddled with anxiety. Wierdly, I feel less mentally anxious now, just incredibly down and- sorry to sound pathetic- convinced I'm absolutely useless. I'm not claiming I am the most fantastic teacher in the world, but at one point think I was pretty good. Now, I just feel rubbish. I feel like I'm being judged, all the time, by the head and by parents who are rightly appalled by violence, etc. Things have worried me recently because although I just feel mentally flat, I've started experiencing physical symptoms- feeling sick, shaking, shortness of breath, dizziness, waking up in the early hours, and looking permanently pale and awful. I've read every time management book out there, tried relaxing baths, meditation, early nights, talking to friends and family... but I just feel so alone. I feel like I can't be bothered with anything anymore, that I'm losing what talent I had, and I know tomorrow morning at 5.30 its all going to start again. I'm sorry to sound pathetic, and I don't want to come across as whiny because I know everyone has so much on, all the time, in this job. I just wondered if anyone might have been in a similar situation and might be able to offer some words of wisdom- I want to feel like I'm actually good at my job again... is this a pipe dream?!

    Thanks to everyone who has read this- sorry about the long post. Hope you are all having a good week. Take care of yourselves
    x
     
  2. Hi everyone,

    I've been reading these forums for ages and have plucked up the courage today to write after seeing some of the posts on here.
    I've been teaching for 7 years now, and have in the last year become a member of SMT in a large city primary school. I loved my first school where I started as an NQT, although it was by no means perfect- lots of challenging behaviour and heavy workload as HOD-but decided it was time for a change- hence move 2 years ago. I'm really grateful for the opportunities I've been given at this new school, but have had creeping feelings of unease since I started and wanted to ask if it is just me...
    Firstly, please understand I am a hard worker. I love teaching, and have always been happy (well, you know!) to put in a long day at school and do bits on the weekend. However, since beginning my role at my new school, as teacher and then as SMT member, I feel as if all I do is work. Pressure from the head is intense and as I'm party to SMT discussion I know there is no sympathy whatsoever because we have 'to get things done.' I understand this and am as keen as anyone to increase progress and make our school better, but feel ways and means are not most helpful- for example, we have constant 'surprise' deadlines for major assessment data/work scrutiny/HOD/leadership projects which are unannounced until a week- or sometimes less- before they are required. This would not be so bad but regularly several of these surprise deadlines fall all at once. I have meetings every night of the week bar one, which is filled with a club which I am told I have to run. Drop-in observations from head focus on display borders etc which is quite soul destroying at the moment, as to top things off I have a very challenging class, who have been given to me apparently because 'I can cope' despite misgivings from many staff members about the combination of these children. Challenging behaviour from these children has included physical and verbal violence towards me and the other children. Anyway.. although its been horrendous, up to now I have coped to a point, albeit riddled with anxiety. Wierdly, I feel less mentally anxious now, just incredibly down and- sorry to sound pathetic- convinced I'm absolutely useless. I'm not claiming I am the most fantastic teacher in the world, but at one point think I was pretty good. Now, I just feel rubbish. I feel like I'm being judged, all the time, by the head and by parents who are rightly appalled by violence, etc. Things have worried me recently because although I just feel mentally flat, I've started experiencing physical symptoms- feeling sick, shaking, shortness of breath, dizziness, waking up in the early hours, and looking permanently pale and awful. I've read every time management book out there, tried relaxing baths, meditation, early nights, talking to friends and family... but I just feel so alone. I feel like I can't be bothered with anything anymore, that I'm losing what talent I had, and I know tomorrow morning at 5.30 its all going to start again. I'm sorry to sound pathetic, and I don't want to come across as whiny because I know everyone has so much on, all the time, in this job. I just wondered if anyone might have been in a similar situation and might be able to offer some words of wisdom- I want to feel like I'm actually good at my job again... is this a pipe dream?!

    Thanks to everyone who has read this- sorry about the long post. Hope you are all having a good week. Take care of yourselves
    x
     
  3. clangercrazy

    clangercrazy New commenter

    oh! MissHoward!
    Really do feel sorry for you. I'm in no-where near as bad a position as you but am feeling constantly got at (by similarly picky nit-picking head) and senior leadership team. And, actually, as such am beginning to look for another job! Maybe that's the answer for you? Maybe you just need to get out of there and start again somewhere else.
    Alternatively, you need to talk to someone? Governors maybe? Might be shocked to find out how much pressure you have etc and how low staff morale is, and may make some sort of improvement?
    Really sorry can't help much, but wanted you to know I'd read it and sympathise hugely!
    x

     
  4. Thanks clangercrazy... its lovely to know that its not just me thinking some of this is a bit much! I think you might be right about finding somewhere else to go, but feel a bit tied to the school as they have supported (actually...hmm) me in doing a course which I'm half way through at the moment. I think part of the problem is, I'm very worried about letting people down and perhaps try and do too much as a result... but I seem to work all hours and STILL not be on top of things, which is very depressing! Thanks again for your comments- love the picture! x
     
  5. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    You are being swamped with too much work. You are willing to work hard, but your reward for digging a splendid ditch was to be given a bigger spade. I think your body and mind are starting to tell you that you are under stress. You must listen, perhaps see your GP, speak to a kindly member of the SMT, if one exists, look at your union website's section on workplace pressures and stress. Look at job vacancies. Life is too short, and you are too young to be burnt out. Take care of yourself.
     
  6. Oh I really feel for you! You don't sound like a whiner and anyway this is what these forums are for, to let off steam!
    The physical symptoms you describe sound like stress/anxiety and I think you should speak to your GP to ensure you don't get worse.
    You sound close to breaking point, please take care of yourself, no job is worth being ill for xx
     
  7. Catzroolz is right, you ARE close to breaking point. The fact you are aware of physical symptoms means you MUST do something! Please don't leave it - breakdowns take a lot longer to fix.
    X
     
  8. Hello...I really do feel for you...and NO you are not alone...trust me there are plenty of teachers NQTs and experienced staff who are going through your situation...trouble is, what to do about it...complain and your a weakling, carry on and you end on the verge of a breakdown....because as teachers we have professional pride we end up not complaining and allowing the situation to worsen until the camel's back is well and truly broken!!
    It is at this stage that inquests and such like come to play...e.g. are you fit for the role, competency etc etc....its the HTs responsibility to take care of staff well being and they should realise themselves that imposing unrealistic targets just leads to embattled staff who then become bitter about the profession...I did....worked hard, taught well, planned effectively, attended all parents evenings, did extra curricula stuff and what happens...more S**t is piled on top of an already overloaded schedule...DONT HT'S SEE THIS!!!...
    My advice - speak to the HT asap, present your problems/issues in an orderly fashion but present them in such a way to suggest that some of the additional tasks could be done at a later date or tasks can be offset against more pressing issues..ALL the best, you are not alone at all and wish you the best
     
  9. Why? Is this just to keep you on your toes and to make it clear who is boss? Is all this s$%t necessary? Does it do anything to improve bad behaviour?
    Do you mean they've hit you? What's the head doing about that? Are you being blamed for being assaulted?
    That's because you are being judged all the time, and very harshly too.
    What's more important: your health or being a member of this SMT?
    You haven't done anything wrong.
    You aren't any worse at teaching.
    You are being put under unncessary pressure, which isn't improving what needs to be improved most urgently.





     
  10. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Dear Miss Howard
    How are you doing? Let us know please. xx
     
  11. Hi there Miss Howard,

    Can't really offer any advice but, recognise and understand lots of things you have said . How are you?
    Sending you lots of hugs.
    xxx
     
  12. ....SMT like this should be "nuked" and never should be anywhere near schools again...whatever reasons they have for perpetuating the target driven culture in schools these days there is no room for making staff feel this bad...keep your head and dont let the *** drive you into the abyss
     
  13. rouseau22

    rouseau22 New commenter

    Leave and find a new school. Don't stay and put up with feeling like this, it's just not neccessary.
     
  14. Do take care of yourself as no one else will sort it out for you and once they see that you will just keep going they'll just keep expecting more and more.
    Don't end up like me. You are clearly in need of your GPs support and help.
    Hope you are okay.

     
  15. Hi everyone, thanks for kind messages on here, its really helped. I'm currently at home, been off yesterday and today with bug thing which has been doing the rounds but if I'm honest I think have just given in to it all. Slept for 18 hours yesterday. Plucked up the courage to ring GP today but they don't have any appointments until next Tuesday??!! so will have to wait until then. I'm determined to be honest when I go in and try and explain what is going on- just wish I could do it sooner. We have another round of observations next week and to be honest I'm just not sure I can cope with it. I never thought I would feel like this but was standing in classroom last week thinking 'I don't know what I'm doing.' I'm just in a hole I can't get out of... liked the cpmment someone wrote about my spade! Thought that was very fitting. Anyway... having decided to talk to GP now worried that they will suggest signing off or similar, not sure how I would get that one past the head without being completely taken apart by SMT. Sounds swful, but a part of me wishes I would just keel over at work (haven't been far off it recently to be honest, combination of no sleep + not much food is not a good one) so that I could 'legitimately' go home. That's not good, is it? Gaah. Not feeling as bad bug-wise today but my head is just filled with things I haven't done and it was back to waking at 4.30am. Now feeling guilty about not working and staying in bed... Anyway, I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for all your support, it made me feel less alone in all this. Take care everyone x x
     
  16. GP will undoubtedly suggest signing you off as you show all the signs of anxiety and/or depression, which if you dont do anything about will end up in you being either physically or mentally far more ill than you are now.
    As for SMT - there is nothing they can do about it, initially. You are sick. The end. And once you have given them this information and told them how long you will be off for (or asked someone else to do it for you if you fear they will give you a hard time) they are not really allowed to contact you until nearer the time you may (if you choose to) return.
    I totally understand where you are coming from and its very difficult, because you are piling guilt for not being at work on top of the anxiety you are already suffering, but you MUST think of yourself. If you become so ill you cant work they will simply replace you and move on. You are, unfortunately, a commodity to them, and as such you must choose if you want to help them or yourself.
    ((((Big hugs))))
     
  17. lrw22

    lrw22 Occasional commenter

    How ridiculous!!!
     
  18. Hi everyone

    Just thought I would give you an update. When went back to work after days off with bug, OFSTED had just rung. Initially felt OK, as last one at my previous school had been OK, but then it just got worse and worse over the weekend. I felt unable to do the simplest tasks, couldn't plan my lessons for toffee despite supposedly being an experienced (!!) teacher...was up until early hours on the sunday unable to sleep feeling this incredible sense of doom and (scarily) heart palpitations. It was horrible, and I kept trying to snap out of it, but just couldn't. Inspection was very very gruelling on everyone, and needless to say my own classroom performance wasn't up to usual standards, although did improve slightly on day 2 (after some sleep). Interviewed as part of SMT and felt wrung out. Head &DHT semed annoyed by dip in lesson performance (previously come out as G or OS so they not impressed) and on Monday I was ready I think to leave teaching altogether. Another member of SMT (who joined school this year) came to talk to me after school and a lot of things came pouring out, became very upset and told her I wasn't coping. She said she had felt under the same extreme pressure since she had started too and often felt undermined/isolated by H/DHT. It was such a relief to talk to someone and I'm glad that I now know there is smoeone else feeling the same... she advised me to look around for another job, which she is apparently doing as well. I'd had a GP appointment booked since last week so went along and surprise surprise they issued me with a cert, but I just feel unable to take it, especially after inspection- everyone is stressed so it might seem ridiculous to other staff but I think it's been the straw which has broken the camel's back. Anyway it now seems clear that I must must musr find another job, but, and please feel free to virtually slap me if this sounds totally pathetic- I feel so low in confidence at the moment that the idea of looking, applying for and getting another job- let along telling the HT that leaving- seems like an impossible task. I know its not but I don't really know how to start taking the first steps. Any ideas? I'm worried about what I can say to justify my desire to move jobs as been doing a course with support (?!!!) of school for role within school (cant say what it is as identifiable but it is now a necessary qualification to have in order to do one of my roles in school) and HT will not be best pleased if I go off as someone else will then have to do it. Any ideas for reasons I can give? Inital relief at inspectors being gone now replaced with usual dread. Saw family this weekend (I live a long way, we live near husband's family) and just cried the whole time!!!! Think I do need that virtual slap now... thoughts appreciated.

    Thanks to everyone on here for reading & messages- it's truly been a real help at a very difficult time and I really appreciate the support and words of wisdom.

    Hope you all having a good sunday,

    x x
     
  19. MissHoward, you honestly sound like an absolutely brilliant teacher, who is hardworking, dedicated and ambitious. Sadly, you are not being given the support you deserve. From what you have posted, any school would be glad to have you on the team, so don't even think about doubting your abilities and worth. As for what to tell the head - well, a job is just a job, not a ball and chain, so you are perfectly entitled to find a job which suits your needs better than your current job does. Your current job is making you ill and depressed. So, simply tell the head that you are moving because you want a new challenge at a different school. It's nothing to do with you if the head struggles to fill your shoes - they should have treated you a bit nicer and they wouldn't be in this situation at all!Actually, I rather hope your shoes are impossible to fill, and then they'll realise how good they had it (evil laugh!!!).
     
  20. Amylicorice

    Amylicorice New commenter

    You know from reading this forum that most of us have been in your shoes. I cannot say it loud enough: you need to find a new job. You do not 'owe' them anything. You get paid a wage to work, and at the moment your work is beyond your agreed wage and conditions.
    You have to look after yourself. Someone said to me when I was in the same boat as you are now, that NOONE at that school is going to make you dinner, clean your house, pay your rent, so you have to look after yourself in every aspect.
    I know it seems difficult to get a new job, but trust me, it is the absolute best thing you can do.
    Can you quote travel time as an excuse, or 'we are thinking of moving'.
    take care.
     

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