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High Anxiety and not sure I want to carry on as an NQT

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by 123lalala456, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. 123lalala456

    123lalala456 New commenter

    I have to make this brief before rushing to the car to drive to school!

    I have had depression/anxiety on and off for a long time due to past family issues. Over the summer I had some challenges in my marriage which set off my anxiety again. Top this off with starting my NQT year this year and I am a crying, emotional rollercoaster.

    I just don't know if I want to teach anymore, all summer I thought it was just nerves but I have seen a job (on same pay) where I would only have to work 32 hours a week, and still with children in a 1:1/small group capacity across my county and just feel like I would rather be doing that. None of this racking my brains for creative ideas, no weekends panicking about whether I have done everything or forgotten something...

    But I am so afraid of others judgement, telling the school if I have an interview, telling my family and husband all these years I have put aside to train and I end up quitting in the first term! I don't even know what notice period I would need, and now I am talking about leaving I am crying again over fears of what everyone would say about me jacking it all in...

    I am so confused, I enjoyed my first week but I just don't want to spend my life teaching. When I am anxious any responsibility is hard, and this other job I have seen just takes away some of the weight on your shoulders you have as a teacher and I think the only saving grace is I wouldn't be able to do it if I wasnt a teacher...so I'm not entirely wasting my degree and PGCE.

    I don't know what to do, I just don't think I want to be in a school - I don't feel comfortable, the endless meetings, demands for certain colour pens for marking and the progress of a class on my shoulders. I want to apply for this other job, but not inform my school I am doing so - or do I just go to my head and explain that actually, I am suffering with anxiety (it's not wholly work related - it actually stems from personal life) and then what?
  2. Flowersinspring

    Flowersinspring Lead commenter

    Hi- NQT is hell. That's a fact. Trust me- things DO get better. It's all about the ups and downs. Pls see my posts on guilt of being signed off. You've seen a job. It sounds great. Worst case- you don't get an interview. Best case - you get the job.

    You can't control what other people think (this is soooooooooo easy giving advice!!) so don't waste time trying to.

    As my little boy says- if you're not happy why don't you play something else?

    Apply if you want to but I'd also suggest you take a deep breath and talk to your Head. They may understand. They may may make you see that personal problems will follow from one job to the next.

    Hope today goes well. Deep breath and smile!xx
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  3. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I think there's a bit of confusion between your anxiety, your job and anything else that's going on in your life.

    You enjoyed your first week- that's a good thing.
    You don't like the data, the paperwork, the responsibility. That's the sign of a caring and conscientious person.

    You have to consider you first and foremost. Your degree and training won't be wasted- there are transferable skills. It is however, very early days and you MAY find that you find some balance and don't feel as much of the weight of responsibility.

    I think you probably need to seek medical help as well, for the anxiety. Obviously, I don't know what family support you have, but it there someone you can speak to in real life, as well as your GP? If not, there are teacher support phone lines, but I do urge you to get some help soon.

    So far as the school goes, you are subject (presumably) to the usual procedures for resignation I.e. October 31st to leave at Christmas. However, if you do decide you no longer want to teach, please speak to your Head about your concerns. Some can be sympathetic about leaving early if they are able to recruit someone to the post. If not, it might be that you need to be signed off from work.

    BUT and it is a big but, it's early days, you enjoyed the teaching, it's always hard to start with. I cried every day for the first few weeks, but you get used to the workload and the responsibility. I think you need to sort out the professional and the personal and speaking about it to others can help that.

    I wish you well.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    First weeks of term can be a bit pandemonic, whether you're experienced or new to the game. I can just about remember my first few days of teaching back in the early '80s. Although the job's got slicker, the expectations are rather higher.
    I would suggest giving the job a couple of weeks - it's not going to settle down into something like a week in a beach resort, but you need to get used to the rhythms of the job. You also need to realise that all jobs have their silly little rules. Some marking rules seem pretty silly but mean that the small people you are working with know what's going on, meetings can be tedious but may save planning time and mean that you know what you're doing. If after a couple of weeks, you really still hate it, think about the resignation letter. It will be fairest to your school if you can see out the term. (In the last week of term you can have a woundrous time marking everything in the wrong coloured ink).
  5. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    The job will not get better. It has got much worse over the last 15 years, and particularly the last five.

    If you find a lovely school, you may be okay, but it is a huge risk,

    It is just a job, and not a particularly lucrative one at that. It should not be causing you to feel like you do. It is clearly affecting your health and mental well-being. Go and see the doctor for starters.

    As for the other job and telling your Head.. well it would obviously be best to do things professionally and hope you are met with a professional response...
  6. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    It didn't get better for me. That's not to say there weren't days or weeks that I enjoyed it, just never much more than that at a time. It may get better for you, but you need to consider how long you're willing to wait for that. Christmas? Easter? July?

    Think very carefully. I felt like you did for over a year and was then talked out of resigning in the following October. Worst mistake ever.

    From the outside its so easy to say 'it's just a job', when you have this huge weight on your shoulders, but it IS just a job and you deserve a life too.
    Elvis0 and Scintillant like this.
  7. amarantine

    amarantine New commenter

    I felt like that every single day of my NQT year. I spent about 2 hours crying over some lost forms the other night and I've now been teaching for 6 years! The difference I guess is, though, that you've seen a lovely job you really like the sound of that isn't teaching, per se, and I can't see myself doing anything different. Teaching is tough, you have days where you really don't want to do it and feel like you're rubbish at it, but you have amazing days too, when the kids just 'get' it or someone says something lovely to you. Are you sure it isn't just a case of "grass is greener"?

    I agree with what other people have said about getting medical help for the anxiety. I had CBT for my own anxiety about 2 years ago and it really has made a difference. Of course I still have days where it's a challenge, but I have a really good range of coping strategies now :) It sounds like you're just having a hell of time at the moment and that makes any kind of decision (whether about your career or even just what to wear that day!) so much harder.

    I would be inclined to say stick it out for the first half term. See if it gets better as you adjust to the new routines and what goes on at school. You can always keep an eye on jobs, I'm lucky that I really love my school but I do have a sneaky peek now and again to check what's out there.

    Of course if you really want to change jobs after you've given teaching a good go (i.e. more than a week!) then change jobs! Don't let yourself be put under pressure by those around you, and don't let yourself worry about them 'judging' you. YOU are the most important thing, and YOU need to be happy. Chin up, see how the rest of the half term goes, and best of luck! Let us know how you get on :)
  8. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Bet it's the teaching. I don't recognise the job any more. If you're under 45, please consider escaping to a nicer job where there are fewer insane expectations, bully bosses, bully parents, manipulative/Bobby/ I knows me rights students..and breathe! Civil service? Local council? Or a bank...they seem to clock off at 4.
  9. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    personally for me:

    1) I don't think that you have been in position long enough to make such a big decision. You have only been there a week! It is hard, but you can do it.

    2) unlike the guy who posted previously about taking a job that he knows he shouldn't of, I don't see anything out of the ordinary in your post. You must have trained for a reason. I also think when offered the job employers have put faith in you. I know some here won't agree with me, but I think you owe them more than asking to walk after one week. If in six months you still feel the same, fair enough. That would be long enough to make a call. One week isn't.

    3) I am pretty sure that to get a job that isn't teaching, but pays the same as teaching you will need to demonstrate more skill and experience than you currently have. To me this sounds a sort of advisory/ expert job. I wonder whether you have the knowledge or experience to do it.
  10. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Oh and don't apply without speaking to the ht. This job will require you to put them as a reference for safeguarding reasons. It isn't an option not to put them down without asking
    Elvis0 likes this.
  11. Elvis0

    Elvis0 New commenter

    Hi, NQT here as well.

    I struggled with all these during my ITT and did CBT which really helped to find coping mechanisms, as mentioned above. Last week I was in tears though all the time, until I decided to talk to someone about the difficulties I face (NQT mentor and SLT). They are starting to put some things in place now- many times SLT walk through corridors/enter my classroom to ensure students are well-behaved (there can be chaos sometimes, even though I believe I am pretty good with Behaviour management). So my advice is definitely talk to someone every single time you struggle with something-they have to offer us support!

    Second thing: unfortunately every job has stress every now and then, teaching is one of them. Ask senior stuff for advice on smart marking or quick planning or sharing resources with each other.

    Third thing: talk to other new staff/NQT'S from your school. Share the ups and downs, you might feel better to see that other people feel the same way as you do (including myself). Treat yourself every now and then for being an amazing person and doing one of the most difficult jobs!

    Hope this helps.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. lulu57

    lulu57 Lead commenter

    Don't panic! It's culture shock and it doesn't last! It's like running in the sea and diving in - it feels like knives at first, but that wears off.

    I felt overwhelmed during my NQT year and felt like quitting, even though I'd done really well as a PGCE student. I toughed it out for a year and learnt so much in that time - I was really enjoying it and doing well at the end (even though I had a really uncommunicative mentor!). I was also simultaneously going through a rough time personally, so I understand the double pressures. Admittedly, this was 26 years ago and there wasn't the same degree of bureaucracy then, but I was an NQT dumped in Y2 in the year they introduced SATs and the national curriculum!
    I'm glad I stuck it out. I got the hang of what I was doing and learnt to prioritise.

    Your school don't want to lose you - they've spent a lot of time and energy interviewing and selecting you, and they won't want to go through all that again so soon. I imagine they'd much rather spend that time and energy helping you to succeed - it's in their interest and in the children's. Tell your mentor or line manager or Head how you feel now and ask for support. If you don't get it, you can hand in your resignation by the end of October half term and leave at the end of December (that's the minimum notice you can give).
    Lara mfl 05 and DYNAMO67 like this.
  13. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    It is important that you go to your doctor, tell then how you feel and describe the symptoms you are exhibiting. Let them guide your decision. They are trained professionals who have seen it a million times and can recognise the signs.
    sabrinakat and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  14. 123lalala456

    123lalala456 New commenter

    I am amazed to have received such kind, helpful replies. Thank you. I think GP is my first port of call. I've had a chat with 2 of those closest to me, both of whom helped me realise how fortunate I am to have the job I do. I am an older NQT, and I have had a far stressful job and so beat myself up for allowing anxiety to affect me now - because I have previously dealt with utter madness and the description of 'culture shock' seems pretty accurate in this case. I am just out of my previous comfort zone and feel inadequate (even though I have no real reason to feel like that at all).

    I will plough on, I am grateful to be able to turn to people who get it on here as you have all given me lots to think over and made it a lot less stressful in my mind about should I one day decide it's not for me, it certainly isn't the end of the world.
  15. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Absolutely spot on.

    Good luck
  16. s10327

    s10327 Occasional commenter

    As an NQT, this is the first time you have started a school year and set up a class. As a student, you arrive in one with established routines and relationships. Give it a bit longer and see!

    The second year is hard for this reason too - you lose an established class and have to start again. It takes many experienced teachers by surprise every year.
    lulu57 likes this.
  17. lulu57

    lulu57 Lead commenter

    Yeah...the first five years are the hardest...the next five are merely tricky (because the goal posts move)...the next five can be quite fulfilling (the goal posts move, but you're used to it)...the next five begin to grate (the goal posts have gone bananas and are defying the laws of time and space)...the next five are just infuriating (because the goal posts have thrown in the towel and gone back round to square one).

    I'll let you know what the next five are like when I've completed them!

    BTW 123lalala - don't be put off by this - I don't regret teaching - I've loved lots of it!
    bevdex likes this.
  18. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I would advise you to ride out the shock of the start of the year, once you get into routines, it should get easier! Even though teaching is an incredibly stressful job, I tend to advise anyone in their NQT year to tough it out if possible and get it passed!

    Although the other job might seem like a dream, you may apply and not get it etc or even be lucky and then wish you persevered.
  19. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    This job you discuss wanting to move to sounds a bit too good to be true-please check it out carefully. It would be unusual to get a permanent post like this at a teacher's salary-and teaching small groups can involve all the stress/worry about creative ideas too.
  20. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Sorry meant to add-if you were a more experienced teacher-let's say you'd done 3 years or more at your school, then went for this, it would seem to me a better gamble-on your CV (hem) it would perhaps look 'better'.

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