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How do I get out?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by summer1984, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. summer1984

    summer1984 New commenter

    I worked in a school for 6 years and moved to a new school this year. It's horrific - I feel intimidated by the kids, unsupported and I'm in tears every night not sleeping.

    I can't bare the thought of being here tomorrow. I've applied for jobs outside of teaching. How soon can I leave? Is it possible to just hand my notice in now for Christmas and explain that I want to go now? It's made me ill in the 2 weeks I've been here.
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    If you are ill, you need to visit your doctor, and get signed off if necessary.

    You are only entitled to resign with effect from Christmas, but if you're really sure, then you could put in your resignation letter that you would be happy to leave earlier if that can be agreed. If the alternative may be that you spend half the term signed off, they may be quite willing to agree to an earlier departure.

    It's worth looking at whether there is any prospect of things improving: even if you can afford to leave without a job to go to, the very short stay in your employment history will sound alarm bells, and the reference isn't likely to be good. On the other hand, plenty of agencies and schools have given people the chance they've needed to show that it was just that the school was not right for them, and it sounds as if you're also exploring non-teaching options.
  3. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    I would talk to your HT or line manager to discuss any issues you are encountering. If you still feel the same, consider looking for other employment bearing in mind that you CANNOT commence employment before January 2016 if you resign before October 31st. You signed a contract when you first started which is legally binding and you are obliged to stay until then.
  4. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Two weeks is not really long enough to make a decision. Have you discussed things with your line manager? It may be possible to find support.

    I think you have two options. One is to wait until late October to decide whether to leave, and hand in your notice if you still can't stand it. The other is to hand in your notice now and ask if you can leave earlier, as frustum suggests. Jago123 is only right on this up to a point - you can leave earlier by agreement with the school.

    If work is causing you serious health problems, then go to a doctor and get signed off. I'd only do this if you have to, as it may affect your reference. Whatever some posters say, many employers outside teaching are interested in a reference from your latest employer.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Firstly - I sympathise. Schools can be unpleasant places.

    Secondly, think about talking to your union or finding a trusted buddy, but you need to raise some of these with your line manager / leadership team.

    The behaviour of the children is unacceptable - what is the school doing?

    You tried to do xyz, but did not receive (specified!) support.

    You are a professional teacher - to do the job you need....

    You are the biggest investment the school managers are making in your class this year - if they want that investment to be worthwhile they must support you.

    Good luck,

    joannagb likes this.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    All excellent advice above and please bear in mind you are new to the school so the kids are going to try it on to see how far they can push you and what you are going to do about it. Is it just the behaviour of the students or is it other things as well which make you want to leave?

    You may find that if you stick with it and the students see you are not going to let yourself be intimidated, then you might be able to cope. I agree with phlogiston that the school should support you; there is a shortage of teachers willing to take these kinds of challenging students on and at some point, the pool of people will dry up and schools will have to start to do something about it since soon there will not be anyone willing to work in schools without proper support. Wouldn't the SLT want to know you are struggling with the students and feel unsupported? If I were your line manager and found out the classes were intimidating you there would be big TROUBLE for those students. It is simply not acceptable and I would sit in on those classes until they started to behave even if it took until Christmas.

    In addition to speaking to your union or friend, try contacting the teacher support network which you can find online if you google teacher support network.

    It is ironic that some schools endeavour to help their students so much to succeed and you would think they would do the same for the staff, but as phlogiston states they can indeed be unpleasant places and it is only a little over a week into the first term and people are trying to get away from schools.

    You should not be in a place where you are crying every night and can't sleep and as other posters have said you need to raise the issues you are having with your line manager.

    I wish I had other advice for you since you are in a difficult position as are many other teachers sinking in schools which are badly managed. You can only ask for help from the school, your union or others and try your best to find a solution. If you can stay until you can contractually leave and with a good reference would be best and if you know you have a way out then in might just make it bearable.
  7. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    It is easy to forget how challenging some students can be when you are new. What have you done? What help have you asked for?
  8. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    Yes, forgot to add Piranha, you can leave in extreme circumstances, for example if you (or a close relative) is ILL and then the Head will most likely release you on those grounds. You've got to be very careful not to tarnish your relationship with the school though because you never know when you'll need them again.

    You may be thinking, I'll never return to that school again, yes, it maybe the case, but nothing is stopping the HT or DHT coming to a prospective school!
  9. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Summer1984 - I know how hard it can be but please bear in mind that anyone finds a new job stressful and you are still relatively new. The kids may be horrific but the best love you can show them is to show them you are bloody well staying put, even some hard kids begin to begrudigingly respect you then.

    If you have come out of a 'safe grammar' or 'safe leafy suburb type 'school into a 'tough inner city' school - you have my sympathies. For your own sanity you HAVE to readjust your expectations. I am NOT saying just accept sh1t and disrespect but with the best will in the world - a nice grammar school/leafy suburb group may settle and just get on/ an eclectic range of lower ability inner city year 11s will frankly challenge and bubble away until and unless YOU adapt and 'take it on' - not in an aggressive blitzkrieg way necessarily but in a 'small victory each lesson' way. To command the respect eventually (and it may take a term or even the year!) of a tough group like that is an enormous victory and a validation of your professional experience.

    Again and I KNOW this is so easier said than done - try and worry about the day in the DAY and tell you mind that your bedroom is YOUR sanctuary and that you are not ploughing fields in your mind. This may require antidepressants. I know that this is controversial and some posters would say NO but 'Aunty Deborah' (AntiDepressants) has got me through more than one such period when I taught.

    Of course, one thing that will challenge you is that you are M6?/UPS1 and there is just that expectation that you will breeze in and be 'competent.' Well, kids care not an iota for that, to them you are just 'new' and unfortunate as it is, human nature is designed to challenge anything and anyone new. Which screams jolly well ESTABLISH YOURSLEF! Again , so SO easier said than done! (I will be honest, a little G+T is stoking up the vitriol in my post!)

    Also, I know how miserable it can feel. I think the whole teaching paradigm is badly set up, 6 weeks off followed by a total paradigm shift where the expectation is you invest not only the working week but evenings and some weekend time in rapidly deteriorating levels of daylight/weather that challenge all seasonal affective sufferers (and I reckon 50%+ of the UK population whether they admit to it or not.)

    I would say look for the positive. Pat yourself on the back for the kids that WANT TO LEARN, that SHOW PROGRESS, that show THEY CARE and ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND what you are teaching them. Such moments are magical and what makes teaching, when it goes well, such a fantastic job/vocation.

    My advice comes with a caveat though. Fight the good fight. Usually we are better for fighting and persevering when things get tough. But there is that point where you must say 'ENOUGH' and go straight to the GP and get yourself signed off or at least 'medicated' to survive. (Aunty Deborah?) Where that point is varies with the individual. But if you are so sleep deprived you are hallucinating in your sleep say (and teaching has done that to me!) or so filled with gloom that you entertain thoughts of driving off the M4 to avoid facing your classes, get out for your own sanity. While fighting the good fight is good when you can fight, don't fight to the point it finishes you. Your health is worth more than a job.

    Lastly, devils advocate means I must ask why you have left a 'safe' job after 6 years to somewhere you feel so uncomfortable! Of course, it could be you felt your promotion chances were better in the new school. Were you forced out or made redundant of your 6 years school. Did your OH's job relocation force you to move and change school? Either way, if the grass REALLY is better on the side of the 6 years at one school, can you get back there? If not literally to something similar?

    And there IS life after teaching if it comes to that! Many TESSERS are ex teachers including myself!

    Good luck and I hope you find happiness.
  10. bulagal

    bulagal New commenter

    Hi everyone, I'm new and just wanted to say hi. And... that I'm seriously scared after reading some posts about Wanting Out. I teach in Italy and am looking to transfer to the UK but... now? Is it really as bad as it sounds? I've been teaching for almost 20 ys and the kids here are really well-behaved. Sure, I've had the odd rude kid but I've aways been able to put them in their place and carry on. UK schools sound a bit harsher and I'm not just talking about the kids. It seems that some parts of management need to be reminded of when they started out. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts. Great discussion!

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