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I can't believe it happened to me...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by chickenpatter1, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. chickenpatter1

    chickenpatter1 New commenter

    Some details have been changed. I work in a large primary school - 4 form entry- in a small rural town. Last weds was my birthday, but i spent the evening searching the internet for ways to kill myself that wouldn't be too messy. I had had a complete breakdown. Earlier that day a child hit me round the head with one of those long wooden metre rulers. He had already thrown his shoes at me and a wooden box. It was all just too much. SLT came to help but non-one even asked if i was ok and i feel that this is now the culture in the school - that hitting staff has become a normal thing. I am signed off with WRS till November, but know that I do not wish to go back. So firstly, have attacks on staff become normal everywhere? Are there schools where this kind of thing is still taken seriously? I know the child is not to blame for his behaviour and i followed school policy closely in dealing with the situation. How do I get out of having to go back? I have read about an agreement you can make with the school to end your contract, does anyone have more info on this?

    i should add I had been feeling unhappy for months and this incident was just the culmination of several months of stress.
  2. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    It is never acceptable for any teacher to be hurt. We know it does happen in schools however a strong line should be taken (the softer sides of any behaviour management approach can be used alongside). Always staff should be cared for.

    I’d imagine the school will be worried. You’ve been hit. You’re now off work citing WRS. They had and have a duty of care to you. Were you marked? Physical injury needs to be recorded. I’d make sure there’s clear record of this incident. As you’re off, maybe email it in.

    You can resign to leave December 31st. It can be a straightforward resignation. As you’ve decided to definitely leave does this mean you’d be prepared to resign with no job to go to? If so, then you can keep options open as to the next step you may or may not go down. You can resign and cite being hit, not being supported etc as your reason for resigning. Or cite anything you wish to. Your wellbeing being more important than anything etc etc. This would worry the school as it leaves thoughts regarding risk around what you then might pursue. It opens the doors to future action, citing strong reasons for your ‘hard decision. ‘I love my job however due to... I cannot / it has become untenable to work here anymore.’

    They might then suggest a settlement agreement to end your contract with you/your union. This can protect the ending of your contract for you and them. Talk to your union and say you want to leave for the reasons you do. They’ll be able to advise. If SA they’ll take over that. Due to the circumstances, the school are going to wish to mitigate risk. Equally you can just leave it open. A transparent letter and then work your resignation.
  3. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    Sorry to hear about what you are going through, you have done absolutely the right thing by getting signed off and you must not go back until you are ready and able to. Your GP can extend your sick leave as required.
    you also need to get support, counseling, friends and family. Speak to your union about what is happening to you and what are your options. You are still at the beginning of this so things will seem at their darkest, I am certain that you can and will get through this, there are others who have posted on this site who have gone through similar low points in their lives and have come through these, who are still teaching and I am sure that you will do the same.
    In answer to your main question, no not all schools are like this. Sometimes when you read of incidents of violence and aggression towards teachers it is easy to believe that this has become the norm, no it is not. There a still schools where teachers can count on their colleagues and SLT to support them.
    Focus on getting yourself well so that you can see things in perspective and when you are ready you can start the process of moving on.
    You can keep coming back to this site for support with any issues that occur in the coming months, and you can count on getting good advice and support from others.
    If you have another evening like the one you mention, please seek help and support, you could call the Samaritans

    https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/ 116 123
  4. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    So deeply sorry you have reached a point where you feel so low. Don’t return until action is taken to improve your safety. It sounds like there needs to be another adult in the room to keep an eye on the child’s behaviour.

    Children hitting staff should not be treated as norm and your management should be concerned for your welfare.

    I know it’s hard when you put so much into it, but try not to allow your job to affect you so deeply. You acknowledge that there may be reasons for his behaviour towards you but think about what needs to happen to make your work environment safer and ask.

    There are lots of other schools and other options in life. Stay safe, you are important, look after yourself, eat well, sleep and get outdoors in nature.
  5. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I have nothing to add to the good advice above, but wanted, having read your post, OP, to wish you well.

    School/teaching is just a job - please seek advice from your GP/Union & friends/family and whatever you do, don't rush back or feel guilty...It isn't you, it's the job that is to blame here...

    Best wishes
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I'm sorry you feel so bad. teachers should not be left feeling like they want to end their lives over a job. It is a national scandal that so many do. You are not alone. You are the victim of a completely broken and failing system, which is trying to screw every last drop of blood out of a work force only about half the size needed for the work load it is required to fulfill. Look after yourself and get all the help and support you can. its just your job, it is nowhere near as important as your health

  7. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Like @FrankWolley above, I don't have anything to add to the excellent advice already given - just wanted to say how sorry I am that this has happened and wish you well. Make sure you have documented everything and follow medical advice.
    The only thing I would add is - give yourself a week or so before you even think about the future. If you are signed of till November, you have time. Your health and well-being are the most important thing here; be kind to yourself, talk to friends and loved ones and think about what you want before talking to school and making any important decisions. Sending a hug (())
  8. GirlGremlin

    GirlGremlin Occasional commenter

    I think you are a much kinder soul than I am. I am temped to say that actually this behaviour IS the child's fault, or at the very least their parents, and he should be the one to be removed from school for a very long period of tine. My thoughts are with you.
  9. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I'm so sorry to hear what has happened. It isn't normal in schools and I hope the school is taking it seriously, but keep your union informed either way. For the moment I'd suggest putting school to one side. You are signed off until November because you are ill. Take some time to get better first before considering what you are going to do about going back. Spend this week for example doing things you enjoy, make it your birthday week treats to yourself (happy birthday btw).
  10. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    What an appalling thing to happen to you. As well as coming on here remember there is the support website and phoneline for the Education Support Partnership and it's flagged up at the top of the threads list on this forum. For what it's worth I think you need to get out of that school and make a fresh start. Best wishes to you.
  11. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I would be seriously thinking about contacting the police and I would be seeking the services of a lawyer.

    Assault is NEVER acceptable.
  12. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Do NOT return to a school like that.
  13. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    Don’t make any decisions about anything until you are better. You cannot make well-thought through decisions if you have WRS and your mind is racing and unable to switch off. I’ve just looked up what you should be doing and the consensus seems to be a mixture of eating better food / cooking your own, doing lots of exercise each day like walking or cycling (helps you sleep), lose weight if applicable, read books, see friends and have coffees out during the day, avoid alcohol, rest.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Sorry you having to go through this. I can imagine the terror of being hit and then the uncaring attitude of SLT. Sadly, many people in schools have been on the receiving end of such unkind and ruthless attitudes.

    Please note the Samaritans phone number/email address down as they are available 24/7 to talk to when you need someone to listen.

    You have been given very sensible advice from other posters, but I would add to GirlGremlin's post number 8 that the child and the parents need to be brought into the school and a meeting held with the SLT.

    It is not acceptable that this incident is not addressed. Also when you speak to your union tell them about the stress you have been under for months.

    Your union will be able to advise you in connection with that an other aspects of your position about references if you leave, etc.

    As someone else posted do not make any hasty decisions until you are better and have good counsel from your union/lawyers etc.

    I wonder if the child has done this before? It is a dangerous situation as you could have been hurt badly or another child injured.

    In the meantime, try not to worry and get some rest.

    Lastly, have you seen your GP. You may be in shock. Also, you may wish to consider peakster's advice about phoning the Police.
  15. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    This site is fabulous for helping people who need it.
  16. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    Absolutely this.
  17. Aelfric

    Aelfric New commenter

    Regardless of age I would go to the police put a complaint in and also I’d be putting a claim in.
  18. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    Yes you may feel that the child is not to blame for the way they behave, you show your quality as a teacher in that statement, but SLT are to blame if they fail to put in place strategies and support for both the child and the staff. The child's background and any specific needs they have may require a particular approach that is tailored to that child'd needs. The point is that unless this was an out of character, first offence, then the school should be aware of the issues and SLT ready to intervene and support as required.
    Yes things have got a lot tougher with budget cuts, and fewer resources and staff to provide support, but loosing staff to WRS is an also a waste of time and money.
  19. BW12345

    BW12345 Star commenter

    Sounds like it's not the first time the school has had this happen. And their response has been plain incompetent. Hand-wringing won't do, they need to sort themselves out.
    What the hell IS the school doing about it?

    You don't need to do anything immediately so wait until you're calmer, but I would ask that question of the school It's a huge problem for them and it sounds like they've let it happen without adequate action before. I'm entirely with HolyMahogany's last post which came in whyle I'm typing.

    You aren't the one at fault but you need a solid feeling to be able to proceed. Hopefully you can get much of that from the school. If not then do try a friend, colleage, the Union - anyone objective. If it continues to "do your head in" then there's no shame in seeing a counsellor a few times to get yourself back on an even keel.

    Nasty for you - fear not it will be all behind you one day!
  20. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    As others have said, but particularly-

    Now, while you are under stress , is not the time to be making decisions. This is the reason you h ave been signed off until November. Your GP does not expect you to be well until (at least) November .
    Your only priority at the moment is to get yourself better and thus be in a position to make decisions.

    The only actions you need to take now are to get the support which will help you get better.eg
    • Contact your union regional office ( you are in a union, aren’t you?)
    • Have the numbers of The Samaritans at hand and contact them when necessary
    • Use The Teacher Support Network (their job is to support at such times)
    • Do not think about school.
    • Try to do one nice thing a day, a walk/trashy tv/ look at a magazine?

    Best wishes
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019

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