1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

I don't know if I can go on

Discussion in 'Primary' started by adamadams, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. adamadams

    adamadams New commenter

    I'm a Canadian teacher, just graduated in June and I started up a teaching position in England in September for year 3.

    Coming over I knew things were going to be different and from what I read online I knew it was going to be difficult, but I was sure I could do it. I had so much passion and determination to do a good job. I'm a little under 3 months into the job and all of the passion is gone, not an ounce is left.

    I feel so beyond stressed, maybe even depressed but I'm not sure. I don't even know how to explain how I feel. It's like I'm dead inside, I can't remember the last time I felt truly happy. It's gotten to the point where I've stopped eating; I skip breakfast and lunch because I have no appetite (to the point where of I try to force myself to eat I feel like I'm going to puke), and then I eat a very small dinner because once school is over I feel a little hungry, but not much. Getting up every morning is a chore, and forcing myself to smile in front of my class and colleagues is even harder.

    Although I have many things contributing to my stress, I think the main factor is the school system and the observations. The head teacher comes in once a week to watch a lesson. When she first told me this was going to happen I was glad I could get constant feedback, but it's turned into one big weekly ball of stress. The head teacher gets really mad at the smallest of things. During her feedback she'll make comments that imply she doesn't think I'm cut out to be a teacher, things like "we might need to take a serious look at you being a teacher for the benefit and success of the children." And this will be after lessons that I thought went pretty well.

    Part of me thinks I should just quit and return back to Canada when my housing contract is up during the February break, but at the same time I don't want to let my students down because I really do care for them.

    I just don't know what to do anymore, I cry a lot and I always have headaches. I don't know how I'm supposed to survive the year if I'm like this 3 months in. Please, do you have any advice for me?
  2. DexterDexter

    DexterDexter Occasional commenter

    So you’re an NQT!? Can you talk to your mentor? If not, you should have a phone number or an email address for the person who checks your school is doing what they should. Speak to them they should be able to help- they’ll know your school and be able to compare your situation with others. Be professional :)

    I know of an NQT who was in a similar position to you and they just accepted what the head said- they must be right, right?!?! Not necessarily. This NQT failed their first and second term and got an extension for the third term. To put that a better way- the school failed them. (They left to complete their NQT year elsewhere).

    It sounds like your school is failing you. Is there another new starter you can talk to? Are you on any forums other than here? Most allow you to post anonymously.

    I hope you feel better soon, this is not how we should welcome someone from elsewhere, especially when they have so many fabulous qualities as you do.
    Puffballcow likes this.
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Yes, it sounds very likely that you are depressed. Just the same as if you had a physical illness - a stomach bug, a bad cold, etc - the horrible way you're feeling won't last forever. Take time to look after yourself, even though you don't feel like it: eat a small breakfast and lunch, even though you don't feel hungry, because your body needs the energy to get through the day. Try to spend time outside every day, as much as you can, and put time aside each evening to do something you (used to) enjoy; even if you feel like you have too much work to do, it's important to find at least half an hour to be you - not just Mr/Mrs adamadams the teacher.
    Puffballcow likes this.
  4. mifraggle

    mifraggle New commenter

    Puffballcow likes this.
  5. Josh7

    Josh7 Occasional commenter

    Being observed weekly is not normal practice. Unfortunately there is no longer a statutory limit on lesson observations, though there was an annual limit of three hours until 2012.

    Are you having a 'proper' NQT year with an assigned mentor?

    Are you getting the 10% induction time in addition to the 10% PPA to which NQTs are entitled?

    Are you a member of the NEU or other union? If so, you should start talking to your rep about your situation. If your school has no rep, contact an officer from your area.

    If your health is suffering, do not be afraid of seeking medical help.

    Best wishes, take care of yourself.
    Puffballcow likes this.
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    this is the emotional blackmail that keeps so many teachers entrenched in horrendous situations until they are truly broken.

    You are NOT letting the children down if you leave.

    You are letting children down if you allow the system to make you so ill, because if you allow it, you are colluding with it, and if you are colluding with it, it will happen to more and more other teachers, and children all over the country will be being taught by teachers in this state, and this is detriment to the children as well as the teachers.

    You are not well, you should not be going in to work. See your GP, get signed off. Don't worry about the school. Worry about your health. Do what is right for you, which may well be going back to Canada, if that is what you want to do.

    Best wishes xx
  7. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    How rubbish that you are going through this :( I empathise with you completely. My NQT year was awful too and actually not too dissimilar to your experience so here is what I would say:

    You need to:
    1. Record everything that is said- follow conversations up via email.
    2. Submit your planning to your mentor via email- ask them to email you back with adaptations/improvements/affirmations.
    3. Start to build a portfolio of evidence against the teacher standards, you are probably doing this already for nqt
    4. Contact the local authority in charge of NQT, ask them if it is acceptable to be observed weekly.
    5. Contact your union.
    6. Be proactive about your CPD-ask colleagues if you can observe them, read articles online and contribute things from them in staff meetings. Give your HT absolutely 0 reason to be nasty to you, show them that you care.
    7. Be careful about confiding in your mentor, you just don't know whose side they're really on.
    8. Look after yourself. The school could replace you tomorrow if they needed to but your family and friends couldn't so just remember that.

    The NQT year is about surviving but you need to put yourself first. I would seriously look into moving back to Canada but first, seek advice about your resignation dates and the logistics of leaving mid-term.

    Try to keep your head above water :)
    Puffballcow likes this.
  8. Sweep09

    Sweep09 New commenter

    I am so sorry that you are going through this. There is some good advice given in this thread and I don't really have much else to add but just to say keep talking, keep going and please get help. If you need to go to the doctors and be signed off, do that. You are not on your own xxx
    Puffballcow likes this.
  9. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

    Your first priority is your health. If you decide that you don't want to continue teaching at this school, they will soon recruit someone else. You won't be letting your students down. You may find that you are much happier teaching at another school with a better teaching environment and more supportive head teacher. In the meantime, contact your local doctor and get yourself signed off sick to give yourself some breathing space. Feeling like you're feeling and not eating properly is not sustainable in the long term. You need to get advice from a doctor. Talking to your mentor or someone from the Education support partnership helpline would also be a good idea.
    Puffballcow likes this.
  10. Waiguoren

    Waiguoren Occasional commenter

    How rotten. I'm so sorry to hear your story. It sounds like the problem may be your Head's rather than yours. But your question is what to do about it.
    There's some very good advice in this thread, and I hope it helps you. If you have a mentor, it is their job to support you, and they should be doing it. Don't take the headteacher's comments personally. Just do whatever you can to please them. This doesn't mean you have to worry about what they think, however. If you think any of their criticisms are valid, then take them for what they're worth. If you don't, then just do whatever they want you to, but without any feeling of failure.
    Easier said than done, or course. Just try not to let it get to you. If your headteacher is an overbearing bully, that should be their problem, not yours.
    Talk to friends. Not colleagues, perhaps, in case the discussion reaches the headteacher. But good friends who you can let off steam with.
    Very best of luck!
    Puffballcow and DexterDexter like this.
  11. igoumen

    igoumen New commenter

    Your horrible experience is not what the job should be about. Please seek help for your stress levels and start by going to the doctor. You need to put yourself first until you feel well again and not worry about the children. Sending you a big hug x
    Puffballcow likes this.
  12. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    Three things - the NQT year is really hard for everyone, you have also just moved (if I understand correctly) to a new country which is also really stressful, plus it sounds like you have a nightmare head. So it's no wonder you are having an awful time of it. Be kind to yourself. Try to look after yourself physically. Make sure you join in some clubs/social events to help you make new friends and keep perspective.
    I really remember in my NQT year a piece of advice which has always stayed with me - never quite teaching after trying out just one school. It may well be that this school is toxic for you. Could you consider leaving? Maybe doing supply till something else comes up? Wishing you all the best.
    Puffballcow likes this.
  13. speechcompanyinfo

    speechcompanyinfo New commenter

    Dear Canadian Teacher,
    Teaching can do very strange things to people - and - it sounds like it has "finished off" your peculiar Headteacher. She sounds insane, and everything she says to you - well - are the ramblings of an insane bully all that interesting or useful? No.
    Furthermore, Canada is such a different country to the UK. Don't feel bad about difficulties in adjusting.
    Lastly, can you afford to step out of this job? If so, I would go to the doctor, explain that you are suffering from stress, (you sound like you are) and get a sick note for at least two weeks off.
    The sooner you can get away from this job, the better. The children you teach will be fine.
    If you have the money, get out there and have some fun. Inter-rail and youth hostel around Europe and maybe even visit some similar schools in your sector. You never know - you might end up in a much better situation.
    In the news today, a TA at a Primary school was hit in the head by a pupil hurling a chair at him. The TA later died.
    Puffballcow likes this.
  14. Puffballcow

    Puffballcow New commenter

    Nothing to add to the excellent advice already given. Just so sad that this is happening to you, sending a hug and hoping you take some time out - you clearly need it- and access whatever help is available to you, before making the decision which is best for you with regard to your teaching career. Best of luck. X
  15. rbee1

    rbee1 New commenter

    I also had a terrible NQT year, I know it might be hard to believe but not all schools are like that!
    I'm now in my 4th year of teaching and it is so much better!
    I moved school and the school I'm in now is so supportive and a good team!
    You need to look after yourself! If you're not at your best you can't do the best for the children and it seems you really care about them!
    Look after yourself and the wider teaching community is a great network of support!
    Good luck and look after yourself! x
  16. edwinsprint

    edwinsprint New commenter

    There is no shame in quitting. We all hear a 'Don't be a quitter' attitude but it's actually what the smart people do from time to time.

    There are some very poor head teachers out there who have very poor people management skills.

    Beware of going on anti-depressants as they can take a month or so to work.
  17. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Once you're resolved to leave, the remaining weeks or months are much easier to deal with. Set yourself an end date to work towards. And really, what were you thinking coming here from CANADA?! Madness.
    Kateray1 likes this.

Share This Page