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I Just Can't Cope Anymore.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by VeronicAmb, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    I'm feeling burnt out for sure, but I've been feeling a bit uncertain about teaching since Dec/Jan. I said to myself I'll give it a few years because my dept. and myself have worked so hard towards the KS3/4/5 curriculum and I don't want to see all of these be given to a new HoD if I were to leave.

    I just don't feel that inspired anymore, I honestly don't. I just sighed at the thought of going back in September. To tell the God's honest truth - I just want to leave. I thought about going back to just being a classroom teacher but I know it won't make a difference. Rather than sitting at a screen analysing stupid data, I'll have my face deep in books, marking, marking, more marking. I just don't want to do it anymore. I do miss teach so badly, but the workload is putting so much pressure on my home life I feel like I am being forced to choose. I've always been good at handling work and home life and keeping it separate, but since January, I felt like it's just not working anymore. I thought the fact that English KS4 doesn't have CA and my school doesn't do AS exams (they've now changed that), this year would be tough, but not this tough. But I was wrong. My school have no made marking way more important and we are marking every year 7 every 12 lessons, year 8 and 9 every 13 and KS4 every 14 lessons. All this per fortnight. Yes, I don't have all classes, but the amount of monitoring I have do is just ridiculous. Plus my own classes. And the stupid meetings. I have 5-8 meetings on a weekly basis.

    I never thought my post would be this long. But I just don't know what to do. My work has been pushing a wedge between me and my fiance - we've been engaged for 4 years and still not married because of my work. I feel like it's having an effect on my kids too. I just don't like that. I've been alright with it before, but I'm starting to feel guilty by it. My mother put work over me and my sister and ever seen teenagehood, we've had an estranged relationship between our mother. My eldest son is now 14 soon to be 15 and I just don't want the same thing to happen. I also feel like his dad (my ex husband) is bonding with him more and I feel like I'm just not there him and my other two kids. It's one of the worst feelings a parent can have for their children. It really is.

    I feel as though I want to tell my head that I will resign at Christmas this week because I don't want to have the pressure of "staying for the year" next year. I want to tell him I mean business, not as a threat or anything - just to say Im 100% serious, I am no longer happy in the teaching profession and I just want to be honest. He's a great boss and I love my school and my colleagues. But I just can't do it anymore.

    Any advice? (Again sorry for the long post).
  2. And100

    And100 New commenter

    So sorry to hear you feel this way. I gave up management responsibilities in my last post to focus on class teaching and improve work/life balance but as you say it made no difference. I feel your pain as I did a good job, worked hard and got results. However I wasn't happy with how it affected my life. Work is important but your well-being, health and loved ones are more important.
  3. And100

    And100 New commenter

    Sorry my post was chopped in half when I uploaded it :(
    I don't know about your finances or qualifications but there are alternatives to teaching. You are likely to take a pay cut initially. Theo Griff has posted about alternative careers and The National Careers Website may be useful.
    When I had similar feelings about work I sought support from a counsellor. The Teacher's Support Network or The Samaritans may be a good starting point if you feel this would be useful?
    I hope things start to improve for you and wish you all the best.
    emerald52 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    When do you finish? If it's this week or last, then take a deep breath and try to relax for the next few weeks.

    Teaching is hard and you may decide that your work-life balance isn't working but...

    1. How old are your children? If they are teenagers, they are mainly off doing their own thing and if you can reserve a night or two during the week for them, that should be sufficient.
    2. Your marking sounds tricky - how often do you see your various year groups? Could you have them leave their exercise books with you after each class (homework in a 'rough book' they keep) and therefore you can do a few everyday so it becomes manageable?
    3. Pick a wedding date and stick to it! Once that's decided, it will fall into place.
    4. Sit down with your kids - what do THEY want? Perhaps YOU think they want Mom around all the time, but see 1 above....
    5. Could you go part-time? Would that help?
    6. Can you cut down the meetings, eg. even 1?
    7.Is it possible to say two nights a week you'll go home on time and do NO work? You say your head is supportive, perhaps suggest as a school- wide idea?

    I'm an older mum with a 4 year old, I do a great deal of prep over the summer and holidays, I keep student workbooks as I stated above and mostly keep up with my marking. It's not easy and I do understand your frustration.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    @VeronicAmb, some good advice above.
    Especially about involving your children in decisions. As children get older they may well not care as much as you did, so you need to find out and not base decisions on your own experience.

    There will never be 'a right time' to get married, so pick a time, make arrangements and just stick to it.

    Don't rush into resigning (or even hinting at that) just for the moment. You have up to October 31st to put in your resignation for Christmas and at the end of a tiring year and the heat at this end of term is not the time to be making life-changing decisions about a job. Plus remember post- natal effects may still be influencing you. Take your time over the summer and see how things are in the Autumn.
    bompu, s10327 and pepper5 like this.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Goodness don't resign this week. If every teacher who had had enough of the whole blinkin thing in the last week of summer resigned, there would truly be a shortage. In fact there would barely be anyone left!

    Finish the term, sod marking and so on now. Make plans to enjoy the next 3 weeks and then start to think and plan what needs to change. Don't resign without a plan. Your teenagers want your income, that's for sure.
  7. elainerosebud

    elainerosebud New commenter

    All good advice. a lot of us are feeling like we don't want to go back because of the demands the changes have put on all teachers.
  8. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    There is truly a shortage! If every teacher who had had enough of the whole blinkin thing in the last week of summer resigned, there would be a national disaster :eek:
  9. MisterW

    MisterW New commenter

    I don't think you have anything to gain by telling your head now that you will be leaving at Christmas. Your best bet is to take the summer holiday to relax and get some perspective and also to spend a bit of time researching possible career alternatives. You will have to take a pay cut and may have to lower your standards a little but at the same time don't just accept anything, which can be tempting when you're so unhappy.

    The best way to "show the head you're serious" is to approach him/her and say "I am planning on applying for job X, would you be happy for me to nominate you as a referee?". But don't do that until you've found a job you actually want to apply for, which could take months of careful consideration. Good luck!
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I was really surprised to see you post this because I read your posts and you usually come across as very confident, capable and happy in your work. As others have said, don't rush into resigning. Rest over summer and maybe think whether a step down plus a new school might give you a better balance. Or do you have a colleague who would jobshare you could drop down a day or two to take the pressure off?

    I hope you feel more positive about it all soon.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. Clive_Candy

    Clive_Candy Occasional commenter

    Me too. The OP is someone whose posts are always worth a read.

    @VeronicAmb, give yourself a few weeks' rest and see how you're feeling then.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Resigning now would be the equivalent of vowing never to do a marathon again at the 26 mile point with 365 yards to go! If you can afford it, book a holiday and leave work at home once you break up! Switch off the laptop and do NOT check your e-mails and put one of those 'Sorry I am out of my office' messages on your e-mail during that time. The world will not end, believe me!

    If all HODs are feeling the same about marking maybe you could go to SLT in September and ask if there is a more sensible and workable option! Data analysis - is that not the job for the data analyst of the school and your job is to act on the figures? Could you delegate some of the monitoring to your 2iC?

    We all know what it feels like metaphorically near the end of a hard race. But then is NOT the time to vow never to run it again! The time to do that is when you've got miles to go and nothing whatsoever will get you around or running again!
    bompu and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  13. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    So sad. Rather than a strike, I'd have liked to do a 'focus on children, not data' movement.
  14. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    Some very sound advice from OP. I was in your position three years ago, I had planned so many new exams and was responsible for two different GCSE's within my subject area, a BTEC course and AS/ A2. The school re-organised and I lost my HOD and became a main scale teacher. The only difference I noticed was I did not have to attend as many meetings.
    You need to go back - positive - after a well-earned rest and have rules that you work by, stick to it. If it becomes untenable then that is when you:
    1. Meet with your Line Manager and prepare to explain how you feel you are not able to mark & assess in the time scales and why. A written document outlining your concerns is a good way to go. (I might also give a copy to my union rep to 'sit on' recording my concerns.) Your school has 'a duty of care' for you, they cannot ignore your worries/ workload.
    2. Contact Occupational Health, refer yourself and tell your Line Manager that you have done this in your meeting. Go and talk to OH for support because they are on your side and will report back to school (in your favour.)

    Make your plan/s, considering the advice from other posters here and then, please, relax and recharge. You sound a conscientious, capable person. Other staff will be feeling just as you are and I guarantee you are not on your own. Deal with now and don't worry about September until you have to.
  15. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    Thanks for everyone's kind support and wishes. I will get back to everyone this weekend :).
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    The official teaching day was yesterday but we had to come in today to do some paperwork for Sept and then to celebrate.

    1. My children are 31 months, 8 and 14. We try to do that, but because the 8 and 14 yr old are with their Father from Thurs-Sun it makes it difficult. And when this is what's making me feel worse. Because I only see them Sun-Thurs, I feel like I'm losing all their time to my work.

    2. Our timetables have a two-week rota. I'll be seeing my year 7 x6, my year 11 x7, 12B x6, 12E x5 and 13B x4. A-level marking isn't too bad as I just mark assessments. The "rough book" sounds like a great idea. But the budget is tight since we spent it on getting new books for KS3. But, I don't see them using more than 2 books for a whole year. So that is a new plan I shall introduce next year, thanks!

    3. Will do. I'm an indecisive person and I'm not that all fussed. But because my fiance has never been married before and I have, it's starting to put a strain because I keep putting off. I do want to get married again, but I just can't see it happening any time soon unless I leave work and put my family 100% first.

    4. I haven't spoken to my oldest one yet. But my 8 year old has been saying to me she missing me dropping her off and picking her up which makes her a bit sad because she won't see me until 7pm. Then I won't see her until 7pm the next day which again, is heartbreaking.

    5. I have been thinking about part-time. But I think I'm a bit silly in saying I don't want to become the "part time Head of English" with another. I fear I will lose respect in the school from colleagues and students, if that makes sense? I'm thinking my payment will be capped half way down, then given to the other part-time Head? I'm guessing I can't keep my current salary if I were to go part-time? I also think it would be impractible to the dept. as we will already have 2 Subject Leaders as one is PT. So then having 2 PT Head of English would make arrangements complicated. Does any of this make sense?

    6. I think I'll be cutting down a few since I'll have 2 SL from Sept. I can give them more responsibility to each of them. But then I don't want to be that HoD that gives all the meetings to their 2i/c.

    7. Funnily enough, I'm good friends with HoD for Humanities and we discussed this idea a few weeks back. We might discuss it with the rest of HoD/SL in Sept cause I think our head will be understanding.
  17. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    I know love. Those gymnastic classes sure as hell don't pay themselves!
  18. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    @Flere-Imsaho @Clive_Candy

    Oh thank-you for your kind words! That makes me feel better that you guys enjoy lurking over my comments ahaha! I have some fans! :p

    I just feel tired and unmotivated. The only thing that I enjoyed about this year is teaching Dracula and pushing my bottom set year 11 who really did me proud throughout the year. My year 10s have been good but they're so damn lazy, it's ridiculous. We got there in the end, but just going back to Sept isn't making me smile.

    I just don't want to be backed into a corner in having to choose work over family. I've worked hard to get where I am and to throw it all away because of the demands just makes me feel very sad. I've had a tough educational background which is why I got into teaching to make sure I can do my best in order for what I went through wouldn't let that happen to students under my care. I know I sound selfish as a parent but I've always been a career-driven person and give it all up only after 14 years just doesn't seem fair!
  19. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    The two older ones are going away this Sunday to Florida with their dad and his father for two weeks. Which leaves my fiance and the little one to ourselves. Which will be nice to not do anything major. We are thinking of going on holiday for the first time since the little one was born, but being 31 months, I don't see the point. However, I have brought the attention of going to Italy for 1 week with the fiance and leaving the kids at his sisters for a week. It sounds worse out loud lol.

    Yeah you're right. But all HoD have to do it data at least twice a half term with all year groups, all classes. Thats 7 year groups and approximately 64 classes (yup). I think when my PT SL comes back, between her and the other SL for English they'll be speaking about it with my input and I think I'm confident in both could job share the responsibility of KS3. Which means I'll solely be looking after KS4 and 5. Which would be amazing and cut down a heck of a lot of workload!

    Thanks for your advice!!
  20. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    May I say this?

    Go to Italy with your fiance. Leave small one with sister. Do NOT reject an offer like that. You would be MAD.

    I know nothing of the teaching aspect having retired in 2013 and been teacher of SEN in Special.

    But I do have grandchildren and a daughter who has split from their father. If you do ONE thing? Do the Italy thing WITHOUT toddler.
    bob79 and sabrinakat like this.

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