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I'm out - thank you

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by JessicaRabbit1, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    Just wanted to post my story as I know there are lots of folk feeling the way I used to feel.

    In my last (Primary, academy-sponsored) my life was hell, for all the reasons that we read about on here too often. I had no work-life balance. I spent every night of the week working, and all day Sunday. I dreaded going into work every day. I have never felt so stressed and anxious. Constant observations, mounds of marking, relentless scrutiny, pressure, colleagues trying to out-do each other, dreadful behaviour, nothing ever being good enough. That horrible, dragging Sunday night feeling. The fear that in Monday's staff meeting feedback about my performance, or someone else's, would be shared with everyone. Yes, my ex-Head really did that to his staff.

    I made the decision to quit because I simply could not do it anymore. I thought I would try supply, but ended up at a different school part time and oh my goodness, the difference is astonishing. No ridiculous planning and marking expectations, no endless rivalry and sucking up to SLT. A Head that values staff, deals swiftly and effectively with poor behaviour (no more having to watch little Tyler / Demi-Mai playing with Lego in the Head's office after running amok all morning) and does his best to support and encourage us.

    I have my life back. The other night I watched a film midweek in the evening instead of marking. I read books, lots of them. Little things that mean the world. But the best part - I can have a relationship with my family again. Before, if one of my children needed me for anything they would have to wait. Conversations with them always began with them asking, "Mum ,when you've finished working can we....?" Requests to help with homework led to even more stress, birthday parties were forgotten, meals were rushed, unhealthy affairs. I am thoroughly ashamed of myself.

    I cannot believe I was as stupid as I was to have lived that way for so long. I cannot believe I put my family through this hell. No more. Last night my thirteen year old son asked me to sit and talk, and we had a long chat about GCSE choices and what he wanted to do when he was older. We researched careers, we talked about them, we talked about him, my amazing teenager who I have barely even noticed growing up. I would never have had the time to do that before. I have time to help my 10 year old with homework and not just get stressed with him because I needed to plan my class' homework. Today I spent all morning doing a jigsaw with my 9 year old. Tonight I am going on a 'date' with Mr JessicaRabbit for the first time in a long time.

    I'll say it again: I cannot believe I lived like that for so long. No more. I will never go back to a school like that, and I'll never teach full time again. I don't know what the future holds; this job is only fixed til the summer but I know whatever happens, it has to be better than it was. Please - if you feel the way I did, make the leap. Get out. There ARE other schools out there and life is more than piles of marking. Family and piece of mind are the most important, precious things, way more important than money. And I didn't even realise how bad it was until I stopped doing it.

    Thank you to everyone who has posted on this board for sharing their experiences. You inspired me to leap and my relief is overwhelming.
     
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    Thank you so much, @JessicaRabbit1 , for coming back on here. This will give hope to many other posters, I'm sure.

    And we are all delighted for your sake (and your family's) that things have now turned out well for you. have a great evening out tonight!

    Best wishes

    .
     
    Dragonlady30, ScotSEN and wanet like this.
  3. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    That's such good news @JessicaRabbit1! Long may your proper work life balance continue!
     
    ScotSEN and wanet like this.
  4. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    You will get your sanity and sense of well-being back again. These things can't be bought, but without them we feel very poor indeed.

    Don't be too hard on yourself. The past is gone, there is only now. And now you have time to walk slowly, smell the roses and enjoy the rest of your life.
     
    Dragonlady30, ScotSEN and Mrsmumbles like this.
  5. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Good on you and good to hear such hopeful news. I'm really glad that you got your well deserved break. My fear is that these jobs 'change' once we older and make experienced staff shunt over to that second year, making the short term contract permanent. Yes our posts seem more secure, but I worry that many full time posts now carry the capability curse, overwork, and ridiculous expectations from parents. I quite like the protection that automatically comes with 'oh he's only here for a year' or 'oh he's only part time.' It would take a very very stupid SLT manager and line manager to alienate probably the best calibrate temp and part time staff they've been offered in a generation. I really hope that your HT is one of the good guys and rare exceptions. But I've also had my former psycho line manager be lovely to her part timers. After all, you can't afford for all your department to clear off at once, even if she did manage 60%!
     
  6. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    But I really am happy for you and please excuse my ingrained cynicism...I'm a serial part time temp contractor now, and love it.
     
    Dragonlady30 and ScotSEN like this.
  7. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Well done JessicaRabbit1 - really pleased you've escaped.

    3 months down the line for me and I agree with everything you say. I look back and wonder how the hell I did it.

    I have time to talk to my kids, I watch films and I have the weekends free. I feel so much less stressed than ever.

    I thought 6 months ago that I could carry on for about 2 more years in teaching but since I've finished I'm not sure I could have even lasted 12 months.

    So, for others thinking of making the leap, do it and find the freedom.
     
  8. ScotSEN

    ScotSEN Senior commenter

    Think this should be compulsary reading for HTs.
     
  9. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    JessicaRabbit 1, glad to see you have seen that the grass can be greener and have seen some management that is supportive and knows what 'behaviour for learning' actually means. What it does exemplify is that some heads are proactive and in doing so deal with the behaviour rather than blaming the teacher for the poor behaviour. Being on supply will allow you to focus on you and your family.
     
  10. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Well done on getting your life back. Make sure you enjoy it! :)
     
  11. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I'm really, really glad it's worked out positively to you and is a valuable encouragement to others.
    What really saddens me however, is what has happened to this wonderful profession of our?
    Stories like yours and others who've posted on these fora may point to something 'rotten in the state of Denmark' nowadays, when we hear of so many similar tales.

    I am so glad I have memories of 'happy teaching' when we weren't all so stressed and could just put children at the core of our work, rather than stats or budgets . . . . .
     
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  12. princessclairey

    princessclairey New commenter

    I've just read this after posting my own thread of problems and I can completely relate!! But my problem is that I'm pregnant and therefore stuck until at least my baby comes in May. I don't think I can last that long... I can't keep crying in my classroom every day. I can't keep neglecting my family in favour of work and being short tempered and horrible to them because I'm so unhappy and stressed - no, not even just for the 4 months I have until maternity. I will get out as soon as I can but I need my maternity pay and no one will employ a visibly pregnant woman so I am completely and totally trapped!
     
  13. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I know...my first job was great. My head of department was a prolific columnist for the TES! We'd have departmental meetings at a lovely local pub, and I swear we got more work done. He is still working away, but was lucky as his partner was already in SLT and he lives and works in the Home Counties rather than London. Thanks to him I never take it all too seriously...I love the work, but I know that what kids remember decades on are the fun times, trips, and lessons.
     
    Dragonlady30 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  14. guinnesspuss

    guinnesspuss Star commenter

    Well done JessR. You will start getting comments about how much better you look and how much happier you seem. I did. Even my sister said how she had been getting really worried about me because I always looked so awful.
     
  15. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Yep, me too, isn't it galling! Shows how much we put the kids and jib first. Yet this gvt stamps on us for it. Utter disgrace.
     
  16. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    Thanks guys. Another benefit I have noticed is that I actually enjoy planning again. In my old place, everything had to be done a certain way, including filling out a hugely detailed pro-forma. I dreaded opening my laptop to plan because I just felt so under pressure to do it the 'right' way. Now I am trusted to do a good job which means freedom to be creative and plan much more exciting lessons that the kids might actually enjoy. I have found that I look forward to planning again.

    Lara - I do have some happy memories. Sadly, not that many as this is my fourth year of teaching only. Mostly they involve times in the classroom where we did not have to be thinking about SATS, levels, revision, pointless SPaG etc. There are children that I will never forget because they were simply amazing, in many different ways.
     
    Dragonlady30 and cissy3 like this.
  17. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Of all the outrageously cruel things I saw in my last school, I think the most obscene was public humiliation. The 'disappearances', and most of the other forms of management bullying took place behind closed doors, so others only heard the 'screams in the dark', or saw the 'bloodstains on the floor'. To be a witness to a colleague being asked to stand up, at a staff meeting, with no prior warning and be called to account for some imagined transgression, or to receive a tirade of criticism made us feel that we were spectators at some obscene ritual, especially as it was clear that the celebrant of this ritual relished their task. Similarly, staff members were made to 'apologise' to us, at morning briefing, for their supposed failings.

    On reflection, two things sent out a salutary messag. Firstly, the sheer arrogance and self-assuredness of the SMT in doing this sort of thing before over hundred witnesses, and secondly that they were so certain of the effectiveness of such techniques that they knew nobody there would raise any objection.
     
  18. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    That is just shocking but what is worse is that the remainder of the staff stood by and allowed this to happen. But, of course, the reason it was done like this was to pass on the message that 'you'll be next if you dare challenge us' - that is bullying in the extreme.
     
    Mrsmumbles and Dragonlady30 like this.
  19. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Exactly right! I was just as lily-livered and as cowed as most of my colleagues. To my shame, I breathed an inward sigh of relief when it knew that I was not the 'target for today'. It was not just that the SMT wanted to use fear as a tool to enforce compliance, it wanted to engender fear in people as a permanent state of mind, by making persecution a random phenomenon, without obvious cause. Like many others here, I am still affected by what happened to those around me, most of whom I knew well and respected, and I am bitterly angry about it, to this day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  20. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Good for you Jessica. So pleased to hear this. My bully did the humiliation thing with some of his other targets. ie did a round of drop ins then discussed the supposed general results at staff meeting, though everyone knew which teachers he was talking about.
     

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