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Is anyone else so very lonely?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Flexiblesink32, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Flexiblesink32

    Flexiblesink32 New commenter

    As it says above, really. I work part time and find the job equally stressful and lonely. Due to being part time I miss out on staff meetings and never know what’s happening. I have to do break time duties and don’t get a free break where I can chat in the staff room /a classroom to colleagues and similarly hear readers and run a lunch time club at lunch times. The other teachers all seem to chat in classrooms about things I don’t know about.
    I spend lots of time on my days off doing school work and, as it is for all of you, the work is never ending. I have a health condition too and after my working week I feel ill all weekend and am often bedridden.

    I literally feel sick at the thought of going into school each week. Don’t get me wrong I love my class and the actual part of my job that is teaching. But I feel that the work is taking over my life and the loneliness and workload is just making me feel so ill.

    I don’t really know what I expect from this post, I just wondered if anyone else felt the same?
    science1 and lardylegs like this.
  2. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Lead commenter

    It might be worth a chat with your head if they are approachable. Wellbeing at work os important and you need the time to be able to chat with colleagues and share a break.
    Maybe think about dropping the lunch club and stop hearing readers at lunchtime. You won't get any thanks for it and it will just continue to make you feel unhappy.

    I assume you work in primary? I agree I think it can be a very lonely job. I do think you need to look at all the extras you're doing.
  3. Supplylady

    Supplylady New commenter

    Hi I am sorry to hear about your predicament. I think most people find that the job is all-consuming and it is easy to find it takes over your life. Do you live near any of the staff that you could meet up and have a coffee and a chat with during the holidays? This would be a relaxing environment out of school and you could get to know them better. Or are there ever any work dos where you meet up and socialise. Is there any chance you could change your days and work on a staff meeting day so you don't feel out of the loop?

    Hope you find a solution to this soon.
    ViolaClef likes this.
  4. Flexiblesink32

    Flexiblesink32 New commenter

    Unfortunately I have to do the clubs and extras, they are definitely not through Choice. I very rarely see my Head, I don’t get time to go and seek them out!

    Thanks for your reply.
    agathamorse likes this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Well, don’t you take that. Make an appointment to see the head. It may sound pushy but you know what? We have a right to enjoy our work. Explain the situation and be very clear that it’s affecting your mental wellbeing. If you are already unwell, the school should be looking after you and given the nature of teachers, I’m sure they would - if they knew what was happening and how you felt.

    What you need is some time during the day where you get to have a grown up conversation. That’s really not a lot to ask.

    And you can always post on here. It’s not quite the same as sitting down with a cuppa and having a chat. But when you are feeling really low, there are plenty of people on the site who will at least Know what you’re feeling. I’ve been pretty low in the last couple of weeks and the community on TES has provided a really valuable sounding board.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    It sounds to me that you are being taken advantage of. They are not allowed to treat you worse because you are part time, so if other teachers have time to chat, so should you. If you work for six hours in a day, you are entitled to at least a 20 minute break. In addition, if your are under STPCD conditions, they can only tell you what to do for your part time proportion times 1,265 hours. If you think any of these are being breached, then speak to your union.

    Initially, however, I would do as suggested by @SEBREGIS to see if that helps. Good luck.
  7. Flexiblesink32

    Flexiblesink32 New commenter

    Thank you so much, Sebregis! I just feel useless and like I haven’t a clue what’s going on. i Do the same number of clubs as a full time member of staff and only one less duty. Surely the head knows these thinks and therefore knows I don’t have any free time? Also the lack of minutes from staff meetings, surely they know about this too? I am presuming this is a decision they have made for some reason so I ask myself what is the point of saying anything?
    jlishman2158 and lardylegs like this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Never assume people know what you are doing or how you feel. If you do that, you will always impute evil motives to them. 99% of the time, it just never occurs to people that this is a problem.

    And they should be creating and sending minutes of meetings, that’s only fair. But you can actually use this - find someone who goes and just ask if they could let you know anything important that happens. It’s actually a ‘logical reason’ for starting a conversation, if you need one.

    But also, don’t assume that other people aren’t in the same boat. You started by asking if other people felt as lonely in the job as you do. The answer is yes. And there are probably people in your school who do, too. You are far from alone.
  9. Flexiblesink32

    Flexiblesink32 New commenter

    Thank you. I don’t have time to ask anyone about staff meetings because I don’t have any free time! I think I might need to mention something to the head but need to get my own head in the right place first. I have been having some very dark thoughts indeed and I need to be in a better place to be able to word what I want to say properly. Thanks so much all of you for listening. I’m not always this miserable, I promise!
  10. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Do you have a hobby that can get you out of the house one evening, or one of your days off? I joined a choir and it's been great because it's meeting people from completely different backgrounds, it's fun, and totally non judgemental, and relaxing.

    Do you want a more social connection with colleagues? If you do, then reducing your clubs would help, maybe confiding in a colleague you have formed a relationship with. If not, then make your life outside if school. I've never been one to form friendships in schools, I tend to keep personal and work separate. So it never bothered me that I never went into the staffroom, or went to socials etc, I even got married one weekend in term time and never told anyone on the staff. But that's me, I wasnt bothered by that. But if you are, then find ways to create opportunities, and a conversation with the head is a good start.

    And as others have said, do chat on here, not the same, but helps you see that you're not alone.
  11. Flexiblesink32

    Flexiblesink32 New commenter

    I’m not bothered about making great friendships but I just don’t want to feel left out! I can’t drop my lunchtime club or my readers and because of my health condition I feel too ill to socialise in the evenings. I just want to have normal breaks at school and not feel like I am working so very hard and still doing a **** job with no time to talk to anyone.
  12. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    If you have a chronic illness, the amount of duties you do should be reduced. As should the lunchtime activities. As others have said, you need to speak to your HT. It sounds as though you need an OH assessment.

    I am deeply concerned that you write you've been having dark thoughts. Your job is clearly making you very Ill and you need to talk to the HT. Or, if you're in a Union, talk to them and they'll contact the HT.
  13. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    You are entitled to a lunch break... And can't be directed during it. I'm concerned that you're going over your directed time by your description of your working day.
    It's far too intense.

    Schools can be lonely places. Even as a full-timer, I often feel quite lonely. There will be others feeling the way you do.
  14. Flexiblesink32

    Flexiblesink32 New commenter

    Thank you so much, just someone saying it isn’t all my fault makes me feel much better. I just want to spend my working day working hard but not to fight back tears or be in loads of pain. And I don’t want to spend my days off working and worrying about / dreading school.
  15. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Have you had any reasonable adjustments put in place for you? If not, can you approach your head, via the union for support? I had to have some reasonable adjustments when I was diagnosed with ME, but I had to go through occupational health. I was given a smaller class, less responsibility, fewer duties and assemblies, and a little more PPA time, which I was allowed to go home for when I needed to. I know I was lucky, because when we got a new head, I lost most of it and ended up leaving because my health was infinitely more important.

    Another thought, are you seeing a specialist for your condition so that you can get maximum help to manage it?
  16. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Before you do anything else, I think you should do two things:

    1) Ring the Education Support Partnership helpline right now

    Emotional support Helpline: 08000 562561
    Email: info@edsupport.org.uk
    Website: http://www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk

    2) Make an appointment to see your GP.

    Quite apart from your medical condition, you are clearly unwell with work related stress and this is affecting the way you feel about everything. Tell your GP everything you have told us, including the dark thoughts. There are things your GP can recommend that won't necessarily mean you are signed off, unless this is what you both feel is needed, but will give you a chance to explore the options open to you and to recover your mental health. Your GP may well give you a Fit for Work note to give your head teacher, which will put your school on notice that your work is affecting your mental wellbeing, meaning they will have to take action.

    As others have said, your health is the single most important thing here.
  17. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    I can sympathise with your predicament. I work afternoons only, and I never have time to sit in the staffroom at lunchtime because I am busy setting up for the session. I miss out on morning chats and I don't attend many staff meetings because they are nearly all about Maths and Literacy, which I don't teach.

    After school I have to mark the books, which takes up all my time until I leave the building, I really can't afford to stop and chat to people then.

    I often miss out on social events because I didn't know they were happening. Because I teach in the afternoons, I never have a TA, so I don't have anybody to chat to. My jobshare partner and I often pass each other in the corridor, but that's about it.

    I can't understand why you are hearing readers and running a club at lunchtime. You really do not need to do that.

    I think your HT is taking advantage. Imagine that.
    jlishman2158 and agathamorse like this.
  18. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I worked part-time at the end of my career in secondary, and by then the sense of isolation didn't bother me that much as I knew I'd be retiring before long, but I do hear what you're saying. Schools are most definitely geared towards their full-time staff, who are usually the majority, and it can be hard work keeping up with things if you miss meetings and there's no formal structure for keeping part-timers informed and involved. I didn't have a tutor role either, so I had no links to the pastoral system, and my soon-to-retire HoD was a virtual recluse. I'd been a supply for a couple of years before that so I'd grown accustomed to feeling out of place, but if you're there long term I do sympathise. You need to talk with someone higher up the food chain whom you trust to listen. Don't some schools have someone with a specific 'wellbeing' responsibility these days, like putting posh soaps in a basket in the staff bog and that sort of thing? Does someone like that exist in your school, or haven't you been told? You need to get some sort of change underway - how about asking other part-timers how they feel?
  19. Catjellycat

    Catjellycat Occasional commenter

    Never assign to malice that what can be explained by stupidity.

    I don’t mean your SLT are necessarily stupid - maybe just a touch ignorant but you aren’t giving them the chance to rectify any of your woes. Do speak to them.
  20. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    Unless you speak out, no one is going to know how you feel. It may be that people assume you’re really happy with how things are. Sometimes if we just get on with things, that’s the natural assumption.

    Can you drop in to the staffroom or other peoples’ classrooms at the beginning or end of the day? Can you make an appointment to see the HT then? Can you initiate something ‘social’?

    It might be that other teachers think you don’t want to be disturbed. Talk to one of your colleagues. The HT might be able to support, if only you let him/ her know how it is for you.

    I agree with the advice given regarding seeking additional support. You sound like you enjoy your time with the children but feel overwhelmed with other things.

    Please just take the step and talk to someone.

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