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Is fear affecting your work?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by JessicaPowellJournalist, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. JessicaPowellJournalist

    JessicaPowellJournalist New commenter

    Do you feel there's a lot of fear in the teaching profession currently? Is this new? Do you work (or have you worked) in a school where there's a 'culture of fear'? Does fear of inspections, exam results, accountability, being seen to be underperforming etc impact on your ability to do your job – or indeed, your health and happiness? Or perhaps your experiences are quite the opposite and you don't feel any major fear in your job and work in a positive, supportive school environment? Here at TES, we're working on a feature for the magazine about fear in the teaching profession – how common it is, what causes it, what impacts it has, and what can be done to avoid it. We'd love to hear your comments from the frontline about your experiences around this. Please do comment below or if you'd like to make an anonymous comment, please feel free contact me in a private conversation. Thank you.
  2. treacle30

    treacle30 New commenter

    I felt fear at my last school. We had a certain number of weeks per term where observations would happen with no notice, leading to a feeling of having a permanent Ofsted inspection for those weeks. We would have notices in he staffroom saying 9/10 classes had met the criteria for their classroom, well done. But the fear was, was yours the classroom that didn't meet?! Noone knew, self doubt creeps in, you can't celebrate and feel good about the 9/10 because what if you were the 1/10 that wasn't good? Fear about SATS, being told that jobs are on the line over results, when the kids have already taken the tests and nothing more can be done, that can only be said to create fear while awaiting results.
  3. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Can I write you an article please? I have lots to say on this subject and would argue that the Fear Factor is definitely getting worse. Do PM me if interested.
    Mrs M.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Is it new?

    I never experienced it from 1981 to 2013 so I'd say it's new.
  5. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I served almost 25 years as a F.T. teacher until in the latter year or so I started worrying about, well, all of it.

    I am now a P.T. teacher
    I feel fear F.T.

    So I suppose if I were still a F.T teacher
    I would implode or self destruct from fear

    (It is not on to give your all at the expense of any sort of personal life, and for that nonetheless not to be good enough. That's a pretty basic cause of fear I think. And yes, it does affect performance. Shake 'n' mark!)
  6. bigbev

    bigbev New commenter

    Oh yes fear is very much a factor these days in my experience....everyone watching their own back....people 'tell taleing' to SMT - teaching was certainly not like this when I started teaching - is so so sad.:(
  7. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

  8. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Fear didn't cover it. I felt sick with terror sometimes. Terrified that my results wouldn't be good enough, terrified that I couldn't get the child only capable of a E up to the C that the school hierarchy demanded, terrified that the children would complain about some perceived or necessary behaviour management, terrified of the power that the children and their parents wielded, terrified of the bullying SLT...I'll stop now.:oops:
  9. Flowersinspring

    Flowersinspring Lead commenter

    Fear of opening emails. Fear of the next learning walk or observation and staying up til all hours preparing for these even though that creates a false impression. Walking on eggshells all the time. Fear of anyone walking into your classroom to tell you something else to do or tell you you've done something wrong or just not good enough.

    Fear the minute you wake up and knowing you have too much to do today because you didn't do everything yesterday because you were too busy to do it and too busy to stop for lunch or go to the loo .

    Fear driving to work knowing that just the smell of the building will set your heart racing. Fear of going into your classroom first thing because you know you will have to turn on the computer and look at the emails.
    Fear that you will end up in a psychiatric hospital. Fear that you will lose your job, your home and your family if this fear gets any bigger.

    Yes. I've felt fear in this job.
  10. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Just read some of the threads on Workplace Dilemmas - everything you need to know is there.
  11. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Comments or observations JessicaPowelljournalist??????
  12. pair_of_argyles

    pair_of_argyles Occasional commenter

    Once you realise that all SMT have been promoted well beyond their level of competence, the fear goes away. Fortunately I realised this very early on .in my career,and have spent the intervening years manipulating the management dimwits to achieve my own ends and needs. Yes, i know all very Machiavellian , but nonetheless true. Three tactics served me better than most.1. Learn how to say No and mean it 2. Never work one single second for free and 3. Learn how to use Stats and Maths to manipulate their figures to suit you and your requirements
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    O, all these replies to the thread make me rather gloomy!.
    I'm not as bothered about feeling fear myself as I am about contributing to a generation of children who are also imbued with fear-fear of appearing on the underachieving list, fear of not getting allowed their options choices, fear of not getting required GCSE grades for FE, fear of not getting their FE grades for Uni, fear of actually going to Uni as they know they will finish deeply in debt. Many of them swallow their fear and simply don't bother trying. Because they're kids.
    I think us teachers are so laden with fear, quite possibly so deflected in the workplace into dealing with our frightening mountains of paperwork, that we don't always have the time we'd like to give to help those children in fear. Many just need somebody to talk to, and I don't see how children can view their teachers as a source of even that any more, because we are constantly squirreling ourselves away to do paperwork.
    This is my more recent experience, and it really knots me up sometimes-I used to spend my lunchbreaks out there, mixing, supporting, joining in. But it's really changed.
  14. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Quite. But the post is about how fear is affecting my work, not how it`s affecting the children.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Nopes, but you probably don't want to hear from those who are teaching in excellent schools where staff are happy. It doesn't make such a dramatic journalistic piece.
  16. Calamity54321

    Calamity54321 New commenter

    Fear is a very big part of teaching now. It's getting to the point where nothing is good enough, and none of it will go unnoticed. Pressure and expectations are constantly being increased, despite the fact that teachers are barely coping with things.

    I think the fear is being passed onto the students now (hardly surprising considering the frightening pressure on staff) with children fearful that they're not good enough, fearing not living up to their teacher's expected high standards and feeling the fear of the consequences.
  17. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    O I'm sorry-perhaps I was not very clear.
    Because teachers are so afraid to not complete their x,y,z (fill in as per your personal paperwork remit for the day) they are far more unavailable to support children directly.

    Are you saying that does not relate to my work, as a teacher?
    sandrabarrett, nervousned and Shedman like this.
  18. grumpyeeyore

    grumpyeeyore New commenter

    Currently undergoing NQT induction. All tickety boo but having a gun at your head does make you feel uneasy even if the person holding the gun doesn't appear to be a psychopath.
  19. fishtoe

    fishtoe New commenter

    Yes I agree it is new last 5 years or so.
    I was forced into a complete state of fear after being classed/graded as the worse teacher in the school and as a result I lost my job.

    I note that the Samaritans is the top pinned post to this forum. That wouldn't have been there a few years ago!
  20. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    It's funny this should come up as a thread this week - I was only talking about the change in my workplace this half term at the weekend. A key member of senior staff is on temporary leave, and the change in the school and the change in me is almost unbelievable. People have begun to comment on how much happier I am, and how much I seem to be enjoying my job. I can't explain why it should be so different, but the fear of this particular person walking into my room and bluntly demanding to see my books or tell me that I'm being observed next lesson has all gone away. It's not just me - everyone seems to be being friendly to each other.

    I dread them coming back and seeing the place I love to work in revert to the hell hole it was before. One person shouldn't make this much difference, but they do. They also have form.

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