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Is fear affecting your work?

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

  1. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Very true Grandsire. I have a morbid fear that I'll die before I retire and that's only in July but I've looked forward so much I would hate for it to be taken away now. Every morning I wake I rejoice that I'm one day closer.
  2. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    If I was guaranteed to find a school that sounds as amazing as yours I'd go back to teaching in a heart beat. I genuinely love reading about your school and how much you love your job but I'm too scared to risk it!
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Try independent...as someone told me about 15 years ago, "There are still problems, but nicer problems"! ;)
  4. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    Yes, but I'm not sure how much of this is self-inflicted.

    I am constantly afraid that I'll be caught out somehow not being good enough. But everyone tells me I have nothing to worry about.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    LOL I have that fear!!!
    sandrabarrett likes this.
  6. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    We are all probably familiar with the Psychology 101 graph of stress on the x axis and performance on the y axis. At the origin, stereotypically, is your stoner type who gets out of bed at 2pm, is at Uni but hasn't been to a lecture since November 12th and will tell you to 'just chill, man!' Further along is the peak (we actually need SOME stress to get out of bed in the morning etc.) Too often, teaching a la 2017 is at the upper end where stress is high and performance actually declines.

    In some way, this is symptomatic of society in general now. Its too right wing, individualistic (thanks Thatcher!) competitive (IMO) and the Hunger Games is a terribly good analogy - for kids - of where we're at (I am aware this is a bold statement and probably liable to get shot down in flames by any Eng Lit teachers!)

    But yes, fear! Waking up at 4am (or sometimes significantly earlier) and already too anxious about the day ahead to return to sleep (and probably exacerbated by the stimulant effect of the very alcohol you consumed last night in an effort to 'knock yourself out' to sleep.) Dry retching. Fear of whoever is walking through the door.

    Some individuals can survive and even thrive on the fear. But fear probably in some part is why many teachers leave ultimately. The human body can only take excess adrenaline for so long!
  7. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    When you peer round corners checking that a certain someone isn't in sight, sprint to your room, frantically unlock and open it, don't turn the lights on (at 7:30am in december) and work in the dark for the next hour, and always relock the door so when she comes along she thinks you're not in ....is that fear? It didn't feel like it at the time, merely avoidance of a rather loud and slightly aggressive HOD but it did result in a bit of a breakdown.
  8. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Unfashionable post I know...But I really like my job and the people I work with. The teachers in the schools I work in are generally happy too. Occasionally issues arise, but nothing like the things one reads about on TES!

    Not all schools are badly managed by despotic idiots with tick-lists...

  9. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Oh yes.

    Mrsmumbles and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Thank goodness for that! Was beginning to think it was just me!
    Lara mfl 05, sandrabarrett and Pomz like this.
  11. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Not an unfashionable post but a very fortunate place to work in where one is happy and is just allowed to get on with their teaching.

    I too was once happy to teach but the acquisition of our school by another, the change of policies that meant a line of inept individuals could control and twist everything one says and does as a teacher to the detriment of student behaviour and teacher's own health, ruled this out.

    Examples creep in at first which managers manage to sweep under, by wrecking the reputations of the teachers that leave with a few jovial remarks, e.g. oh they couldn't control their classes or their results were down this year.......to which others nod sagely in the hope that their own 'slights' will be ignored by the ignorant.

    But then you pass by a lesson taken by the same jolly loud voiced manager and you see their students on their phones or playing games on the computer because they finished copying out their coursework three months before the end of the year.....You do a little digging and it turns out this manager has no qualifications to teach any academic subject but is very popular with students because of his joviality and common interests and political social network.

    Loved chatting to students on detention about other teachers (gossip becomes professional judgement apparently) and had enough time and funding to give them tea coffee and biscuits err win their trust.

    Whereas a physics English or maths teacher has just about enough time to cover the curriculum in between tons of extra days lost for stressful and unnecessary mini inspections and micro inspections and consultants talking rubbish, and enrichment days which were supposed to be run by external agencies with the funding provided, but now somehow have to be both administered and run by teachers themselves, and paid for by students.

    Yet these same 'managers' have the full permission of the dfe not to mention higher renumeration, to judge the 'performance' of trained qualified professionals and the only thing between an experienced professional and this person's judgement is their ego and whether it was massaged correctly or not!

    Yes it started becoming frightening when the only qualification to become a lead teacher is the ability to drone on loudly about teaching and learning 'initiatives' and withstand a lot of meetings with like minded people who want to escape the 'drudgery' of actual teaching work.

    Of course they have to make their job seem more important than teaching itself and the best way for the insecure to do that is to be judgemental about others. Like hypochondriacs who talk like they've done the 8 years of study that doctors have to undertake!

    Most schools now lock their staff in. They need permission to run personal errands on their breaks and lunch, where they are not on duty, from at least two or three line managers. I'm guessing all this brainwashing will fit in nicely if the teaching 'apprenticeship' scheme is funded by the dfe.

    Teachers need to show evidence that a student who can't understand or speak English is able to understand deeper concepts in other subjects because if they don't understand after one lesson then it must be the teacher's fault these days. Particular if the student complains to one of the lead teachers after being put on a behaviour warning for disrupting lessons.

    Teachers can get investigated because the student has not revised or done their homework or been rude to staff in lessons.

    Because these things can now be attributed to 'teaching and performance issues' for some staff but put down to just 'teenage hormones' for other 'lead' staff.

    When lead staff raise their voice at disruptive students it shows 'authority'. But when improving other staff this same behaviour can be attributed to 'loss of control' or a lesson 'not properly resourced' with not enough 'hooks' or some other dribble.

    It's what happens when you pay too much money to a few staff rather than those doing the actual full time teaching.

    Lead staff have to provide evidence of improving others and they have to decide early on in the year which teachers to choose for this.

    It's why teachers are leaving in droves. Many experienced Teachers simply don't have the time, or the lack of intelligence, to play these games, many don't believe it happens until they start working in such schools.

    Frightens the life out people that any idiot in a lead position can destroy years of academic study, teaching experience and solid career reputations, armed with just a ticklist to justify the leadership pay spine bracketed staff.

    It's utter but totally legal nonsense going on but money talks.

    And those with the money are your CEOs with massive pay packets for doing very little to do with teaching and learning.

    But it's frightening how much they can talk about teaching and learning 'standards' in the press as part of their own personal PR ammunition.
  12. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    @drek Spot on! The fear and anxiety comes from knowing that you are a pawn in some elaborate game of which you cannot learn the rules, you do not understand, and over which you have no control. No matter how assiduously you do all that is demanded of you, you have no protection from random observations, being held accountable for the actions and failings of others over which you have little influence and no control, and being called in for 'little chats' do discuss your perceived 'shortcomings'.

    At my last school, we had on DH whose favourite film seems to have been 'The Lives of Others'. Out of the blue, he would call you to his office for an interview which went something like this:

    DH. "Why do you think I have asked to see you?"

    Teacher: "I don't know."

    DH: "Perhaps you need more time to think about it. (Ostentatiously consults his diary). Will we reconvene our meeting on x date. I advise you to reflect very carefully before then. It will be better for you to bring these problems to me, rather for me to have to bring them to you"
  13. mathdrabble

    mathdrabble New commenter

    I work in a school where I loved going in everyday for nearly 10 years, that was until the new headteacher cleared out our SMT through restructure to bring his own inept team in, two of which were OFSTED inspectors. In the space of 12 months I couldn't believe how they sucked the life out of the place, morale became non existent, I saw happy smiley and hard working staff that I had known for years become disengaged and deluded with the place , 7 off with stress and 11 have resigned so far this year.

    Everyday is like an inspection, with our own personal inspectors walking around clip board in hand picking fault after fault. The demands put on staff is phenomenal just to tick the boxes, I was once in a meeting when a member of staff challenged a member of SMT, asking when they thought staff would fit all that they were asking of them into their working day, I almost fell off my chair when one of our lovely OFSTED brainwashed assistant heads responded " if you don't like it leave". Well that's certainly started to happen!

    It's gone from a school where staff would openly ask leadership for support to one where they dare not say a thing as they fear being labelled as incompetent by our illustrious leaders.

    If this is the future of education in our country then I fear for my kids going through the system.
  14. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    I re-watched that film recently and was struck how similar it was to my last school.
  15. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    I don't think that it is new. It has happened in a small number of schools for a long time. They didn't expect ordinary teachers to remain for longer then 2 years, and burnt them out. Not a problem as there were other replacements and staff moved on elsewhere. at this stage it wasn't much of a problem. Unfortunately, without thinking of the consequenes, they sold this at courses as a way of improving result, as it worked for them. Once this became more normal it has caused issues. The pool of new tachers is nolonger there and there is limited places for those burnt out by the process to go. a bit of a self inflicted issue. How to solve it? can't see it happening anytime soon.
  16. drek

    drek Star commenter

    If the Dfe can have secret meetings with dodgy unsavoury education companies such as these then soon we will have nothing to fear from.

    The dfe is all about reducing costs and and putting all the money in the pockets of a few.

    If some ministers can get friends and family on the boards of companies such as these, then that is all that matters in the end, however they achieve it.

    sandrabarrett likes this.
  17. A disappointing contribution. You are in a good situation - so therefore there is no problem. I don't know you, but I know you contribute a lot.
  18. Yes yes yes. How can anyone concentrate on their job when their maverick boss is just watching the budget and doing whatever she can to get rid of expensive experienced teachers. Younger teachers have no problem with appraisal - I wonder why! I believe things cannot continue and are actually at breaking point where something significant is going to happen either way. I encourage anyone going though hell to try and hang on. The public don't know what's going on yet. But it can't be long surely!
  19. Yep. I would be fine and enthusiastic again if one person would leave
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Why disappointing? I'm merely assuming the journalist only want posts which say how truly terrible the system is and how all teachers live in fear?
    What regularly disappoints me is that there is no longer any room anywhere on this site to write positively about teaching as a profession.

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