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Is my exit strategy realistic?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by _teacher90_, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. After seeing several colleagues leave (either through disciplinary procedures or not so gentle pressure) I find myself the new target of a bullying SMT and need to get out. I've lost all confidence (am an experienced teacher with several schools under my belt) and any fight that I previously had has been battered out of me.
    Teaching jobs are few and far between in my area and as an expensive teacher I'm realistic enough to realise that I'm unlikely to get another full time job when there is a glut of far cheaper NQT's out there.
    I have thought about my exit strategy but it requires me to continue to work in my current post to finance a new venture but I'm wondering whether this is a sensible option given the precarious position I am in and the affect it is having on my health (am on AD's and suffering from depression as a result or work-related stress).
    I may be able to go down to part time from September, which might ease my stress and make me less of a target but I wonder how possible it is going to be to stick out 2 terms of full time in the meantime and then continue to work there when it is making me so miserable. Financially I will be better off going part time than starting a new career in another field and the more I earn the quicker my new business can get off the ground and the sooner I can write that elusive resignation letter.
    Any advice from anyone who has been in a similar position? Is it possible to stick it out for a few years when there's light at the end of the tunnel?
  2. I do think that once you have made a decision on when you are going it gets easier because your own mindset changes. You can let all the bullsh*t wash over you and not let it get to you so much. People who are bullying you can be ignored more easily once you know they have no more power over you. Even better if they know you are going, they tend to move on to another victim. Horrible for the next person but better for you.
    Difficult though the next while will be I do think you are wise not to resign without another job to go to.
  3. I know what you are going through, after approx 20 years in a school, although not all of them as a QT, I lost the struggle against unfairness, being ignored and generally treated as worthless. Not only was my mental health suffering, I could see myself changing before my eyes. This confident, happy, funky person was disappearing so fast. My husband was so supportive and understanding but began to suffer angina attacks himself. He felt so worried about me. I knew that this had to stop, with great sadness I ended my career with this school at Christmas.
    I have registered with a supply agency until I get my confidence back. I also have a project in mind and that has kept me going. I am going to business seminars to learn how to move my idea forward. I had not wanted to finish but my husband's health scare was the final straw.I hope to run this new project with a friend and hopefully it will take off. but would still like to carry on teaching.
    Only you know how much you can take but I wish you success and all the very best. It was the hardest decision leaving (I'm not due for a pension for many years) and I still don't know if it was the right one, but I do feel more positive and friends think it was the right move ( things would not have changed in my situation). Good luck
  4. Hi teacher90

    The decision is up to you! No-one on here can truly answer the question as it's your situation and your health that you're talking about here and different things suit different people. In my case, I left my previous position because I realised that the stuff causing the illness wasn't going to change (in fact, I've been told that things have got worse since I left) and that I would never be completely well while I worked there (combo of management issues, organisational changes, heavy workload etc). Of course, I had no job to go to, but I still live with my parents and had saved as much of my salary as I could, so that I'd have enough to keep me going for a year or so.

    Things worked out well for me in the sense that I now work for private revision companies, so although my hours and salary are lower, this suits me very well at present, as I can get back into what I enjoy doing and recover in my own time. More importantly, I have regained my health, my life and my faith in my ability to do the job and the integrity of my fellow professionals, as well as a small income which pays for my travel fares, trips to the shops in the sale and a bit to save. When the time and position is right, I probably will return to college teaching I'm FE trained), but in the meantime, I'm just taking each day as it comes, as the saying goes.

    If it's any help, one question from my counsellor stood out when I made decisions about what to do; how does this benefit me? As soon as I asked myself this question, I knew exactly what to do. Ask yourself the same thing about what you've decided to do. If you're not happy with the answer leave. If you are happy with the time being, stay. In the meantime, remember that there is always another choice and life is not always as bad as it seems! That was my mistake! I believed like you that because of the current state of the economy, there was no choice, apart from a morbid one! Once this crossed my mind, I recoiled in horror and went to see my GP! It was the best thing I ever did!

    Whatever you decide, I wish you luck and a speedy return to health and happiness!

    Hope this post has helped!

  5. Thank you all for your responses - it is helpful to hear your experiences.
    I feel that I'm very much stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment. I know that continuing to work where I am is only making my depression worse, but being out of a job with no money coming in is just not an option at the moment. Unfortunately I don't have anyone who can financially support me, so although my job is feeding my depression, it's also feeding my family!
    How long did those of you who have now left manage to stick it out before making your decision to leave? Did any of you go off sick before you left?
  6. I was signed off sick for 3 months and then went back on a phased return for 6 weeks. In total, I was there for about 2 months before my notice period ended (as I hadn't taken annual leave because I was signed off-I worked in an FE college, in which I had to take a certain amount of annual leave as I would in any other non teaching job, rather than getting school holidays automatically as I did when I worked in a school).
  7. Hi, I went off for approx 6 weeks, went back on a phased return. Went back positive ( other staff very supportive and welcomed me back) sadly some SMT not so helpful!! I could feel the old feelings returning (not sleeping and being physically sick on certain days!).
    I also worried (and still do) about money. I felt angry and bitter that everything I had worked for was disappearing ( 2 inspections I was graded outstanding).BUT I was the only one losing sleep, SMT certainly weren't! I know we all have choices and I feel this is one I was pushed into, but would things have changed? Probably not.
    I know I am lucky that I have a strong husband and fab friends to help me. January is new beginings. I stuck it for just over a year. As I said I'm now starting supply ( that's scary!!) and working on a business idea (that needs money) and trying to move on. The hard thing for me was to understand why things changed so much, I am the 4th person to leave.
    Really good luck and I hope things work out for you. Keep talking to friends don't keep things in.Talk to your doctor if that helps, but you are the important one. Take care.[​IMG]
  8. How sad that teachers are being made ill by the style of management in their schools and what a waste of trained, competent professionals.
    If SMT feel that someone is underperforming why isn't there some way of ensuring that those members of staff are given the necessary support to get it right without making those people feel victimised.
    Maybe OFSTED should be looking at those schools that are using more than an average amount of competence procedures or who regularly have staff off with stress and ask why their procedures aren't supporting these members of staff.
    I work as a Teaching Assistant in Primary and in my ten years in the classroom I have observed the increasing workload and pressures placed on teachers. In the quiet of a classroom after school I have sat with enough tired and demoralised teachers to conclude that something isn't right.It's all very Orwellian, everyone smiles and looks enthusaistic in public but underneath some of those teachers feel desperate and overwhelmed.
    I am old enough to be mum to many of the NQTs that come into the classroom and I hate to see these bright young people feeling anxious and worn out. The expectation on these young people in their early twenties is phenomenal and many (usually the conscientious ones) struggle in their early years of teaching.
    I come from a family of teachers and the stories that I hear make my toes curl! I personally wouldn't want my son to go into the teaching profession. It's a career that has become devalued by the media with teachers blamed for pretty much every problem in society.
    I have every admiration for those who enter our classrooms every day to take on the valuable job of educating the next generation. To the OP I hope the thought that there is a plan in place might help you to stay positive-good luck!

  9. I had 6 weeks off with stress from November to December. I came back to a phased return in the January. Although I knew I would probably resign I decided not to hand in my notice immediately and to see if things would improve sufficiently. They didn't so I handed in my notice on the first day of the summer term.The relief was immense, I felt free and actually almost enjoyed my final term although I was watching the bully move on and that was not pleasant. i now get enough supply work to keep me going and everyone says I am much more relaxed. Good luck whatever decision you make.
  10. Roseangel is spot on. I had a similar experience when I hit 50. I was a HOD and was viewed by the SMT as a dinosaur. I committed the"crime" of trying to uphold standards and defend my team. I resigned and went on Supply for about a year. The SMT at my old school then changed drastically and I was asked to go back part time in my old department. I did this for 4 years and then took early retirement. It was the best thing for me.
    Never forget it is only a job. If it is affecting the important things in your life, your health and family relations, then quit and do something else. Of course, the job situation is bad but you are *** all use to your loved ones if you are in a straitjacket or worse.
    Lastly, when I resigned not one person tried to talk me out of it. In fact they expressed admiration for my boldness and courage.
    Good luck.

  11. I think I'm going to see how the next term goes and then go sick if things don't improve to give me some time to decide about a longer term plan. Only 59 days til Easter!
  12. Good luck with all you decide to do! Only you can make the desicion on what is right for you. I hope in 6months time I will look back and think what was I so worried about. Onwards and upwards from now on! [​IMG]

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