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It’s currently 4:04 am and I’ve been working since 1am

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by safjakojf, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. safjakojf

    safjakojf New commenter

    Probably about 2 and half hours sleep. I’ll get ready for work at 6.

    Worked all weekend and find myself having to get up before 4am on 2-3 days in the week.

    The other day my HoD asked me what my work life balance was like

    ‘I’m doing okay’ I said....
  2. tinalouisegriffiths

    tinalouisegriffiths New commenter

    The experienced teachers will say no work after 4pm Friday.

    However, personally I work all weekend off and on as I like to be organised and well prepared for Monday.
    I just keep thinking that after a couple of years I will just get quicker at planning ;)
    Or maybe I am just weird as I actually enjoy planning it and then successfully delivering it Monday morning.

    My work life balance is def just work (no life) which those at work are always harping on about it not being good for me etc.....
    My advice is if it needs doing do it. If not and it's a plan B or something that can be done at a later date leave it.

  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    You cannot go on like this, you will make yourself ill.

    Be honest with your HOD and get some help.
  4. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter

    ...doing what?

    I know it took me a lot longer to plan when I was an NQT than it does now, but 3 hours of work in the middle of the night? Get some perspective. Are you going to teach well when you're exhausted? Nope. Did your best teachers when you were at school look like they were running on nothing but coffee and nerves? I'd wager not. Will whatever gain you think you've made at mad o'clock in the morning make it worth the sleep deprivation? Absolutely not.

    If it's marking, stop. You don't need to mark everything that students produce and your judgement and feedback will be impaired if you're working on 2 hours' sleep.

    If it's planning, stop. Any school worth its salt will have resources, textbooks and worksheets from decades past clogging up its filing cabinets and hard drives. Reuse these. Don't reinvent the wheel because there's no way you're doing that effectively at 2 o'clock in the morning.

    If it's anything else, stop. The role for which you are employed is to teach the students. You can't do that if you're exhausted.

    Leave the building at 4. Go for a walk. Sit in a nice artisanal coffee shop and enjoy a pretentiously-made beverage. Read a book. Have a nap. Go to a really good restaurant. Not Michelin-starred good, but that sort of artery-cloggingly satisfying kind of good that can be felt deep in the bones as you shovel down mouthfuls of carbohydrates.

    Put yourself in bed by ten, and even if you do wake up in the middle of the night, resolve not to leave bed until your alarm goes off at 6. The world will not cease to rotate if you take an afternoon off for yourself.
  5. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Stop. Just stop. Stop misleading your HoD. When you collapse with nervous exhaustion or stress, you will be no good to anyone. The school will simply hire a replacement and move on. No one will thank you. They'll probably just feel aggrieved that they're paying you sick pay and a supply a wage. The kids will mourn you not being there for a couple of days, then shrug their shoulders and accept it.

    Working 21 hours a day until you're so exhausted you become a danger to yourself or other people (hello, driving!?) or throw up is not sustainable.

    And then...you'll end up on Workplace Dilemmas, saying how much teaching sucks and its horrible and its eaten your life. I've seen it on here, I've seen it in my last workplace, which did work teachers like dogs, due to a toxic management that created an atmosphere akin to the macho 80s world of Wall Street - sleep is for wimps, lunch is for losers. Utter ****.

    Harsh? Yes. True? Most definitely. Do yourself a favour. @varcolac offers good advice. I'll add go to the cinema, watch something mindless on Netflix, and if you really feel at a loss, do some cleaning.
  6. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    You cannot keep doing this. Stop right now.

    Ask your HOD for help, prioritize what needs doing and give yourself a break. Like everyone else says you will be no good to anyone in this state.

    Take care and good luck, if you can get through the first couple years you will find it gets better but you'll need to find ways to manage.
  7. safjakojf

    safjakojf New commenter

    Thanks for the messages
    agathamorse and blueskydreaming like this.
  8. safjakojf

    safjakojf New commenter

    I know you’re all just trying to help and I appreciate that, but it’s not as simple as just stopping when it’s quite literally preparing my lessons for the next day. I find it very difficult to get a week or two weeks ahead like other people seem to.

    I worked this weekend but I don’t work Friday or Saturday usually which is why Sunday and the morning after is filled with work. Most days I will get around 4-6 hours sleep (depending on if I have a full day or if it’s a level or gcse) so not as bad as I made it sound (still not great I know). I also take a bus I don’t drive.

    From talking to other NQTs my experience is sadly not unusual. I will put off non essential marking but there’s only so much you can put off before the kids continuously ask if it’s been marked yet lesson after lesson and you feel a disappointment

    I’m not a teacher of a subject that has as many resources online as other subjects so I really will end up making it from scratch sometimes because I genuinely have to. I also teach mainly A level which is a lot of prep and have been given all the resources the school has but they’re not great- everyone knows how difficult it is to use something someone else has created and make it work for you. You end up adapting it whether you want to or not otherwise you won’t be confident teaching it. That’s the reality. I can plan a GCSE lesson in under an hour, A level takes several hours but I much prefer A level teaching (just not the planning).

    I’m not in a prime position to get support as I rarely see my mentor apart from when we have to fill out some paperwork of some kind. And I’d never take that up with anyone because again it’s easier said than done and the anxiety of “taking a stand” would break me before teaching ever would. I only see my HoD in passing and I’d never feel comfortable talking about it.

    I sound like an idiot really I know. If I’m honest I just wanted words of support to get me through another day. While I appreciate the advice, I don’t need harsh words or a reality check because it’s nothing I haven’t thought myself. I know no one would condone or support my behaviour, just my mental well-being more than anything. It’s a lonely job.
  9. kirby42

    kirby42 New commenter

    What subject are you OP? I think you really need to speak to your HOD about this, what you're doing right now is not sustainable. Working like that will have a negative effect on your teaching in the classroom, and more importantly, a negative effect on your own health and well-being.
    agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  10. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Can you ask on the relevant forum on TES for your subject? Lots of people will be willing to trade resources.

    Could you give yourself a break and do the odd exam lesson, where the students answer a past paper/write an essay and then self mark or peer mark? Or get them to produce the questions or revision resources, or do research and presentations and so on?
    CWadd likes this.
  11. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You don't sound like an idiot, but it does sound as though you're in a difficult place. Your original post triggered alarm bells with me, but now you're claiming it's not that bad. But you sound isolated, and that is worrying.
  12. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Can I suggest a compromise via a 3rd party?

    'See a doctor'
    If this medical professional thinks you're heading for a crash then will you accept any advice (s)he might give to avoid this outcome?

    Using my skills of keyboard diagnosis I think you need to take immediate action against your depression/stress but I don't have the authority to force you to listen. Please listen to a doctor instead.
    agathamorse and install like this.
  13. igoumen

    igoumen New commenter

    You must be exhausted. Please be kinder to yourself. Work to live, not live to work. Such an approach to your job is unsustainable. There will be people at your workplace who can help. Start with your mentor. Just tell them what's going on. They will want to help.
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  14. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    blueskydreaming has said it once but I'll say it again in case the message doesn't get through:

    You cannot go on like this, you will make yourself ill.
  15. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Perhaps you should consider teaching in an international school. It is much less stressful than teaching in the UK.

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