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Just need to reach out

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by goldenstone, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. goldenstone

    goldenstone New commenter

    Hi all

    I'm not sure which thread to post this but I know many of you on here are going or have gone through my experience. I just feel the need to reach out.

    I'm off with WRS (been off since before Christmas). I feel so guilty about being off for this long but at my lowest point I was a mess and it's taken this length of time to even feel slightly normal again. I feel for my work colleagues who are in the thick of it. I feel like I am a failure as I'm off as I couldn't cope and they are still there getting on with the job.

    My school has changed beyond recognition. It used to be a great place to work. I felt supported and nurtured. I was 'good'. I was moved to a different year group and I was bullied, made to feel inadequate whilst I was pregnant. My pregnancy wasn't easy either and I received no empathy or understanding (even from the HT), it was a case of just getting on with it.

    When I returned to work, the school had changed beyond recognition. New management, new everything. The level of scrutiny, observations, learning walks, inspections went through the roof. I was working so hard (at least 15 hours a day and weekends) and all of a sudden my 'good' teaching was no longer good anymore. The pressure just became too much, then informal 'support' began and then I buckled under. Just could not cope anymore. I don't know what would of happened if I tried to carry on.

    Now I feel much better but I am not sure if I could ever return. I am scared of having a relapse if I did. My HT has only offered a phased return to work and no other support. I have a great union rep who has gone through my options. A settlement agreement/good reference could be one of them. At the moment I am gearing towards that as a way out.

    Ideally I wanted to go back, have my last stint then leave with my head held high but I don't think I am strong enough. Also there is the thought of facing everyone if I did return. I feel embarrassed about the whole thing. I really don't know what to do. I am really upset that my teaching career has taken this direction. In a way I am grieving for the enjoyable job it once was.

    Then there is my future. If I went with the settlement, would I be able to get another teaching job? I don't want to rule teaching out as I have some hope that there are better schools out there. It's still my passion to teach and see children gain knowledge but sadly, at my current school I felt more like a box ticker or data collector. That is not what I trained to do. I don't believe in the current system and the government plans for education really concern me. Why can't they just let teachers teach?

    I think I just need to get this off my chest (even feel better after typing this) but I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has gone through this dreadful experience and hear about their outcome. I'm still waiting to see the light at the end of a very long and what seems never ending tunnel....
  2. nomorenails

    nomorenails New commenter

    You're not a failure, you've no need to be embarrassed. The strongest of trees will bend given enough pressure. Try not to compare yourself to anyone, put unrealistic 'should' expectations on yourself or pressure yourself into any action that isn't what is best for you. I am returned after 9 months off. It's hard, I'm so tired, not sure I could do this long term, I'm hoping (pending negotiations) to leave teaching this summer.

    If you can't go back, don't. Negotiate an exit, look for something different (teaching or not) but above all be kind to yourself. It's not you that has stopped being good, the system has stopped recognising good, or dealing with teachers like real feeling human people. Hope you feel stronger soon x
  3. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Hi goldenstone, you are not alone. I am in a very similar situation with an unsupportive head. I haven't gone off sick but I have had many times when I have cried at school (alone, not in class) and cry regularly at home. I am at a point where I fear for my career with such an unsupportive head, any disciplinary or allegation would leave me isolated. (Can't go into any more detail about that) the level of scrutiny is awful at the moment, coupled with a headteacher who doesn't have the foggiest about how my department works and therefore can't/won't show the improvement officers all the good work we are doing.
    I have also lost faith in the teaching system and I can't see it getting better any time soon. I have been mulling over my options, look for another teaching job to see if the leadership would be any better, go on supply but not sure if I can afford to, or look for something else entirely. Other options include selling the house and downsizing or making the kids pay rent!
    I don't post often on these forums but read them all. Your post described exactly how I feel, as does a thread entitles 'ending my career' , or something like that. Good luck. I would go for the settlement. Forget holding your head high, nobody will notice or thank you for it. Get out of the toxic place, there are other jobs out there.
    goldenstone likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I am so sorry for people, colleagues, in unhappy circumstances.

    You may find this useful:

    Possible other careers

    Best wishes

    petenewton, goldenstone and wanet like this.
  5. libby77

    libby77 Occasional commenter

    Hello there,

    I have been in exactly the same situation :-( I felt awful being off. I have had a long time off this last year. First time I was medically suspended. Then I received 2 disciplinary threats for showing signs of my diagnosis of anxiety, exasperated by a 'support' plan, which we all know means nothing but added stress to an already stressful job. I, like you, love teaching and know that I am a good teacher (they couldn't knock me on my teaching). The pressure placed on me was just too much :-(

    Having time off is very difficult. I really feel it becomes very difficult going back when you haven't had for example an obviously broken leg! I feel it has put so much pressure on me when people don't know what to say etc. Just being open here.

    I have decided after my 3rd spate of being off (none of the 3 occasions have been chosen by me or the GP), that enough is enough!, for my own well being! I really think that after being placed on an informal 'support' plan there is already too much water under the bridge and working relationships become difficult and strained.

    After my experience I am looking elsewhere! I will be very careful when looking to find a supportive environment. There are some out there! Few I realise!

    Good luck to you. Sorry to be negative but just being truthful :-( I've learnt the hard way!

  6. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Have also been through this delightful treatment. Personally, I'm giving up now and retraining. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching. But then so do you...and you...and you...and you at the back...
    The government has privatised education and destroyed it. The SLT seem hellbent on driving out good and expensive teachers. They murder to dissect. Much nicer staying at home with the dog and having lively kids who really want to better themselves come to you for tuition. Am trying to sort out voluntary work too. No reason to wake up every day feeling as rubbish about myself as schools make me feel. If you're young enough, emigrate. If not, retrain.
  7. goldenstone

    goldenstone New commenter

    Thanks for all of your replies. I have a real dilemma on my hands. If I took the settlement I would be losing out. On the other hand if I went back I'd be better of financially and leave in the summer. I just don't know what to do. All this is adding to the stress of being off work :(
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    In addition to all the excellent comments and advice I would add that you now have a new baby to look after so you have to think about staying well for her/him in addition to yourself. If finances allow why don't you stay at home with your little one for awhile and enjoy being a mum until your baby is a bit older. You can pick up teaching again quite easily. As long as your union can sort out a good reference for you In would get out and not give the place a second thought; life is way too short to worry about those people. You will get another post or something else willmcome along.
  9. nomorenails

    nomorenails New commenter

    There's no need to rush a decision, take the time to figure out the best outcome for you. Get your Union to act as buffer, don't let the school pressure you into jumping quickly, that's in their best interests, not yours.
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. goldenstone

    goldenstone New commenter

    @nomorenails I'm afraid I have been given a timescale to make my decision and ive got to decide sooner rather than later. Can they specify a time frame in which to decide to take a settlement or not? I think they are being a bit pushy :/
  11. nomorenails

    nomorenails New commenter

    Are they bypassing your Union? If you are off with WRS this should be coming through the union, rather than direct from school. I'd follow their lead on this, the unions are best placed to advise.

    With the settlement you want to agree to a date that looks like a regular teacher leaving date (Easter/Summer) and an agreed reference. If you decided to go back for the last term, would you be able to negotiate a decent reference with them still? What sort of timeframe are they giving? Is the money worth your peace of mind and wellbeing?

    Good luck
  12. maud1901

    maud1901 New commenter

    I'm also in a similar position. Do I stay and fail at informal capability only to be put on formal capability and then be forced to leave anyway (with no settlement or payout) or do I remain off with WRS. I was off with stress before and am now suffering another bad time. Being off with WRS is so stressful when you are faced with options (especially if you don't really understand them and your Union person says 'you may feel better soon and then you can go back'.) This is lovely that the Union person thinks like this but in reality........

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