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Leaving or Breaking Down

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by aj339, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. aj339

    aj339 New commenter

    hi everyone,

    So I left a toxic job in July. I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder in August due to this school. I started at a new school in September.

    For the first few weeks I loved it. I didn’t necessarily agree with the approach towards learning (it feels very Victorian) but the staff were really lovely and I received lots of positive comments.

    However, on Thursday I had an observation. The feedback was “your a great teacher you just don’t do it our way” and I’ve been given a support plan. I was put on a support plan at my old school and I physically can’t do this again.

    I need to leave. I’ve been in touch with my union and they say that there is no way that I can leave before Easter unless something drastic happens. All over the weekend I’ve felt my anxiety increase 10 fold. I’m sad. I’m crying constantly. I’ve considered the idea that I’m having a breakdown. I’ve never ever felt this bad before.

    I’m just wondering though (I haven’t said this to my union) I haven’t signed a contract... does this change anything? Would it be immoral to leave? Would it be possible for me to leave? What are my new rights? I think I should contact my union again to find out more but wanted a bit of “informal” advice first.

    If you’ve stuck with me, thank you. IF you can offer any advice, then thank you in advance!!
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter


    It reads as though the school like you - but you need to do everything the way they say, or that's it. When you say Victorian, I'm thinking of a certain Free school, that insists on everything being taught by rote. I read it that if you follow what they say, and do as they ask, chances are the support plan will be lifted.

    Your Union is correct - you cannot leave now before Easter, unless you offer your resignation to the HT as an "early release", meaning you could go at Christmas. But, she/he does not have to agree to this.

    Is it immoral to leave? If you simply never go back, then it could have ramifications for you in terms of references. It doesn't matter you haven't signed a contract - you verbally have agreed to work there, and that is legally binding. As for Settlement Agreements, they are not a right, and a school has to agree to them.

    My key concern is your mental health. If you really feel you are breaking, you need to see your GP. Go tomorrow.
  3. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    I'm sorry you find yourself in a situation where you and your current school just don't seem to be a good fit.

    Even though you have not signed a contract, you accepted the post and this is legally binding. If you are looking to leave before Easter you would need to discuss this with your head and they would need to agree to release you from your contract early. It may be that they will do this, especially if your health if affected and absence would affect the children.

    Before doing anything though, go to see your GP and contact your union again.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry you're feeling like this. I hope you can find a way forwards.
    Support plans vary. Look at the paperwork. It may be a support plan designed to help you deliver lessons the way the school wants you to. It may be a "first steps towards hustling @aj339 out of the door" plan. I can't tell, at the other end of the internet.

    If I think my car is about to have a breakdown, I take it to the garage (or call the AA if I'm mid journey.
    Your GP will be far better able to assess your mental health than me (at the other end of the web).

    and I'm guessing they've been paying you. That more or less implies acceptance of the T&C.

    My advice - talk to your doctor.
    Talk to someone who can look at this dispassionately and give advice. Certianly your union folk, but also perhaps talk to someone who can listen and help you reflect.
    Perhaps, with a trusted colleague, have a talk to someone in the school leadership about how you feel and find a way forward. There often is hope.
    At the very least, try to negotiate and stick it out until Christmas.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    This could possibly be a way to change your practice to fit in with their way. Nothing more.
    You don't do things their way and to change will involve some time and 'training' from SLT, especially if you aren't keen to do things their way. However, it will also give you a chance to say why you do things the way you do and you might end up being able to compromise a little.

    A support plan in a horrid and toxic place is very different to a support plan in a lovely school with decent people.

    Coming so soon after leaving a horrid place and being diagnosed with anxiety, will mean you freak out and panic over everything. But you know this is a school with lovely staff and you have had lots of positive comments...even the feedback from your observation was that you are a great teacher. There is no need for you to leave. (The feedback from my first observation after leaving a horrific place included the phrase 'Did you realise you were sucking your thumb throughout the entire time I was there?' :oops:)

    Talk to the person who is in charge of the support plan and discuss with them your panic and worry. Probably they will be apologetic and reassuring. If they don't know about last year, they can't be understanding.

    Try to give them a chance to prove to you that not every school is a nightmare and not every support plan is a stressful and terrible thing.
  6. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    I wouldn't tell them about the previous plan, but I would share that you have GAD as that may be affecting your performance and an OH referral would be sensible to protect you.

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