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Leaving teaching- worried about working notice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by chimeric_chihiro, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. chimeric_chihiro

    chimeric_chihiro New commenter

    Hi, I just need some advice as I am currently making myself sick with worry and just need some other opinions.

    I work in a primary school and recently SLT have not been happy with me. I have communicated that I am struggling and have asked for help, which they have said I can have but have then appeared in my room and have attacked every aspect of my lesson, despite none of the agreed 'support' having actually happened. Mainly the problem is every time they swan into my room I'm absolutely terrified and all my common sense goes out the window so I make silly mistakes. That, and I'm being criticised for things like daring to send out a TA to make more photocopies of a sheet.

    I have decided to leave teaching, there are too many aspects of the job that I just can't deal with anymore and it seems from reading all the forums on here that teachers are constantly abused by their superiors and nothing ever changes because teaching has it own set of rules.

    What I am concerned about is 1. How I will be treated once I've handed in my notice, whether they'll leave me alone as I'm a 'lost cause' and any effort they put into me is a waste of time or if they'll single me out more.

    2. If I can rely on them for a reference, even if it is just a fairly neutral one. I assume if I was going for another full time, permanent teaching post this would be problematic but as I am leaving, probably for supply teaching (short term if I haven't found anything else) or an office job do I need to feel this worried?

    My plan is to work my notice, rather than going off on long term sick (which I could easily do as I've been having panic attacks and everyone around me thinks I'm depressed) which will hopefully set me up in a more positive light when it comes to future employment. I'd appreciate hearing off anyone who has been in a similar situation!
  2. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I am sorry to hear that you have been having such a bad experience in your school.

    If you have decided to leave, you have the option of turning uncertainty into a degree of certainty, at least, by asking your union to negotiate your exit for you. In that way, you can achieve a negotiated reference so that you know what will be said to prospective employers.

    Go on over to @TheoGriff 's Jobseekers forum and follow her many excellent blogs about achieving success in finding a new job.
  3. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Hi there chim,

    Sorry to hear that you are feeling so undermined.

    1. If you are having panic attacks - go see a doctor. You need medical advice and should not be in school.

    2. So your colleagues think you are depressed? That they openly say it to you rather than whisper and gossip furtively could be considered a good thing. But they are not qualified to make such diagnosis. GO see a doctor!

    3. Absolutely follow your doctor's advice. Going in to work, when having panic attacks and feeling so low will do you no good at all. Be under no illusion- some SLT behave like sharks when they see a vulnerable colleague.

    4. Speak to your Union. Sometimes certain management teams have form for this, make sure it is logged.

    5. Taking sick leave when you're having panic attacks or depression is an ESSENTIAL part of recovery. Take it, get well, don't have a breakdown- the effects of this can take years to recover from.

  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I'm sorry to say this but... never admit to struggling to SLT and never ask them for 'help'... their idea of support and your idea of support are two so disparate things that they might as well be on different planets.

    Ensure everything is logged from this point on, if they wish to speak with you ask if they don't mind you recording it on your phone for future reference [if they say no it'll look odd], take a notepad and write down everything they say... log everything, keep emails etc.

    Go to your doctor.
    notsonorthernlass and Am_done like this.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Oh dear, how distressing for you! I am really sorry that this is happening. And of course everything goes haywire when they come in - you are a bag of nerves!

    Step 1: go to see your Dr. You need to look after yourself.

    Step 2: see if, after seeing your Dr and if you are signed off, it would be helpful to send this letter to school.

    Letter: asking school not to contact you when absent with workplace stress

    Step 3 Get an exercise book and write in it everything that happens. Date each thing. Start by writing what you can remember about things that have happened up to now. Add going to see your Dr and what s/he said. Add sending the e-mail about not contacting you. Then add every e-mail, phonecall, letter that you may get. Hope none, as you've asked not to be contacted.

    Step 4 Talk FAST to your union . You'll have the book with details written down to help you here.
    The union will be able to tell you if what is happening is acceptable staff management, or not. And will be able to guide you on what to do next.

    Best wishes

    notsonorthernlass and Am_done like this.
  6. chimeric_chihiro

    chimeric_chihiro New commenter

    Thank you for all the advice. I am currently in an appeal process with my union to get them to give me support. Frustratingly after 2 years of being a member my membership lapsed for 1 month before I rejoined. I am not sure what the outcome of the appeal will be as I can't find any other forums where people have discussed this problem.
    I know this is very stupid of me to allow this to happen so please don't tell me off! Without them I worry I'll end up working in a fast food restaurant to pay my rent. This is another reason why I thought keeping my head down, working my notice and not going to another school might help me to move on and not completely destroy my career. I know I can count on my last school to give me a positive reference at least.
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Yes, but you do know that unless you get another teaching job in between (even supply), you will be obliged to give this job as one referee?

    Who should be my referees?

    Best wishes

  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Which means you were a fab teacher once and can be again, in the right school. Your problem now is that you don't fit with the current SLT, not that you can't teach. Please don't give up on teaching altogether just because one lot of SLT are nasty and horrid.

    They will be pleased you are leaving, that is their aim, they will not care where you go or what you do. So do apply for other teaching roles in other schools, independent and special schools can be very different places, so maybe try those. I know the thought of a school is hideous right now, I've been there, but it is possible to be happy in teaching when you have a great head.

    Two years ago I could have written your post and remember being terrified of going to work, and indeed was off for three months, the fear got too much, but now I couldn't be happier in a fab school with an excellent head and SLT. Only give up teaching if you don't want to actually teach.
  9. chimeric_chihiro

    chimeric_chihiro New commenter

    I have read that (and many more!) of your articles Theo, thank you, they have been very useful! However, as I definitely want out of teaching for now, so I assume even if I work in a fast food restaurant, they will then be my most recent employer and therefore they can replace the reference of my last school. I understand if I went for another teaching role they would of course would want to hear from the last schools I worked in, not in an area completely unrelated! I think I am going to go for an admin role- maybe even in a school!
    I might return to teaching one day caterpillar, probably as a TA, then if the SLT in whatever school I am in prove to be decent human beings I'll bide my time and then apply for a teaching role. Maybe :)
    Either way I would rather have my union on side, to get me through the next term, fingers crossed!
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Sorry to hear it.

    First thing to do is get your health sorted. Probably, in the first instance, it's a very good idea to go and see your doctor, explain the symptoms and your situation and take it from there

    Good luck. I am sure you will move on to better and more rewarding things
  11. Am_done

    Am_done New commenter

    @chimeric_chihiro Sorry to hear of your situation. After I resigned in October (support plan bombshell dropped juts before half term/resignation date) I was left alone. My line manager spoke to me twice, the head once. The rest of SLT acted as if nothing happened. I kept calm and carried on as the professional I was. I relaxed and enjoyed my teaching (albeit with a heavy, somewhat broken heart!) knowing the door wasn't going to open and the clipboards appear. I am hoping I get a reference that reflects the years of being Good I had there, not the disaster of a fortnight of dept review!
  12. tawnyowl01

    tawnyowl01 New commenter

    I feel this first post could've been written by me... Except that while I thought I would be okay once I had resigned (which I did at half term) and could work my notice, keeping my head down and possibly enjoy the time I had left with my class, I was instead given an increased workload and also advised there would be 'drop-in' observations which I was to see as support in my last few weeks. I've since gone on the sick and awaiting Union advice.
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I hope that both @Am_done and @tawnyowl01 have now found themselves in a better place and are appreciated.

    Best wishes

    Am_done likes this.
  14. Am_done

    Am_done New commenter

    Not yet @TheoGriff but I have an iron in the fire ;)
  15. libby77

    libby77 Occasional commenter

    Sadly I agree wholeheartedly with this! It's just not a supportive world in teaching (unless you are very, very lucky). You will be placed on support plans and capability before you know what has happened and they won't always make it clear to you that this process is in its beginnings! Try to find other avenues for support and guidance.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2016
  16. libby77

    libby77 Occasional commenter

    Oops! I think I wrote in the quote!

    [I have edited it for you, @libby77 ]

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2016
  17. chimeric_chihiro

    chimeric_chihiro New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    An update: I spoke to my head and we came to an agreement that if I handed in my notice now for July, they wouldn't start any dislplincary action as I would be leaving before it could be completed. They also encouraged me to go for a job at another school instead of leaving teaching. Still on the fence but I will have time to consider my options now.

    However, I am not daft, I know this also benefits the headteacher as I know previously teachers have left there in the middle of the year and it doesn't reflect very well on the school. They admitted that they would struggle if I left mid-year and have to rely on a long term (expensive- my observation not theirs!) supply teacher. But it all works out for me as well as I have money coming in (for the summer hols as well), don't have to abandon the children and won't have to explain to future employers why I left my school mid-year. Also, I wouldn't want to stay there now anyway!

    Thanks for all your advice. Feeling better about things now as they have backed off. If they criticise me now I can just smile and nod with the knowledge that I only have 5 months (and counting!) to go!
    Am_done likes this.
  18. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    Put your notice in, then if the doctor things you are sick and signs you off you are 'working your notice' still even if not in school.
  19. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I am just sitting here reading through these heart breaking posts. Anyone thinking of teaching should read these stories.

    Despite knowing there are some good schools and decent human being who work in them, who would want to be a teacher and run the risk of being in one like the OP's? Who would choose to go into a profession that treats people like this?

    It is appalling behaviour.
  20. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Exactly. I keep getting these 'get into teaching' posts spamming my Facebook page. Maybe I should put a link to this forum for people to read.

    As I've said before you don't realise how bad it is until you leave. When you are still in teaching there is a tendency to normalise what is happening. But the reality is (in most cases) that no-one in another (especially professional) job would be treated the way that teachers are. I think education is important, I have kids in the system, my wife still works as a teacher but I would still encourage teachers to get out for their own well being.
    wanet and johnberyl like this.

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