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Needing advice!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by gruffalo4, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. gruffalo4

    gruffalo4 New commenter

    Help! I’m currently in my 2nd year of teaching and I’m not sure what to do...

    I was really looking forward to starting back this year as I feel more confident in my ability, better knowledge of my year group, like the people I work with etc.

    However, school moral is at an all time low. Since starting back, we have been continually monitored via observations, learning walks, book scrutinies and it is never ending. Ofsted are due back imminently (currently RI) and the pressure is huge. I have taken on two subjects this year and trying to juggle that, on top of my usual workload is hard going. Not to mention the prep for ‘deep dives’.

    There have been a handful of people coming in who continuously pick fault with every little detail. Ideas conflict and it seems like you can never do anything right. No positivity ever comes from feedback, just negatives and I just dread the next time they come back in. I’m happy to work on feedback to ensure I’m getting better but these experiences have been draining and demotivating. Everyone is working so hard but it’s just not enough.

    I love teaching but I’m really not enjoying this year. After another learning walk and book scrutiny last week, I broke down on my way home from work and couldn’t stop. This is so out of character for me which is now why I’m thinking that something isn’t right.

    Should I just try and stick it out? Or look for another job? Leave teaching all together? I feel so lost and not sure what to do. I haven’t spoken to anybody at school about how I’m feeling.

    Any advice? Thank you!
    annascience2012 likes this.
  2. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    IMO, leave teaching. It's not going to get better.
    Teaching a lesson is a great thing to do. Working in a school is not the same.
  3. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    Try somewhere else before you completely throw the towel in. You may find the school you're in is just not a fit for you and you love it somewhere else.

    Good luck.
  4. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    Tend to agree with post 3. Given the time (& cost) of training, I'd say not trying at least one more school would be a bad policy (unless, of course, teaching makes you will!)
  5. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Working in an RI school is tough - you don't get the extra money or the support from external agencies that you do in a Special Measures or Serious Weaknesses school. Plus there's the issue of a falling roll, or a transient roll where parents get their children transferred elsewhere. So the HT and SLT are generally climbing the walls with stress, scared for their jobs, and transfer all the stress onto the teachers who need support if the school is going to improve. I've been there. My first job was in an RI school that had come out of SM two years earlier. Baptism of fire? Just a bit!

    You've got a choice - stick it out or move on. From your post it reads as though its starting to break you, but you do enjoy what you do. Find a better environment to work in. That may mean having to move locations, but you really do not have to work in such a stressful environment.
  6. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I work in an RI school - it is extremely tough. I am struggling a lot this year and I have more than 20 years experience to fall back on.
    I would try another school for next year as a lot depends on the school you work in. My school used to be a good school and back then it was a great place to work.
    Everything @CWadd writes rings true for me.
    As an RQT, you should be getting some support as this is a big transition - having to lead subjects is a new challenge.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Definitely look for another school.
    There are a huge variety of schools, even within the RI category.

    Start looking now and you could be somewhere less stress-inducing at Easter.

    Plenty of schools are still lovely places to work, don't give up teaching because your current one isn't right for you.
  8. housesparrow

    housesparrow New commenter

    Look for a new teaching job, give it one more chance.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    See gp. You sound stressed. Take time out if they agree.

    Sometimes it can get incredibly tricky to see things clearly when you feel like you are working in a pressure pot. But time out will allow you possibly to see things in a different way. You are not a robot. And teaching is just a job.

    Do you have a life and hobbies outside of work?
  10. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    The situation you describe of relentless pressure on teachers is now becoming a very regular concern on this site and is seen as a major factor in teachers leaving the profession. I understand that the HT and SLT are under a great deal of stress themselves, but surely at some point in their career, training, mentoring or in some way they have grasped the key point that people who are constantly subjected to stress, excessive workloads, negative comments and excessive scrutiny do not work at their best.
    For the benefit of any HT, SLT, governors and especially OFSTED inspectors, reading this post I will put this in simple terms.
    I have worked in schools where staff morale was good and schools where staff morale was poor.
    The schools with good morale did better.
    The SLT in the OP's school are also the victims of unreasonable pressure from OFSTED etc. But they could take a moment to reflect, more support, praise and encouragement of staff will achieve better results. They need to get the balance of managing staff right. This is what they are paid for.
  11. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    Depending on the Ofsted judgement, it may ease off, or continue. i had similar in my training year. SLT who had no idea, pushing pressure downwards. I told my HOD that- she didn’t know how to respond, but she couldn’t disagree with me.

    If you do resign, you should say to your HOD why you are leaving. Other staff may be planning the same.
  12. annascience2012

    annascience2012 New commenter

    So sad to hear the OP's story. I want to echo other posts who suggest trying another school first; also, be really up front about which subjects you're confident doing as RQT (you mention picking up two new ones!)
    In my first job, NQT, I naively accepted picking up a new niche GCSE subject I knew little about, related to my main subject, thinking I'd be supported by the HoD who taught it too. He then quit before I arrived and I found myself leading it with no resources - they refused to let me buy textbooks so I bought my own and photocopied them. I had no idea what I was doing! I've learnt from this now and always politely refused when offered a second subject that I'm not confident with... this is not to blame you at all, you couldn't know how hard it would be. Find a new school and stipulate which subjects you're happy with teaching. Good luck!
  13. Sharpie123

    Sharpie123 New commenter

    Can you speak to someone in school? Make an appointment with your line manager or HOD, have a list of you concerns and talk them through. Ask for some strategies or support. Minute what is said and share it.

    This isn't acceptable but if you don't speak up, before you know it you will be on long term stress leave or your school will have lost a good teacher. If everyone just sucks it up, nothing will change.

    Don't take no for an answer. 'We're RI' isn't acceptable. There are limits.

    If morale is as low as you say, maybe get together as a group and put forward your POV. And finally, speak to the union rep - it's their job to monitor conditions in school - they should be proactive, not reactive.
    agathamorse and gruffalo4 like this.
  14. gruffalo4

    gruffalo4 New commenter

    Thank you so much for all of your replies and advice. So nice being able to share how I’m feeling! It’s really helpful having your perspective on it too.

    I’ll definitely consider looking at local job ads as and when they come up. I’d be very keen to move somewhere else. Although it has crossed my mind, on reflection I think leaving altogether would be drastic as it’s my first post. And as it was mentioned above, I haven’t trained and worked this hard just to leave. It all felt too much last week but I’ve given myself a break this weekend and feeling a little more positive.

    Will obviously see how it goes and speak up about my concerns.

    Thanks again for your support.
  15. ibrahim10

    ibrahim10 New commenter

    Let's go straight to the point.. if you read the amount of threads on this forum, there's tonnes of stressed out, physically and mentally distraught teachers. And it's for all the reasons you mentioned, if not more - scrutiny, workload, observations, learning walks, marking etc etc .. THAT is the reality of the profession. I did 3 years then I was out. I personally think your happiness, health and time is far more important.

    The choice is yours.. stay in the grind or find something that makes you feel better.
    agathamorse and gruffalo4 like this.
  16. gruffalo4

    gruffalo4 New commenter

    Very true! What have you gone into since leaving your job? (if you don’t mind me asking!).
  17. Snowflake79

    Snowflake79 New commenter

    I have just been through exactly what you describe above, it had been going on for years from special measures to scraping RI. The constant book looks, learning walks, MCE checks, student voice, young robotic directors with tight blue trousers and brown shoes, constant criticism and nit picking and even refusing verbal feedback then writing lies up in one case to enter onto the system. I could go on..
    I was going to crack. Luckily I was offered VR Which I took. I supply teach now which I do enjoy but I’m only doing a day here or there. But I’d never been out of the actual school I trained at as a student teacher, got a job at and spent 16 years at. Through supply I see that education and teaching is the same most places. I was just taking to a teacher today who had gone to bed at 11 and up again at 2am to prepare for a book scrutiny. I did too much of that...never again

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