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Normal to feel so unstable?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lucywig, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. lucywig

    lucywig New commenter

    Not sure about this one but going to put it out there! Reading through posts it seems I'm not alone but is it normal to feel so emotionally unstable? The pressures this year have been ridiculous due to a drop in results and impending ofsted and when I have tried to voice this it has been casually passed over as that I have forgotten what the start of term feels like! I go from one minute coming away from what I think was a good lesson with the pupils making good progress to returning to the office with yet another mental idea especially with the life after levels nonsense leaving me massively deflated. I feel so upset that I am running around trying to do all the extra things being asked of me on just 3 PPA a week that I no longer teach good lessons and my pupils are suffering. We have been set ridiculous targets (96% pupils to make 4 levels of progress for example) and I feel really worried that no matter what I do this is just not achievable. It's then used as a stick to beat us with when it comes to performance management. I do worry a lot and would like to know if anyone had any good tips for just surviving and trying not to get bogged down in micro managing, learning walks and book looks?! All I want to be able to do is teach and teach well? Any advice?
     
  2. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Advice? Remember it's only a job, and certainly not worth the level of stress that can make you unwell.

    Before joining this now toxic profession I had friends, a social life, and even dated the opposite sex every now and again. I've been single for eleven years, have lost all my friends and suffer with mental health issues. It is not worth it.

    I'm afraid, like the rest of us, you'll be at the whim of careerist tick-box monkeys who will use marking/attainment/progress/observations/student behavior* as a stick to beat you with, so they can document it so Ofsted will think they're wonderful. Us troops on the front line, of course, know what's important and that it's impossible to meet every demand put on us.

    My advice is to do what I did. Go supply, get in fifteen mins before registration every morn and ****** off ten mins after the kids. Sure, you miss holiday pay, but you get your life back. If we all did this, it would really **** Wilshaw and Morgan right over.

    *delete as appropriate
     
    Gsr25 and cat2611 like this.
  3. cat2611

    cat2611 Occasional commenter

    I don't like your post because you had a hard time but I like the fact that you recognised that teaching is toxic and you got out. I have tried to work at many different schools and I always come across incompetent managers who blame me for their failings. I am going to go on supply from January then I will consider if I stay on supply or get a different non-teaching job.

    Thank you for your post Mark because you have just put into words how I feel and our experiences are very similar. The only big difference is that I am married. The incompetent managers have always been a problem but the workload was just about doable when I was single because I had next to no social life and I stayed in to do work most of the time. Now that I am married my husband comes first and he isn't happy to just get one day with me each weekend. Likewise, he would like to spend the evening with me sometimes.

    I think there should be a revolution. All of the teachers in the country should work a maximum of 32.5 or 40 or 48 hours per week or we should walk out en masse and so supply.
     
    gr8jd, Marijke, TEA2111 and 1 other person like this.
  4. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Colleague of mine from a few years was given a stark ultimatum from her husband of several decades: 'quit the job or quit our marriage'. Thankfully she gave two fingers to Gove and Wilshaw.

    I've been supply since 2012 and despite feeling in constant limbo with my life going nowhere, I at least don't feel like a slave anymore or a cog in the Tories big machine. I have found alternative careers difficult to consider because even on supply, it can require a 60-70% drop in pay.

    I'm looking abroad.
     
    cat2611 likes this.
  5. cat2611

    cat2611 Occasional commenter

    I know what you mean about life not going anywhere on supply and being constantly in limbo as supply is more of a job than a career. Despite the downsides to supply, as you point out the major plus point is that I'll have a happy marriage.

    My husband is understanding and supportive. He said that he could put up with my workload if I actually enjoyed it but I spend 100% of the evenings and weekends either doing schoolwork or complaining about the incompetent leadership team and bossy colleagues who are not on the leadership team but behave as though they are.

    It makes me sad that I am not going to have my own class anymore as I really enjoy teaching the children and helping them to learn academic and social skills. However, I know that I have tried hard and I have worked in lots of different schools. I know that it is not just the leadership team at my school that is in the wrong, but the system as a whole is in a mess.

    My husband's life, my dog's life and my own life will all be better from 18th December 2015. Even simple things like walking the dog will be fun again. When I am teaching full time walking the dog is a chore that I haven't got time for.
     
    notsonorthernlass and snowyhead like this.
  6. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Be careful folks. Supply is NOT the panacea that some of you are making it out to be. Once the agency have creamed off their share, you would probably be better off financially order picking in the local warehouse. (but then I have actually done that and you get to **** off on the MINUTE your shift ends and not return for 16 hours if you don't do overtime!)

    PS I think teaching has the power to destabilise even without the workload, as you can go from year 9s from hell to year 12s some of whom intellectually beat a teacher who was top of a year of 170 students for GCSES from one period to the next!

    But if you want a stable mood, its either lithium or leave the profession and I know which most of you would choose.
     
  7. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    @mark6243 and @scienceteachasghost have you considered becoming a self-employed supply teacher? I am giving it serious thought now for next year. I did supply through an agency, many years ago, and hated the fact they ripped off schools and teachers in one fell swoop. It would enable you to take back some control.

    I'm not too nervous about becoming self-employed as I have friends who have made the leap in their respective professions and they are reaping the benefits of being in control for the first time in years.
     
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Not really but its a thought! Although wouldn't you have to deal with self declaration of tax forms etc etc?
     
  9. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Setting yourself up as self-employed is extremely easy. HMRC have streamlined the process. You don't need an accountant. Just keep a hardback book or spreadsheet of income and outgoings. I did it for my partner last year - I'm no financial whizz but it was pretty easy. Also completed the Self-Assessment forms at the end of the financial year - pretty simple too as long as you don't have complex financial things going on (directorships, shares in offshore companies, a huge property portfolio etc).

    You will need a current DBS certificate, ideally register with the DBS up date service within 19 days of getting a new certificate from an employer (agency or first school you work for). Once you've registered for up-date service (costs £19 a year) any school can access your DBS info for free - a great selling point.

    You'll need to invest a bit of time to research local schools and then put together a letter of introduction and decide on your fees structure (daily rate and long term rate).
     
    TEA2111 likes this.
  10. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter


    How likely are schools to deal directly with a supply teacher, without going through an agent?
     
  11. cat2611

    cat2611 Occasional commenter

    When I moved to a new area in 2012 I handed my cv in at about 10 or 20 schools advertising my availability for supply. I got one response acknowledging receipt of my cv but no offers of work.

    A supply teacher who I was talking to last year said that she wrote to several schools and she has been taken on as a regular supply teacher at 2 schools. Perhaps schools are in dire straights now and they need more supply than they did a few years ago.

    Also, I think it helps if you know people at the school. Sometimes a friend can put a good word in for you or you might have previously worked for the head.
     
    TEA2111 likes this.
  12. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    My husband is understanding and supportive. He said that he could put up with my workload if I actually enjoyed it but I spend 100% of the evenings and weekends either doing schoolwork or complaining about the incompetent leadership team and bossy colleagues who are not on the leadership team but behave as though they are.

    It makes me sad that I am not going to have my own class anymore as I really enjoy teaching the children and helping them to learn academic and social skills. However, I know that I have tried hard and I have worked in lots of different schools. I know that it is not just the leadership team at my school that is in the wrong, but the system as a whole is in a mess.

    My husband's life, my dog's life and my own life will all be better from 18th December 2015. Even simple things like walking the dog will be fun again. When I am teaching full time walking the dog is a chore that I haven't got time for.[/QUOTE]

    OMG - this is exactly what my husband said to me. I am leaving at the end of term as well. I cannot wait to enjoy the simple things in life again. Yes, we'll be worse off, but I have learnt that there are more important things in life than money.
     
    cat2611 and TEA2111 like this.
  13. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    Sorry - didn't quote that exactly correctly!
     
    cat2611 likes this.
  14. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Worth a try, thanks....think I might go down this route if I do hand in my resignation.
     
  15. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    If you 'sell' yourself well then I don't see why schools would not want to pay for the services of a teacher directly. If you are self-employed they don't even have to pay employer's NI contributions so they save even more money. Many schools employ supply teachers directly.
     
  16. cat2611

    cat2611 Occasional commenter

    It's reassuring to know that we have not done anything wrong and that other people have had the same poor experiences as us. I used to blame myself but now I know that it's not that I can't teach. I am actually a good teacher but I have chosen not to teach.
     
  17. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    I miss the teacher I used to be. This messed-up system has had the opposite effect and worsened my practice through all the stress, constant observation and self doubt. I spend the whole day running around like a headless chicken, never prepared for anything no matter how many hours I put in. And everyone in my school feels the same. Today I was observed by an academy big-wig that has never actually taught a class in his overblown, self important life. Never spent hours and hours marking books, night after night, week after week. Never chased naughty kids round the school. Probably never actually spent any time actually working with children.

    It's all so wrong.
     
    TEA2111, gr8jd and snowyhead like this.
  18. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    I can take home £500 a week and the agency put about £100 a week away to cover hols. I'm in fifteen mins before reg and leave ten mins after the kids. Yes, I have experienced lean patches, but not in last two years as so many staff have given Wilshaw and Gove/Morgan the two fingered salute.

    I can't speak for subjects not in demand, but anecdotally in maths and science it's a seller's market right now; I'm already turning down assignments.

    But then that's one reason I studied something serious, rather than Shakespeare.
     
    TEA2111 likes this.
  19. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Both of the big two teaching unions advise members to refuse observations by unqualified bods. Was this person just sitting in or taking notes?
     
  20. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Was it the £65k pa business manager? Are you on UPS?

    See where I'm going with this?
     
    gr8jd and snowyhead like this.

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