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NQT feeling overwhelmed and useless - depression rearing its ugly head again

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Thelastchancesaloon, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. I started as NQT in Sept and have struggled particularly with behaviour with most of my classes. I have been increasingly unhappy these last couple of weeks, with the endless pressure of deadlines and trying to get my classes to improve when I am fighting an uphill battle against lethargy and apathy from the kids, most of all my y11 classes who are awful. I am constantly having to justify why they are not achieving their predicted grades and feel personally responsible for their lack of progress. We are retaking stuff from last year and most of them couldn't care less. I am giving up my own time after school to run extra sessions but kids are taking the pee with these, often not bothering to attend. My lunchtimes are always used to chase up coursework, run assessment catch-ups for absentees and, often, pointless dept meetings.
    My HoD has noticed I have BM problems and is trying to give me advice but I am still struggling. On top of this, I am behind with marking and have just had a ream of data to analyse re my tutor group and have to produce a scheme of work which I am hopeless at writing.

    On my pgce, I left halfway through my course because of mentor issues which left me suicidal and on ADs. I returned the following year and completed the pgce elsewhere in a much nicer school. However, the mentor there didn't give me much practical advice and our meetings were a sham - she would tick boxes randomly and make up targets as she never actually came to observe me, just left me her classes! As a result, I always felt like a bit of a fraud as, compared to other trainees on my course, I never recieved the rigorous preparation they did and this year has been tough in terms of dealing with data and writing SOWs as I never had any experience of these.

    I have noticed that once again, I am waking up before my alarm, feeling sick with dread, and tearful before school - although I am fine once in school - none of the classes have reduced me to tears, thankfully. I am however very snappy and irritable with the groups now, getting so fed up with having to spoon feed them information and constantly stopping because of LLDs. Recently, the anxiety has increased and I have had some 'bad' thoughts, similar to those I had when it all went wrong on my PGCE.... I find myself wishing I could have an accident, so that I don't have to face school or wanting to just walk away and disappear completely. Occasionally they are flash thoughts of harming myself though I push these away and I would never do that to my kids.
    I feel immensely guilty about how little time my kids have with me - often less than 30 mins a day of my time. I am a lone parent and they are now latch-key kids. I cannot remember when I last did something nice with them, without feeling guilty and resentful that I can't be working, even though I don't want to be.

    My work life balance is non existent - I see family only if my parents drop off or pick up my kids, I cannot remember when I last saw a friend for a non-school related reason. I have one friend who used to drop round randomly, but now it would stress me so much in case it interrupted work I was doing.

    I have seriously thought about leaving teaching as I am getting no pleasure from it. I can't remember delivering a good lesson, that went as I planned it should - instead I plan till the small hours, then the kids manage to b****r it up by their behaviour. I cling to the few nice bits - I DO have some really lovely students and some good relationships with them, and some of them have produced good work which shows I CAN teach effectively if Im allowed to......but these are few and far between moments.

    I am loath to go back to the doctor and get ADs again but I recognise I'm sinking and will have to if it doesn't get better. I do find it hard to confide in others how Im feeling and tend to try to be superwoman, no matter how badly its going wrong. Several staff have said I am over stressing and taking too much on.....but then theres another round of "why is so and so not achieving" and I feel I HAVE to give more and more.

    In tears now, just writing this.
     
  2. I started as NQT in Sept and have struggled particularly with behaviour with most of my classes. I have been increasingly unhappy these last couple of weeks, with the endless pressure of deadlines and trying to get my classes to improve when I am fighting an uphill battle against lethargy and apathy from the kids, most of all my y11 classes who are awful. I am constantly having to justify why they are not achieving their predicted grades and feel personally responsible for their lack of progress. We are retaking stuff from last year and most of them couldn't care less. I am giving up my own time after school to run extra sessions but kids are taking the pee with these, often not bothering to attend. My lunchtimes are always used to chase up coursework, run assessment catch-ups for absentees and, often, pointless dept meetings.
    My HoD has noticed I have BM problems and is trying to give me advice but I am still struggling. On top of this, I am behind with marking and have just had a ream of data to analyse re my tutor group and have to produce a scheme of work which I am hopeless at writing.

    On my pgce, I left halfway through my course because of mentor issues which left me suicidal and on ADs. I returned the following year and completed the pgce elsewhere in a much nicer school. However, the mentor there didn't give me much practical advice and our meetings were a sham - she would tick boxes randomly and make up targets as she never actually came to observe me, just left me her classes! As a result, I always felt like a bit of a fraud as, compared to other trainees on my course, I never recieved the rigorous preparation they did and this year has been tough in terms of dealing with data and writing SOWs as I never had any experience of these.

    I have noticed that once again, I am waking up before my alarm, feeling sick with dread, and tearful before school - although I am fine once in school - none of the classes have reduced me to tears, thankfully. I am however very snappy and irritable with the groups now, getting so fed up with having to spoon feed them information and constantly stopping because of LLDs. Recently, the anxiety has increased and I have had some 'bad' thoughts, similar to those I had when it all went wrong on my PGCE.... I find myself wishing I could have an accident, so that I don't have to face school or wanting to just walk away and disappear completely. Occasionally they are flash thoughts of harming myself though I push these away and I would never do that to my kids.
    I feel immensely guilty about how little time my kids have with me - often less than 30 mins a day of my time. I am a lone parent and they are now latch-key kids. I cannot remember when I last did something nice with them, without feeling guilty and resentful that I can't be working, even though I don't want to be.

    My work life balance is non existent - I see family only if my parents drop off or pick up my kids, I cannot remember when I last saw a friend for a non-school related reason. I have one friend who used to drop round randomly, but now it would stress me so much in case it interrupted work I was doing.

    I have seriously thought about leaving teaching as I am getting no pleasure from it. I can't remember delivering a good lesson, that went as I planned it should - instead I plan till the small hours, then the kids manage to b****r it up by their behaviour. I cling to the few nice bits - I DO have some really lovely students and some good relationships with them, and some of them have produced good work which shows I CAN teach effectively if Im allowed to......but these are few and far between moments.

    I am loath to go back to the doctor and get ADs again but I recognise I'm sinking and will have to if it doesn't get better. I do find it hard to confide in others how Im feeling and tend to try to be superwoman, no matter how badly its going wrong. Several staff have said I am over stressing and taking too much on.....but then theres another round of "why is so and so not achieving" and I feel I HAVE to give more and more.

    In tears now, just writing this.
     
  3. I felt the same last year and that's what drove me to visit my GP. Please do it for the sake of your children, if not for yourself before it's too late!

    In the meantime, please remember that you are not useless, a fake or a fraud. Otherwise, you wouldn't have got the job that you are now in! It's because you are so hard working, reliable and good that you are in the situation that you are in.

    I also want to assure you that the best teachers often come from the worst circumstances, because as someone from my PGCE course reminded me (when I and others in a poor placement like me said the same thing as you), we have experienced a load of stuff earlier on that other teachers won't have experienced and HAVE survived without the support we should have got, so that makes us more self sufficient! Please don't give up! go and speak to someone now, before you have a nervous breakdown and will never be able to teach again! You are doing too much and need to be looked after!

    In the meantime, please keep posting on here (or PM me if you want to talk to me some more) and REST when you can! I'm thinking of you (and am sure other tes users are too)!

    Take care!
     
  4. violet64

    violet64 New commenter

    I so feel for you. I still frequently feel the same after over 20 years. You got your job on your own merit and are not a fake or a fraud.
    You need to think of your own children too. Set yourself a work time limit and after that spend time with your children and on yourself. Beg borrow and steal resources for your lessons. You will feel less resentful when Y11 are less than enthusiastic. (Which subject do you teach?) As for your scheme post on your subject area on the TES . Someone may have what you need or at least something you can adapt.
    Can someone in your department take one or two miscreants from the worst groups and you can work with fewer disruptions. I bet if you check, the students making life hard for you are doing the same in other subjects. It is not you. You are obviously very dedicated and conscientious.
    I wish I could be of practical help.
     
  5. lighthouse_keeper

    lighthouse_keeper New commenter


    <font size="2">Dear
    Thelastchancesaloon,</font>


    I'm so sorry. It
    seems like you aren't in a very supportive school if they are expecting you as
    an NQT to be an expert on how to get the best out of kids when you have only
    just started in your career. I had a horrible Year 10-11 group in my NQT year
    (2 years, argh!) and it was really tough, and 10 of them failed, and it was a
    miracle it wasn't more! I had no idea how to get them to do their best, they
    were really disaffected (even though it was a good school!) and I did my best -
    in the end I was almost proud I'd got them to Ds as those 10 were all getting
    Us and Gs when i first had them! But, (and this is not much solace now but I promise it will be the same for you), after
    that horrible class, I found Beh Mgt soooo much easier in that school - in
    fact, I'd had so many problems with that class, I'd pretty much come across it
    all with them, so I didn't struggle so much after that, and I built a
    reputation as a teacher who was firm but fair, and who cared. You will do the
    same, believe me. I've just changed schools and I have struggled with my Year 11s,
    even though I'm in my 6th year. So has my partner, in his 7th year, because he's in a new place. So don't
    feel bad, they're testing us, and with a Year 11 class when we're new, we
    probably can't ever expect to get the best out of them. However, your Year 10
    classes next year will be a completely different story, and you will notice the
    difference. You always have a class you "cut your teeth on" as I like
    to call it, and that is normal. And it's normal for experienced teachers when
    they change schools, I'm only 6 years in but teachers in the business for much
    longer than me have told me the same.


    Maybe I'm not
    the best one to advise you as I've been on this forum with worries myself,
    although I don't think I'm in as difficult a place as you, as I don't have kids
    to worry about, and my school has been supportive. Yours needs to give you a
    break! You need to talk to someone about this. It's not fair - you can't do
    more than your best. I have been worrying and stressing like crazy about my
    job, and that I'm not doing a good job, but at least my Head and department are
    assuring me that I am. That has been a big help (I'm always my harshest
    critic). But if you aren't getting the help and support you need, how can you
    manage? I think another TESer has said recently, schools don't hire NQTs
    expecting perfection, but that they can help you to improve, and that's how it
    should be. Unfortunately some places don't seem to realise that NQTs need lots of reassurance,
    support, TLC and backup. Is there someone there you can talk to?


    In terms of your
    own health, I think it's really important that you go to the doctor, and
    there's absolutely no shame in ADs &ndash; lots of teachers are on them &ndash; this is a
    hell of a job. It really is. It has its highs but my goodness, does it have its lows.
    Don&rsquo;t be ashamed &ndash; go and get the help you need. Or you&rsquo;ll be off sick and then
    you will be worrying about how to go back, and that&rsquo;s not what you need. What
    you need is to learn how to make a success of this year, but you can&rsquo;t do that
    on your own, you need the support and guidance of your school. Ask for help.
    Keep a log of everything you&rsquo;re doing for the kids. Don&rsquo;t run yourself ragged
    providing help &ndash; tell them it&rsquo;s there but if they choose not to attend, that&rsquo;s
    their trouble, and show the management that you have done your bit. You can
    drag a horse to water&hellip;.so if kids don&rsquo;t want your help, that&rsquo;s their choice.
    You are only one part of the equation, the kids have to fulfil their part of
    the bargain (so many mixed metaphors LOL). That is what seems so unfair about
    teaching, the onus seems to be all on the teacher, when if the kids don&rsquo;t do
    what they should, how can we guarantee results? You are a facilitator of
    learning, not a results &ldquo;machine&rdquo;. You can only facilitate learning if they are
    open to that.


    Please, please go
    to the doctor and get the help you need there. And please ask for more help and
    support at school, and if you still don&rsquo;t get it, go higher, and higher, until
    you do. And if you&rsquo;re still not getting it, then you cannot do any more, and if
    they are hounding you about results then get in touch with your union and ask
    what you are meant to do next.


    All the very best
    and please, be good to yourself. This weekend allow yourself some time with
    your loved-ones and forget all about school for a few precious hours. School
    will not stop running without you- take it from someone who&rsquo;s had time off &ndash; it
    will exist without you, and so if you take a few hours for yourself on the
    weekend, it won&rsquo;t hurt your planning for next week &ndash; plus it&rsquo;s Christmas
    holidays soon, so how much learning will really take place next week? Have some fun with your kids, you deserve it.


    Get in touch if
    you need to chat more.


    All the best
    LHK



     
  6. chuk

    chuk New commenter

    To original poster:
    You are obviously extremely conscientious. That is a good quality. You are also an NQT, and as such need careful guidance and support. Ask for help. Do not feel bad or guilty about how you feel.
    I am in my 13th year of teaching, and am now learning the hard way. I've had periods off work because of the pressure I have put myself under over recent months. I did not ask for help. Please do not make the same mistake as me. You deserve to get all the help you need, either medically, or practically in school now.
    If you want to have a long successful career, then act now before it is too late. Don't put so much pressure on yourself, and ask for every conceivable means of support. remember...strong people know their limitations. Good luck and keep posting!
     
  7. I felt that I had to reply, as what you have written describes how I felt in my GTP year. What I would like to say is that the first couple of years of teaching are incredibly stressful, especially if your department/school aren't that supportive, so be kind to yourself. I too felt that I really struggled with BM and coping with endless lessons where you don't quite feel in control of the situation is truly awful. Likewise, the workload can seem totally overwhelming, especially with children.
    However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I moved to a different school for my NQT year and that made a huge difference. Also, remember that every 'bad' experience you have, does make you a better teacher in the long run. I'm in my 5th year of teaching now and I think of myself as a pretty good disciplinarian. On the workload front, remember that as you build up a bank of resources, the workload decreases massively, as does the time it takes to mark, write reports etc. From bursting into tears as soon as I got home and seriously wanting to leave teaching in those first couple of years, I can honestly say that I love teaching now; it's a great job and I'm so pleased that I persevered.
    My one bit of advice is: don't work into the small hours! Set yourself a realistic amount of time and your work has to be done by then - I don't ever work past 9 at night. Also, have at least one day at the weekend where you dedicate it just to your family life (no work whatsoever) - that's equally as important as school. Finally, do ask for help - could you not share resources within your department? I have often found that, when asked, most people are only too happy to share their work.
    I really do hope that you start to find things a bit easier x
     
  8. i didn't know my experience of my first year might come in handy. i , like you worked all hours into midnight and beyond. I had been given the worst classes(why?) with no support and front-loaded criticism of everything i did. I too gave remedial classes for the kids. I had before the year ended bouts of depression, several episodes of bronchitis, ending in pneumonia, ending up physically and emotionally a wreck. Please for your sake....STOP.
    TAKE TOMORROW OFF AND GET MEDICINE STRAIGHT AWAY
    then as a routine
    1. Take a stroll in the morning-preferably 1/2 an hour walk-just take in the sights and sounds around you and forget school and classes- technique called mindfulness/being in the moment-can be learned over several days
    2. Be totally upfront/honest with manager of behaviour in class-ask for help/support in getting it right. make sure you have behaviour management process in place with calls to parents/ sending out/detentions in place and carried through each time. make it twice as hard emotionally as they make it for you.
    3. make lessons engaging/entertaining-give yourself and students a break for 5/10 minutes in the class
    4.ask to observe other experienced teachers-ask advice from them-ask if they may sit in one of your classes.
    5. finish work at school at the end of the day for the next day. DO NOT TAKE WORK HOME.
    6. Go home-walk again for 1/2 hour in mindfulness
    7. Enjoy company of family and friends
    8.RECHARGE-GO TO BED AT SET TIME- giving minimum of 7/8 hours sleep
    Finally your quest for perfection is killing you-you are good at teaching and that is good enough- over-working destroys you and your career-reclaim a life/work balance. You have forty years ahead of you-if this year messes up you have 39 ahead to make it work.all the best.
     
  9. I'd just like to say thank-you to everyone whose kind words have helped me put things into perspective. I am off sick with flu, probably cos I've allowed myself to get run down but am now able to view my problems more realistically and don't feel so swamped. My school ARE supportive, I shouldn't have given the impression that they're not. It is me putting unreasonable pressure on myself, constantly comparing myself to other nqts and, worse, to experienced teachers, when I should simply do my best and stop trying to save the world. I will be asking for help with BM and have highlighted this on my CEDP and NQT form (my mentor does not seem worried about my progress so far). My HoD has been complimentary about my extra efforts to help the disaffected kids and recognises some are whole school problems beyond my remit. Next term I will be focusing on BM and will ask for help, help and more help until I crack it. I know I have a lifelong tendency towards depression and will, if needs be, get ADs again. What a testament to the 'profession' that so many of us resort to needing them to cope. I guess by nature, teachers care and sometimes we care too much, to the exclusion of all else, when it takes over our lives and sucks us dry.
    Thank you all once again. X x x
     
  10. I thought I might be on the mend but I'm laying here wide awake, worrying about the job, terrified I'll be found out for the incompetent teacher I am. I don't feel I've given a single good lesson all term. I can't face the dept xmas party at the end of term, even tho I need to try and bond with colleagues but I just want to hide away and cry. I remember this feeling from last time, so I know It's not rational, but part of the terrible negative cycle that comes with Depression. all I keep wanting is to leave the job -if my Lotto came up, I wouldnt think twice!
    I dont want to be around people, not my boyfriend, my friends, even family, kinda awkward at this time of year. I have no other nqt's who seem to be having a tough time. All my course friends appear to be loving it. my O/H just doesnt understand the pressure and just says I need to be tougher on naughty kids. (he's not In the job). I dread the next few days as I know two of my classes have not prepared at all for an assessment and will act up when I make them do it regardless. they all expect videos this week as if its their right but l have vowed this is only IF they have behaved. I wake up in tears, feeling sick and full of self loathing, hoping something will prevent me from going I....like an oncoming truck. Somehow I don't let it show at work, except in my snappiness
     
  11. chuk

    chuk New commenter

    Go to the dept. xmas meal. You will be fine! Try to enjoy xmas hoildays. When you start the new term, ask for help if you need it. Take care, keep posting, and try to keep positive.
     

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