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Off with stress, can’t go back, advice needed!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by gembug, Dec 2, 2019 at 4:54 AM.

  1. gembug

    gembug New commenter

    First time poster here! Reading this thread (even if it is at 4am!) has been so help ful but after a bit of advice.

    Quick backstory: in 10th year of teaching. Previous working in residential kids home and bank nursing assistant in a psychiatric hospital.
    Currently in year 2. SLT have known since September finding hard. No TA time whatsoever. Some tricky behaviour and a very needy/ low cohort (although lots of lovely characters)
    Ended up having quite an extreme panic attack at work before October half term. A lovely TA who teaches yoga doesn’t an hour with me getting me somewhere near calm. This was exacerbated by insomnia (I only teach 0.6 and my insomnia was ONLY on work nights) Head not entirely supportive following panic attack and ferried me back into class.
    Post half term nothing improved. Woke up in middle of night about 1.30 and couldn’t sleep as per usual. Had to wake husband at 5 as having another panic attack. Signed off for two weeks and this has been extended to after Xmas.

    Over half term I applied for a non teaching role with a charity, got interview but didn’t get it. Am now very sure I want to leave. The thought of going back makes me sick but being off work is really hard. Feeling quite low and I am not he type of person who copes well without a “plan”

    I have applied for 3 different NHS roles (one admin, two more healthcare side) but the NHS are notoriously slow in recruitment so shortlisting hasn’t even happened yet (even though closing date for one was 20th nov!) My planning my head was secure a job (?!) and ask to be released from my contract on health and well-being grounds at Xmas. I cannot see this happening now and it’s thrown me especially with a DBS being needed for any jobs.

    I just feel stuck and am not in a position to leave with nothing to go to. Feel immense guilt for being off so long and am also worried this will put off prospective employers when references are sought (I should get good references as never any issues with performance)

    I’m not sure what I am after really but either reassurance that it’s ok to take more time off after Christmas or another avenue to look down for jobs that I haven’t already. Indeed is now full of Christmas temp jobs so is proving not very fruitful!

    Would also LOVE to hear from any teachers who moved over to NHS after leaving teaching. Haven’t seen anything so far regarding this.

    Thank you if you got this far!! Xx
     
  2. Cantwaittogo

    Cantwaittogo New commenter

    Hi there, well of course if you aren't well enough to work after Christmas then you need to stay off sick. It's better for you and your class! It sounds as though it's the school rather than the job that is making you ill.

    Perhaps you could speak to supply agencies with a view to being available from Easter? Doing supply means that you can take your time in looking for a non teaching job should you still want this.
     
  3. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    If you are awake in the middle of the night asking this then no I really don’t think you should go back to work yet.

    Your focus is getting a job within the NHS? Why? Maybe focus on the day-to-day. No tears, no panic attacks and generally you feeling better?

    When I left my last job I was (unexpectedly) paid a notice period of 4 months which took me to September when I started a new job.
    In my area the opportunities for supply are quite immense and varied (1-2-1 work £100 for 2 hours an example). The question is are you financially able to take the hit of losing your salary (or at least going on to half pay) ?

    Please take some time out for yourself though and get well.
     
  4. gembug

    gembug New commenter

    Before teaching I worked in the NHS as a bank nursing assistant while studying. I guess I always saw it as the ‘other’ option.

    As I’m part time I can take the hit of a bit of a pay cut and am happy to work full time in a ‘regular’ job.

    I’ve worked in 4 schools and often think about leaving so do think it’s the job more than the school. Saying that I’ve always worked in the tougher end of schools in terms of catchment and behaviour etc.

    I guess I don’t feel comfortable taking more time off but I guess a sense of duty/guilt isn’t reason enough to go back. I also think I’ll go slowly even more loopy if I was off any longer.

    Basically I want the answers and I want them now ‍♀️

    Thanks both for your input. Will look into supply options although definitely don’t think the opportunities are as fruitful in Shropshire! Would a stint on supply make my work history look too bitty?
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    hello, I am in a similar situation. i have pmed you, nothing useful, just sympathy
     
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You have a plan!

    You've had an interview already so that bodes well. I'd say the omens are good. You've plenty of experience. You know what you're good at. You sound flexible and versatile.

    Your time at that school has reached its conclusion.

    OK to "take time off"? Well, that makes it sound like a holiday or a sabbatical. No. You're ill. So don't portray it to yourself or to us as if you have options about it.

    Your energy now has to be expended on next steps. You're not yet totally despondent so I'm betting on you to secure something or other even if it isn't perfect. And it won't be perfect! That's not real life. But you'll get by. There are hundreds and thousands of escaped teachers out there but they're mostly too busy to be hanging round here. You'll be one of them soon enough. Someone who gets up on a Monday morning and just turns up for work and does a good job, has a laugh, collects the pay cheque, goes shopping, watches a film with family.

    That's going to be you.
     
  7. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Hi gembug. How are you feeling today?
    Be careful about applying for jobs when you are signed off. You can apply, of course - but you cannot attend interviews if you are not fit for work without risking disciplinary. I am in the same position.
    I want to secure a job so I can feel more secure about leaving, but until I get well I can't go back to work ... and if I go back to work I will very quickly become unwell again... so I feel stuck. I guess you might feel the same.
    However, to break the cycle, I think I ... we..... need to get well first. Then the rest will follow.
     
  8. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    It’s ok to take time off after Xmas if that’s what you need for your own health. Teaching is getting increasingly harder and it can burn you out. If you want to leave, keep looking. I’m training up to be an antenatal and postnatal group teacher during my maternity. A lot of us have had time off and it hasn’t effected us getting another job too. Look after yourself and enjoy Xmas. Dont think about work while you’re off.xxx
     
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Good advice above. If you had a broken leg, you would be off sick.
    Your first priority is to get better. Once you're better and able to see your disentanglement from this current job, a way forward will appear.
     

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