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One Term in and ready to call it quits.

Discussion in 'Personal' started by emsdev3596, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. Hi all,

    First time posting here but I really need advice.
    This is my probation/NQT year and I am ready to leave. I had a miserable time on my PGDE year. I was bullied in one school by the class teacher I worked with, and in the other school the whole staff were bullied by the HT. My class teacher went off for personal reasons and I was used as a supply teacher and forced to take the class myself for over a week! These negative experiences affected my mental health massively- and tainted my opinion of the job. I decided to power on, despite wanting to drop out of my PGDE, as everyone said it would get better.
    I am one whole term into the school year and I am miserable.
    My probation school is amazing- lovely staff and lovely children- so I know I have it so much luckier than many. However, this has only shone a light on the fact the horrible placement schools may have also been masking a real distaste for the career. I blamed everything on being bullied and the stress of bad schools instead of seeing the warning signs the career isnt for me.
    I am only 23 with a pervious degree in Classics and History which has great transferable skills. I am terrified of quitting mid year but I also do not think I can continue to feel the way I do. I get no joy from the job, cry almost daily, don't sleep, work 60 hour weeks,and have seen my mood and personality change so much I cannot recognise myself. I was known among my friends as being incredibly bubbly, positive and laid back. I am now someone who immediately jumps to negativity and regularly ruins the mood. I am worried I am becoming depressed and feeling trapped in an unsustainable career.

    I am just not giving it a fair chance? How do I rid myself of the same I feel towards myself for hating this career I once wanted to do more than anything!
    FormosaRed likes this.
  2. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    Depends how much you want to teach. I feel for you...I had an absolutely horrid first teaching practice ,being caught in the middle of an argument between my mentor (who really wasn't experienced enough herself to be in this role) and her HOD. The second was better and I went on to qualify and am still here decades later...though mostly international.

    Hand on heart I can't really say that I love it...but it is a job and it pays the bills, with plenty of time away (though I know this isn't the case in UK)

    While I usually berate Hippo for giving similar advice, I just might dare to suggest you stick it out and then try overseas? Even then though you still get irritating situations...it's not all a bed of roses.

    I quit in the UK from insupportable working conditions. I have never quit overseas for the same reasons.I am offering this advice because your situation sounds similar to mine when I was in a similar situation.
    Hope this helps.
    SundaeTrifle and JL48 like this.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Stick it out until Christmas.

    You're in a nice school - things could be worse.

    I hated my first couple of years in teaching - don't give up yet.
  4. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    I think @the hippo should be informed of this turn about ;-)
    towncryer likes this.
  5. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    What is it that you actually teach? 60 hour weeks? Perhaps you are now confusing a school without bullying as a school well run.

    I say this as someone who visits a lot of schools and works with a lot of teachers who moved from main stream teaching into the related areas. There are a huge number of education jobs which are not front line mainstream teaching jobs.

    My hunch though is that you feel you are at as good as a school as there is on offer and it’s actually burning you out with chronic stress. If you worked 8am until 6pm Monday to Thursday (4pm finish on Friday) and did a few hours at the weekend then this would be quite normal for a hard working teacher. And that’s about 50 hours a week. I’m afraid I think it’s time to hit the job papers.
  6. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Bullying is rife in some schools - teachers being bullied by other teachers or school staff can be the nature of things in some schools. Other schools can be completely different.
    Whatever action you eventually decide to take, don't let it get to the state where it messes up your mental health, because it can take many years to heal - if ever.
    Good luck.
  7. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    This is not dissecting it, it is feeling it. that's a not a criticism-you posted because you feel rubbish.

    So dissect it. Cast your mind back to why you ever wanted to be a teacher. Most people at this point envisage a teaching scenario. Time in class. Interacting with kids. But in your post, you don't mention how you deal with this side of things How the actual teaching is for you.
    I think a decision on your part has to hinge on this-if you love it,the classroom experience, you can make it work. Given a little more time, you'll have memorised the kids's names, you'll have enough lessons under your belt to instigate more focused conversations with other staff, you'll have your own resources lined up like ducks, you'll have your room personalised, the kids will begin to turn to you in non lesson time.
    At the minute, you have none of those things off pat. And this is probably why your sixty hour week. It's all new. When you have your routines, your systems, your resources, your rapport, the sixty becomes fifty, maybe less. The meetings and the admin become mere petty annoyances, because you are galvanised into more enduring focus on the lessons which you enjoy, which ratify you being there. You'll also find that the psychology of how you get on with other staff becomes far less relevant. You can sail your own ship in time,whereas in your post you don't exhibit much autonomy in terms of purpose; the opinions and input of others are incredibly important to you. In time, they wont need to be, which is a good job because most schools harbour some staff who you simply wont get on well with if you expect support or even collaboration from them.

    But if you don't enjoy being in class-no. It's maybe not worth it. There's no carrot to get your through your current situation.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
    phlogiston, agathamorse and chelsea2 like this.
  8. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    In my experience (25 years at the chalkface and now very happily retired) I'd suggest if you don't like it now you never will.
    Get out while you still have your sanity.
    You've not failed in any way.................the job is simply not what you are suited for. You have a hideous experience whilst training and now, even in agood school, realise underneath the horro of your training that the job isn't right for you.
    Good luck in whatever you choose to do.
  9. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    The job is making you ill both physically and mentally. You've only been doing the job for a term and things do get a little easier as you become more adept at planning and develop marking strategies to reduce the workload. However, this many be a few years down the line and you may not be prepared or willing to battle through these early stages to get there and I can well understand that. After all, these are prime years for you being in your early twenties and you may have another 45 years of working life ahead of you.

    You are still young enough to be considered for entry to graduate recruitment schemes and you won't be the first NQT to make the change early in their career. As for quitting mid year, again you won't be the first and if teaching really isn't for you then you are doing yourself and your students little good by staying on.

    Firstly you must make the decision about whether to leave or not. As you say, you feel trapped hating your job yet reluctant to leave. If you are going to stay then you have to make the job better perhaps by working smarter or taking advice from more experienced colleagues. If you're going to leave then you have youth and a lot of transferable skills on your side as you say. You must decide one way or another because you can't go on as you are because the current situation is so damaging towards you.

    To help you decide make a list of all the activities you do at school; marking, meetings, duties, interaction, paperwork, teaching, preparing and any other things and rate each activity out of ten - 10 good, 0 bad and then average out your scores. Set yourself a threshold, say 5, anything less than that you quit, anything greater you stay. In thinking back on our work we may only focus on the bad stuff rather than the good so this may help you get an overall picture of what you actually feel.

    Another method may be to jot down your rating after a certain period say 15 or 30 minutes. Ask yourself how you feel about what you have done for the last 30 period and rate it 0 to 10. Again, if you average falls below your threshold it may be time to quit, anything above and it may be worth trying to make a go of it.

    At the moment I think you need to make a decision as to what to do and then take positive steps to see it through.
  10. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I have written to the OP and offered my help and support. emsdev3596 seems to be having a tough time. I really hope that things work out for her, whether in the UK or overseas. Being a good teacher has always meant hard work, but making yourself physically and mentally ill is not going to help anyone. A good SLT should have come alongside and given some encouragement and practical help.
    yasf and phlogiston like this.
  11. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    You have a bit longer before the deadline for resigning. Give it a bit longer.
    However, you have given the job a good go. Few teachers have ever derived continuous joy from their employment. It's mostly a grind. The line between assertive focused management and bullying can be thin when you're at the pointy end.
    There is no shame in giving a job a try and deciding that you aren't suited to it.
    Good luck finding something better.
  12. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Give it more time. I had a similar experience to you and was also bullied in my NQT year but got through it. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the responsibility and the workload so early on in teaching but you're not alone and your colleagues will help you out. Give it to half term then re-assess.

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