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Please help - Can't cope

Discussion in 'Primary' started by teacher9876, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Hi
    Thanks for reading. I have a problem and wondered if anyone could offer some help...
    I applied for a deputy head post. Recently things have got so bad that I have been unable to cope. I've also had quite challenging personal circumstances and what started out as stress has become clinically diagnised depression.
    I'm off school ill at the moment but I am doing 3 mornings a week to get myself back into it. I am not sure if I am able to continue as deputy head. Can I stand down and just be a class teacher or should I leave the school?
  2. shenshah

    shenshah New commenter

    I am sure if you explain the problem fully to the head, he/she will support you and allow you to perhaps step down if you wish or get back into work slowly. Just be honest
  3. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I'd say it depends very much on your specific cirumstances. It's not clear from your post if you have an established history of working at the school before being promoted or whether it was an entirely new appointment. It's also not clear whether you are class-based or not. If you're class-based, it might depend on how likely the head is going to find it to recruit internally for the position - if they can't, or if no-one else is planning on leaving soon, it might mean having to recruit a non-class based deputy, which might be beyond what the school is able to do. If you're not class-based, would a teacher have to leave to make way for you?
    No-one will be able to give you a definitive answer on here. You need to speak to your head. Good luck, and try to bear in mind that if the job really is destroying you, then there's no shame in cutting loose altogether.
  4. I really feel for you. Teaching is a job which brings a lot of joy but also a great deal of stress. Starting any new job, particularly in a leadership role, is bound to create added pressure and if you are dealing with difficult personal circumstances too then it is understandable that you have felt the strain. This is a perfectly understandable reaction. Also, remember that anxiety and depression are recognised illnesses and you have the right to expect support and understanding as you receive treatment, just as you would if you suffered a heart attack for example. Therefore, please try not to think of the worst case scenario and jump to the conclusion that maybe it would be best if you just left.

    It is good that you are able to work 3 mornings a week. Take this opportunity to try to relax a bit and just enjoy being at the school and being with the pupils. Anything else will just have to wait for a while. You have shown willing by attempting a phased return and it is a positive sign that management are trying to support you in arranging this. A big part of this will depend on how supportive and understanding you feel your leadership team is. If you can talk openly to at least one of them, then I am sure you will find that things can be worked out. I would suggest that you don't try to plan too many steps ahead at this point though or you could start to feel overwhelmed.

    I don't think you should try to work all of this out too soon and I definitely don't think you should do so alone. Are you in a union? If so, you must contact them; it's what you pay your fees for. Either way, I would also recommend contacting the teacher support network (hopefully it still exists - I've just found their website so I think it does). Their phone number is:
    England - 08000 562 561 Wales - 08000 855 088. If you google them, their website also has a facility to contact them online. I couldn't remember what they were called so I just googled teacher stress helpline and they came up quite near the top.

    I really hope you get this sorted. Please try to remember that you have obviously had a lot of success in schools, in teaching and also in some form of leadership; that's what attracted you to this role in the first place and was the reason you were appointed. You are going through a difficult time but will come through it. You will have learned from the experience and will go on to have great success again. I hope you get the support you need.
  5. Can your school refer you to an occupational therapist? They are trained to manage staff back to work after long term sickness and injuries. They will be able to have a confidential chat with you and offer professional advice and support.
    Hope you begin to feel better soon.

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