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Return to Teaching after 3 years off with depression

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by jimbo9, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. I taught for over 3 years in a primary school & was diagnosed with depression & anxiety. The illnesses built up so much, that I then turned into an agoraphobic. With over 3 years of struggle & many 'ups 'n' downs', I really want to get back into the classroom, but I've no idea how.
    I'm currently living in the South Wales area & the TDA doesn't run the 'Return to Teaching' course in Wales for some reason. I don't think I could just jump straight back in, so supply isn't an option at the moment.
    I guess I'm scared to as there's sooo much negative stigma related with mental illness. Deep down, I can't see myself doing anything else & I'm finding it hard to find routes back into what I love doing.
    Can anyone help please? Jamie
     
  2. I taught for over 3 years in a primary school & was diagnosed with depression & anxiety. The illnesses built up so much, that I then turned into an agoraphobic. With over 3 years of struggle & many 'ups 'n' downs', I really want to get back into the classroom, but I've no idea how.
    I'm currently living in the South Wales area & the TDA doesn't run the 'Return to Teaching' course in Wales for some reason. I don't think I could just jump straight back in, so supply isn't an option at the moment.
    I guess I'm scared to as there's sooo much negative stigma related with mental illness. Deep down, I can't see myself doing anything else & I'm finding it hard to find routes back into what I love doing.
    Can anyone help please? Jamie
     
  3. Hi Jamie,
    I am off work with depression too, hoping to return to work soon as I am feeling much better now.
    To answer some of your questions:
    1) There may be a stigma associated with mental illness but life is too short to care about what people think.... some my friends are gay and will always get bad reactions so stuff what people think, you can't be what people want you to be and people will always find something to gossip about no matter what you do. Churchill and Florence Nightingale had depression so we have nothing to be ashamed of! If you had a back problem, would you feel bad about it? No! Well you/we have a neurotransmitter problem, nothing we are responsible for so let's stop beating ourselves, fighting this nasty illness is hard enough without having to think about what people are going to say. Plus you'd be surprised by how many people actually want you to feel better and not try to judge you (yes, even some of your former colleagues)
    2) Have you tried working a few hours a day, maybe not doing something teaching related to go back into "work mood"? I used to live in South Wales and did lots of mystery shopping when I was a student. I know for a fact that some of my old agencies are desperate for shoppers in Wales. Why not try that? You could also give private lessons or do some voluntary work just to see how you feel around people etc. I used to do some voluntary work for the RSPCA in South Wales and found this made me so much happier, it helped me meet people and give more purpose to my life!
    3) If you can't go back full time into teaching, be patient, spend more time looking after yourself. A lady I know was off with depression for 5 years and has now gone back into work full time. She never thought she'd be able to return to work but life has a way of working things out.... Have you tried doing some sports? That's supposed to help loads too.
    Let us know how you're doing. Bore Da to Cymru!

     
  4. Hi
    I can really relate to your situation. I qualified in 2005 and only worked for one term but was in a school for children with severe disabilities and I had the most challenging children and the school was way over budget so couldn't afford to get supply staff when some of the TA's were off so it was very stressful. I was under a lot of pressure thrown in at the deep end training on the job and the head was not supportive. I was told that it was because I was new that I couldn't cope. Anyway after suffering stress and migraines and dreading every day there I left after just one term. I did a bit of teaching in a mainstream school but only a couple of days and then worked as a TA again. For the last 2 1/2 years I have been working with my husband running his business and my confidence has completely gone. He thinks I can just go and get a job but I will be up against lots of teachers with recent classroom experience.
    I know exactly what you mean about doing supply because I think the same thing. If you are not working you could perhaps do a day or two as a classroom helper just to get into the classroom, then maybe once you feel more confident could offer to take the class. I don't know any schools who would say no to that! You could just do half an hour here and there and then increase the time. Then you could start doing some supply teaching in the year groups you are most comfortable with. Take small steps to get to the place you want to get to. Then you could apply for a permanent position.
    I have found a refresher course which starts in May which I will have to have an interview for. My problem is that as I have been working with my husband in I have lost confidence and I have mini panic attacks when I have to talk in front of people. I am really worried that I will not be able to do it. But the more time I am away from it the less confident I am that I will ever get back to it.
    So give it a go and see what happens. Good luck! Lou



     
  5. Your worries really sound like mine Lou! I am - like you - going to give it a go. Whats the worst that can happen? It doesn't work and then I will be no worse than now?!!
    Keep in touch and let me know how you get on. I have a couple of days supply this week - we shall see.............
    Take care xx
     
  6. Hi
    I went for an interview for a return to teaching course so I am waiting to hear if I have got a place on it, fingers crossed. My 10 year old daughter said 'why do you want to be a teacher again with all those horrible children'! Hope I am doing the right thing. keep remembering when I would tell myself that for all the hours I was putting in I would have been better off working in a supermarket. Not that there is anything wrong with that its just that I wouldn't have had to go to Uni for 4 years and still be paying off a £12,000 student loan if I had decided to work in a supermarket.
    Let me know how the supply work goes.xx
     
  7. Hi
    Your situation sounds similar to mine. I taught for 4 years in a primary school and then left after suffering from depression and social anxiety 4 years ago. At first I couldn't even talk to people outside close friends and family without getting anxious so I really didn't think I'd ever want to or be able to return to teaching. Yet over the past month or so, I find myself thinking more and more about returning. Like you I don't think I'd be able to do supply so have been considering volunteering at a local school maybe one morning a week just to build my confidence back up.
    I just wondering how you are getting on? Have you found a way back into teaching? If so I'd love to know how you have found it and how you've gone about it.
    Helen
     
  8. Have you been to the Job centre, and asked to see a specialist adviser.
     
  9. Hi all,

    Although your posts are from a while ago, I identified with the subject and wondered how everyone had got on?

    I did a GTP in 2007 and did well, even enjoyed it (at times)! Then I got a job as an NQT in a primary school and had a breakdown after a term. I was let go from that job and struggled to find anything else for nearly a year. Found my way into EFL teaching, but having relocated to Scotland, I'm now hoping to go back into the primary classroom. Nervous and unqualified here, though!

    Any suggestions gratefully received.

    Hope you're all doing well now :)
     
  10. There are so many cases of stressed, depressed and burntout teachers across the UK and abroad. The first thing to acknowledge is that you are not alone. The second thing to do is to examine what the triggers were for your original breakdown. When you become aware of the root causes of the depression/stress, then you can move towards a healthy appraoch to change it. Minfulness is the best antidote for teacher stress which I have been teaching for many years now - in the classroom, in schools, 121 and in prison. I train teachers to bring themselves back to balance with simple, gentle and powerful techniques. If you want to be a teacher again, give yourself the best chance by taking great care of your inner landscape first, before you dive head long into the relentless pressures and demands of the classroom. [*]
     

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