1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Returning to work after WRS-feeling low

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by emmysparkle, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. emmysparkle

    emmysparkle New commenter

    Hi, I posted about a month ago about suffering from work related stress. Lots of severe behaviour issues became overwhelming.
    Anyway I was signed off and I'm due back next week. However, I haven't managed to get any joy or motivation back for teaching. I suffer from anxiety and wake every night panicking and going over school related things.
    I also feel I made a terrible mistake by not resigning to leave at Xmas, I listened to my family and the head, but im not sure I can cope until Easter.
    I feel totally inadequate as a teacher and a mother. I've piled on weight and my hair has started to fall out over the last couple of weeks. My child is still little and I hate them seeing me like this. Sorry for all the negativity, but as I've posted before I have very few friends, so just needed to write it down and hear any advice from people who may have experienced similar.
    Thank you all so much for your replies to my previous posts. The support is very helpful.
  2. BioEm

    BioEm Occasional commenter

    I'm so sorry that you are feeling like this.

    If you are putting on weight and your hair is falling out it's worth going back to the GP and getting your thyroid levels tested - yes, it may well be caused by stress but low hypothyroidism can also cause those symptoms, as well as anxiety and depression. It's worth checking that your problems aren't both physical and work-related. I say this as I ignored many physical illness signs as stress from work and ended up getting VERY ill as a result.

    You are NOT inadequate. Teaching in most schools these days is a nightmare, which is why people are leaving in droves. If you don't feel ready to go back then speak to your union/family/friends/GP and see what can be done. I felt like you this time last year and now I'm out, working in a lovely job at a university and happy again. I'm still physically ill as I developed a chronic health condition that I will have for life, but everything is so much better now and you can and will get there.

    Sending hugs and love
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi emmysparkle

    I am sorry you have come to this point. If I have read your post correctly, you became overwhelmed by the sever behaviour issue in your class and then were signed off.

    From what you now write, it does not sound like you are ready to go back. You need to go back to your doctor and explain everything you have posted. You also need to ignore what your family suggests as unless they teach they have NO IDEA about the stress poorly behaved classed can affect a teacher's mental health. Your Head must think highly of you to want you to stay, but he/she must help with the behaviour issues - tackle them head on and stop it.

    Phone your union and if you decide you now what to leave, see if they can help in any way with negotiations etc, but preserving your position with references or whatever else you need.

    You can also phone the Education Support Partnership for advice/listening ear.

    The other thing you could do is speak to the school about what support they have in place to help you with the behaviour issues in the school. Are they going to help by monitoring the poorly behaved students? What other support have they proposed to help you get back to work? Perhaps you could go part-time.

    Don't spend another day alone with this problem. Phone your doctor, the Education Support Partnership, your union and whoever else can help you get back on your feet.

    Once you feel better, you can tackle the weight issues and the hair and all the other things will resolve themselves.

    No one ever said you were super woman. You CAN'T do everything no matter what society/your friends/family etc tell you.
    Curae, Mermaid7, Shedman and 5 others like this.
  4. BehaviourQueen

    BehaviourQueen New commenter


    I’ve been where you are, and please try not to blame yourself. You are obviously not ready to return to work. Your health is the most important thing, and if you are not well, then you cannot be the wife/mother/friend that you normally are.

    Anxiety is dreadful, but with the right treatment and time, you can learn strategies to help you cope. Go and see your doctor. Ask for some counselling. No job is worth this trouble
    hammie, Shedman, agathamorse and 2 others like this.
  5. teselectronic

    teselectronic Occasional commenter

    Sorry to hear of your anxiety, however, would you consider support in the form of retired teachers being present in your lessons, their presence may help!
    I would be happy to lend support and hopefully other retired teachers would participate!
    Is this a realistic initiative?
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. emmysparkle

    emmysparkle New commenter

    Thank you everyone. It's amazing how a few thoughtful words make people feel a bit more alive. I truly appreciate it. Anxiety pretty much sucks. I've just been signed off for another couple of weeks. I've now got to try and pull myself together. And I'm coming more to the realisation that teaching may no longer be for me.
  7. emmysparkle

    emmysparkle New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. I have an underactive thyroid which doesn't help with moods and weight but it managed OK at the moment.
    I really glad your happy in your new job. That gives me hope.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    A visit to the doctor has pre-empted the response I was going to write.
    Big decisions should really be made when you're not heavily depressed. However, if you are really not fit enough to return, your head will probably be pragmatic - there is no point in keeping someone on the payroll if they're ill and absent. Having a teacher leave at short notice is difficult to manage, having a teacher who may or may not attend and who may be in a bad way when she's there is probably harder to manage.

    Another school may be the solution you need - but teaching is not for everyone.
    I hope you feel better soon.
    emmysparkle and pepper5 like this.
  9. crazycatloveruk

    crazycatloveruk New commenter

    Hi Emmy sparkle,
    Firstly I want to say sorry you feel the way you do, I know exactly how you are feeling right now as I am now into my 3rd week of being signed off with anxiety and depression. It was so hard for me to not resign last week and I have had a really wobbly few days because of it. I'm not sure I can face being stuck in my job until April either, the problem I have is my mortgage was on a fixed rate for 5 years and that comes to an end in February and so I will need to look at remortgaging my house and I was really scared that if I did not have a job by then or if I was supply teaching then they would not accept me for a mortgage, does anyone have any advice on this?
    I have my Union involved and when I am ready to go back they are goi g to help put a support plan in place. I still do not know whether I am going to be able to cope with a class ever again, it seems really strange writing this as I have taught for 10 years but my confidence has hit rock bottom. I just don't want the pressure of being watched and monitored all the time, I just don't think I can handle it. Don't get me wrong I know all jobs need to monitor you to ensure you are doing a good job but it is in a different way with less/different kind of pressure.
    The only thing that is keeping me slightly motivated is the thought of planning my escape and knowing now that I am going to be out of it, just not sure exactly when yet. I guess it all depends on how things pan out and if I end up negotiating early exits etc.

    Good luck with getting yourself better, this week I am trying to have lots of me time and relaxation. I feel,a little lazy to be hinest as have always been somebody who has been on the go. I am finally listening to my body and putting my health and happiness first.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Teaching is unbelievable. I have never known so many people who are physically incapable of doing the job drag themselves to work every day because they see no other option. They won't let their students down, they won't let their school down...

    Seriously, is there any other occasion when - feeling desperate, physically ill, overwrought and in many cases suicidal - you would just keep going? No. You would not shove your hand into that meat grinder. You would quit without a second thought.

    In the Victorian era, mills routinely chewed up employees and spat out corpses. What happened? It was stopped. Because it was downright insane. But here we are, accepting conditions that give our profession an absurd level of mental breakdown and suicide.

    Think about that for a second - people should not be dying or going insane because we are educating children. Capturing German trenches, OK, I get that. But getting year 11 through their GCSE's? Its not worth the bones of a single Geography Teacher.

    No one should be teaching if it damages their physical or mental well being. Schools should be closed if they routinely inflict that kind of damage on their employees, the same way mills and mines were.
    Sally006, Shedman, lardylady and 14 others like this.
  11. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Hi @emmysparkle i just wanted to say how sorry I am. Someone once said to me that it's usually those people who work and try hard who end up with WRS and become ill. I think she is right.
    Take care of yourself and keep talking here on the forum. I have found it to be so helpful. Getting out for a daily walk in the mornings also helped me, it takes time but some days I would walk for 2-3 hours especially on sunny days.
  12. pleasemiss__

    pleasemiss__ Occasional commenter

    I am so sorry to read about your suffering. I’m glad you were signed off again. Do not go back to teaching if it makes you ill. This is not the first experience of WRS and anxiety you’ve had, is it? The job doesn’t change, wherever you go. Get out. Stay off until April and hand in your notice. You need to get well, your child needs you well and you willfind some other way to pay the bills if you don’t have teaching hanging over your head.
  13. emmysparkle

    emmysparkle New commenter

    Up again and in complete panic. Feel so stupid and pathetic. I just can't seem to shake off the anxiety about work!
    Im off for another two weeks and I know things have been put in place in regards to the behaviour issues at school, but I just don't think I can even cope with the general demands of teaching. Maybe that's because I'm so stressed still, or maybe because I'm over thinking/not thinking straight or maybe it's because I really can't.
    Sorry for rambling.
    Anyone successfully negotiated early release and got references. It's something I'm thinking I may have to do now. Money is a massive worry though as I have a mortgage and I'm a single parent. I feel I'm letting everyone down again.
    pepper5 and (deleted member) like this.
  14. emmysparkle

    emmysparkle New commenter

  15. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    To the OP - you are clearly very unwell. I'm echoing other posters - go and see your GP again. Get your bloods done. Please. You need support. If you are signed off but worrying about work you are not in a good way.

    To the poster who suggested sending retired teachers into help, a couple of points. It's the responsibility of the SLT and MLT to support staff, and also retired teachers are retired. Why would they want to go back into a classroom, especially as you sound as though you're proposing they are unpaid?
    Shedman and agathamorse like this.
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi emmysparkle

    Try to take one day at a time. You of course have to be concerned with your responsibilities, but there are people who will help you.

    Firstly, believe me when I say this: "You have not let anyone down". Working in schools is a gruelling and demanding work - many teachers as you know go off with WRS each year. Many more hide their pain with antidepressants and alcohol too ashamed to admit there is a problem. Much of the stress is caused by poor behaviour issues in schools plus the work load causing massive problems.

    Go back to your GP and ask them what counselling is available. Ensure you contact the Education Support Partnership since they will also help you with different avenues such as where to go for counselling, money issues etc.

    Your Union should be able to help you with the questions you raise about early release and references. You need to lean on their support and expertise.

    Your concern about your mortgage can be dealt with. Contact the CAB and they will help you with information about contacting lenders and some lenders will give you a grace period. Find out what benefits you are entitled to. You have paid into the system and find out what you are able to receive and there is no shame in that.

    If you decide to leave teaching, you will need another job but you can think about that when you are well. You need counselling and support but you have to ask for it. Keep asking and knocking until you get the help you deserve.

    There is absolutely no shame in leaving teaching if that is what you decide. Nothing is forever and you can always go back when your child is older or you feel better.

    Make those phone calls today/tomorrow.

    Shedman, agathamorse and lardylady like this.
  17. emmysparkle

    emmysparkle New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. I'm waiting to hear back re counselling. But NHS has a wait. I'm hoping to contact union again tomorrow.
    Bedlam3, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Well done emmysparkle

    Don't forget to call the Education Support Partnership since they are people you can talk to and they may know of other agencies to help you with emotional support or financial advice regarding budgeting, benefits, contacting lendors, retraining or whatever assistance you need.

    Seriously, you will be able to make it through this but it will be one step at a time and one day at a time. You also need to as I said keep knocking and asking for the help you deserve.

    If you decide to leave teaching it is not the end of the world. If you are young you can retrain or go back to it after your child is older or in a different capacity.

    Your priority is your health and happiness. Then your child and providing for them.

    As I said earlier, you haven't let anyone down; rather it is the broken education system in this country that has let you down.
  19. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    I'm a retired teacher and I would never go back. It's not that I left on a sour note or anything, it's just that I was burnt out by it all and a return to a classroom in any capacity would be a retrograde step. I want to move my life forward to new and different things and not have a foot still in the past.

    Secondly, what would the students think about a stranger sat in the class who was not on the staff? Be prepared for the 'Have you bought your mum/dad with you sir/miss?' It also sends the message that this teacher can't manage on their own and so, sensing weakness, they circle for the kill.

    What would the school think or these visitors sitting in the class? It sends the message that the teacher can't cope on their own and the teacher would rather have an outsider lending support rather than a member of staff. The presence of these retired mentors would need careful negotiation with the school as well as the usual DBS checks and who would pay for those?

    I have every sympathy with the OP. He/she is isolated, stressed, ill and despairing and is not doing him/herself or the students any favours by battling on in this downward spiral. In their position I would try to negotiate a mutually acceptable exit as soon as possible.
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    You say money is a massive worry so negotiating an early release wouldn't help. You are entitled to sick pay so I would suggest you use as much sick leave as you need to in order to get better so that you are in a fit state to apply for and start a new job.
    geordiepetal and agathamorse like this.

Share This Page