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Secret Teacher: teaching robbed me of my health – and nearly my life

Discussion in 'Education news' started by FrankWolley, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter


    Shockingly honest, but no real surprise to most who read this Forum, I guess.

    Throughout my 13-year teaching career, I have been told by fellow teachers, Ofsted inspectors, students and parents that I am a good teacher – a “natural”. I have achieved excellent results, have enthusiasm for my subject, and care passionately about the welfare of my students. Only a few weeks before, our behaviour manager had parked a “difficult” year 11 student with me. At the end of the class, the boy told me he had just experienced the most interesting and enjoyable lesson ever and he wished he had chosen to study my subject. As he walked out of the classroom, he added: “You’re an excellent teacher, Miss.”

    Yet teaching has blighted my life. It has ripped out my soul, eaten me up and spat me back out. I am no longer the carefree, garrulous individual I once was. It has robbed me of my health, it has robbed me of my self-worth and, most importantly, it nearly robbed me of my life.

    The media is full of stories about the pressures of teaching. We are all too aware of the long hours, continual monitoring, obsession with data, observations and dreaded Ofsted inspections.

    What concerns me most, however, is the negative response to teachers when they have been signed-off work with mental health issues. I have overheard too many derogatory comments about fellow teachers who are signed off sick with stress, or depression and anxiety. I have seen the annoyance of colleagues who believe that a teacher’s absence simply results in more work for them. I have witnessed such teachers targeted when they return to the classroom – the pressure is heaped upon them so they “jump” before they are “pushed”. I have sat in back-to-work interviews that are no more than a tick-box exercise with the occasional platitude thrown in for good measure. I have observed a lack of compassion and a lack of willingness to address the problems that have caused a teacher to be signed off sick with mental health problems in the first place.
  2. pixiewixiepixie

    pixiewixiepixie Occasional commenter

    A bit melodramatic this week., I thought. No doubt there is a lot of pressure on teachers, and much of it completely unnecessary. But if the job isn't what you want or is doing your head in, you need to leave and find something else to do. The job will never change except for the worse.

    My only surprise is that there isn't a mass resignation this year, as the job is now a horrible, low-paying, highly stressful, unfulfilling non-job.
    teselectronic likes this.
  3. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

  4. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    health and safety at work is taken increasingly seriously. unless it is the mental health of employees in education it seems.
    schoolsout4summer and GLsghost like this.
  5. SallyAber

    SallyAber New commenter

    Totally agree, 5 years of teaching in both state and public schools, I am now behind with paperwork, taking one day off per weekend and 2 nights off a week for my mental health.
    delnon likes this.
  6. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    commented on the other thread but generally, oh dear, sadly not surprised.
  7. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    I quite agree. I am surprised that the no win, no fee solicitors have not caught on to this. Perhaps this is because they don't know?
    Perhaps they should be informed, because there could be a potential gold mine here.
    delnon likes this.

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