http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-...ing-robbed-me-of-my-health-and-nearly-my-life 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.