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Should I resign?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by FlordelEste, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. FlordelEste

    FlordelEste New commenter

    Apologies for the anonymous post, I am on here elsewhere but don't want to risk being identified.
    I desperately need advice. To cut a very long story short, I have been delivering two different qualifications at KS4, one of which I have no training or background in, plus another non-specialist subject in two year groups at KS3. There has been virtually no support with this and it has nearly broken me in terms of workload and stress. I went to my Principal to ask for help for the sake of my physical and mental wellbeing, and she took one hour a week of my specialism off my timetable. I said then, five months ago, that I could not deliver the non-specialist KS4 qualification again as it was destroying my wellbeing (the workload is absolutely unmanageable) and was prepared to go part time or resign if that couldn't happen. She told me that was fine, my health is more important, they don't want to lose me, and I could go back to just my specialism.
    Yesterday I received an email telling me I was delivering the non-specialist KS4 qualification after all as they couldn't find anyone else to do it.
    After many, many repeated conversations with the whole LT and my HoD there is no question that they know the impact this has had and will have on me. I am no longer a good teacher, I'm a poor-mediocre teacher spread too thin, doing nothing well.
    So, good people, please could I have some advice?
    Do I have a leg to stand on in that my Principal is failing in her duty of care for my wellbeing by reneging?
    Or should I just resign? I know I can't leave until Christmas but there is no way I can face another year like I've just had.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this…
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    So sorry to read this. Didn't want to 'read and run'.

    AS a linguist with German as a speciality, even as a student, I soon realised I would often have to teach subjects outside my 'main specialism' and so decided to embrace the opportunity and widen my subject knowledge. But this was my choice, not being forced on me.

    I sort of presume you haven't been teaching long, when you say
    exhausted after a gruelling NQT year. If that is incorrect I apologise. But so often students have had 'glowing outstanding' reports and then find to deliver that level of teaching each and every day is actually an impossibility. At least without burnout- which you seem to be suffering.

    Do you not think as you've worked so hard this year to deliver the non-specialist syllabus this year, you'd be better prepared for next year and not find it so draining? I found once I'd 'done it once' it got easier, as even with one's specialism one constantly has to 'tweak' things.
  3. FlordelEste

    FlordelEste New commenter

    Thank you for the reply. No, I'm not an NQT - have been teaching for 15 years! The course would be in Y2 so back to square 1 in terms of having to prepare resources. You're right, I am better placed with Y1 resources, but unfortunately with this course it's the constant marking, not just planning, as well as running my own subject, which have brought me to the verge of a nervous breakdown...
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry to hear you're in this place. It does read as if your school needs a teacher of "non-specialism" rather than what you feel yourself to be good at. I've got a feeling I read your other posts a while back.
    My advice for the moment is to relax and reflect, You have some time to reconnect with friends, family and the things you really love.
    How well placed are you to get a job in your specialism? Are there other schools within travelling distance, can you move how often do vacancies for this subject come up? Is your subject one of the Government EBacc subjects?
    If you can't get a job by mid-October, what then? Do you resign and go on supply (which may be financially precarious, or stressful in exposure to other subjects)?
    Are there any sources of support to help you with working on the non-specialist course? The awarding body will be putting on INSET, You must insist on going if there is any conveniently located.
    Do try to think of ways of getting the learners to do more of the work. (I know that's easier said than done with some learners).
    Anyway, good luck. Don't be precipitate,
    agathamorse, Lara mfl 05 and bonxie like this.
  5. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

    As Lara says, delivering the same subject for a second time is never as hard as the first time. Despite that, you will still need to do what is best for the sake of your health and wellbeing.

    Write out your resignation but don't send it yet. Start looking for a job elsewhere. See how the autumn term goes. If the workload is still unmanageable, hand your resignation in by 31st October to leave 31st December.

    Email your HT this week to express how disappointed you are with your new timetable given the number of conversations you've had about the impact this year's timetable has had on you. Tell them that you'd like to go back to teaching just your specialism but, as this isn't possible at the moment, you'll see how the autumn term goes. Explain again that the workload is unmanageable and that you need to do what's best for your health and wellbeing so you may have to resign if the workload is as difficult as it has been this year.

    You may find having your resignation already written out may take some of the pressure off you during the autumn term as you'll be able to resign the moment things get too difficult.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Good advice from both posts above.:)
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. FlordelEste

    FlordelEste New commenter

    Thank you all so much for the good advice. I'm devastated because I was so positive about next year, and looking forward to getting back to my specialism and what I'm good at! I have barely survived this year without going off sick with stress and I know my teaching, health, family and exam results have all suffered - all of which I have told my LT repeatedly - so I just don't see how it can be in anybody's best interests for me to carry on with it. *sigh*
  8. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter


    It’s totally understandable to look for a new job. Is this something worth potentially resigning over with no job to go to? For me, no.

    They’ve been honest. The HT sounds supportive. I’d be on the lookout for new opportunities, but I don’t see it as a resignation issue. People do have to teach out of specialism a lot. Especially with smaller budgets...
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    There is good advice above if the OP can bear to teach this timetable for a minimum of one term. If the stress is such that they feel that they can't (and this was, it seems, agreed by the 'Principal': She told me that was fine, my health is more important, they don't want to lose me, and I could go back to just my specialism.), then the OP may not feel that they continue. Especially if they feel they were made a promise that is now not being kept...

    So I'd suggest, if they can't do this, they seek an immediate meeting with the 'Principal' (NB...is this a school in England? We don't normally have 'Principals). Get the Union involved. If the Principal actually made a commitment they are now breaking, and the OP's health & well-being is actually threatened, starting this course may be unwise...So why actually run it? [Perhaps the students will need to be given an alternative?]

    IMHO If the OP starts this course, and becomes too ill to continue after, say a month, the students will be worse off...
    Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Post Number 4 is the way I would go.

    It is quite clear that the school are looking after themselves - they are short staffed so they think it is o.k. to dump the problem on you. How hard did they look? Perhaps they need to restructure the money so they have more to offer someone to do it. You can bet that the SLT's pay hasn't decreased. You could go through a union or have meetings...but that is going to just delay it all. The school have already shown you their true colours by not doing enough to resolve the situation. Why? Because you do not matter to them but don't take it personally since the SLT probably do not care about any of their teachers.

    It isn't acceptable to ask you to teach a subject that you are not a specialist in if you feel it is affecting your well being; and it is even more unacceptable to ask you to do it without any support or training. Teaching 2 KS4 qualifications without any prior experience would take HOURS to do properly since you have to first teach yourself then plan and organise lessons - I certainly would not want to take that on unless I was getting support, training and EXTRA payment; and all that is for TWO subjects plus the KS3 classes as well. No thanks.

    There are a lot of options for you - there are other jobs inside and outside of teaching and, if your circumstances allow it, there is teaching overseas.

    Enjoy your summer and start that job hunt soon.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  11. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Have a break, go back in September, and look for a new post.
  12. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    Teaching outside subject specialism is not unusual. However, asking an unwilling non-subject specialist to deliver exams classes is a recipe for disaster, demonstrating the SLT doesn’t care about the impacts upon children and upon a teacher’s career. Since you’ve been teaching for some 15 years, schools driven by exams data would want to know what results you’ve been getting over the past few years. Teaching subjects other than your specialism won’t get you a desirable data, neither are you likely to get excellent results in your specialism due to being distracted by delivering the other subject. So both ways, children aren’t getting great results and your CV won’t look great in this respect. In fact, some bright students might see you as a poor teacher as you may struggle teaching certain topics due to being a non subject specialist. This may not be the case within your subject specialism.

    If I were you, I’ll start looking elsewhere where I can teach my subject and get excellent results which helps work your way up. Of course be open to teaching KS3 non specialism or co-teaching units of courses which may be of interests. In my NQT year I taught units of A-Level Sociology which falls within the remit of my own subject specialism in spite of not being a sociology graduate. So, it’s doable but not when it produces negative outcomes for both teachers and students. Best of luck.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
    grumpydogwoman, Mrsmumbles and ATfan like this.
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Depends a bit on what your specialism is and what the non specialist subject is. Say teaching KS4 Maths if you are not a specialist would be horrendous while teaching Physics if you're a Bio specialist perfectly normal.
    Is it not easier as you have made/planned some resources already?
    Suck it and see as they say and if its #stress then #Tesjobs for #2020
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Is there a way you can ask for a lighter timetable to take account of the extra work delivering this will entail?
    Who is the HOD/HOF for this subject? Can they help with some planning or resources?

    Your principal sounds like they have been understanding and supportive (though forgot to tell the timetabler this!!!) so maybe go back to them and ask for support? You should be able to negotiate something, given you are doing the school a big favour.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Academies do these days...

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter


    Schools have the right to order you to teach whatever subject they like, but it sounds like there was been an agreement to remove you for health reasons. In which case, they are knowingly putting you back into harms way. That **** ain’t right. It’s not your problem that they can’t recruit.

    If your classroom had a bar of weapons grade plutonium in the wall, would you accept being sent back to teach in it? Of course not.

    So contact your union and make a clear protest on health grounds. Don’t resign unless you really have no choice.
    phlogiston and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. FlordelEste

    FlordelEste New commenter

    Hi all, and thanks for the advice.
    I emailed the Principal (yes, we are an academy) but got a short answer - there's no other option, so basically just get on with it. No reduction in timetable. No support from HoD, who has watched me struggle this year and not even offered to cover a lesson so I could catch up. Union have said there's nothing they can do as my contract isn't specific to my specialism (and I've always picked up a few hours here and there of other subjects, but always KS3) - official advice is to see how I cope and go off sick if necessary. I feel like I have no option but to leave now, because there is no way I can cope with another year of hell. Such a shame because I still enjoy teaching and the kids there are fab.
    pepper5 likes this.
  18. suzuki1690

    suzuki1690 New commenter

    Take your holiday, apply for any jobs that come up. Tell yourself that you deserve better than this and do what suits you, not them. As someone else said they dont care, but you owe them nothing. Think what you would say to a friend in the same situation. Too many teachers feel they have to continue to the bitter end. You dont. However dont resign, why should you suffer loss of earnings. Do what has to be done, but dont let it affect your health and put increased effort into leaving. Best wishes to you
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You don't need to leave teaching!!!
    And kids are fab everywhere...well most of them are.

    1. Just relax and enjoy your holiday for a few weeks.
    2. Look on resources for some ready made plans
    3. Ask on the secondary forum for anyone else who teaches this subject and see if they can share some plans with you
    4. Then do what you can do and don't worry about it being perfect

    At the same time as all the above, keep an eye out for others posts and get applying.
    jlishman2158 and pepper5 like this.
  20. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Dont put ypurself through another year of trying yo do the impossible.

    You will find something suitable at another school.

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