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

Signed off, OH referral

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by 03c1, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. 03c1

    03c1 New commenter

    Hello, this is my first time posting.

    I started at a new school this September and about a month into the job I realised I really wasn't enjoying it anymore. I'd gone down to four days a week to address workload issues but still found it quite stressful. I also experienced a couple of panic attacks at work. (I told myself these were 'normal' exceptions, but it's not really ideal to have panic attacks at all is it). It got to the point where I was feeling full of dread in the mornings and I decided in October to hand in my notice. I know people say to give new schools a chance and it might take a long time to settle in but I felt like I'd really made a bad call not to have just left at the end of the academic year and quit the profession.

    The last few weeks of the first half term were tough, and it got to the point where I was sleeping a lot and tearful in the evenings when I knew I had work the next day, frequently felt sick when arriving at work. At points I was having thoughts like 'I wish I could fall down these stairs and go to hospital so that I wouldn't have to be here'. Last week of the half term I got knocked out by a chest infection, bacterial and viral at the same time, couldn't get out of bed for a week. It was the illest I've ever been and it seemed to come out of nowhere until someone suggested to me that it could be stress related.

    I saw the doctor just before half term and she agreed I was suffering from stress and offered to sign me off but I said no, as it was a few days away from half term anyway and we agreed to meet again in half term. When I saw her I still wasn't feeling like myself but I said I'd rather go back at the start of a term and see how far I could get, so she didn't sign me off.

    When I returned to work I explained to my line manager that the GP and I thought it was stress related, and he was unsupportive. He walked out of the meeting to go and do something else whilst we were discussing adjustments, and he made a comments about how I needed to not be absent again because it's not fair on the pupils. I lasted two weeks and then got tonsilitus, and then the stress and anxiety returned with a vengence. I've really struggling with negative thought spirals and anxiety/panic symptoms. I've been accessing cognitive behaviour therapy through my GP and that's been helping, but I don't feel able to go back yet.

    It's been a long journey to accepting that I've been badly affected by stress, and I've had a lot of feelings of guilt, shame and feeling like I'm a terrible teacher, bad person etc for taking time off, which I'm slowly working through. It's true that I am part time, and I don't have TLR, but I'm learning that everyone deals with stress differently and those facts dont invalidate what I'm experiencing mentally.

    I'm seeing the GP tomorrow but HR have got in touch and referred me to OH, although they haven't actually asked me the details of why I'm off. I don't really know what to do about the next few weeks and I don't know what I need. It's only five weeks until I leave and I'm not sure there's anything to be gained by me going on a partial phased return or something. Part of me just wants to say to school - lets stop the contract here, although I won't get paid for December then I won't feel like it's hanging over me. I'm nervous about seeing the OH because I don't know what the process is, also I'm a bit worried they might say I'm not ill. It's a weird situation because I'm leaving anyway and it's difficult to separate not wanting to work there in general from not being fit to be at work. And the uncertainty is not helping the anxiety!

    Sorry for the absolute essay, I found this quite cathartic to write though. I suppose all I'm asking is - has anyone been in a similar situation? and if you have any advice that would be appreciated, either about what I should aim for or my rights in the OH process, anything really, I'm feeling quite lost.
    amykglover89 likes this.
  2. rainsbrook

    rainsbrook New commenter

    I'm really sorry for your situation. I have been in a similar situation myself and the sheer deperation you are feeling brought back horrible memories for me (panic attacks, loss of cognitive ability, feeling sick etc). You are not alone. There are so many people feeling this way in teaching. I was very worried about your saying that you 'wished you could fall down the stairs...' I had similar feelings and this is not rational nor acceptable. The profession is so stressful now and often, those in charge have no empathy, nor skills to deal with these situations properly. Don't worry about OH saying you're not ill. Your GP says you are. I'm not sure about how your OH will work - mine was a telephone interview and it can be useful as they can recommend adjustments that may help you in your job. (Phased return with shorter days, more training, a 'buddy' etc). As far as going back is concerned, if you think you will cope, then fine, but life is too short to put yourself through what sounds like a complete nightmare. Your GP will more than likely sign you off if you can not face going back. Do not feel guilty. You are clearly suffering anxiety and this affects your performance anyway. You need time to recover.

    I thought that I would never get another job as I felt so useless. I resigned from my job without having a job to go to and it was the best thing I ever did. I joined a couple of supply agencies, worked as a supply TA in special needs for a few weeks (which I loved) and had the odd teaching day. Gradually, my confidence returned and I got a new teaching job after a few months. Although it is incredibly hard work, I'm really happy. I do hope you start to feel better soon. Don't give up hope. There are still lovely schools out there!
    annarg and sabrinakat like this.
  3. Va_lifecoach1

    Va_lifecoach1 New commenter


    I don't think you should feel sorry for being stressed and not enjoying your job like you used to.
    You are allowed to go through a tough moment, we all are.
    I would suggest start doing some sport, anything that will make you move and release stress.
    Go for a run, if you don't like it, go for a walk, it is amazing what physical exercise can do.

    Start thinking about something else, get distracted from you job for some time, clear your mind.

    Look at yourself as human being, not as a teacher.
    What do you like to do in your free time?
    Find something you enjoy doing and do it, there is nothing wrong with it.

    Va life coach
  4. PE_Factory

    PE_Factory New commenter

    This post is the exact mirror of what I've been going through... any chance we could get in contact to talk? I'm sat here about to start a new job this morning and I just want something to happen so that I don't have to go in
    annarg likes this.
  5. 7eleven

    7eleven Senior commenter

  6. Iulbahar

    Iulbahar New commenter

    Just wanted to say I've been in a similar situation more than once. I can't advise you on possible resignation but with regard to OH, I've seen them on several occasions and generally found them to be understanding and sympathetic. Unfortunately, in my experience the school then fails to listen to or ignores the recommendations they make. I once returned to work expecting a phased return as recommended by OH to find that HR had failed to pass on the letter to management resulting in my being expected to walk straight into the classroom on a full timetable after several weeks absence. My advice would be to take care of yourself and your health before anything else. Maybe the GP will sign you off for a longer period while you recover and decide what to do?
  7. Liv1243

    Liv1243 New commenter

    How are you getting on? I also started a new job this term.xx
  8. PE_Factory

    PE_Factory New commenter

    3 weeks into my new job... thank goodness I found the strength to plug away and give it some time! I'm loving my new job now! Yes I have still had the odd wobble but after suffering from anxiety for 4 months and having my confidence destroyed by my last school, I think that is to be expected!!!
  9. PE_Factory

    PE_Factory New commenter

    And now I'm sat here the week after half term again really struggling! I can feel myself spiralling downhill again!
    I think it's time for me to call it a day with teaching

Share This Page