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SLT is going to break me

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by codface575757, Jun 9, 2018.

?

Are academies the ruin of education?

  1. Yes

    87 vote(s)
    86.1%
  2. No

    14 vote(s)
    13.9%
  1. codface575757

    codface575757 New commenter

    Worked my way up to a senior position some years ago and then stepped down because I was at breaking point. Moved schools, took another promotion, worked my way back up. Here I am as a deputy head position in a school without a full complement of SLT. Since arriving at the school (which is only recently) I've been given the workload of the vacant SLT slots on top of the original work I was employed for - no discussion, no thank you, just given to me with an expectation I can meet all the additional requirements on top of the original ones.

    Am under constant pressure to deal with staff in a way that doesn't come naturally to me. Staff are people. They have families. They are not cogs in a machine that can be replaced when they are not working as the machine operator thinks they should. Under huge pressure to manage people out who actually need support. If their performance isn't good enough I'm taken to task over it even if the support is there to help them improve over time.

    In this wonderful world of mass academisation the almighty academy has a strategy of employing business types rather than teachers to senior positions. The business types question my teaching and that of everyone else (apparently no one can do anything right). Have now given up having the endless infuriating conversations about the fact that teaching is an art and not a formula like one you'd apply to a business model. The business bods produce reams of unnecessary paperwork to track this, plan that, delegate this, account for that, constant delegation - i.e. make someone else accountable and responsible. Take their 50k+ salaries and go home at 5 to leave me to manage the avalanche of work they are burying the poor teachers and me in. No room for suggestions of a different approach - the megalith that is the academy only allows one way of doing things.

    The other deputy head is rude to people, has reduced staff to tears, doesn't do her marking, doesn't pull her weight with behaviour around the place, doesn't action anything to support staff - I'm left picking up the pieces for all the above.

    Working environment is physically dreadful. Dark building, noisy, no air, many days I go from 7am - 6pm without eating, going to the toilet or seeing the sky at any point. Tried tentatively to address it and was told I'm a senior leader so I should be quiet so other staff don't follow.

    Just writing this is making my heart race. The thought of going to another meeting to be crucified at the SLT table or listen to another tranche of perfectly lovely and decent teachers be crucified behind their backs makes me feel ill. But the thought of not going in makes me feel worse because of the potential consequences. I am bursting into tears at the drop of a hat - in school and out. I get a bit of sleep each night but I'm having nightmares every night. Some days I walk the school corridors and feel dissociated from my body as though I'm floating or the corridor literally tips sideways in front of me. I'm driving around roads I've known all my life and can't remember where I am.

    Have called my union who are willing to represent me in all the above but I'm clearly not cut out for SLT. I'm the wrong personality type. It's time to get out. Probably of teaching altogether. I've applied for other jobs.

    Will I regret the 50% paycut? Not at all.
    Will I regret not being a 'boss'? Nope.
    Am I terrified about having a conversation at school to explain my decision? Completely.
    Am I going to let them know about my health? Definitely not - it's been known to make things worse when people have done that.

    I've never been given a contract so don't know how soon I can leave but what happens if you break a contract?
    and.. when do you decide to take time off sick to prevent becoming ill before you actually get ill?
    Can I apply for other jobs if I'm off sick?

    Sorry for lengthy post but any thoughts / answers to my questions / or maybe a talking to because I'm being a bit precious would be most welcome. I've lost all perspective.

    thank you in advance.
     
  2. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I’m sure others will be along soon to offer advice, but I didn’t want to just read and run. I’m sorry to hear you are having such a terrible time. It sounds like, with the frequent bursting into tears, poor sleep and heart racing, that you need to go and see your GP as soon as you can.
     
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi codface

    What you need to do is phone/email the Education Support Partnership; their details are posted at the top of this forum.

    They are available 24/7 and you can contact them by phone and email. They are professionals who will be able to guide you through the decisions you need to make and also will offer you support because they will know some of the answers to the questions you ask. In addition they will be able to give you emotional support as you work your way through the stages of changing your situation.

    Your Union will also help you with the legal matters of your contract and when you can leave etc.

    Once you have a plan and you know there is a way to change things perhaps by leaving and finding another post or taking time off, then you will begin to feel better.

    Call the Education Support Partnership today.
     
  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Start looking for other jobs asap - it's a hopeless situation

    Accept and move on.
     
  5. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    Hi codface
    There will be others with far more experience than me to offer practical advice, but I just wanted to say your symptoms indicate severe stress and anxiety - you need to see your GP asap. Most of us in education feel a mega-responsibility for everything, but in the end - it's a job. It's just a job and there are others - in or out of education. Nothing is more important than your health and well-being. Please make an appointment with your GP tomorrow, take up your union's offer of support and also contact the Education Support Partnership. I've called them myself before and found them really useful.
    Take care and keep in touch. Sending a hug x
     
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Look to move on - your health and being happy comes first. Teaching is just a job - nothing more and nothing less. And you deserve better.

    Looking for potential scapegoats and having a blame culture seems to be a part of some 'business' cultures. It is also sadly part of a world where some leaders like 'tick boxes' more than anything else. For some leaders, sadly leadership also may mean leaving everything for others to do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  7. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    I don't think you are the wrong personality type for SLT. However too many schools hire poor SLT like the others in your school. You should look for another job and remember that these days especially, you need to be very careful about which jobs you accept. The grapevine is very important here.
     
  8. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    Hi Codface

    You are clearly a bad fit for the situation you are in, but for all the right reasons. Hold onto your core belief that most people, particularly classroom teachers, are really good at heart and want to do their best for students and you want to be a kind and supportive member of SLT who brings stability, leadership and improvement to the school.

    However, other members of the management, don’t share your beliefs and think it is fair game to tread on others and dispose of those who aren’t enabling them to maintain their cushy existence. It sounds as though you can’t stay there due to the effect this is having on your health. Take timeout when you need it. Part of stress is continuing to feel responsible and trying to achieve the impossible.

    I don’t think you are the wrong personality type for school leadership, you are just in a rotten place. It sounds like it will be hard to make yourself heard in the current atmosphere. Great that your union are involved and willing to speak up for you on workload and try to keep saying no. Overall what you describe is a lost cause.

    Take care of yourself and big hugs.
     
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You are ill alteady!

    Don't go to work tomorrow. Go to the doctor. Take whatever time off s/he suggests in the first instance. Then play it by ear. See how you feel. See how it goes.

    Too soon to be applying for other jobs. You've missed the date for handing in your notice. But, if you are adamant it's what you want, the HT could let you go at her/his discretion.

    Just take the time off! No decisions yet.
     
  10. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Lead commenter

    You sound very ill. I was in a similar position this time last year and l kept trying and trying to keep going, working harder and harder. I was unable to sleep. I wouldn't go off sick because that wasn't me. I wouldn't admit to being stressed because it would have been ridiculed in my particular school. In the end I became extremely ill. Please don't get yourself to this point. Listen to what the other posters are saying and go to your GP and get signed off. Let the GP put work related stress on your sick note. You have to stop and take time to get better.
     
  11. 8sycamore

    8sycamore Occasional commenter

    I was on SLT once. Not a deputy but still felt overwhelmed. The workload was ridiculous. I quit. Best decision ever.
     
    Mermaid7, Stormy861, Shedman and 4 others like this.
  12. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    [QUO8TE="codface575757, post: 12512285, member: 24180683"]Worked my way up to a senior position some years ago and then stepped down because I was at breaking point. Moved schools, took another promotion, worked my way back up. Here I am as a deputy head position in a school without a full complement of SLT. Since arriving at the school (which is only recently) I've been given the workload of the vacant SLT slots on top of the original work I was employed for - no discussion, no thank you, just given to me with an expectation I can meet all the additional requirements on top of the original ones.

    Am under constant pressure to deal with staff in a way that doesn't come naturally to me. Staff are people. They have families. They are not cogs in a machine that can be replaced when they are not working as the machine operator thinks they should. Under huge pressure to manage people out who actually need support. If their performance isn't good enough I'm taken to task over it even if the support is there to help them improve over time.

    In this wonderful world of mass academisation the almighty academy has a strategy of employing business types rather than teachers to senior positions. The business types question my teaching and that of everyone else (apparently no one can do anything right). Have now given up having the endless infuriating conversations about the fact that teaching is an art and not a formula like one you'd apply to a business model. The business bods produce reams of unnecessary paperwork to track this, plan that, delegate this, account for that, constant delegation - i.e. make someone else accountable and responsible. Take their 50k+ salaries and go home at 5 to leave me to manage the avalanche of work they are burying the poor teachers and me in. No room for suggestions of a different approach - the megalith that is the academy only allows one way of doing things.

    The other deputy head is rude to people, has reduced staff to tears, doesn't do her marking, doesn't pull her weight with behaviour around the place, doesn't action anything to support staff - I'm left picking up the pieces for all the above.

    Working environment is physically dreadful. Dark building, noisy, no air, many days I go from 7am - 6pm without eating, going to the toilet or seeing the sky at any point. Tried tentatively to address it and was told I'm a senior leader so I should be quiet so other staff don't follow.

    Just writing this is making my heart race. The thought of going to another meeting to be crucified at the SLT table or listen to another tranche of perfectly lovely and decent teachers be crucified behind their backs makes me feel ill. But the thought of not going in makes me feel worse because of the potential consequences. I am bursting into tears at the drop of a hat - in school and out. I get a bit of sleep each night but I'm having nightmares every night. Some days I walk the school corridors and feel dissociated from my body as though I'm floating or the corridor literally tips sideways in front of me. I'm driving around roads I've known all my life and can't remember where I am.

    Have called my union who are willing to represent me in all the above but I'm clearly not cut out for SLT. I'm the wrong personality type. It's time to get out. Probably of teaching altogether. I've applied for other jobs.

    Will I regret the 50% paycut? Not at all.
    Will I regret not being a 'boss'? Nope.
    Am I terrified about having a conversation at school to explain my decision? Completely.
    Am I going to let them know about my health? Definitely not - it's been known to make things worse when people have done that.

    I've never been given a contract so don't know how soon I can leave but what happens if you break a contract?
    and.. when do you decide to take time off sick to prevent becoming ill before you actually get ill?
    Can I apply for other jobs if I'm off sick?

    Sorry for lengthy post but any thoughts / answers to my questions / or maybe a talking to because I'm being a bit precious would be most welcome. I've lost all perspective.

    thank you in advance.[/QUOTE]

    Look after yourself, see a GP.

    Thank you for the post. It is a sad indictment when you have to struggle with your conscience like this in order to lead a school.

    The sad part is you sound like the sort of person who should be leading a school.

    BTW does a contract exist if you have not been given one?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  13. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    I read your post and thought what an amazing, caring and considerate person you are - they will never break you, because you are much, much better than them.

    You already know the answer to this question: read what you put in your opening post as if it were written by one of those lovely teachers in your school who needs support - what would you say to them?

    Please try to forget about school and do something pleasant this afternoon - go for a walk, listen to some music, spend time with people you love.
     
  14. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Go off ill tomorrow.
    Stay off until the end of term if necessary.
    Hand in your notice ASAP.
     
    Mermaid7 likes this.
  15. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    You're clearly unwell. Ring Education Support Partnership today and get to your GP tomorrow.
    You sound like a fantastic leader to me but your school sounds horrible.
    Just focus on yourself and what you need to do to regain your health.
     
    MarieAnn18 likes this.
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Your post moved me, it's just beautifully written. It's an angle from a side I do not normally access but from the viewpoint of an educationalist, which resounds with so many here. Thank you for writing at such length.

    The bit I quote is wrong of you. You would be snapped up by the right school. Sadly this time you ended up in the wrong one and it's broken you for a while.
    You'll mend. Never say never.

    Look at the other responses-many people offering the same sentiments as myself.
     
  17. tenpast7

    tenpast7 Occasional commenter

    You obviously have a conscience and it is sad that you are suffering.With your insight and experience you could move to another job that you are comfortable with.
    Later on, in the new role, you could then make the general public aware of this scandalous treatment of hardworking Classroom Teachers and maybe, help the hundreds of poor souls going through these inhumane processes.
     
    Numbergame and MarieAnn18 like this.
  18. Mermaid7

    Mermaid7 Occasional commenter

    These are classic dissociative symptoms of severe stress and anxiety. Call in sick tomorrow and get an urgent GP appointment. My symptoms developed from this to having panic attacks when driving. Your health has to come first.
     
    MarieAnn18 likes this.
  19. codface575757

    codface575757 New commenter

    Thank you all for your replies. I have taken on board the advice given and have an exit strategy lined up from the school. In fact, I've seen a really nice job and applied for it. You've made me realise I am not in the best place at the moment and taking some time off sick isn't the end of the World. I am going to try and get through to the end of the examination period so I don't let any of my students down but then I'll put myself first a little bit more.

    And, tenpast7, I love your idea. I created this logon instead of using my original one which I usually post under so I could be anonymous. I like the idea of taking it a step further and teaching myself how to write a blog about it all.

    Again, thank you.
     
    MarieAnn18 likes this.
  20. Fer888

    Fer888 Occasional commenter

    My advice would be to definitely see the Dr and if they recommend to take time off and start medication please do so. I'm glad you have contacted the union but please do not make any hasty decisions re resigning. Definitely look for jobs elsewhere but by the sounds of it they sound a very vindictive bunch so an agreed reference may be needed. They will be unlikely to agree to this if you have already resigned so please hold your fire. It's also best not to make hasty decisions when you are feeling like this so please put yourself first and then go on from there.
     

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