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Stress/Leaving Teaching

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lia_19, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. CharlieCharleston

    CharlieCharleston New commenter

    So I am in my 6th Year of teaching and I have absolutely had it!! This time last year I was off with stress and Anxiety and over the last 12 months I have managed to go to work and do my job but I feel like a robot. I am seriously considering leaving BUT I really don't know what else I could do. I have dropped down to 4 days but my HOD is less than supportive and just expects me to fit everything in over 4 days instead of 5. I just feel like I can no longer cope with the expectations of marking, dealing with my own behaviour/detentions, work scrutiny, observations and the endless box ticking that has become the job either for SLT or other peoples performance management targets. I am also the least paid n my dept and teach 4 different subjects so I am constantly running between rooms and also have a form (which is stressful when we are expected to be at the door meeting and greeting students and having our lesson ready etc) - most members of my department don't have a form and are based in the same room - one member has 11 students at KS4 whilst I have 40. The sad thing is I always wanted to do this job and enjoy it when I can just actually teach but the endless paper work and expectations are beyond what is a manageable.

    I also feel as a MPS teacher compared to the rest of my department who are n UPS3 I'm expected to do so much more - I ask for help because I am struggling but everyone else is so busy they can't really help - I'm also teaching outside of my specialism at KS4 which I don't mind - but I don't have the support and the general consensus from my head of department is to just get on with it. I don't know if I can and it's starting to affect my health - I discussed my concerns with my leadership link and I was told that going off sick would affect my integrity.

    Thanks for reading my rant/moan I guess I'm just asking for advice or ideas of what to do - I know that only I can make the decision to leave and the fact I have over 30 years of teaching left before I can retire I know I need to get out or change my mindset/not stress so much.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Oh dear, I am so sorry for you! I wish I had a magic wand to help you and everyone else who is in this same leaky boat . . .

    So you want to jump ship. I'm going to give you some ideas to think about.

    Firstly read this:

    I want to leave teaching

    And then flick through the documents I am about to attach. they are PDFs. One is meant for Uni teachers wanting to leave, but I reckon that it's good for you too.

    If your health is suffering, you see your Dr, and then you follow medical advice. Follow it exactly. No job is worth becoming ill.

    I hope that the reading I have given you will give you some ideas which will bring a bit of cheer and hope into your life. But do go and see your Dr if things get really bad, healthwise.

    Best wishes


    Attached Files:

    snowyhead likes this.
  3. cat2611

    cat2611 Occasional commenter

    I think you should read the 'Do you work weekends?' and 'I don't hate teaching but' posts. There are a lot of people who are going through the same as you, including myself. After
    Shedman, thekillers1 and snowyhead like this.
  4. cat2611

    cat2611 Occasional commenter

    After much thought and discussion with my husband we have decided that leaving teaching is the best thing for my health and our marriage.

    I am going to try supply at first but I think I am going to look for a non-teaching job. I'm on M5 so I won't mind a bit of a pay cut for a lot more happiness.
    Shedman likes this.
  5. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Oh, I feel for you OP. I could have written that post.

    Any decision has to be yours - but it might help to know that you're not alone by any means.
    Shedman likes this.
  6. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    The rooms thing can be annoying, what really riles me with most schools is the expectation that kids must be kept in until the bell and then the next kids must be 'learning ' from the same bell! Which is why I am a strong proponent of a '5 minute changeover.'
    And 30 minute lunches. I know there's the 'but we finish earlier' and 'the kids misbehave during a long lunch' argument but if the kids had time to actually wind down during lunch break maybe they would behave better in the afternoon! Yes there are those as well that would argue '30 minutes is standard in industry' but how many teachers have 30 minutes once detentions, prep for next lesson, tidying after the last, lunchtime duties etc have been done!
    TEA2111 and sabrinakat like this.
  7. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    The expectations are ridiculous! I do think secondary teachers have it tougher than primary. And for goodness sake, why can't we just get on with teaching, like we have been trained to do? Crazy stuff! Sorry lia_19, I feel your pain. My teenage daughter is determined not to go into teaching because of what she sees me going through. She stands up for her teachers when her peers give the teachers a hard time. Life is short and it is at the end of the day, only a job (not taking the way that we want the best for students). Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
  8. no one

    no one New commenter

    I have been a primary school teacher for 20 years. I was fortunate last year to have a term working at a secondary school. From my experience, albeit very brief, secondary is not harder: it is just different. The pressures are different for each but equally demanding. All teachers in the different sectors work hard and I think that such comments that secondary teachers have it tougher are divisive and unhelpful.

    To the OP, I'd just try to find a different school first. There really are good ones out there.
  9. stmha

    stmha Established commenter

    My wife is a primary school teacher and honestly she works her socks off. I think all teachers are being worked to the point of breaking. I do believe you need to go into this career with your eyes wide open, "that's what makes us tough" (The Grapes of Wrath). However, if you are asked to do something which you know is pointless question it. Question it to death without crossing the line of it being misconduct. Arm yourself with knowledge, research and fight back. These people are wrecking education and unless teachers stand up then we are lost.

    see my other posts about strategies for causing your line manager sleepless nights
    TEA2111 likes this.
  10. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Sorry, wasn't my intention that my comment be "divisive and unhelpful". Just my humble opinion from a primary teacher.
    no one likes this.
  11. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Some many jobs are introduced 'that won't take you long to do' that it becomes overwhelming.

    I have for a while started to question some of the initiatives we are asked to do. When the answer for one was 'because senior management have told us to do it' I knew that it was time to start saying no.

    Sometimes some initiatives are introduced may actually improve things but again no time to do it. Recently we asked to do something (don't want to go into detail) which would take about 3 hours extra work per class (I take 12 classes) that's 36 hours extra. Now I'll admit it might help the pupils but where's the time coming from. I asked about the time and was told we have to do it. I've refused.

    Now some might be saying that I'm letting the pupils down by this refusal but it is the system that is letting the pupils down by asking already overworked teachers to do more. Of course the emotional blackmail of 'we need to do it for the children' is flying around but at the end of the day I am not being paid any more for these extra hours so I'm not doing it.

    Of course I've resigned so it puts my in a stronger position but if I can highlight these injustices in my last few weeks in the profession then all the better!
    monicabilongame and TEA2111 like this.
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    If I were you, I would contact your union. The school does have a duty of care towards you ( and I know "duty of care" can be ambiguous).

    When you went to your learning link, what they told you is untrue. Going off sick will not affect your integrity.

    Are you a hostess in a restaurant? Meet and greet? Of course we need to stand at the door and meet our students if it is at all possible, but how can you do that when you are running from room to room? Teaching 4 different subjects some of which are outside your specialism? Give me a break please.....most people would be on their knees with exhaustion by now. Planning for one subject that you do know is gruelling enough.

    Perhaps you might be better off to find a school with a much more sensible approach with competent leadership. I know schools like that do exist: they are thin on the ground but they are out there.

    What you could do is this:

    1. Go back to the management and see if you can rearrange your schedule and responsibilities to your satisfaction and the other things you want; for example, more support or whatever you list and whatever is reasonable. They may even give you your own room( miracles do happen).

    2. If you are not able to negotiate better conditions, then find a school where you are treated like a human being.

    I am sure you are a fine teacher but you are only one human being not a machine. It sounds as though you are being taken advantage of and people will do that to you unless you stand up for yourself. Once they know you might be leaving, then they may take notice since good teachers are hard to find. If you go, then if they don't change things, what they will have on their hands is an ever changing stream of supply teachers teaching their students which they don't want.

    As a last resort you can leave teaching, but I would not do that until you try to find another teaching post if it comes to that. Next time, however, be more careful about taking on a post until you know the people better and what the job will actually entail. That is why supply is good since you can have a look around schools before you make a commitment.

    Some of the things in teaching such as marking and planning won't change but those things you can learn how to manage better once you are not having to prepare for 4 different subjects.

    The Lazy Teacher's Handbook is a source of information which will help you with strategies of working smarter but still maintain the quality of your work.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  13. CharlieCharleston

    CharlieCharleston New commenter

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Theo thank you very much for your helpful attachments. I have read and re-read these a lot over the weekend. I have also read quite a few messages on the forums and I feel really sad (and a tad relieved) that it's not just me that feels this way.

    cat2611 I admire your decision to get out of teaching - I think you are brave, I'm too scared to take the plunge and leave. Apart from supply I have no idea what I would do! I wish you luck.

    I'm going to try my best to get through these next two weeks. I have applied for a job in another school so will see what happens however the thought of having to go through the stress of an interview when I feel like I do is filling me with dread. Failing that a trip to the Dr's it will have to be. What a profession we are in eh.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Glad to hear that things are looking a tad clearer for you, @lia_19 . Keep strong!

    Come and ask on Jobseekers about interview help . . . being well prepared makes it less stressful!

    Best wishes

    monicabilongame and pepper5 like this.
  15. pkhk320

    pkhk320 New commenter

    I feel your pain. I encourge you to think it through. Teaching a great career.
  16. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Zombie thread...last post on this was nearly 3 years ago.

    Not sure how you can feel someone's pain yet still think they should stay in the job though...
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Things can change...considerably!

    Four years ago I was ready to leave teaching/leave life because of the job.
    Now I love it again, and desperately excited about new challenges for September and regularly thank my lucky stars for my excellent and totally decent SLT.

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