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Trying for a new start after a hellish few years...

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by lmichelled, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. lmichelled

    lmichelled New commenter

    Hello all,

    I've been teaching for eighteen years and am just coming to the finalisation of a SA after being incredibly ill with anxiety and depression brought on by working in a RI school under constant scrutiny with constant criticism and bullying leaders. I've been through the doubts and fears of whether I can ever face a classroom and SLT pressure again, whether I can survive supply teaching in the meantime, and whether I have any hope of getting a job in a school where I can be happy and treated well.

    After everything, I'm not quite ready to give it up and work in Tesco just yet, although I have days when that seems like a plan!

    What I'd really appreciate advice on is.... how honest do I need to be when applying for another permanent role? Do I put ill health as reason for leaving on the application form? Do I write resignation and leave it until interview (if I get one)?
    Should I state relocation (I have moved house and gotten married in the time since the SA began) ?

    If I do any of these things, is the prospective employer likely to check and think me dishonest? My SA has a confidentiality clause so I am not allowed to discuss the reasons for leaving in any detail, and I am hoping my old head wouldn't either - but who knows.

    Can anyone help with some sage advice?
    Summerhols6, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Be honest about your health is my advice or it may come back to bite you in the bum. My Head calls the current teacher's Head for a chat before appointing.
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. install

    install Star commenter

    Be honest about your health. Well done for getting through this terrible ordeal. Go part time if you can afford it.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You can be happy in a school again. Next time, however, take your time when choosing a school and try to do as much research as you can about it. You might want to avoid RI schools but there are so many of them and that is part of the dilemma. It is a shame that a teacher with 18 years classroom experience is driven away. What are schools going to do when all their experienced staff are gone? You can't replace 18 years of experience overnight.

    If you can afford it, take a small break from teaching to let your mind heal and rest.

    If you decide you want to do some supply, pop over to the supply forum where there is support and advice on all aspects of supply. Supply, as you probably can imagine, has its own set of problems, but if you do it carefully and know the trip wires to avoid, it might be a backup plan for you until you find/feel ready for a permanent post.

    I agree with install's comment about going part time if you can afford it - you have done 18 years which is incredible in the light of most people now do five until they have had enough.
  5. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    There should be an agreed statement in the Settlement Agreement about the reason for leaving.
  6. m_whyman

    m_whyman New commenter

    I have a friend who went through something similar. There should be an agreed statement about why you are leaving and details outside of this statement should be held in confidence - it is to the benefit of both you and the school you have left. However, I do think you should mention ill health, as it is likely to come back at some point, but I would maybe leave this until an interview stage, if it comes up.
    In terms of your future happiness, try for part time or job-share.
    Good luck!
    phlogiston, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  7. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Well done on coming through this terrible situation.
    I agree with the advice given - be honest. But bear in mind the wording of your agreed reference. I wouldn't go overboard in giving details. They can be discussed face to face at interview if necessary.
    But I would also suggest a bit of a break. You have moved house, got married and been ill. Life has changed and you need time to readjust.
    agathamorse and SundaeTrifle like this.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    well done, and good luck.
    It will take a while for your psyche to recover from events like this, but there is no reason why you cannot rediscover your mojo.
    I can't think of anything to add to the good advice above.
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. lmichelled

    lmichelled New commenter

    Thanks everyone for your advice. It really helped. I have just been successful in getting a permanent job in an outstanding school starting in January. I feel like a weight has been lifted and the school felt totally different from my last experiences, I’m genuinely excited to start.
    There was no mention of health during the interview but I have since filled in a medical questionnaire online and been honest. I did panic initially, but read others’ stories on here and am thinking the information will be used to support me if needed in the future. Thank you, everyone. My faith is being restored.
  10. defenceagainstthedarkarts

    defenceagainstthedarkarts Occasional commenter

    That's great news.

    For future readers, here is my personal take.

    The school want to know my reason for leaving but sometimes these reasons can be very personal. None of us are going to put 'I made the mistake of dating the head of PE for eight months only to discover he was also sleeping with Jo from the Science department and I couldn't face seeing him every day.' (not me - ahem!)

    My business is mine. I simply state relocation, promotion, stepped down for a year due to familial commitments and so on. Bland, vague and generic is the way to go!
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter


    And generally speaking schools couldn't give a flying fig why you left the last school...they are only interested in why you want to come to theirs.
    Dyathinkhesaurus and agathamorse like this.
  12. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    @lmichelled - Congratulations. Now enjoy the half term!
    Shedman and agathamorse like this.

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