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unsure about my future.

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by valiantkate, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. I have been teaching since 1978, in FE and also pst 16 in a special school. since September I have been asked to teach a KS 2 class. What a shock, I feel like an alien who has been beamed onto the wrong planet. I am struggling, my two TAs are no help and are positively doing everything they can do to undermine me and my efforts. I am so very unhappy. I feel that I am suffering from stress, vomiting, shaky hands and pounding heart, cant sleep or concentrate, never felt like this before and I do not like it! All my time at home is spent on school work, currently filling in my 'Appraisal' think I will struggle. Anyway, I am 55 and am wondering about taking very early retirement, I am the only waged person in our home and do not have a vast amount of money and zilch saving.
    I would appreciate any advice, experiences you may have had that are similar to mine, have you survived? I am not a 'job snob' and would not care if I fill shelves in ASDA, all I know is that I can not keep up this pace, I am wanting to spend time with my family and see some of the weekend for myself.
    Really at a crossroads here. Val
     
  2. I have been teaching since 1978, in FE and also pst 16 in a special school. since September I have been asked to teach a KS 2 class. What a shock, I feel like an alien who has been beamed onto the wrong planet. I am struggling, my two TAs are no help and are positively doing everything they can do to undermine me and my efforts. I am so very unhappy. I feel that I am suffering from stress, vomiting, shaky hands and pounding heart, cant sleep or concentrate, never felt like this before and I do not like it! All my time at home is spent on school work, currently filling in my 'Appraisal' think I will struggle. Anyway, I am 55 and am wondering about taking very early retirement, I am the only waged person in our home and do not have a vast amount of money and zilch saving.
    I would appreciate any advice, experiences you may have had that are similar to mine, have you survived? I am not a 'job snob' and would not care if I fill shelves in ASDA, all I know is that I can not keep up this pace, I am wanting to spend time with my family and see some of the weekend for myself.
    Really at a crossroads here. Val
     
  3. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    You can retire from 55. The TPS website will show you how much you have, and there is a calculator for what you would get, but the reduction for going early might be too much.
     
  4. I was where you sound like you are once! Sometimes, we all feel alone in what can be an incredibly stressful job at times. As we get older (I'm 57) we can't always cope like we used to, we just don't have the same energy levels. Going to a new class brings a whole new set of challenges. It will take time to get it all right - a month in to the new term isn't long enough. You also must make sure you have lots of non-teaching time, doing anything but teaching or thinking / planning teaching. It sounds like stress is nudging its way into your job. Can you nail down why things are not going as well as you want? TAs are there to support you, not make life harder. If there are issues there, you need to get them resolved with your Head quickly. Sometimes, we feel that we must resolve all issues in the classroom ourselves, that involving someone else is a sign we can't do the job. This is not so. Have you shared your concerns with your Head, or another teacher if they are not approachable? You might find talking this through and having someone help you crystallise a plan to improve not only your class but your work life balance might help. The Head will want you in the classroom so together you need to find ways to improve the situation but also to reduce the workload in the short term so you can get back on track. Does the Head have an occupational therapist they can refer you to? Ask to see one. I was concerned when I saw one but actually they really helped both me but also the Head focus on helping me. They will make suggestions to the Head after meeting you that the Head cannot ignore. Make your own suggestions for reducing workload, perhaps after discussing with a colleague first. google teacher stress. There's a support website plus lots of articles about it. Keep a diary. It helps you pinpoint why things didn't work that day. Also keep a diary of the hours you are working. It's very useful in future discussions with Heads! Phone your Union for help with stress. Retiring when you are broke might bring its own problems. On the other hand, have you done your sums to see what you need to live on? Your health and sanity are far more important and constant excessive stress will hurt you. The thing you shouldn't do is nothing. Take control of a difficult situation and you might not see instant solutions, but you will feel a lot better. Make an appointment to see the Head tomorrow. Take some hankies and be prepared to let it all out! Sometimes, Heads don't realise what they are doing to teachers, and need reminding that part of their job, and why they are paid silly money, is to help others do their job effectively. That is their job. Tell them when you make an appointment that you would like to bring a colleague, if that is okay with them, for support. Don't wait for your appraisal. Good luck.

    Here's a good book, worth a fiver, that is very readable and might help.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eat-That-Frog-Important-Things/dp/0340835044
     
  5. 50sman

    50sman Occasional commenter

    If you retire now your pension will be up to 25 per ent less than when you are sixty
    You will also lose the five years you have not done before you are sixty. However what you need to decide is is this money enough to live on. I have been made redundant at the age of 53. - I cannot get my pension until I am 55

    However i have just got a job working in a supermarket for three nights a week which will bring enough income in to top up redundancy and top up pension until I am 66 when I will get state pension and pension from supermarket


    I am now looking forward to four days off each week with no planning preperation or marking, no responsibilities, no reports and no meetings

    Also if I have to work extra hours I get paid for them - I also cannot bring shelves home to stack!!!!!
     
  6. geoff1954

    geoff1954 New commenter

    I went through a similar period, although not as bad as yours. In my case I insisted on being appraised. (I was at an independent school where, although the inspectors were told that appraisal occurred every two years, I had not been appraised in seven years). The appraisal process is about you, not the school, not your pupils. Give them the works! If your job is affecting your health then say so. It is the job of management to do something about it.
    If you were to retire, and get a minimum wage job, then I think your pension plus your reduced salary would be close to your present salary. This is what I did and I have no regrets at all.
     


  7. Thank you so much, really helpful, currently writing up my appraisal, I feel a lot more positive reading back over what I have done and how it made me feel. I am tired though with not as much energy. It's a beautiful day here and the boys have gone fishing, the leaves are glorious and I would love to be there with them, anyway, thank you so very much. Will do what you recommend, will see head tomorrow.
    Val
     
  8. Good luck. Also, stress does funny things to people. You won't be able to plan like you used to, or think rationally. You may be short with people, feel totally overwhelmed, constantly exhausted and ultimately, unable to feel like you are coping. That's why it's a good idea to involve others, friends, colleagues and professionals like occ health. Put your review on hold. You cannot do it properly or meaningfully if there are bigger issues.
     
  9. just like myself! I am 53 can't get my pension till 55, now working for a large multinational fast food restaurant 10 minutes from my house.Get paid for the hours I do, no prep, marking, pointless meetings open evenings, parents evenings or any other of the bull that comes with teaching. Enjoy working with the youngsters keeps me fit and something to do. Hardest work I have had to do in my life (honestly very physical) but when I get home I switch off. Didn't fancy supply, wanted to get totally away from education.
     
  10. gooddays

    gooddays Senior commenter

    Did you see your head on Monday, valiantkate? I hope things are better.
     
  11. AdmiralNelson

    AdmiralNelson New commenter

    Remember if you take your pension @ 55 you may lose some each year as compared to taking it at 60, but you get it for more years!
     
  12. Hi goodays, had a really crappy week. Can not believe I feel so deskilled and depressed. Seem to be spending every moment at work or home doing work.
    Dont think I can spend much longer like this, although early retirement may leave me out of pocket, I think my health and sanity will have to come first. Maybe I have just had a particularly dreadful day. The head is aware of how I feel but nothing seems to be geting resolved.
    Anyway thanks for asking. x
     
  13. Hi pritprat, it is a good book isn't it?
    Work continues to be hell, the work continues to be unrelenting, although the head is well aware of my 'issues' I do not feel that she is taking the matter seriously. You WILL think I am totally bonkers but its got so bad I contemplated having a 'little bump' in my car- just totake time off. How ridiculous is that?
    anyway, thank you.
     
  14. gooddays

    gooddays Senior commenter

    Hi, valiantkate,

    You are valiant, and my heart goes out to you.


    Here's my story, and I hope it helps you feel you might be able to hold on until your official retirement date. I chose the name gooddays just over 2 years ago because I knew I had just that amount of time left before I could retire and I wanted those 2 years to be full of good days. Two years earlier I had been asked (translation: told) that I would be teaching French at my school for one year, after having taught kindergarten for many years. In Ontario, French teachers teach 7 x 40 min. classes to all grades. I insisted that I would not be teaching the children I had most recently had in kindergarten. I wanted them to remember me as Mrs., not Madame. As well, the person who was replacing me in kindergarten had the reputation of not working well with French teachers and I didn't want to deal with that problem.

    The year was a disaster. Although I am well qualified to teach French, my personality is such that I don't do well dealing with 150+ personalities in a day. The 10 year olds had 33 children in the class and the 9 year olds had 29. These were children I had smiled at benevolently when they were 3,4 and 5 years old and I was having to be stern with them. I hated it and they hated me. Like you, I felt deskilled and depressed. I had hoped to retire from that school but I moved the next year to a school where I could teach kindergarten.

    I had a good year teaching kindergarten, but I knew from the start that I was replacing a teacher on leave and would be teaching something different the next year. I taught a combined class of 7 and 8 year olds, the 8 year olds having the dreaded standardized testing that year, my first and, blissfully, only exposure to that harrowing experience.

    I'd noticed several pairs of teachers who were job sharing and asked to do that for my final year (no one knew it was my final year). Last year, I went to the YMCA most mornings at about 9:30, did errands and arrived at school during the lunch hour. I taught 6 and 7 year olds with a great partner and ended my year feeling positive.

    Can your union be of any help to you? Are there any sympathetic teachers on staff? Would a leave give you a chance to catch up on your sleep and feel more like yourself? I hope this week is better.
     
  15. Another option is a visit to the doctor and get signed off for 2 weeks with stress, then another two weeks, and another and keep it going. This will focus your Head's mind on getting to the root of the problem and actually getting off their fat **** and doing something about it. I would do it straight after the holidays, for maximum impact. You ought to be keeping a diary now. If you have approached the head, keep a diary of times, dates and what was said. Jot down any and every incident. Your employer has a duty of care. If they are clearly told there is a problem, and choose to do nothing about it, they could have a problem if ever they try to dismiss you or you resign and take them to a tribunal for constructive dismissal. That's another reason why having a colleague with you, for support but also as a witness, is a good idea.
    If you really are going to retire because of this, then you can drag it out for nearly a year by going off sick. It's something to think about. Talk to your Union Rep, the area one ideally.
     
  16. A very good question !, you need to visit your GP asap and ask him what he thinks. You should also mention the vomiting, shaky hands and pounding heart and the fact that you cant sleep or concentrate. I am no expert but I am sure your GP will take matters very seriously.
    It sounds like you have been teaching a long time so you should have built up a fairly decent pension. If you take it now you will lose around 20% but you may live a lot longer on it. You could consider private tuition to supplement your pension. Its still teaching but the big difference is that you are in total control of what you do.
    Good Luck
    You only live once
    Colin
     
  17. gooddays

    gooddays Senior commenter

    We know you wouldn't do it, but the "little bump" idea shows just how desperate you are for things to change. Even a little bump could have disastrous results. Lots of us are thinking about you and hoping things get better soon.
     
  18. Why not advertise yourself locally? Forget agencies.
     
  19. curlyk

    curlyk New commenter

    Hi,
    I have just told my Head I intend to retire at the age of 58 , in two years time . As a MFL teacher I know it will take that long to find a replacement for me,in the lovely Middle school in which I teach French.
    As a born worrier, perfectionist , I get extremely stressed , Ofsted, annoying Head, not being thanked for going beyond what should be expected, parents who see us as social workers, children who see themselves as having all the rights, but none of the responsibilties , the list is endless . I started teaching in 1979 and now look back at those pre Ofsted,National Curriculum ,target setting/,O level,Modular CSE, A level ( No AS level ), lesson objectives on the board, days as my Golden Years.
    I love teaching French, love my students and colleagues but can`t stand the rest of the guff we get thrown at us. I, too, have felt like veering off the raod but I know it is stress.
    You can put this right. Take control, get counselling, see a doctor, bring in your Union, but above all talk to someone sympathetic .
    There are a lot of fully competent ,experienced teachers out there, feeling like you do.
    Don`t let things fester, you will feel better if you do something positive about your situation.



     
  20. Flapwell

    Flapwell New commenter

    I left the school I had worked at for 22 years at the end of the summer term this year. I'm 52 and spent a long time checking finances before making the decision. Even in a worst case scenario,I would not lose my home or starve; 7 of 13 staff left at the same time as me.Of the remaining staff,2 are off long term sick with stress, and another has had a recurrence of an auto immune disorder.Although the future seems a bit scary at times, I'm sure I did the right thing.
    I'm having a break till January and then may do supply.
     

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