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Want to leave teaching... need advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Char19, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Char19

    Char19 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I've recently been really stressed and feeling anxious about work. I was taken to hospital not long ago with a bad panic attack (my first one!). I feel sick about going into work and spent the end of the Christmas holiday crying at the thought of going back.
    I spoke to my HT because I wanted to leave (and still do). I said that I felt I needed to leave at Easter but as I'm in Year 2, I didn't want to leave them right before they take heir SATs. I asked if it was possible to leave at May half term so that I could see them through their SATs. I obviously knew that this wasn't a usual leaving date and you need permission from governors.
    It was made quite clear by the HT that that's not happening and I either leave at Easter or July.

    I have no idea what to do now! On one hand I think I need to leave at Easter but I feel as though I'd be letting the children down right before SATs! If I do leave at Easter I think I'd feel so guilty about it too.
    I'm unsure though if I'd last until July and I really don't want to make myself more stressed/anxious.

    Can anyone offer any insight? I really don't know what to do.
  2. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Easy - leave at Easter.
    nicola3650, pepper5, Shedman and 2 others like this.
  3. ldnsenco

    ldnsenco Occasional commenter

    Leave at Easter. Your health is far more important than SATs which are quite frankly irrelevant for the development of children. They're all about accountability for schools and league tables. Get out
  4. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    Leave at Easter. The year 2 national curriculum tests are mainly a reflection on the school and will not make much difference to the children. Your health is the priority!
  5. Monty1983

    Monty1983 Occasional commenter

    I don't want to offer advice as I don't know you well enough, but I do want to hold your hand and offer you some honest sympathy and several cups of strong tea! I'm so sorry for how you feel. I took on a Year six class and cried every day for three months, convinced they would fail their SATS and I would be to blame. I went to the doctors, was given antidepressants and CBT and anti anxiety medicationIt.was.awful!

    I spoke to my head and wrote lists to help me to get to grips with what they needed to be able to do before SATs, what I could do to help them achieve that and I spoke to my head a lot, I moaned, I cried, I asked for advice and bit by bit things started to get better.

    I would only say, and this is thanks to all the amazing advice I have had from people here, are you sure things are as bad as they seem, if they are and you don't think they'll get better then leave at Easter. If it isn't, see the year out and leave with the feeling of a job done (even if you don't feel you've done it well).

    Feel free to message me, I'd like to help if I can as so many kind and wonderful people here have helped me too. I feel your pain, I'm sorry and I'm sure you are doing a better job than you believe, we always are!
  6. Char19

    Char19 New commenter

    Thank you. People at my school have either already decided to leave or want to! The only advice I am really getting in general is to leave.
    I feel awful all the time. I'm not sure that it's likely to get better if it's been the same since October/November. If only I could look into the future! I've been trying to be hopeful and think that it could always improve but who knows??
    I'm only in my second year and the thought of doing this for years into the future .. well, it isn't great!

    The HT has said I'm not allowed to tell anyone at work how I feel so I can't really discuss it with anyone at work either.
  7. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    In July the school will still be standing. Will you? The kids will still be able to get too and from lessons and do some work. Will you?
  8. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Leave. Leave at Easter. Think about your own health and wellbeing because nobody else in the school will.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    What the heck is the world coming to?
    These children are 7 years old, their sats mean nothing at all to them.
    You are not abandoning them right before sats, they'll barely even notice they are doing them, much less care.
    Sheeesh don't give them another thought. Do what works for you,

    Leave when you want to leave, within contractual obligations obviously.
    On the other hand, your head has done you a favour by saying no. Leaving outside the usual dates can cause you problems later with other applications.
  10. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    You absolutely have to do what is best for you. Forget the SATs, they're not in the slightest bit important.
    pepper5, Shedman and hammie like this.
  11. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    I never took a SAT test in my life. At that time the 11+ had just been abolished for many reasons, largely because of the pressure it put on ELEVEN YEAR OLDS now we are doing the same to them and younger children.
    Get out, find a decent agency and go on supply for a while, it helped knit me back together, all the good bits of the job and hardly any of the bad, especially at Primary ages.
    Get well, get away and only then think about the longer term, once you have found yourself again.
  12. thegeologist

    thegeologist Occasional commenter

    I've noticed a massive improvement in my mental health since leaving teaching, however the damage will take a lot of time to heal. The anxiety seems to be deep rooted, but I am waking up about half the mornings in a week still feeling anxious and it is difficult to get out of bed. I made a slight mistake in my new job today, nothing even to get worked up about but worried all afternoon about it. So what I am trying to say is it will take time to get better.

    If you wan't to leave you must believe in yourself to the degree that you can escape and do something else. I spent a lot of time preparing my exit and in the end it was very planned despite me panicking and thinking it was disjointed. Remember The Great Escape, a lot of them had tried to escape before, many got caught and put back in but a few who were smart escaped again through a well planned tunnel and with a bit of luck got back to Blighty. You have so many skills.
  13. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Leave at Easter. Are Y2 SATS crucial? Will the kids go on to be successful if you leave before these wretched things? Of course they will and in years to come they will have forgotten all about you. We all want to do the best for our students but your health comes first. They'll get over it now get over your guilt and misplaced loyalty to other people's children and put yourself and your family first. Do you think you'll get much sympathy from the parents of your students if you ended up in hospital or with a breakdown? You have one life, once good health has gone you may never get it back. Self first always.
  14. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    Go at a planned interval (Easter or July.) It's less disruptive to the kids than if you have to resign suddenly due to your health, and the kids get left with supply teachers. If you leave in a set window, the school can replace you in good time and make sure the kids are fine for their SATs. Don't feel guilty. You don't need to - this happens all the time and it's better to go than to live in misery.
    Mrsmumbles, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  15. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I'm so sorry to hear what you've said. I too agree with the others: "Leave" and as soon as possible. They will have people who can come in to teach your class. But one more thing to add: Whatever you do, don't throw away all that you've trained hard to do. There are more people in this world than children who need help with their education, and I spent 30 plus years very happily teaching in Colleges of Further Education. You'll meet teenagers and adults who have decided to go there and who want training and qualifications in order to get work in the world of business and industry. They have a different attitude altogether to children at school who are there because they have to be. They'll welcome you with open arms, and I'm sure you'll be writing to tell us that you made a wonderful change in the world of education.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    If you leave and work as a supply teacher you can still earn money and perhaps take some time out to retrain.

    Even if you take a break from teaching, it is something you can always go back to.
    Monty1983 likes this.
  17. Monty1983

    Monty1983 Occasional commenter

    Well just know. You are not alone. I'm in the same boat, I've driven my head mad asking him to find things wrong with what I'm doing and I've driven people mad on here (I'm sure) obsessing over what I may or may not have done wrong.

    The only thing to say is this- If you want to stay then stay and if you don't, don't. The kids will miss you but they won't fail because you left, they're resilient and they soon get over things. I have struggled well and truly, I cried every single day for three months (honestly) and other than my head and family, no one knew that I was going through it, not even the kids, who would be amazed I'm sure to think I was nervous about teaching them. I stayed (because I had to) and by the last week before Christmas, I realised I'd had several weeks with only a bit of worry everyday and I felt like I knew what I was doing! It took that long and I am an experienced teacher!

    Don't stay if you are unhappy and it is making your life miserable but on the other hand, it can be a great job in the right place- Would looking elsewhere help you?
  18. Char19

    Char19 New commenter

    Thank you everyone for your advice! It has really helped me put things into perspective. I think I have decided to leave at Easter.
    The doctor has recommended that I am signed off but I'm not if that's the right move.

    I'm going to go into supply after Easter to have a break and clear my head. I can then think about whether I still want to be a teacher or not. Seeing different schools might give me a different perspective.
    RedBedHead94 likes this.
  19. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    If your GP says you need to be signed off then you need to be signed off. A colleague of mine refused to be signed off a few years ago. She spent two or three weeks coming in for a couple of days, then missing a couple of days because she couldn't cope, then coming back in, and so on. It took a while to convince her that it was damaging for her in the long run and that this sort of staccato teaching wasn't helping anyone.
  20. rouseau22

    rouseau22 New commenter

    If you leave at a time other than the official ones you leave yourself open to awkward questions when or if you apply for new schools. Don't do this to yourself.

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