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When did it all go so horribly wrong?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by fudgeface, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. fudgeface

    fudgeface Occasional commenter

    Can I apologise in advance? I just need to vent my frustrations.

    I have been teaching decades in a number of schools and have had a variety of roles from HoD to HoY to Phase leader. Without going into detail I stood down from my TLR last year.

    Today has probably been one of the worst days in my career. I feel burnt out and exhausted. I've been on the verge of tears all day, feel that my lessons have been **** and that I haven't been myself. I left work at 6.30 and cried all the way home.
    I feel isolated and realised that I hadn't had a single conversation with a supportive adult today. My classroom is geographically on the other side of the school from the rest of my faculty. No one ever comes and sees if I'm ok. My head of faculty hasn't even spoken to me this term.

    I don't know what to do - I feel like everything is collapsing around me - there aren't enough hours in the day. I don't know how much longer I can do this
  2. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Sorry to hear this.

    It could be that your exhausted and that is why you are feeling so emotional. Have you anyone to speak to at home?

    You might need to phone the teacher support network, as the will be able to counsell you and help to calm you down..

  3. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    'Today has probably been one of the worst days in my career. I feel burnt out and exhausted. I've been on the verge of tears all day, feel that my lessons have been **** and that I haven't been myself.'

    Teaching can do that to you!

    'I left work at 6.30'

    This is quite late, although I completely get that you may have work you would rather do at school and not at home!

    'I feel isolated and realised that I hadn't had a single conversation with a supportive adult today.'

    Are you just saying you haven't had 'adult company' (teaching can be quite isolating) or that you have just had SLT criticism, or both?

    'My classroom is geographically on the other side of the school from the rest of my faculty. No one ever comes and sees if I'm ok.'

    You could ask to move closer, even if it is next academic year. Our faculty re-roomed one member of staff as we feared they were feeling isolated in a similar way (although it was just other end of the corridor rather than the school!)

    'My head of faculty hasn't even spoken to me this term.'

    In all honesty you will not get universal sympathy on this one! Some posters would give their eye teeth to see LESS of their HoD! However, don't you have departmental meetings?!

    'I don't know what to do - I feel like everything is collapsing around me - there aren't enough hours in the day. I don't know how much longer I can do this '

    Maybe you need to accept there Is some seasonality in how you are feeling! Now is a bad time - still cold and relatively dark and that 'post Christmas period' but with exam pressure ramping up! How many teachers complain in late July! Not many! Not to say that any job should make you feel like this at any time of the year! Maybe you need to do the minimum for a week and/or book something good to look forward to at the weekend or Easter! And while few teachers come to work to 'socialise,' it is worth asking in the longer term if you are not so isolated! In one way maybe you should see it as a complement - evidently the HoD knows they don't have to 'keep an eye' on you?

    fudgeface, 10 minutes ago Report
    sabrinakat likes this.
  4. fudgeface

    fudgeface Occasional commenter

    Thank you SSS. My other half is out tonight and is fed up of me complaining. I don't want to burden my children although they can tell there is something wrong.

    I am constantly grinding my teeth and wake up with a sore jaw. I feel the scrutiny is overwhelming - we have a mocksted looming and just feel it won't be long before I'm on capability
    slingshotsally likes this.
  5. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    I'm no doctor, but you are obviously depressed. You are not coping. See your G.P. as soon as possible. Look up postings on this forum for WRS (work related stress). You are ill. Get someone to notify school for you and you concentrate on getting better.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Ring the Teacher Support people straight away, or start a Chat session with them. talking is better.

    You need to be able to get this off your chest and hear some kindly voice telling you that it is NOT you.

    Whatever you need, we’re here for you 24/7. Our confidential counselling can help with any issues, personal or professional, to get you back on track.

  7. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    I never knew the above service even existed but it sounds like just what you need!

    This is no way to carry on - huge hugs
  8. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    As you can see, you are far from alone, and there are several posters here who can offer you moral support, and very good advice.

    You need to make some changes though, and seeing your GP is a very important step to take

    Good luck!
    slingshotsally likes this.
  9. fudgeface

    fudgeface Occasional commenter

    Thank you for taking the time to read and post a reply. I can't be re-roomed as I teach subjects in a specialist room (other members of the faculty don't teach what I do).

    I'd love to do the minimum for a week but I've got Yr11 course work to mark, final exam to organise, Yr 10 controlled assessment and I'm doing extra curricular stuff at weekends;

    I am sooo looking forward to Easter
  10. fudgeface

    fudgeface Occasional commenter

    I am already on anti-depressants. I had treatment for cancer a couple of years ago and have 2 hospital appointments in the holidays so I will discuss how I'm feeling with my consultant. I'm on a cocktail of drugs to keep the cancer away and don't really want to up my "happy pills"

    The job is so radically different from the one I signed up for. If I hadn't got a mortgage. cc debts and an 18 year old who wants to go to Uni in September I would just jack it in
    Noja, slingshotsally and eljefeb90 like this.
  11. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I have just tried the live chat. Did not help at all; don't feel any better!
    Nothing was said beyond "hello" and you need to call the service! A bit disappointed really, to say the least!!
    slingshotsally likes this.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    You have my sympathy fudgeface.
    It can be a ******** to be stuck on your own with limited support. Towards the bitter end of my last mainstream job, I was lucky to have the support of several brilliant colleagues who helped me keep the *$£^ in perspective.
    Sometimes you need to go to the others if they won't come to you - even if it's only 5 minutes after the bell for a mutual arrrgh.
    Have something outside school to do to keep persepctive. They don't own you!
    slingshotsally and dljames2013 like this.
  13. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    I think you know that this is not sustainable. You need to regain control by working on an exit strategy. Give yourself a time period( either summer or Christmas) when you will definitely jack it in. Tighten your belt financially and work on minimizing the cc bills. Look at Theo Griff's posts on finding work outside of teaching. Your health is suffering because of this job. Face it; you need to get out. Your mental health will improve once you've got an exit strategy. I've been there as have thousands of others..
    fudgeface and slingshotsally like this.
  14. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    My sympathies fudgeface - some aspects of the crisis you describe sound all too familiar, but to be dealing with anti-cancer medication on top of all that... I take my hat off to you.

    I don't have any easy answers but one suggestion is take a really close look at the finances and consider whether working fewer days or even in a totally different line of work would still fund the essentials. It's important not to feel that you're chained to the classroom if you've been doing it for a while. Perhaps an honest chat with the offspring about deferred Uni entry until things become a bit clearer for you? It's not a hamster wheel.

    The above advice about seeking objective counselling sounds right to me. I wish you well with it.
    fudgeface and slingshotsally like this.
  15. bonniews

    bonniews New commenter

    Fudgeface: I think you're depressed and need to see your doctor NOW not wait until your hospital appointments. I'd also put things in place to jack in your extra curricular stuff at weekends at the very least. Set yourself a more reasonable time to go home, if it's not done by say 5pm then leave it for the next day. It will always wait.

    Also come out of your room for stroll about for 10 mins a couple of times a day; breaktime maybe and think of something to ask someone. i.e. have you taught 'so and so', does he do ' this and that' in your lessons. You might not need to know this but it will get the adult contact ball rolling.

    After a short period of time you'll feel less isolated - and it doesn't just have to be in your faculty.

    I gave up my TLR in October (also changed schools) and now stick to just my groups; I go home at 5, have my tea, walk my dogs, watch my soaps, do a couple of hours MAX before bed and I do nothing work related Friday nights through to sunday about 5pm when I start my planning etc.

    I have had too many people to count say how much better I look and my children are very much relieved (I too had cancer a couple of years ago). I like being a teacher again.
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    So many excellent words of wisdom for you in the above posts. I agree that you should make a plan to reduce your household expenses so you can leave full time teaching if you need to. Start by trying your hardest to reduce your credit card debt. As regards your 18 year old and university, have an honest chat with them. Perhaps they can defer going a year or so and work tomsave up a nest egg. Also he/she may have to go to a unimclose by so there is not the additional expense of living away.

    You must somehow reduce your work load so your mind and bodyncan heal; your current way of working is as someone pointed out unsustainable.
    fudgeface and slingshotsally like this.
  17. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    I'd say it's either depression or WRS, the first time I came down with the latter I was pretty much the same in terms of how I felt and how I was behaving. Either way you need to get to the Drs ASAP. I'd consider even calling in sick one morning and then making an emergency appointment as you are really unwell.

    I hope things get better soon.
  18. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Hi fudgeface,

    Please go and see the doctor, you are in a "perfect storm" scenario. You need to take care of your mental and physical health.

    I know you have probably done this already-

    CC debts - transfer to zero rate for maximum number of months

    Finances - start to buy less expensive options, plan meals, batch cooking, buy less expensive clothes, go to second hand shops

    Cars- do you need 2?

    Heating - Economy 7?

    I know of one wonderful head teacher who supported a member of staff by reducing hours to 0.3 for two terms as a period of grace. A parent had suffered a devastating stroke, and the colleague has to arrange appointments with physics, social workers, carers, nursing home visits etc... Is your HT a compassionate person, do you think they could make allowances?

    fudgeface likes this.
  19. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Sorry about cars comment, it is me making too many assumptions and I apologise for this.
  20. fudgeface

    fudgeface Occasional commenter

    Can I thank everyone for the lovely, kind thoughtful comments. Today has been slightly better and I have been in a better place mentally.

    Now don't shout - but I stayed at school until 7.20 - I was rehearsing for school show - which is in about 2 months and then I spent a few hours tidying up.

    I had a meeting with a colleague today - they could tell I wasn't myself and I got a bit tearful.

    They said some lovely things about how I was an essential part of the school and that the pupils really value me and my nurturing attitude.

    I shall take your advice on board v- especially about the finances and keep you posted.:)

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