to desperately want to leave my job (on verge of walking out) because of this?

(190 Posts)
woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 21:07:13

Help.

I do hang around here, mainly on the weight loss chat boards, but I've had to name-change due to the content.

I am a teacher and I am hugely struggling with one of my classes, to the extent that I am going home crying whenever I have them (three times a week.)

It is a GCSE class. For some reason they have no respect for me and treat me like i'm a big joke. It's very hard to put into words - constant smirks, shaking with laughter, covering mouths, looking away (as clearly looking at me would be so hilarious they just wouldn't be able to cope.) Shouting across the room, then when I follow the school system arguments ensue - "OH MY GOD, I was only TELLING x that I wanted to lend his pen off him!" then discussions with other students about the unfairness of it "She just gave me DETENTION for asking x to lend his pen!" which leads, sometimes, to arguments from others - "You're being unfair!" I do follow the system we have (two warnings/detention) but we can only remove a child in extreme cases and I'd have to go out, phone for help and fill in a referral form and to be honest it's difficult (impossible, really) to do that with four/five kids.

Have contacted home, to no avail. It worked temporarily - most things have a temporary effect - but while I can deal with the more obvious disruption (shouting out) it is the more insidious forms of behaviour that are really upsetting me just now - the constant laughing at me, the mocking of my voice, the accusations that I don't teach them well.

I have them twice tomorrow - I hate Wednesdays.

I will have them this year and next unless they all leave or I do and I just don't know, I have had the most awful year and came close to just walking out Monday. I cannot cope with it any more. Please help me sad

woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 21:38:57

Ilove - but removed where? I can't just remove them before they enter my classroom, and there are too many to send out en masse anyway. I honestly don't think I have any options. It's extreme I know, but last week I felt so awful I honestly felt like I didn't want to live, like I couldn't cope with life at all. They treat me like a sad joke, and that's how I feel when I come out of there. I am sure some people think it's pathetic for fourteen year olds to make you feel like that - but being mocked and laughed at and sneered at and jeered at is just the pits.

I'd rather they said "oh fuck off." Done, get them out, sorted. But the behaviour is as I say insidious: it's awful.

ilovesooty Tue 10-Dec-13 21:39:47

Sorry: I x posted there.

woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 21:42:56

Ilovesooty - thank you.

I think there is a ringleader but in all honesty it seems to change on a day to day basis. One girl, whom I normally get on well with, was doing the "shaking with silent laughter" routine on Monday - covering her face and shaking with mirth hmm when I asked her a question. I know she's not a horrible girl, she's following the lead of others in there, but it is still so very hard.

I wish I knew what triggered it, that's an interesting question. There was a new girl who came and left within a month, who massively changed the dynamics and attitudes of the class. She's gone now though so theoretically things should go back to normal.

Also someone (two people in fact thinking about it) have tried to support and made things worse - can't go into detail really.

woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 21:45:00

The thing is, it IS personal. How can laughing in someone's face, shouting nasty remarks about their appearance, making unpleasant snide comments about another aspect of their appearance - how can that NOT be personal?

I have been there, I know how you feel. Put every possible effort into finding a new job somewhere else. It will make you feel better.
Just fuck 'em and go somewhere for a fresh start.

answers Tue 10-Dec-13 21:47:14

Not sure if this will help but some suggestions:

Do you have a learning support department where you can send the main miscreants to work?
Are there any TA's available who can be an extra pair of eyes..?
What is your lesson start like.. do you have bell work up that they have to get on with whilst you settle the class...
Boring work ... get them heads down so no interaction ...
Keep contacting parents .. however long this takes ... tell them exactly the behaviour that is going on..
Get your HoD to flipping well do something..

I am so horrified by the lack of support you are getting ..

Phineyj Tue 10-Dec-13 21:47:24

I think you should consider changing school, because you sound like a good teacher who is not getting the support they need. I am not great at managing behaviour - I do okay but I would hate what you are describing and not cope - however my bosses/colleagues have been nothing but helpful when there have been (much more minor) problems. They have never blamed me or made things worse!

These kids are bullying you, there are no two ways about it and your school management and procedures sound ineffectual at best.

MatryoshkaDoll Tue 10-Dec-13 21:47:37

Do you know what? I think I would just leave and get another job. Life's too fucking short.

I work in a different profession but have had similarly horrible experiences in the workplace that I stuck out for far too long. Now I'm a long time out of that situation and I look back and think 'why the fuck did I stay and keep taking all that shit?'

Sure, there were a couple of hairy months after I left where I was worried I wouldn't find another job but I eventually found one easily enough and things instantly go so much better.

No job is worth sacrificing your mental health over. Really.

Someone I worked with has just been signed off sick with stress because they're going through a divorce which is happening partly because they work such ridiculous hours. I bet they're not going to look back on their deathbed and think 'I'm glad my ridiculous work life cost me my mental health and my marriage. Yep, that was totally worth it.'

Thymeout Tue 10-Dec-13 21:47:41

I'm sorry, but I think you do have to involve the HoD/HoY. There will soon be complaints from parents and you need to be proactive.

If this is the only class you have a problem with, it won't count against you. Everyone knows that it just takes 2/3 influential pupils to turn a class against you. Can you identify the ringleaders? They could be spoken to, removed from class beforehand. Perhaps arrange that someone senior is lurking in the corridor, so when trouble starts, you can just ask culprit to leave the room and they can be picked up immediately without having to phone.

You're not the only one who's had this problem. Remember that those above you are appraised as to how effectively they support teachers in your position.

Good luck!

ilovecolinfirth Tue 10-Dec-13 21:47:58

I agree with Ilovesooty that you know your HT and SMT, but I really think there should be some support there. Are you in a faculty? Is there a faculty support timetable where you can send the worst 3 offenders (pre-arranged). Do you have a faculty report system, where they are required to meet behavioural targets?

Shallistopnow Tue 10-Dec-13 21:48:56

This is very sad and I don't know how you cope. Their behaviour sounds disgusting and you really don't deserve it.

Is there not a teacher friend you can speak to on personal informal level? Or what if you wrote down some of the things you've written here? There must be some senior staff who are human enough to care and treat you sensitively.

Perhaps you should keep a detailed record of individuals' behaviour? If only you could film the bastards!

Take care, I really hope things improve.

BigToesofFrog Tue 10-Dec-13 21:51:08

Being a teacher doesn't mean you are automatically capable of dealing with all types of behaviour or should have to put up with all types of abuse. Other professions get abuse too, like hospital staff, and they are not treated as failures if they find it too much to bear.

I would go through with talking to the head/HOY or whoever is your best starting point. Instead of opening with "I can't cope / I need help" - say "a group of students are being abusive and have started a sustained campaign of bullying." Ask them to look into all the options of dealing with those individuals, rearranging classes or taking individuals out.

I understand the feeling that you will be seen as a failure and that there is that culture in some schools - but presumably the school don't want you to walk out either. Actually, don't walk out, and don't hand in notice. You are suffering from severe work-related stress, so before considering those things, you could go to the GP and explain it all and say how close to the edge you are (and cry. Seriously.) You are in a position where being signed off with stress would be reasonable.

I could not do what teachers do, I admire you and you don't deserve this.

woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 21:52:47

So sorry for sounding negative, but:

Do you have a learning support department where you can send the main miscreants to work?
No, we do have a learning support dept but it isn't for behaviour issues, more EAL/SEN
Are there any TA's available who can be an extra pair of eyes..? Afraid not!
What is your lesson start like.. do you have bell work up that they have to get on with whilst you settle the class... Yes, ironic you should mention this as I have delivered INSET(s) on effectively starting lessons! smile
Boring work ... get them heads down so no interaction ... I can't do this, I would be reprimanded
Keep contacting parents .. however long this takes ... tell them exactly the behaviour that is going on.. Am doing so, thanks
Get your HoD to flipping well do something.. It's me!

Unfortunately it will and is counting against me - this is why I am in such a state.

nennypops Tue 10-Dec-13 21:54:30

I don't follow the issue about not being able to ring down to get a pupil taken into detention because there' son phone in the classroom? Can you not use a mobile?

woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 21:54:31

BigToes thank you. I really have had an awful time of it lately and I want to cry just thinking about it, but I'm not sure if taking time off will help, and I do also have to think of my other lovely classes, including year 13/11s who need me.

I wish I could JUST be signed off when I have this bunch, I would honestly be fine then. But I just cannot cope with it, and it makes me feel useless.

woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 21:54:50

Nenny, it's an internal phone system.

Meow75 Tue 10-Dec-13 21:55:05

I don't have a solution but I just wanted to check in.

I am a bit further along the road than you with this. In May I had to undergo my first disciplinary hearing, and then was off work till September with work related stress and depression.

Last week, I wanted to go home Tues with a migraine, cover manager wouldn't let me as there was no-one available to cover. Consequence of that was me being off Wed - Fri (although Thurs is my day off - went 4 days from September) with a succession of migraines.

FF to Monday, I car share with DH and drop him off at work, then 7 more miles to my work. I couldn't do it. I drove back towards home and went to the dr's instead. I spent most of Monday in tears, feeling like I wanted to end it all but refuse to put my DH in the position of surviving me. I even considered saying to him that he should divorce me, take all our assets (we don't have many!!) and I would be responsible for all the debts.

OUTCOME: I have a 20 minute appointment tomorrow morning. I am miserable. And I bet SLT & HT now think I was lying about the migraines.

BigToesofFrog Tue 10-Dec-13 21:57:08

Actually the comment about filming them and making notes has made me think of one possible approach. You could get a notebook and when the events happen get it out and write down everything in detail and naming the culprits. If/when they ask you can explain something like "There has been some bullying and disrespectful behaviour going on in this class and I have been advised to keep a diary of incidents." Make the diary itself scrupulously fair and non-emotive, just lists of who did what when - so that it doesn't matter who sees it. Then you can use it to support your case, but also it might make them reconsider what they are doing, and make you feel more powerful.

gobbin Tue 10-Dec-13 21:57:30

asking for support will just be a fast track to capability
Would it not be the case that any capability proceedings would have to detail the support given to you in order to try to resolve issues before going down that route? In which case stand strong, go back to SLT and state your case for assistance. It is appalling that they are blaming you when they should be supporting you!

How do other members of staff deal with this class? Could you observe a willing colleague teaching them? Have you been given the opportunity to attend training on strategies for managing a challenging classroom?
Have you googled for info on managing challenging pupils, bought books or guides to improve your professional practice?

Have you considered starting afresh in another school? Sometimes it can help to move on, especially if the SLT is being so unhelpful.

The bottom line though is that you don't HAVE to teach. It may be tough finding something else and it may not pay as well, but you are only here once - getting out may save your sanity.

Good luck.

flagnogbagnog Tue 10-Dec-13 21:59:08

Can you afford to leave? If so, just do it. I've said a few times lately that I could never be a teacher. I think the fact that you've done it for 10 years shows how committed you've been.

I have a feeling it would be a massive relief. You've got to look after you, if the school are not supportive then you have to make the decision. I'm sure anyone who is important to you would support and understand why.

Finola1step Tue 10-Dec-13 21:59:11

OK Woodland, I think you have made your decision. You want to leave. You hate it and you want out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Teaching is crap at times, but it shouldn't be this bad.

You have options. You could call in sick tomorrow, get signed off with work related stress/ anxiety, then start thinking about a phased return to work. But from what you have said, this may be pushing the problem away but not solving anything.

You could resign. There are other jobs. I'm SLT in a primary school and we are now becoming increasingly interested in appointing secondary teachers with a english and Maths experience to work with the children being targeted for Level 6. Is this something you could look at?

There is always supply work. It can be as dull as dishwater at times but if you have a crappy day, you mark the work, say goodbye at the office, walk away and that's that. No emotional involvement.

Whatever you do, I think you should call in sick tomorrow. There are lots of flu like viruses and d and v bugs going around. You need some time to think. I wish you all the very best.

I dont have any real advice, but lots of sympathy.

I was in a class like that in secondary. Our teacher was male, a single parent to a disabled girl in a wheelchair. The comments he got was beyond vile. sad In the region, "no wonder your wife left, you are ugly us Fuuu.... and your daughter tooooo " And "We know where your daughter has the R genes from". Beyond reprehensible.

It was not better by him suffering mild stroke or TIA and came back to class without movement in half his face. They behaved worse than ever.

The entire class suffered from the behaviour of those 4 boys. The rest of us were so pissed off with these boys. It ruined the learning environment. But, as these boys were nasty bullies against those of us who wanted to learn, we suffered three years of this. He taught us most days. With all my heart I hoped the teacher would finally have enough and get them removed from class. It was so unpleasant to witness, and be powerless at the same time.

misskatamari Tue 10-Dec-13 22:00:47

Woodland - just wanted to say I have been there and know how utterly awful it is.

There is a lot of good advice on here and you really do need to get some support from your HoD/HT.

It is soul destroying to have to deal with such a badly behaved class and the fact that they are personally rude just makes it so much worse. In any other job you would not be made to stand for such abuse and rudeness yet in teaching you seem to be expected to suck it up and be able to deal with it.

I find the most important things in helping me deal with difficult classes is an aura of confidence and tone of voice that implies authority - however these are both really hard to manage when you have been ground down by this type of behaviour.

Are there any TAs who can support you? How are the pupils in other subjects? Could you put some of them on subject report? I'm sorry I don't have more advice, you seem like you are trying and following the policies in place and if these aren't working management need to support you.

Try not to worry about tomorrow and try to go in to each lesson with a positive attitude. I know that is really really hard to do but try not to let them get to you.

woodlandfairycreature Tue 10-Dec-13 22:03:01

Gobbin, I do know what you are saying - the problem is that support can be very much a double-edged sword, especially when children latch on to the fact that you're getting it.

For them, my excellent subject knowledge and expertise won't matter at all, but once they see someone else steps in because you've lost control (even though I haven't - no one is swearing or hurling missiles across the classroom or anything like that) but the children will immediately view that as a failing on my part and act accordingly.

I feel like I've tried everything. But the bottom line is this class dislike me - I don't know why, my other classes seem to think I am great (!) but this lot don't. And because of that they won't co-operate - they will to a point, but any opportunity to undermine me, they will snatch with absolute glee. Well, some will - it isn't all of them, of course.

Honestly, I think I do need out, need another career, but I don't know what. I'm single, I don't have a partner's wage to rely on while I retrain. So I am stuck, well and truly.

I hate it.

Thymeout Tue 10-Dec-13 22:03:35

Gobbin - I think the problem may be that this class behaves with other teachers. It is just a few who have decided to have 'fun' with OP and the rest are enjoying the 'entertainment'. This sometimes happens through some weird classroom dynamic and is v difficult for the individual teacher to deal with, no matter how experienced she is or how many books she's read on the subject of challenging pupils.

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