(78 Posts)
HtotheS Wed 21-Nov-12 20:19:04

I've been back at work since July I'm a teacher. I've been mentally unwell diagnosed with bi polar.

I've only just got back into the swing of things when we have a local authority review.

I did okay but some areas of my teaching needs improving.

I've been given 3 quite hefty targets that I'm getting observed on in the next 6 weeks.

I really feel under pressure about it. I know everyone needs targets but I feel I need more time to get back into work and get my head around how to be the best teacher I can be.

AIBU in thinking I shouldn't have these targets? The headteacher by the way thinks I an easily meet the targets.

I just feel the pressure and feel anxiety over it

Sirzy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:20:35

Are you a name changer by any chance?

Either way if you are fit enough to be at work then you should be able to be working towards targets.

lovelyladuree Wed 21-Nov-12 20:27:03

The students you teach deserve the best teacher. You are paid to reach certain standards. If the Head thinks you can do it then you will be ok. Don't whine - rage.

SageYourOracle Wed 21-Nov-12 20:27:31

I agree with Sirzy.

The children you teach only have one chance at this. It's down to LAs to monitor, challenge & support schools to be the best they can be and to bring about the best outcomes in achievement for the pupils.

Remember though that its not just your lesson observations but also what children's work is like in their books, photographic evidence, quality of marking and feedback and what the pupils are able to say about their learning that builds a picture of the quality of teaching over time. So if you find that an observation makes you nervous then remember that it's all the ongoing learning and teaching that's key.

squeakytoy Wed 21-Nov-12 20:29:15

It is 5 months since July. You should be back into the swing of things by now.

NoraGainesborough Wed 21-Nov-12 20:36:38

While I understand your mental Health issues need to be considered, its unfair on these children to have a teacher that is below par. LAs (please be aware that i don't like our LA and disagree with alot of their processes) have a job to do and they have done it.

You have been back a while and it sounds like the HT will give you support. Its best all round for you and the children. Support to get to the targets will improve you as a teacher and help you.

What are the targets? Anything we can help with?

LizzieVereker Wed 21-Nov-12 20:44:04

Are the observations going to at mutually arranged times? If so, could you get a colleague to look over your lesson plan so that you feel more confident? Do you feel OK to tell us what your targets are? We might be able to help with some ideas for planning/ behaviour management strategies. I get anxious about observations, we have loads, but I try to make sure all the things I can control are under control, like up to date marking, seating plans etc, then I feel calmer. I don't mean to tell you the obvious, just I know what keeps me feeling calm when under pressure.

CaptainVonTrapp Wed 21-Nov-12 20:48:19

What choice do you have? Do you think the head is right that you can easily meet the targets?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 21-Nov-12 20:53:28

Yes, you are being very unreasonable.

What do you think they should do? Just let you get on with sub standard teaching and let your class miss out on a year of education so that you can 'have more time to get you head around being the best teacher'? Seriously?

gordyslovesheep Wed 21-Nov-12 20:54:43

YABU - I am sorry but you really need to address all the REAL issues

you have posted endless threads about the same things - go off sick and get well x

maras2 Wed 21-Nov-12 21:16:29

Does DH still have long naps at weekends? You're not fooling anyone with the name change, especially yourself.

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 07:03:48

1. To know how and when to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable pupils to be taught effectively.

2. To be accountable for pupils attainment, progress and outcomes

3. To impart knowledge and develop understanding through effective use of lesson time

NoraGainesborough Thu 22-Nov-12 07:07:50

Am I missing something?

tethersend Thu 22-Nov-12 07:12:47

What's your subject?

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 07:15:17

Sorry they are things I would expect students teachers to be achieving by The end of the course. If you are unable to do that then I wouldn't want you teaching my child

KenDoddsDadsDog Thu 22-Nov-12 07:19:03

If you are turning up at work then you are declaring yourself fit - and have to hit targets.
Put your mind to it and do it , you couldn't have passed your teaching qual without these basics.

AppleOgies Thu 22-Nov-12 07:21:48

Sorry I understand that you have a diagnosed mental health condition but I would expect all teachers to be able to meet those 'targets'. 'Target 3' I would say is virtually the definition of 'to teach'.

You are back at work, you need to accept that and get on with it.

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 07:24:51

Perhaps I shouldn't be back at work then. I've been teaching for 4 years and have never had targets like this.

Fakebook Thu 22-Nov-12 07:29:12

For the sake of the children please get time off work. It's not fair on them. Whilst you're doing that, get rid of that waste of space of an old man.

AppleOgies Thu 22-Nov-12 07:29:42

I must seriously be confused then.

I personally would want to see EVERY teacher meet those 3 targets throughout their careers.

If you don't feel up to it, you need to et back to your GP and your Headteacher and come up with a solution.

Tee2072 Thu 22-Nov-12 07:31:17

My husband is a teacher, although at University. He has those targets plus others.

They certainly look reasonable to me.

ginmakesitallok Thu 22-Nov-12 07:33:34

How are they targets? Aren't they just what teachers do??

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 07:35:35

You shouldn't need targets like that, things like that should be second nature to any qualified teacher.

Out of interest are the pupils in your class making acceptable progress this year?

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 07:37:41

No they're not. But the year before there were 60kids with one teacher in the reception class

NoraGainesborough Thu 22-Nov-12 07:37:52

I may be missing something but isn't that the basic of what a teacher should be doing?

I know I would expect that from my dds teacher. Maybe I am unrealistic, but I would say that's the main part.

The targets are all a bit general aren't they? Could your line manager help make them more specific?

'differentiate work for [pupils] in [class]'

'develop spreadsheet to track attainment of [class]'


Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 07:41:39

If the children aren't making progress this year then that shows that something is going wrong and as their teacher you owe it to them to ensure they get the best education possible. If you can't offer that then for their sake go back off sick until you can.

AppleOgies Thu 22-Nov-12 07:42:22

Okay I'm not a teacher but here goes, my opinion on this matter...

OP you must be able to see that those 3 'targets' are what should be expected of any teacher. Targets 2 and 3 are virtually definitions of 'to teach'.

Is it that someone is describing them as 'targets' that is frightening you? Or is it that someone is going to assess you that is what is causing this fear? If you are up to the job you have nothing to worry about. If you aren't then you need to address this urgently, you cannot fail the children who have been placed in your care to learn.

Speak to your GP and your Headteacher.

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 08:03:37

I was really fired up for the inspection and although I have areas to improve it did go well. I think it's just the thought of being observed all ten time and I'm worried that I won't be good enough. I'm really trying my hardest, I'm just scared its not good enough

What ATruth said. They read more like aims than targets because they're not really specific or measurable. How will you know when you've achieved them?

I think you'd probably feel less anxious if you had some properly measurable targets because you'd know exactly what was expected of you.

If it was me, I'd have a word with the head to try to pin them down a bit.

sayayetaeapie Thu 22-Nov-12 08:08:39

They are fair targets. However, you could say that the HT has stated the goals in a general way so you need help with how to transfer these kind of abstract targets into your planning and classroom practice.

POint 1 1. Differentiation.
- this is something you can think about at home whilst doing prep, before you're observed. Plenty of time to do it and stay calm. Get ideas from colleagues about how they do this in their planning / classroom work and try it yourself before you're observed.

2. To be accountable for pupils attainment, progress and outcomes.
- as posters before said - learning plans, monitoring, record-keeping, collating evidence. Has your school got any pro-formas / monitoring sheets for this? You should be doing this anyway and yes it's a lot of work but get your systems in place and plan what you're monitoring and measuring, when, and how. How do your colleagues do it?

3. To impart knowledge and develop understanding through effective use of lesson time
- is this a lesson planning issue? do tasks and activities meet your lesson objectives? have you got learning objectives clearly stated?

Break the targets down into concrete and practical ones, think about how you can address them in planning and classroom work and you should manage ok. Above all, seek help. You've presumably done all these things before the attain QTS so you can do them again.

I teach adults not children but HTH.

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 08:08:43

Thanks for the advice

Thanks for the advice

Of which you won't follow a single word. confused

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 08:21:30

How do you know that?

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 08:31:21

To be fair this is a discussion which has occured regulary on here yet you appear with similar problems over again so you can surely understand why people feel like any advice is falling on deaf ears?

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 08:36:43

I don't think I have posted about work issues especially not targets

Oh pull the other one.

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 08:40:20

Sorry that I have seemed to offended so many people!

'Offended' is the wrong word. But you do post continually about the same thing, more or less, and now you've name changed but that's the only thing that has changed. You do get pretty much the same advice over and over but clearly you're not listening because you come back with the same problem again - maybe with a few small details changed.

Do you really not see why people get exasperated with it? You've had the benefit of advice from some really well informed people and seriously now - have you ever followed any of it? Honestly?

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 08:49:20

You have posted about work many a time, all your posts suggest you are not in a position to cope with work. People have given you advice over and over agin yet you never seem to follow it.

People on MN are great at giving advice and some of it is actually useful but it gets to a point where people will just get fed up on saying the same over and over again. At the end of the day you need to take control of the situation (with support of course) and do what is best for you, your child and the children in your care.

As harsh as this may sound think of it this way, when your Daughter starts school would you want someone who obviously wasn't coping with the demands of teaching teaching her?

StillSquiffy Thu 22-Nov-12 09:57:24

I've just and a look at your other posts and am HR qualified.

You really should not be at work. It appears that your current state of health is affecting your capability at work.

If you carry on working, but being unable to meet what are very reasonable and standard targets (they are really NOT 'hefty' as per your original OP), then you will go down a path of disappointing your Head and the parents. Depending on school policy (am not a public sector expert) the next step will be what in the private sector we call a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) - you may already be on the school's equivalent of this. If you fail to improve then you could find yourself dismissed for capability, and that would mean you will struggle to get another job, even once your health improves. This whole process would be deemed quite fair (so long as it is done sensitively and as long as they have made as many adjustments as is reasonable to help with your MH issues)

So, you have to do something and cannot keep burying your head in the sand over this.

You have two choices:-
1) If you are able, work out how to reach these targets and carry on working, but upping the game. This means accepting that a lot of the issues will go away when you start dealing with them as opposed to stressing about them
2) If you are not able to face this, then you are currently not able to perform at the required standard because of health reasons and you need to get signed off so that you can deal with it properly and come back to work able to teach at a more appropriate standard

It sounds as if you have had a really rough time of it over the last year. It sounds awful. But only you can fix it, and that means you have to face it and deal with it.

flowery Thu 22-Nov-12 10:12:59

Goodness this is a bit of a saga isn't it?

Why do you think you shouldn't have these targets? As everyone says, they are what any teacher should be doing, and are not remotely 'hefty'.

If you are back at work you are basically saying you are fit to be doing those things.

If you are not fit, you need to get yourself signed off.

Are you seeing a doctor regularly at the moment?

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 10:31:18

No not seeing a doctor. My support worker thinks I should think about the targets rationally and continue with working.

I don't really want to be signed off, how long do you get signed off for typically anyway?

Until you are well enough to your job properly.

WorraLiberty Thu 22-Nov-12 10:38:07

I agree with Badgers

This whole thread is pointless.

Go to work and do your job properly

Don't go to work and stay home

Get a job in a supermarket or somewhere where you don't have as much pressure and you don't affect anyone else's life.

These are all things you've been repeatedly advised to consider but you just keep starting the same old threads and ignoring everything people advise.

flowery Thu 22-Nov-12 10:39:13

How long is a piece of string? Depends on the condition and the circumstances really, including what the job is and how the condition affects it. Why don't you want to get signed off? Is it because you genuinely think you are well enough to do your job adequately (which would include doing what those targets are), or is it a money thing (not sure what sick pay you'd get), or something else?

Is your support worker a medical person? Thinking about the targets rationally sounds like good advice, but my concern would be whether you are able to actually do that at the moment.

If you think it's unreasonable for you to have been set them, and think they are 'hefty', then you have a distorted view of them at the moment anyway.

I would suggest a trip to the GP if you're not seeing a doctor at the moment, having a chat with him/her and hearing their view on whether you are up to your job at the moment.

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 10:53:22

Supper worker is an occupational therapist

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 11:10:49

When your a teacher it's not always about what you want it's about what is right for the children

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 11:13:52

I'm not an inadequate teacher. She had lots of positives about my teaching including a good relationship with Children and she said they were keen to learn. I just need I get my head around these targets. Thanks for all your advice

Catsdontcare Thu 22-Nov-12 11:14:03

I think given your medical condition you may have to accept you are no longer in the right job. I don't think you can reasonably expect schools to accept and accommodate a teacher who can't meet those targets and tbh they are targets I would expect any teacher to be able to meet.

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 11:15:34

I'm sure a lot of teachers have bi polar and an function well doing the job

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 11:15:45


Catsdontcare Thu 22-Nov-12 11:29:26

Yes maybe they can but you don't seem to be? It's not about whether you've got bi polar it's about the extent to which is affecting you and your ability to do your job. It's also about how the job will affect your mental health. It may be in your best interest to not teach. You have to look after your health and your interests your HT has to look after the interests of your pupils and I'm afraid their needs trump yours.

In honesty do you think those three targets are unrealistic expectations of any teacher?

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 11:35:47

No I don't think they're unrealistic but it just feels like I've just got over an inspection and now there's loads more to do and stress out about

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 11:35:51

Sorry if the idea of having to differentiate work is so hard then at the moment your not a good teacher. You may be when we'll but you have to look at now.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 22-Nov-12 11:36:03

I personally would hate to be observed. I can still remember my driving test and it makes me shudder, how blood stressful. I'm also a fast typist but sit someone down next to me that's "watching" and I'm crap. I'm forever telling my boss to stop looking over my shoulder. So I can totally understand your foreboding.

Unfortunately though honey all this observing shite goes with the job these days so maybe it's no longer the job for you?

Don't beat yourself up about it though, just accept that it's not something want to deal with and find something more suitable.

Good luck honey and get better soon.

HtotheS Thu 22-Nov-12 11:38:05

Thank you. I don't know what else I could do? Teaching is the only thing I thought I knew how to do

Heroine Thu 22-Nov-12 11:46:45

Well, a lot of hard-assed 'work is work' people on here shooting their mouths off, and not very sympathetically.

There are a few issues here:

1. OP wants and cares enough to 'be the best teacher she can be'
2. She has a recognised disability
3. The observations are on three targets
4. The targets are ill-defined and have very subjective evaluations 'to know how to' is not the same as 'identifying each childs individual learning needs and recording which teaching methods work best'
5. The observations are happening all at once
6. This is stressing the OP and making her concerned about her disability.

It is perfectly reasonable to consider observations being
1. Spread out
2. Broken down into measurable and actionable chunks before assessment
as reasonable adjustments to disability.

In fact, I expect that what is really behind this is that the way these criteria are defined is causing the stress AND these criteria are probably already being met but the OP doesn't feel that they are.

Far better to talk to the OP about how these criteria could already being met than all this 'I expect teachers to TEACH' BS that so many are spouting here.

Heroine Thu 22-Nov-12 11:50:41

I'm astonished at Stillsquiffy's advice - straight out of the 'hire and fire' HR handbook, not out of the 'quality management' HR handbook.

And without even a mention of the obligation on employers for reasonable adjustment tsk tsk, you would have failed my course.

WorraLiberty Thu 22-Nov-12 11:51:02

Heroine I take it from your post you know nothing of the OP's posting history?

And if the criteria was already being met, she wouldn't have been given the targets.

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 11:51:18

People have had that type of conversation with her many a time. This isn't the first thread where she has basically said she can't cope with teaching. Tbh I can only have so much sympathy for people who ask for advice and then ignore it.

Fakebook Thu 22-Nov-12 12:04:11

I don't understand why people always end up picking on this particular OP. She has obvious mental health issues which are not exactly helped by her husband, who seems to have weird sleeping problems of his own and sounds like a horrible person to live with.

If you're going to come on here and start venting your frustrations about her repetitiveness, then maybe think before posting and perhaps hide the thread? There is a real person who is mentally unwell on the other end.

Heroine Thu 22-Nov-12 12:09:06

Well again I am shocked. You think that there is a catch-all solution for this OP because you are annoyed at her from previous posts - welcome to the MN playground. Shame on you.

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 12:12:42

Of course there isn't a catch all solution, but when someone has been posting very regulary and every post basically suggests she isn't well enough to teach, she has said her class aren't making progress and he has been set targets which are very simple for most teachers then surely questions have to whether a) she is well enough to teach and b) whether her teaching at the moment is the best thing for her class?

WorraLiberty Thu 22-Nov-12 12:15:57

I'll take that as a no then Heroine....

Jossysgiants Thu 22-Nov-12 12:24:18

Irrespective of the back story, those targets will be very difficult to measure. How is Op going to demonstrate she has met them?

Hi OP - As someone who was also diagnosed with Bipolar this year and had 7 months of work I have a lot of sympathy for you. Recoving from a serious bout of mental illness can take a lot more than 5 months, so well done for being back in work and for all of the positives that the inspector had for you.

I get a similar response when I am given more work / targets. Its a bit like a faulty panic response. I think that when you sit down and look at them and go through the positive advice you've been given you KNOW you can do this. You just need to get over the initial panic.

FGS stop posting in AIBU though. While there are obviously some knowledgable people here, there are also too many strong opinions backed up with too little knowledge. Try MH instead.

whois Thu 22-Nov-12 13:49:07

Oh no, is cheakypickle back? Sounds v familiar!

Agree with WorraLiberty the OP needs to sort her shit out and decide if being at work as a teacher is the best thing. You can't make allowances for sub-par performance where children's futures are at stake.

Look upon the targets as a positive thing and try and achieve them. You can't be too bad a teacher or you'd have a lot more serious performance targets!

Heroine Thu 22-Nov-12 13:52:57

Nope. In terms of helping the OP there is no benefit in trying to add to her stress by trying to push her out of the teaching profession yourself because of the concerns she expresses to you. She could be a fantastic teacher who everyone is in awe of, who has a persistent view that she is adding no value to her class because of her MH/confidence issue. If you act to batter down her confidence who does it serve?

Not OP, not the children, not the school. This is only serves your ego. IN fact you are so determined that your earlier advice to leave the profession is right that everything you hear from the OP since is forced desperately into that little box.

There are signals here of conscientiousness, concern for the children, concern for her how abilities as a teacher and she is seeking ways to manage her next assessment rounds with a minimum of drama in the school.

My view (and others I note) is that the 'targets' (more accurately competencies expected) are very poorly designed and almost guaranteed to cause stress in someone this vigilant and concerned so the OP is not unreasonable in seeking support.

Stop being such bitches, honestly

WorraLiberty Thu 22-Nov-12 13:56:23

Oh get off your high horse Heroine

The OP doesn't even like teaching anymore and has said only a few weeks ago she hates her job.

No-one is pushing her out of anything.

But equally not everyone is willing to pussy foot around someone who repeatedly starts threads like this on a regular basis and never takes anyone's advice.

Sirzy Thu 22-Nov-12 13:58:42

Exactly worra. I can only assume heroine is basing her posts on this thread alone.

I have every sympathy for the OP but she has posted about this on AIBU many times and the softly softly approach doesn't seem to be working.

Heroine Thu 22-Nov-12 14:58:45

Perhaps she isn't looking for 'advice' but sympathy.

Sorry this is uncomfortable for you. No-one likes to have a mirror held up to their nastiness.

whois Thu 22-Nov-12 14:59:49

I have every sympathy for the OP but she has posted about this on AIBU many times and the softly softly approach doesn't seem to be working.

OP is a serial attention seeking AIBU poster who takes no notice of any comments or advice given. I don't understand why she posts here. If its help and advice then go to the MH board. Or to RL.

If I kept posting the same near identicalt post about not liking my work or my DP I would hope to be given a short shift. This isn't a support board, it's an 'am I being unreasonable' board and the OP is, in my opinion, being U.

Worra has it right.

Or alternatively the OP is someone who is struggling and posts so she has somewhere to vent. I agree though that AIBU is the wrong place to do it as too many people see the topic as a place where its OK to be a permatwat.

If you think she's just attention seeking, then you're giving her what she wants at the same time as criticising her for doing it.

NoraGainesborough Thu 22-Nov-12 15:31:58

than all this 'I expect teachers to TEACH' BS that so many are spouting here.

Yeah, how stupid are people who expect teachers to teach.

The problem is that while the OP is tryo g up get her head round it she is well enough to teach/ still wants to teach. There is a class of students, missing out on their education and that's not right.

Heroine Thu 22-Nov-12 17:46:35

raising another invented 'problem' and then using that second 'problem' as the excuse for not dealing with the first problem is not really mature is it.

NoraGainesborough Thu 22-Nov-12 18:09:05


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