What if Dr doesn't sign me off? What next...?

(14 Posts)
cantdoit Tue 14-Jan-14 12:04:25

Hi,
Quick background - started a new job in September (Primary teacher). Some things didn't seem 'quite right' with head teacher - laughing, happy chatty sometimes - very passive aggressive at other times (angry messages on staffroom board but not said to people's faces, teachers being 'told off' in assembly by what she was saying to the children -if that makes any sense, teachers singled out in staff meetings 'yr 1 are falling behind and I'm very concerned' - only one yr1 teacher). There was always a general grumbling from staff 'it's what she's always like'.

She left me to it for first half term, but after October holidays nothing was good enough. Work load was ridiculous and I was struggling. She would come in and ask about 5 things - if one wasn't done then there would be huffing and 'I am really not impressed' followed by storming out. If I admitted being behind in anything, it was used against me. e.g. Admitted I was behind in marking - was given some time out of class to catch up (great - on paper she is doing the right thing) but then she will ask why I can't get my work done, that I must not be working efficiently and in future staff meetings she has referred to lazy teachers who can't keep up with marking (I know aimed at me).

I get into work at 7:15. I take 15mins lunch and work through all other breaks. I leave work at 6. I have work to do EVERY night (sometimes I do a couple of hours, sometimes I just can't face it). I work every Sunday. I am ALWAYS behind, and I don't mean in the usual way of there's always something else to do in teaching. I just can't do it.

Last half term I often came home crying (wonderfully supportive boyfriend at home who has met me crying at the door many evenings, had dinner ready, etc). Over Christmas I thought that I will give it my very best this term, get on top of all planning/ marking/ etc and see how it goes, make it through this year and leave in July. After first day back I knew I couldn't do it. Looked at finances and decided I would leave at Easter (earliest I can with notice). Cried every day for first four days in school (just about holding it together in school with small 'leakages' when others asked if I was OK, then broke down at home). Did not sleep for two nights solid with constant worry.

Had arranged to meet headteacher on Friday to discuss some issues - Between Monday and Thursday I had numerous emails and passings in the corridor that added to the list of things that needed to be discussed in the meeting 'I also want to see.... ... this hasn't been done correctly.... please show me how you intend to do...'. I know she will be going for capabilities. I think I am doing a pretty crap job at the moment because I just can not keep up with the work load.

I broke. I couldn't do it. I phoned in sick Friday morning. Saw GP and just cried.

GP was great and suggested I take the week off - self certificate.

So here's the thing - I DO NOT want to go back, ever. Right now I do not care how it impacts my career. I spent half a term working, crying, lost half stone, no time for my partner or friends, and I can't do it any longer. I've contacted my union who say my options are to try to get out of contract early or resign and stay off sick until Easter.

The thing is - I feel like a fraud being off sick - once work is taken away I feel fine. I need to go back to doctors tomorrow (even that fills me with dread) to be signed of sick. This is completely new to me, I've never felt like this before. All I can say is that the thought of going back fills me with absolute fear. I still feel on the verge of tears all the time when I think about school. Even the thought of having to speak to the head on the phone makes me feel sick. But I'm fine and sitting round the house finding jobs to do.

I just know I can't go back. I don't know what I'll do if doctor doesn't sign me off. I don't think I could physically make myself drive to work on Friday - I think I'd just keep driving!

Sorry this is so long - I just want out. I don't care about being paid - we are going to have to move (rented, so not too difficult) without my wage and probably use all of our savings. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has been in or knows anyone in similar situation. I feel like I am going to end up supply teaching (fine by me), with a crap reference and everything I've worked so hard for over ten years is for nothing.

Final bit of context - been teaching for ten years. Had 4 days sick in ten years.At my previous school: always had good or better obs by a wide range of observers (Head, coordinators, SIP, OFSTED). My classes have always made great progress. Have got promotions. Have had two payrises that I've not asked for based on my performance.At this school: a previous teacher walked out in similar circumstances a year ago, staff are always complaining about workload, 80% of staff have told me they want to leave and are applying for other jobs, on paper head looks great - has given support - and I look like I can't cope with planning, teaching, assessing (pretty key to being a teacher and nothing that shouldn't be expected)

Thanks if you managed to read that!

mrsnewfie Tue 14-Jan-14 13:44:36

Hey!
Didn't want to read and run. You poor thing. I'm not surprised you don't ever want to go back. I've just been having a similar conversation with another lady further down the board.

I think your doctor would be pretty unsympathetic and silly if s/he doesn't sign you off. From what you say, crying all the time, anxiety, etc, isn't normal behaviour.

Stay strong. I don't think it will greatly affect your career. Previous references will vouch for that and it is likely that this b***h of a head has a bad reputation in the area.

I am leaving at Easter for similar reasons so feel your pain. I found a weight was lifted knowing that there's light at the end of the tunnel.

You must put yourself first otherwise you'll be no good to anyone. Xx

IsobelEliza Tue 14-Jan-14 13:51:04

Save yourself. Whatever you need to do to get out of that terrible situation do it. You deserve the sick leave in that situation as I've no doubt you have put in numerous hours.

cantdoit Tue 14-Jan-14 14:16:20

Thanks both of you - my internet is very dodge at the moment so I have to see when it decides to let me back on here!

I think that I finally have it in my head that nothing is worth this, instead of just trying to get through to Easter (if I could, I really would). Never had experience of being signed off work so hope you are right.

Am very lucky to have people around me telling me it's not me, it's the school, as it's very easy to just think I'm absolute crap. When I say 'I can't do it' they remind me that I can, because I have done it for 10 years - just I can't do it at this school.

It's just really hard when you can't pinpoint one thing that's wrong that can be fixed - I'm planning, teaching, assessing, etc, just as I have in previous schools (in fact the behaviour in this school is amazing compared to what I'm used to!), - just this time I can't cope! It's the whole atmosphere around the school and the way I'm spoken to and how I'm made to feel.

Thanks again.

mrsnewfie Tue 14-Jan-14 14:47:22

Hi.
Glad to hear you have a support system around you.

I think it probably is just the atmosphere and the way you are being treated. It has knocked your confidence.

One of the main reasons for my resignation, apart from the impact the job is having on my family, is that the SMT treat the staff in exactly the same way as they treat the kids. There are no privileges for being an adult. We're not even allowed to put a hood up in the rain on playground duty!!!

Good luck. X

Cherrypi Tue 14-Jan-14 16:27:17

Hi. I'm going through something similar and my doctor has just signed me off for three months so I can resign without returning to the classroom. I hope your doctor was as supportive as mine. So many teachers seem to have gone through this. Good luck.

Meow75 England Tue 14-Jan-14 16:34:02

Could have written your post myself. I am Secondary trained but was in exactly the same position.

On Dec 16 I resigned after being suicidal exactly one week before. I've got my initial JobSeeker's interview on Friday but I don't care. I'd been teaching 15 years and now I'm absolutely done.

My advice: get out, get another job. Turn your back on education forever. But I may confused be a little biased! wink

GW297 Tue 14-Jan-14 21:38:34

I've been in a similar situation (also independent school.) You are doing the right thing by leaving. You need to go somewhere where your dedication and commitment are valued and recognised. You also did the right thing by going to your GP.

I left with zero confidence and did 2 years part-time on supply (which I really enjoyed once I got used to it.) I also had some counselling which was hugely beneficial and made me realise that the problem was her and not me. As you say after nearly ten years of positive feedback for everyone else, you just cannot conceptualise what is happening to you. I also found Tim Field's book Bully In Sight beneficial.

Now, after all that time of feeling like the worst teacher in the world, I now have the best job ever! I can have a say and I have got the recognition and validation I deserve. I have a lovely and supportive boss who is approachable and leads with integrity. It is so lovely to be able to do your job without having to watch your back and wonder what's going to happen next.

No job is worth your health or happiness. I too used to go home and cry every single night. At the time I was so far in a black hole I couldn't imagine being where I am now. It'll take time and it won't be easy to regain your confidence but you will get there and it'll be so worth it.

I am sorry this is happening to you. Be kind to yourself.

aroomofherown Fri 24-Jan-14 09:00:24

Another one to say been there too, and this is not worth your health. Resign, do supply, retrain as something else. Personally, I'm not sure teaching is moving in the right direction, and I don't see a turnaround on the horizon.

Why oh why are schools so poor at getting the best out of their staff?

clam Sat 25-Jan-14 16:22:37

Your Head Teacher sounds like a first class bitch. Would she think the way she's treating you would be a good way to get the best out of a child? I bet (or should I say, hope) not.

Good luck with it all.

rollonthesummer Sun 26-Jan-14 12:43:44

God, that sounds awful-why is it that as soon as some teachers leave the classroom and go into management, they become incapable of compassion and instead view their staff as crap machines that just need to do more and more.

At my school, we are observed by two members of the SMT (at the same time, so they can discuss you afterwards and make sure they don't miss anything) every term and you are given an Ofsted grade. If you get RI, they return two weeks later and do the same...and repeat until you are either Good or on capability. You'd never do that to a child! Get them to sit a test-if they fail, make them repeat the test a fortnight later with no support in between??!

Lesson observations can be completely subjective. I don't believe they make better teachers and I don't think they have much of an impact on children's learning-there, I said it...

Get out, OP. Run for the hills and don't look back.

mumnosbest Thu 30-Jan-14 16:13:36

Another primary teacher here. I'm coming to the end of my first week off and have the docs tomorrow so know how you feel, although our staff are fine just the workload is unmanageable. No advice sorry but you are not alone xx

Tidypidy Thu 30-Jan-14 16:24:52

I could have written your op. 4 years ago I resigned from teaching after 10 years of good times and 2 years of hell. My union were great and attended meetings with me so I never felt alone. Have you contacted your union? I have an open reference which was okayed by my union so if I need it then I know I won't get a negative reference.

4 years on and I'm still home full time. Life is so much better. I'm here for my husband and children and looking forward to working again when I'm ready. Counselling really helped and made me realise the problem was my head teacher not me. It's hard but you will get through it.

luckysixes Sun 02-Mar-14 15:18:59

Hi OP, how are things now? I do hope that things have improved for you and that your GP has been supportive.

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