Ideas to prevent me going under.(21 Posts)
This will probably be quite rambling so apologies in advance.
Been back two weeks and I am struggling.
I feel exhausted. Can't switch off from work at all - I only work part time.
I am spending all my time thinking about work but not sure if it is in a productive way. I am convinced that everyone else is doing a much better job than I am. When I hear other talking people about their lessons it just confirms how rubbish I am. It does not seem to matter how hard I work I just never feel that what I do is good enough.
I really can't distinguish if I really am rubbish or it's just paranoia.
Feel invisible sometimes I talk but nobody listens.
Already feel behind and can't think straight for long enough to get organised and priorotize.
Any thoughts/advice welcome.
It's such a stressful job. Could you ask for if a trusted colleague could observe you and give you some feedback? Could you observe other teachers and see what they are doing that you could do?
It's probably not the case that your lessons are rubbish but we are so used to being beaten with a shitty stick so often it's not surprising you feel like this. I gave up teaching and my life is so much better for it.
Also do some exercise, try mindfulness, go out with your friends to the pub, read books, anything to give you some time away from thinking about it.
I know exactly what you mean!
A bunch of marking to do and I am sat here fantasising through looking at different jobs on linked in!
Thank you for your replies - I feel less alone.
There is anybody at the school that I trust enough to share how I am feeling. The staff in my department are very confident - whereas I am not. I do sometimes wonder if they are really better than me or do they just not constantly question themselves the way I do??? If people saw the amount of hours I spend trying to source ideas and resources for lessons they would probably think that I was mad but it does not result in great lessons. I need to work smarter not harder.
I have often talked about leaving teaching but my husband is very unsupportive because I can't earn as much money doing anything else. My health is less importan than the money that I can earn - sometimes I just feel like a cash cow. The fact that I work part time is a bone of contention however after needing to take a year off due to ill health about 10 years ago that is something that I refuse to negotiate on.
I have downloaded a mindfullness book and will have a look at it now.
How long have you been teaching? What subject do you teach? What are your results like?
Often other teachers seem to be positive and confident, but are putting on a front.
I know how this feels, have just gone back after mat leave and am convinced I'm being left behind.
As far as time and stress saving goes, use other people's resources and ideas! People used to always tell me I don't need to reinvent the wheel. TES website is good for that, or start to share with your department and they might share back? Also try Twitter - lots of teachers sharing great ideas there.
I set myself rules about how much I can do and when I have to go home. That way I can actually switch off a bit. No work emails at home and remembering that I can't teach well if I don't feel up to it.
Is there a shared drive for planning and resources?
And yes, how do your results compare with others in your department? I have never been whizz bang, but I know my students are learning.
Could you look at changing sector? Try an Independent school or a Special school?
I am in Special and I love it- so much less pressure and judgement, more freedom to be creative and time to really know the kids.
You are not alone. I know this feeling very, very well and have unfortunately learnt some hard and horrible lessons from letting self-doubt get to me.
I agree with SisterViktorine - would a change of sector/specialism or even just school help? That way you could stay in teaching and keep the salary but perhaps find something that you feel more comfortable doing.
That said, I don't think that anything can replace a supportive, realistic leadership team that makes their staff feel valued. And also realising that it's OK to not be trying to please everyone all of the time.
I moved from mainstream to a PRU, and it is perfect in terms of workload (very small classes) but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who is doubting themselves professionally, as (obviously) the classes are rather challenging!
I had a confience crisis when I returned to work after maternity leave. I (eventually, after 3 years of feeling like a complete fraud) accessed counselling via my GP. I felt so rubbish compared to my colleagues :-( My counsellor helped me lots and to tackle work / family relationships / parenting issues and to see how one thing impacted on another. It can sometimes feel like a juggling act, but I am much more in control. Is this something you would consider? At times, a non judgemental look at things can help. Good luck!
I call week two "drowning week" (following week one "I'm a shit teacher and can't do this" week). Always feels like there is an absolute shit load of work to do and as soon as you get on top of something there are another five things. I'm working 11-12hr days atm.
I keep reminding myself that it will pass, and in a few weeks we will all feel on top of things again. Sometimes just giving myself a break helps! Definitely second short term fixes above, and long term switches if you still feel like that in a couple of weeks.
It might be worth asking if you can observe a couple of lessons as this will probably reassure you that whst you are doing is just fine. Apart from that try limiting time you spend on work. I work hard during day. I do about six or seven hours planning over weekend usually around activities with kids plus get up quite early and dont work in the evenings on one weekend day and on my day off as I work four days.
It's good practice for people in depts to observe each other anyway - it's easy to get stuck in a bubble otherwise. Maybe suggest in next dept meeting?
I mean, the others should be observing each other too.
You sound like you could do with some confidence building in your wider life that would affect your overall happiness and teaching. I found when my dc were in school often it was the quiet steady teacher who taught them the most and not the all dancing / singing ones. They didn't need the best lessons in the world they just needed to get on with it, encouragement and no drama. My dd cried when one of her teachers retired. She was 17. That teacher was not a stand out one but steady and dependable. My dd wanted me to ask her to change her mind. It's your own lack of confidence that is pulling you down here. Could you access some counselling?? I'm in lreland so don't know if ye have professional counselling there. CBT would help.
Are you in primary? Twinkl.co.uk is amazing for resources and lesson plans. I feel your pain
It's quite telling that, when I read the title of your post, I assumed you were a teacher!
I had this last year after taking on a lot of new training that would keep me up till midnight every night of the week.
What worked for me was this:
First make a list of every single thing you need to do, (I used to put it in 4 parts; home, class, training, planning.
Next, cross everything you have already done.
Then, cross off everything that doesn't matter (trust me, there will be loads).
Then write down everything that does matter but isn't needed to be done urgently, on the next page (this is the start of next weeks list). Cross these things off of the list.
You will be left with a very small list of things that have to be done and can't be avoided (for me this was usually planning, marking, assessment).
Now, your workload is greatly reduced. (do this weekly, I keep my list updated throughout the week and then spend 2 minutes crossing stuff off once a week at the start of PPA time, and I have been known to add things to the list that I have done, just so I can feel better about crossing them off. Cross them out using a highlighter, that makes it look like loads done too!)
Now that your workload is greatly reduced it is easier to target help. Let's assume you just have planning and marking on the list. Ask someone from SLT who the best person at marking in the school is. Then take three books to that person and ask for some help.
Do the same with marking.
By reducing your list, you can easily pinpoint who is the best person to talk to about each element that you are struggling with.
And please don't think for one second that you are the only one who feels they are struggling, everyone will be feeling the same.
Thank you so much for all the advice.
I have had another very up and down week.
I haven't confided in anyone about how I am feeling but I have overheard some colleagues talking and I don't think that I am the only one feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
I have had the opportunity to observe some lessons this week and I can't honestly say that I saw anything that seemed very different to what I am doing.
I am paranoid that my HOD thinks that I am a waste of space - I feel as if I can't do anything right.
I will try and put the advice about managing my workload into practice. I need to switch off when I am not at work - I find myself constantly checking work email etc.
Lack of confidence generally is a major part of the problem - not sure how to work on that. How to feel that I am good enough????
The confidence bit is hard but you can do little things to help. My dh has started me on this (I had a shitty start of term!) -
Every time I talk about (or think about) something that has gone wrong I also have yo think about something good - a child who suddenly got it, a lovely moment, some legible handwriting (im primary!) It helps build up a more positive idea about the whole situation!
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