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Help. Desperate to give up teacher training.

(241 Posts)
PamplemousseRouge Thu 17-Nov-16 13:00:52

Hi everyone.

I've posted here a couple of times before about my situation.

I'm training to be a teacher, and I'm struggling massively, to the point where I'm constantly seriously depressed and honestly struggle to find a point to still being here. Sorry this is so clumsily said - I hope I get the idea across.

I started training in August, and have been feeling overwhelmed, depressed and anxious since then.

I feel that it's relevant to add here that I also have extremely low self-esteem and low self-confidence.

I've never felt like this on such a regular basis. The depression, anxiety and inferiority that I feel is something that I've felt very day since starting, and it's never ever been so bad as now.

I also feel a huge sense of frustration, as I feel that I'm putting in a huge amount of effort but I still run out of hours in the day to get everything done. And I haven't been able to find time to look after myself properly, which I'm sure is also adding to my general feeling. I feel constantly tired, hungry and absolutely worn-out.

I'm seriously considering giving up. This sounds terrible, I know.

I'm wondering if I could look for another job at this stage? As in a non teaching job. And what my options are really. I'm particularly worried that companies and employers will overlook me once they see that I haven't completed teacher training and gave it up just three months in. Help.

I'm really, really struggling.

Any advice at all about how to help?

I've been to see my GP, who's said they'll reference me for counselling but I am still waiting to hear back about this.

Just feeling so completely down.

ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Thu 17-Nov-16 13:07:26

Sorry you're having such a hard time at the moment.
It's ok to change your mind and try something different.
Do you have any ideas of other work?
Do you feel under pressure from family or friends and their expectations of you?

YelloDraw Thu 17-Nov-16 13:09:51

Oh god, yes, just quit. Not worth your MH.

There is another thread on here with a high level admin job wanting filling on £50k... go for that!

SuperPug Thu 17-Nov-16 13:11:12

Really sorry to hear it, don't know if I posted on other threads?
If you wanted to teach but not complete the training, have you thought about an independent school?
You can definitely apply the skills from this to another job and make it a positive in any interviews.
Are you being given sufficient support at your school? Some are terrible, in terms of the way they treat trainee teachers.

Brainwashed Thu 17-Nov-16 13:11:59

It is ok to give something up that you don't enjoy and makes you unwell. Please don't be like me and work in a profession for 13years for fear of what others may think if you give up.

ComeLuckyApril Thu 17-Nov-16 13:13:03

Totally leave it (if you aren't sure you could ask to defer a year?). Three month gap is just short enough to leave off your cv altogether.

Heratnumber7 Thu 17-Nov-16 13:13:39

I think everyone is allowed to admit they made the wrong job choice on their CV.

If you have a string of wrong choices where you give up jobs after a few months then it becomes a problem. But many employers would admire someone with the guts to realise that what they are doing is not the right fit for them, and who has the drive to change things.

OohhThatsMe Thu 17-Nov-16 13:13:54

I'd just give it up. If you're having trouble now, you'll have more when you start working as a teacher full time. I did it for many years but wouldn't do it now - I don't find it a supportive place to be at all. Give it up and do something different - no job is worth this struggle. Oh and go onto the Times Ed forum to see what people feel about the job itself - you'll definitely leave then! And don't feel guilty, either. People are leaving in droves; it's definitely not just you.


Haffdonga Thu 17-Nov-16 13:14:53

You know 4 in ten teachers quit within their first year, don't you? There's no shame in discovering that you don't enjoy it.

Why on earth are you staying in a position you are hating? You've tried it. It's not for you. Lesson learnt. Move on. The longer you try and stick out a job/training you hate, the more difficult it is to move out/ on.

As for what employers will think. If you've only been on the course since September, I'd say most of your future employers won't even need to know you started it. A year on an unsuccessful course is harder to explain.

Go to a recruitment agency and get a temp admin role or two. Then fill the time gap on your CV with 'a period of agency work including administrative role for XYZ employer' or whatever.

TheTroutofNoCraic Thu 17-Nov-16 13:14:53

You sound like you aren't being supported properly. PGCE year was by far the hardest thing I've ever done (Did mine 2013/14) You're thrown right in with minimal pre-training and if you have a shit mentor it can really cause problems.

ToriaPumpkin Thu 17-Nov-16 13:15:44

I left teacher training at Christmas. I felt exactly as you describe and I just did not want to do it anymore

It's not held me back, I've worked in other jobs in other fields and was considering going into nursery nursing when I got pregnant with my first child. I was reassured by my tutor at the time that I could reapply another time and it wouldn't be held against me. I think most reasonable employers will realise that it's not for everyone. Even my teacher husband and MIL understood why I left the course!

I hope whatever you decide you get some support and feel better soon.

Hillarious Thu 17-Nov-16 13:17:26

You do have the option to put your studies on hold for a while, if you think you might just need to take a breather and have the opportunity to consider this objectively. There would be no compulsion to return to your studies and complete them, but you wouldn't be giving up on teaching training completely.

Moonshine86 Thu 17-Nov-16 13:17:47

When I did my teacher training I felt exactly the same.
I had one very difficult placement with very little support along with a wonderful placement where I had a good support network. Thankfully I experienced the good placement first or without a doubt I would've given up. In my opinion ITT was one of the most challenging experiences of my life! But once I secured employment, it got so much easier. It's a tough one. Is there anybody you can talk to about how you are feeling?

Stonebees Thu 17-Nov-16 13:18:00

I work in this field, so wanted to share my thoughts.

First of all, well done on acknowledging your state of health, asking for help and being willing to consider alternatives. I know that's not easy, and it's a tribute to you that you've done this.

Secondly, you are not the only person in your situation to feel this. I was talking to a group of PGCE tutors last week, and they have all had a couple of students leave the course. Some students have postponed for a year instead.

Yes, you'll be putting in a huge amount of effort, and I can appreciate that that's stopping you from looking after yourself in the way you need to, especially at this dark and gloomy time of year.

You say that you're starting to question whether it's worth still being here. If you are considering suicide, then please ask your GP for an urgent appointment. There will be same or next day appointments for patients in this situation, whether or not it is made obvious.

I would suggest
a) go and talk to your University mental health services. Again, be very clear with them that you are severely depressed and anxious. If you are thinking about suicide, tell them this. You need their support.
b) talk to your tutor. Don't expect to sort things in one meeting, but alert them to the issues.
c) put the work to one side this weekend. Sleep. Eat a proper meal. Do some form of exercise - e.g. a run or walk. This is the top priority, whatever choice you decide to make.
d) if you decide to continue, then sleep, eating and exercise are always your priority, not work. You can't work well if you aren't well in yourself, and that means sleep, food and exercise.
e) If you can do so safely, it's not a bad idea to finish your PGCE - plenty of people do the PGCE and then find an alternative job in the education sector. But your well-being and safety comes first.

SmilingButClueless Thu 17-Nov-16 13:19:53

It's better to find out now that the job isn't for you. It really isn't worth struggling on for the year and affecting your mental health. Better to get out now and find something that suits you better.

Giving up the course if it's not right for you doesn't mean you've failed, or that employers would see you as fickle. It makes you someone who knows their own mind and who values their own wellbeing.

Fouetsage Thu 17-Nov-16 13:19:54

If you feel this way during training it can only get worse when you're actually teaching. Schools are seriously underfunded these days and the pressure on teachers is enormous. However, there is still the plus side of having school holidays if and when you have children. Can I ask what subject you teach? I wouldn't worry about what a future employer might think; probably be impressed that you had the courage to walk away from something that wasn't right for you. I liken teaching to an actor being on stage 5 days a week; your stress levels are constant throughout the day.

PamplemousseRouge Thu 17-Nov-16 13:23:46


Thank you so much for your reply.

I do feel quite a bit under pressure, I think. Some, maybe most of, this pressure has come from myself. But I do feel it also from the school and from my training provider. I've been training in a particularly challenging school (I was aware of this, and was told explicitly during the application process that the school is very challenging).

I also feel under pressure from my parents, although I feel terrible (and I know they would/do as well). I spoke to them this morning on the phone, and my Mum made a comment like, 'oh, well, if you want to throw in the towel...' when I told her how I felt. I was speaking to her after I had been asked to a meeting yesterday by my tutor about my mental health situation (ie. the fact that I'm really struggling). My Mum is amazing and incredibly supportive, she really is. I'm really lucky that I do have a very close and supportive family, and we talk about everything. I feel that she said this comment in the heat of the moment, she wasn't perhaps thinking straight and I understand that fully. It just hurt me at the time.

And also I've got a rental contract and bursary that I need to think about - I'm not sure what to do about these if I give up training, so I suppose these financial aspects add a bit of pressure too. And I also feel terrible for the kids. I observed one class yesterday who had three different teachers for their subject last year in Year 9, and I really, really don't want to let my students down. There are some lovely students who I teach. Thankfully, I only teach the younger year groups (in secondary).

I have been trained to deal with the pupils' behaviour and with the other aspects of the profession, but the pupils' behaviour is frankly appalling. They swear at each other, kiss their teeth, throw things, graffiti swear words on school property and are also rude to staff. This behaviour is of course not tolerated by the school.

However, I find that the pupils who behave in this way frequently do not appear to be affected by the consequences placed on them by the school due to their behaviour. They often do not come to their detentions, and the school is under a huge amount of pressure of course to progress academically (it's doing well, but wants to be even better), so often the pupils with the worst behaviour do not always have their detentions followed up and acted upon. I find this very, very difficult to deal with.

I've found this week particularly hard. On one occasions, a pupil swore in my presence (he said 'oh, what the f***') when I told him he needed him to line up in silence outside my classroom instead of pushing past me to come into the classroom. Two other pupils have laughed at me on two separate occasions this week and asked me 'if I know what an iron is'.

This is really the last straw, I feel. It's horrific. Sorry, maybe I'm overreacting. I'm just really depressed.

Thank you so much if you've read this rambling post!! Feels like I've got a lot off my chest out into the open.

NCForThisThreadObviously Thu 17-Nov-16 13:32:13

It's a horrible situation because you feel so guilty and feel you're leaving them in the lurch, but you know that if you do leave they will have a substitute teacher - they won't be left alone. I do feel for the nice kids there - it must be so horrible having their education ruined by idiots like that. I remember talking to a girl who was taking her GCSEs in a really rough school near where I worked - she said that there were three of them (all friends) who wanted to work in the class - the others had no intention of working. She and her friends had accepted that they would have to resit their GCSEs - they knew they'd get very few GCSEs at school. How could they, when there were 25 other kids in the class who were determined to disrupt things?

MistyMeena Thu 17-Nov-16 13:35:52

If it's not for you, then it's certainly better to leave now. Many, many teachers crack under strain after a few years and leave, including those who have never had any issues with stress/depression before. Far better to do this now while the gap in your CV will be minimal, than risk falling deeper into a hole.
I am an ex-teacher FWIW.

Lostwithinthehills Thu 17-Nov-16 13:36:55

I know nothing about teacher training but it does sound to me like you should stop this training for now. More knowledgable posters suggest you postpone your training, which could be a good solution. Alternatively, if you realise that teacher training is definitely not for you I can see no shame in stopping it. I would have thought that there are many positive aspects regarding stopping the training that you could point out to future employers - decisivness, self awareness, courage.

There is simply no point struggling on as you are now.

SailingThroughTime Thu 17-Nov-16 13:37:30

Definitely leave now (teacher here)
Seriously, don't soldier on hoping it will get better.

PamplemousseRouge Thu 17-Nov-16 13:47:06

Wow thank you SO much everyone for your messages!!! flowers I'm so, so grateful. Thank you xxx

The thing that's holding me back (apart from what I mentioned above) is that I'm not sure yet whether teaching is for me or not. I don't think it is, in all honesty, but the other factor that's stopping me from leaving is not wanting to be seen as a quitter or someone who gives up easily. The funny thing is even when I've felt really, really low before, I've always pushed ahead and never given up on anything else I've done. I taught in France during my year abroad at university and persevered even though I found the school really tough, and during my degree I found it particularly tough, I forced myself to push on (perhaps not always the best attitude, I can see ...!) One of the things that I am proud of (without wanting to sound wanky/up myself) is that I haven't given up on things so far when I've found them hard. But here it's just a whole different ballgame. And it really is serious this time I think. Feels absolutely impossible and joyless. And shit.

arbrighton Thu 17-Nov-16 13:49:49

I could have written this when I did PGCE - ADs, counselling, tears, depression, the lot. I stuck through two years of teaching but it really really didn't do me any good and I don't think I did the schools and pupils any favours either.

I wish I had had the strength to say you know what actually I can't do that and not see it as failure.

DeusExDomina Thu 17-Nov-16 13:51:12

I was forced to leave almost exactly a year ago. I thought the job was making me ill but it turned out I was pregnant. I had already been finding it emotionally draining, so when my university tutor made it clear that if I didn't leave she would kick me out I quit.

I am still angry at the way my university was treating me but walking away from teaching probably saved my life.

I don't know if you should leave, but I want you to know that sometimes that's the best decision for your wellbeing and your happiness is more important than the job.

PamplemousseRouge Thu 17-Nov-16 13:51:39

Just to ask as well for sort of unrelated advice.

I do think I've got perfectionist tendencies, which I recognise isn't helping me at all.

I brought this up in my interview for this teaching job, and they said to me, 'your lessons don't have to be perfect - they shouldn't be perfect, just good.' I thought this was very helpful, but I'm going to be honest - I don't actually know what just 'good' is anymore. I haven't been given guidance on what a 'good' lesson is in terms of teaching and planning. As in just 'good'. I had to do a practice PGCE essay earlier this year in preparation for my two externally assessed PGCE essays, and I literally almost killed myself over it trying to get it perfect. This doesn't bode well at all for starting work on my first official PGCE assignment, which I'm having to start work on now.

Jeez, I'm so hopeless. God. So frustrated with myself.

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