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Did you have a horrible (teaching) experience? How did you get over it?

(31 Posts)
elderflowerlemonade Sun 21-Jun-15 16:56:24

Anyone fancy sharing?

Mine was in 2011. I haven't really worked since.

TheTroubleWithAngels Sun 21-Jun-15 17:03:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KeepPloddingOn Sun 21-Jun-15 17:09:39

Watching with interest

CtrlAltDelicious Sun 21-Jun-15 17:11:35

Yes.

I was working in a failing school in the midlands. As happens so often, when there are one or two failing senior teachers, the solution wasn't to target those people and support them, it as to make blanket decisions which make everyone's work/life balance horrendous.

INSANE daily lesson plans, horrific APPs for every child in the class, etc. I freely admit I couldn't keep up. However, my teaching was always excellent and I was well-liked by parents. I was consistently graded Good or Outstanding from county and ofsted while there. However the Maths and English subject leaders, who were absolute incompetent bastards, decided I was apparently a failing teacher and set about campaign to essentially get me out. It was without a doubt the worst time of my life.

I'd come in to find my planning folders had been gone through and post it notes all over them pointing out how inadequate my plans were. Not the actual content, you understand, the fact that I had failed to highlight my use of ICT in red, my EAL resource in blue, etc. I was graded Inadequate in every lesson observed by either of those two vile people. This led to "support" from experienced teachers from other schools/county and actually this worked out very handily, as they both observed me and worked with me, and seemed puzzled as to why I was being targeted for support. One of them spoke confidentially to me and advised me to get the hell out.

So, this lasted two years. I became really, really unwell. I would wake up and think about ways I could injure myself so I wouldn't have to go in. Mantally, I was a wreck. One day, my best friend sat me down in a pub and just said "move back up north" which is where I spent 5 years for university. So I applied, got a job on my first interview and 4 years later am working in the most amazing inner city school on SLT. I feel respected, valued and happy. The old school has become an academy and is still performing absolutely appallingly.

OP, did you post recently about getting back into teaching?? I hope my rant post shows you that after being ground down to the ground you CAN get back into teaching.

JumpingJetFlash Sun 21-Jun-15 17:12:31

I had a horrid demeaning spiteful headteacher who didn't like the fact that I had experience which told me that everything she said was not the gospel truth in 2012-13. I've left teaching for good as a result as I can't get past it sad

elderflowerlemonade Sun 21-Jun-15 17:22:57

In some ways that echoes mine Ctrl.

I was really pleased to get a post as second in department but I'd been there a year when our department was observed by senior management. Everyone else was observed with year 7s or sixth form - I was observed with a tricky GCSE class; a middle ability group with some lovely ones in it but also some really difficult characters.

It was tricky from the start as in year 9 they'd been in four sets but for GCSE went into five. As a consequence many were resentful from the start as they felt they had been 'moved down' a set - they hadn't, it was just there were more sets - but that was how they saw things.

My lesson was graded inadequate. I'm not sure it was THAT bad! I was willing to concede it wasn't brilliant due to behaviour.

Then I rang home about a boy who was pleasant but lazy. He came from a home with divorced parents and I spoke to Mum. Boy complained to dad who wrote into school - I can still remember that letter now, it utterly slated me. It made it sound like my lessons were just hives of girls doing makeup and listening to music on phones. That class was the sort where girls would try to put makeup on and pupils would try to check their phones but be told promptly to put them away! The response of management was to move some pupils up a set but these were the well motivated and well behaved ones, leaving me with the difficult ones. This was done in the guise of support. I had more "support" in that period, including having to observe other teachers, being observed myself a lot ... But mainly what was hugely stressful was the fact they were so obviously out to pick me up on anything. I had some weird complaints made about me in that time - really weird.

Anyway I'll cut a long story short - I resigned. It nearly destroyed my marriage. I haven't taught since. Doubt I will again.

PandaMummyofOne Sun 21-Jun-15 17:24:40

Not to me but a colleague. She failed a learner and they brought a gun into college.

No joke. Turned out is was a BB gun. But that was after all the staff in my department (can't name it because it would out me) tackled him for it. We all have experience in this so no danger ever present, and the individual was detained until police arrived.

The police however not so impressed with our tactics. We preferred the danger being to is rather than our Learners

Same college different campus. Walked in on three girls doing lines I cocaine in the toilets. Three months ago, a learner had a full 'whitey' five minutes before an external exam. Then threw up on my shoes hmm

OldRoan Sun 21-Jun-15 17:34:58

I posted about my PGCE on here before - my mentor took great delight in letting me get the class settled, then come running in to "enthuse them about learning" (cause complete chaos with the children running around after him), before leaving me to get them settled again. He was doing a course to become a deputy head, so had me on a 90% timetable in a class of over 30 (KS2). He undermined me in front of the children, had me work from his plans before ripping the lessons apart over their failings, gave me positive verbal feedback and logged all the negative parts on the university tracking forms.

It was sheer stubborn-ness that got me through it. I loved the children, and just wanted him out of the room. I'm in a school now where, again, I love the children and I'm so much happier.

I think I could manage a year, maybe two (max) working with unpleasant staff. I don't think I would last five minutes if I didn't like the children though.

elderflowerlemonade Sun 21-Jun-15 17:46:23

Sometimes, how long you manage isn't up to you but to management, unfortunately. I'd have been on formal capability (which I wouldn't have passed!) if I'd stayed.

Golfhotelromeofoxtrot Sun 21-Jun-15 17:56:33

elder I just knew as soon as I read your post that it was going to be an SLT problem over a student problem.

I really empathise with you, I had a terrible experience back in 2009 and I went on to have a marriage breakdown and an ED relapse.

I teach now, but I returned to a school I knew and was successful at. I doubt I'll ever leave. I love teaching and I'm so happy- I still get 'the fear' after a lesson obs/in the run up to it, but I get graded solid 2s and have great results, so I do know I'm a good teacher, but I it really shook my self confidence.

elderflowerlemonade Sun 21-Jun-15 17:57:39

In some ways I miss it.

I made the 'wrong choice' with my NQT school (very rough!) and only stayed there a year. Then had three years at a school which was quite nice, reasonably motivated pupils. Then we moved.

toomuchicecream Sun 21-Jun-15 21:33:36

Not in the same league as all your experiences, but I was deeply unhappy at my second school because (I now realise) the values of the school were very different to mine. I left after 2 years for a maternity cover because I knew my teaching was getting worse and worse and if I didn't get out soon, I'd get to the point where I wasn't good enough to get out. It was the best thing I could have possibly done. 2 terms of maternity cover working with lovely, lovely people who thought in the same way as me, and all my old spark and bounce was back.

Teacherinatutu Mon 22-Jun-15 19:08:41

While on my first real teaching practice as a trainee, I had a horrible experience as a student teacher that still affects me now.

I was placed in a year 1 classroom with a teacher who didn't want me there. I had never taught a whole class before and almost right from day one, she left me alone with her class of year 1s. I had barely seen her teach and yet I was expected to run the class.
Every time she came to observe me she criticised my behaviour management and said they were too loud. I asked for tips and suggestions but was told to 'figure it out' and how I would never learn if she gave me all the answers. Things got so bad I felt like quitting. A new boy joined the class - he had diagnosed ADHD and I didn't have a clue how to handle him (neither did she) but that didn't stop her telling me if I couldn't get a handle on him I would fail my placement.
She would come into class and ask for lesson plans for lessons she had never asked me to plan (or teach!) and then write down that I was disorganised and unreliable.

Teaching was a dream I had been so desperate to achieve for so many years and I felt like a failure. I was on the verge of giving up and contacted my tutor at my university for advice.

She came in and observed me and gave me positive feedback. She talked to the class teacher and told her what she was expecting was unrealistic for a first year who had never taught before!

I only had two weeks left of the placement and from then on my university tutor agreed to come and do joint observations with my school mentor where surprisingly, the mentor from Uni was very positive about my teaching!

I remember her telling me that the class teacher wanted to fail me and that I needed to fight for it.
I argued every negative point she offered and backed it up with evidence I had or with comments from my tutor.
In the end she passed me (just).
Even though in the following two years in my final two placements I received 'outstanding' for every placement, I still feel like a failure when it comes to behaviour management.

I have been in teaching for years now and she is still like a devil on my shoulder telling me I am rubbish. Not a day went by when I didn't worry about my behaviour management and feel I am inadequate. I compared myself to every other teacher in the school and felt I didn't come close.

I had awful paranoia that everything I did was being watched and reported on. Whenever the phone rung I used to worry it's a parent complaining about my behaviour management. (It never has been!)

It probably sounds ridiculous but it's been such a big thing for so long.
Even writing this now, I am in tears. I have considered some sort of therapy but not sure how to go about it. I contacted the teacher support network a few years ago and talked to someone on the phone and they didn't get it at all.

elderflowerlemonade Mon 22-Jun-15 19:11:51

I know exactly what you mean with the paranoia.

It just makes you so jittery, doesn't it?

JustMeAnon Mon 22-Jun-15 20:36:41

Name changed for this. I had to work for 2 years with the deputy head who had clear and severe mental health problems. He confided in me and frightened the life out of me with his talk of alcohol abuse, using prostitutes, violence, of fantasising about coming to school with a gun and shooting people. He turned up on my doorstep pissed once, saying he was on the way to find prostitutes. He told me he had gone to a dodgy area of the city to try and buy a gun, but no one would sell him one because he looked like an undercover cop (which he sort of did!) I told the head all of this but nothing was ever done to support or remove the deputy. I resigned in the end and didnt work for a while due to stress. I found out that the deputy attacked the head some time later and was finally 'retired'. I felt really sorry for him. But for me too, I really tried to help but there was just no support.

10 years later and I have realised that the fault was not mine and I am back in school. Thats the key - dont feel bad about shit awful management!

Golfhotelromeofoxtrot Mon 22-Jun-15 22:23:00

teacher I 100% get your paranoia.

I had therapy at the time, and it still comes up in my therapy sessions now. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for you to talk this through with someone. I'm not quite there, but it is a small unhappy memory now, rather than a fear that impacts on my day to day life.

Chipsahoythere Mon 22-Jun-15 22:26:40

I have horrible teaching experiences almost daily.
But the people I work with are ace and make it doable. I think horrible experiences with SLT can be much worse than what kids can throw at you!

elderflowerlemonade Mon 22-Jun-15 22:29:12

I agree chips

Ottosaurus Mon 22-Jun-15 22:37:07

I left teaching.
I want to go back, but I'm scared I won't get a job and that I've left it too long.
I was bullied because I was "too keen"... They regularly punished my class and I (changing times for assemblies etc... Without telling me) and then would yell at me in front of the class. So much more happened that I can't bear to go through.
I wanted to crash my car so I couldn't work.
In the end I broke down and sobbed for 72hrs straight before I saw a lovely Dr who signed me off.
I refused to go back to the school to collect my things without an LEA representative. While there another teacher came and basically told the LEA rep how horrifically they had been treated, but the LEA refused to see it.
It's been 8yrs. I'm still not over it.

But kind of cathartic writing it here.
I would also like to name and shame the b@@@@ds though.

whathaveiforgottentoday Mon 22-Jun-15 22:43:27

I've always said it is the staff that determine whether you enjoy the school or not. However difficult the kids, with good support you will be fine. I've worked in a real range of schools and the only year I struggled was when slt had lost control of the school. Luckily, new head and new Hod started and life got much better.

CharlesRyder Tue 23-Jun-15 19:08:45

I had a horrible experience. I didn't realise what a visceral illness stress is- I was completely debilitated for a while and felt like a husk of myself for a long time after that.

I am being gradually fixed by a wonderful school where I feel safe enough to unfurl again.

DriftingOff Tue 23-Jun-15 20:31:37

I was bullied for 2 years in a school, and haven't worked since. I feel like I've mostly put it behind me now, but to really get over it completely, I reckon I need to start working again, although I'm not sure I really want to go back into teaching. The experience has really put me off the whole teaching profession. To answer your question, "how do you get over it" - a combination of time and talking it over with any sympathetic souls who are willing to listen, followed by getting stuck back into the world of work (preferably with a non-bullying boss, who will make me realise that not all bosses are psychos)

elderflowerlemonade Tue 23-Jun-15 21:01:03

It's probably too late for me as I've no recent references or anything. That will make finding another job tricky. I sometimes wonder if I should but DH reminds me of how horrible it was and I think maybe not.

Golfhotelromeofoxtrot Wed 24-Jun-15 07:31:18

Would tutoring be another way back in that uses your skills? Or working for an exam board?

elderflowerlemonade Wed 24-Jun-15 07:33:55

I do a tiny bit of tutoring but I have too long a gap now to work for an exam board - need recent references.

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