Feeling trapped!(10 Posts)
I'm posting this in the hope that someone can help me or offer some advise. I have a young daughter and I'm a primary school teacher. I have only been teaching for 3 years but have been at the same school feeling unhappy since my NQT year. I barely have any time with my daughter (I can barely keep up with the expectations the SMT have and find I think about work all the time) and although I have tried to leave before, each time I have been guilt-tripped, told I'm not good enough to go anyway else or offered SMT promotions despite those not being something I am interested in anymore. This year I feel like my job is affecting my mental health, there have been circumstances in my personal life as well as my job that have led me to very depressed. I am seeing a therapist but I feel like my happiness isn't improving because I spend all day in an environment that is so toxic. The school is a negative place, most people are unhappy because the head teacher does not value anybody and often does or says things that are rude at at worst, bullying. I feel like the DHT has bullied me since I started, it was particularly bad in my NQT year but on occasion, she still does her best to intimidate me by getting into my personal space and shouting in my face. I have tried to contact my union previously but didn't find them very helpful and decided it was better to get my head down and make as little noise as possible. Every time I feel like I can't possibly do anymore, there is another initiative dumped on us. The SMT are obsessed with OFSTED to the point where we have lost sight of the children as young people not as numbers. The only reason I have made it so far is an incredibly supportive husband who never gets cross when he finds me in floods of tears/feeling completely shattered.
I want to leave and I have applied for a job outside of teaching however the interview is not until after half-term. I can't imagine having to stay here until Easter but equally I feel guilty about leaving my class and know that the SMT will make my life hell. That's why so far I have taken the easy option of just staying there. I feel like the head doesn't know how I truly feel, I do a very good job of projecting a happy image when around SMT and my class. Do I have to resign on Wednesday or can I send in my resignation in half-term before the 31st? I am tempting to wait to hear if I have an interview before handing in my notice but that will probably be in half term as the interview is early November. Trying to negotiate out of my contact after the 31st seems daunting especially as I have seen the SMT make the life of others who have gone off sick/left difficult.
I don't know what to do and I feel sick with worry. I appreciate any advice you might have.
Write down everything that has happened, everything you can remember and everything that happens from now on. Then email your regional union rep for advice. This may be important when it comes to your school giving a reference.
You must give notice no later than 31st October for your contract to end on 31st December, but I would hand it to the headteacher directly (or send an email as proof) so that you know they received it before the closing date.
HTH and good luck.
Give serious consideration to trying another school and maybe sector before leaving teaching. It sounds like you are good at it and I promise you not all schools/ jobs are like the one you currently have.
I had a dreadful experience of being on SLT and just not coping, but the right job in the right school with the right Head is completely putting me back together and I am happy again.
But if you resign why do you care what SMT say?
Thank you for your replies.
@Lowdoorinthewall I think another school would have a different atmosphere etc but the workload is a big concern of mine and from talking to other teacher friends that might not be different in another school. I feel like my personality means that I find it hard to switch off and being constantly told as a staff that what we're doing isn't good enough is really impacting on me though I try not to take it personally.
I like the idea of working in pastoral care but I haven't seen many jobs advertised that are within this sector.
@Orangeandemons I suppose because I know they will make life tricky for me until I leave. I know that they will tell me I'm not good enough yet and need to stay at their school for longer etc because that's what they've said before. That's why I have stayed, because it's easier but I don't think it's healthier and that's the main thing now.
Maybe try a Prep or SEN? Either would give you more capacity for the pastoral side of things due to smaller numbers.
I hated my first school and thought about leaving school forever!
Try a different school before giving up on teaching - yes the workload is intense but my current school understands we are human & don't want us staying till 6 every night, therefore I feel more on top and relaxed.
Have you thought about supply until April, if you have good transport links or have access to a car? I know some people love day to day. It may give you the opportunity to go under the radar in local schools, and see what SMT are like in case you want to go back to a classroom in a different school.
One of the reasons I did supply is to see under the bonnet in schools! It is a real eye-opener, and if I ever did apply for a FT job, I know exactly what schools have and do not have good leadership - it makes all the difference.
in my local area, the impressions people have of schools are vastly different to the reality.
Ultra I completely agree with you; the trust & faith of so many lovely parents is sadly misplaced in the schools I've formerly worked in. If they really knew what went on, no way would those places have enjoyed their relatively good reputations.
OP : try, if you can, to see the wood for the trees, despite how understandably ground down you are at the moment. You are a valuable human resource, and there will be a better school, or alternative job for you, even if you need time to regroup. My 27 years of experience lead me to think that MrsUltra has it right; as far as you can, try before you buy. Good luck with whatever you decide
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