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I just don't know what to do - anxiety and want to leave

(7 Posts)
BumblingBee89 Sun 17-Jan-16 15:42:51

This might be long and rambly, I'm sorry if it is.

So, basically, I've decided that I definitely want to leave teaching. I'm in my 4th year of teaching and this is not the first time I've had this feeling.

I have anxiety. I'm undergoing cbt which is really helping, and I'm also taking medication.

I lost my dad last year, very suddenly. This made my anxiety harder to cope with.

I was getting a lot of support from my headteacher last year, and was signed off for four weeks before the Christmas holidays with a view to doing a phased return (a couple of afternoons to start with, building back to full time).

Whilst I was off, I made the decision that I no longer wanted to teach. I realised I just didn't need it anymore.

My previous headteacher left at Christmas and a new one started in January. I had a meeting with her and she wasn't particularly supportive. I ended up in tears.

I'm on a phased return still but it's much faster than I had expected and it's making me feel sick.

This is my dilemma. I want to leave ASAP. So the end of April. I'm looking at new jobs. Some are learning mentor roles in a school and some are away from education.

My anxiety isn't totally work related but my working environment doesn't help. I am hoping a new environment would help.

I'm scared that any job I apply for will take one look at my record (anxiety, occupational health) and say no way. I can see their point. If I'm on a phased return then they'll think I'm not ready. Deep down I'm scared they'll be right. But I want to work. I don't want to get signed off again. My cbt is helping so much and I think a new working environment would be a positive thing for me.

My other option is to pretend that I'm fine. My HT wants me to go to occ health. I think I should just pretend that I'm fine, go back into taking full responsibility for my class and leave in April with a stronger reference.

But I'm sitting here feeling sick at the thought of going in tomorrow, being in front of the class (albeit not for the whole day) and seeing my HT again.

I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I feel like I can't get something new because no one will want me with my record but I can't stay and carry on teaching. But I have to pretend that I can cope up until April if I have any hope of getting something new.

I hope that makes sense. If anyone has any advice or has been in a similar situation I would be so grateful.

Thanks for reading.

OP’s posts: |
DitheringDiva Sun 17-Jan-16 18:21:59

I think you need to go with what your health dictates, and you sound quite ill to me. I would go back and see your GP, explain that there is a new HT who is not supportive and you ended up in tears, and due to the change in Headship, you are finding that the phased return is making you sick. if necessary just stay signed off until your notice period ends at the end of April, and look for other jobs to go into then. You've only taken 4 weeks off, which is nothing for this kind of thing. Your health has to come first - if you pretend you're OK, you may very well end up having a nervous breakdown, and being unable to work for a lot longer than a few weeks. You WILL get work, just not necessarily as well paid as teaching. For jobs outside of education, you don't need to use your previous employer as a reference anyway, so if you can find a couple of other sympathetic people who have been in a position to write a reference, then your new employer need never know about your sickness record. Many companies don't take up references anyway, it's only jobs like teaching that are so strict about it, due to child safeguarding.

BumblingBee89 Sun 17-Jan-16 18:36:40

Thank you DitheringDiva .

You're right that I should be putting my mental health first. It's tempting to put a brave face on and power through sometimes but I know from experience that it doesn't work.

It's been suggested that I take more time off but I'm worried that it wouldn't benefit me long term. I've seen a job that I would absolutely love. It's the kind of job that is few and far between but I think I would have a fair chance of at least getting an interview. I wouldn't be able to go for it if I was signed off. I think legally I would but it might not go down well reference wise.

Although I don't plan on returning to teaching the jobs that I'm looking at do involve working with children so I feel like a reference from my current workplace would be essential. This is what is making the situation so difficult.

Thank you again for your reply smile

OP’s posts: |
BumblingBee89 Sun 17-Jan-16 18:38:18

I should add, when I say it has been suggested that I take more time off, that suggestion has come from my mum and my fiancé, who see how anxious the job makes me. It hasn't been suggested by work or anyone 'official' if that makes sense.

OP’s posts: |
ceebie Sun 17-Jan-16 20:18:33

Put your mental health first. I don't think it's worth worrying about your reference at this stage. When you are in a good place yourself, you can work on presenting yourself positively in your CV and applications. If your previous record does come up, you could confidently explain that that was something that happened, but is no longer an issue and that you are looking forward to new challenges.

PhyllisDietrichson Tue 19-Jan-16 12:53:57

Health first, perhaps you should quit. You can come back into teaching later if you want, when you're feeling stronger.

You could perhaps sign up to a temping agency and temp somewhere for a while to get better references and buy some breathing space doing something else. You could hand your resignation in by end of Feb for Easter quit. It's been a while, but in my experience of temping you get crap jobs initially and as your good record comes in, you can be more and more choosy about what you do / where you work. It'll give you the breathing space you need. Good agencies also train you up, to use various packages like Excel etc so you're more ready for the next job. Best of luck.

Rainbowcolours1 Sat 23-Jan-16 11:20:31

You can ask your HT to refer you to OH, if she has already said she wants to, go with it. OH are there for you, they can support the type of phased return, working hours etc. that would help you. This might help you stay until Easter. Remember though that you would have to resign in February. You could put your previous HT down as a reference, they clearly know you better.

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