Thinking about taking a break from my teaching career. Please help?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by LittleShakespeare, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2018

    Hey, everybody.

    I hope you're all doing well. I'm really ashamed to be writing this post, but I guess I'll just update you with what happened.

    This summer, I was having such an amazing time. I've been traveling and singing, exercising and studying. I've been working hard at my teaching, and I've bought almost $500 worth of materials to help me become a star teacher.

    Something happened two weeks ago. I had a mental breakdown, one that almost landed me in the hospital. My doctor is getting me off my medication. I've been on anti-anxiety medication for almost 8 years, and now I'm detoxing. Withdrawal is AWFUL. I'm crying every single day, I can't sleep, and I'm very vulnerable.

    Anyway, the doctor said the withdrawal symptoms should last a while. And I don't know if this is a side effect of my withdrawal, but I wanted to start working on my lesson plans again a few days ago.... and I completely broke down.

    You guys, I'm the one at fault here, and I hate myself for saying this: I don't want to go back to this school. I know I agreed to stay and work it out, but I really don't want to. I have such a bad feeling in my stomach whenever I think about it. I actually threw up when I saw this Facebook post from our school about "2 weeks left!"

    I should be honored and grateful that I have a contract. I have health insurance and I'm able to pay my bills. But the thought of me going back to school is killing me.

    I know this sounds crazy, but I actually have a daily subbing job opportunity available near my home. I was thinking of taking it to steady my health.

    You guys, I cry as I write this. What is wrong with me?! I love teaching! I love English! I love Gatsby. But I don't want to go back to this school.

    What am I going to do?
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 13, 2018

    If you can afford health care without benefits and have the money to live on, it is totally your call. I know those would be top concerns for me.
     
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  4. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2018

    Hey, Vickilyn.

    Thank you for your post. I know, that's the downside. But at this subbing company, there are health benefits too. I'm no longer on medication, so perhaps it won't be too bad.

    I know this sounds terrible. I have the passion for literature, and I do love teaching. I'm not sure what this means. But to be honest, a part of me doesn't want to teach anymore. :(
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    Aug 13, 2018

    I would be hesitant to make a major life decision while in this state. What does your therapist think?
     
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  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Aug 13, 2018

    I agree. Call your doctor on Tuesday morning and show him/her your post so you don’t have to worry about how to say it.
     
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  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2018

    Your health is absolutely the most important thing. Speak to your doctor and therapist asap.
     
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  8. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    Aug 14, 2018

    Positive thoughts going to you :hugs:I don’t have really have any advice but to seek help and just do what you think you should do based upon what your doctor says. Your health is the most important. If it helps, through your posts, I can clearly see that you have a passion for English, but this may not be the best situation for you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 14, 2018

    Having a passion for literature doesn't necessarily equate with teaching. People who are not passionate teach lots of classes because they are skilled educators. Passion and skill don't always go hand in hand, as you are finding out. Teaching is often about taking the good with the bad and making the most of the situation. OP, you are not on medication now, but there is no guarantee that doctors won't try a different medication or treatment in an effort to stabilize your anxiety and help you find an even keel in the future. My understanding would be that you need to be off your current meds for doctors to evaluate your true state of mind.

    My comments are merely observations of others with overwhelming anxiety issues, some of which are teachers, while others are not. Anxiety is not something limited to teachers. My comments are also no reflection on your qualifications as a teacher - none of us know anything about your abilities other than what has been presented in your posts. That is only a small window into anyone's life, at best. I fear that subbing may make things worse for you, but maybe not. Many subs complain about almost being an invisible person, totally lacking in authority. Perhaps you will have a better experience, but you should go into that situation with eyes wide open.

    Best of luck.
     
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  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Aug 14, 2018

    I think getting off of medication a the beginning of the school year was not the best timing. That is the most stressful time out of the entire year. The beginning of the summer would have been better.
    I also think that in this state of mind you are probably not best at making important decisions.
     
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  11. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2018

    Hi, guys.

    I cannot thank you enough for your sweetness. I cry as I write this. I am so humiliated. I've been such a mess, but you've helped me so much. :( It truly helps me to know that I'm not alone. You guys are teachers too, and you actually know what I'm going through.

    I'm going to see my therapist tomorrow. When I spoke to the doctor today, she told me that it can be side effects of the withdrawal, but she also said because of my personality, I tend to look back with rosy retrospection. May God forgive me. There's some things that I didn't tell you guys about this school. I was too embarrassed to repeat them, and I kind of just repressed them. In short, I'll just say that I'm a sensitive mess, and perhaps I'm not meant to work in this environment?

    I hate myself so much right now for writing this. I am a woman of my word when I promised to become a better teacher. I've been spending so much time studying and reading, with happiness. I love those kids. But I don't know what's wrong with me. I kind of imagined the next five years of my life, and I don't want to be at this school. :(

    I just figured I could use some advice from the only teacher friends I truly have. I'm really grateful for you, everyone. :heart: Please forgive me for being such a disaster.
     
  12. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    I know, but I started to get off these meds towards the beginning of July, but the withdrawal has been starting to affect me now BIG TIME. :(
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 14, 2018

    Is there any chance of going on medical leave until the doctors have a better prognosis for your ability to do this job in this school? If so, this would give you time to find answers without losing your current job (a safety net), or being fined for breaking your contract. It also maintains your health benefits at their current level, which I can guarantee will be better than anything a sub agency will/can provide. If at the end of allowable medical leave, if you are not well enough to work, the district may terminate you, which would allow you to collect unemployment insurance, and it wouldn't be considered breaking your contract. These are things that you need to discuss with your doctors, and your union rep, based on doctors prognosis. You have a contract, so your union rep can help advocate for you. It probably goes without saying that you want to be very careful in speaking about not wanting to return to the district, while being adamant and needing to be well enough to be the teacher that the district is expecting to show up for duty. You will use your sick leave, and then go on medical leave as your doctors work to stabilize your mental instability through therapy and varied medication. There may not be a finite time frame for medical improvement, which may well move the decision of outcome to the district. That may mean that you can't fulfill your duties per your contract, leaving the district with the decision to terminate your contract due to health issues. If you are terminated, unemployment becomes a factor after you have used up all of your leave. You would not be considered in breach of your contract, which could save your teaching credentials. Your doctors need to know what is at stake from day one, and your Union rep needs to come on board ASAP to be your advocate. Doing all of this is a show of good faith that you are trying to honor your contract commitment, while buying you some time to get better and keeping your health benefits intact. Timing stinks, but it is what it is. Get your doctors on board, and go from there.
     
  14. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Aug 15, 2018

    No, of course not. I'm not going to be a mediocre teacher. I'll get my sh*t together and be amazing for those kids. But Vickilyn, what if something happens and I have to leave? Will I ever be able to find another job by breaking a contract?
     
  15. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Ooh, I just found in my contract that I have to give a 60-days notice if I want to leave this job. I don't want to burn any bridges. I know I'm a hot mess, but I'm also a professional, you know? :(
     
  16. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    My suggestion of medical leave isn't to scam, but to actually deal with what seems like an acute situation which is affecting your health and ability to do your best job. It might play into that 60 days - I have no experience with that. Make sure you discuss these options and possible outcomes with your doctors - that is who should be making the call about whether or not now is the time for you to be in the classroom. Your heart may well be in the right place, but the body just can't comply at this point in your life. You do what you think is best - I have only presented one option to consider. Best of luck.
     
  17. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    No, of course! I know you're not trying to scam. I appreciate your help. To be honest, I never considered this option. It might be the right thing to do. :( But I'll talk to the doctor tomorrow. I'll let you know what she says. Please keep me in your prayers, dear. :heart:
     
  18. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    As you know, health is THE MOST important thing over anything. Without it, we can't do anything. You do what you think is best!
     
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