Holding on for four More months, or pulling the plug?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by LittleShakespeare, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Feb 27, 2019

    Today was the worst day of my teaching career. Not only did I have to write a rebuttal for my failed observation and write up a student for verbally assaulting me and trying to come at me; I had a panic attack while I was driving, and it almost made me crash.

    I wanted to be a Viking. I wanted to prove to myself that I could survive until June. I also care so much about what others think about me. I don’t want to be seen as a failure. But things got really, really bad today. I asked myself if I want to be miserable for the next four months.

    I spoke to my union rep on the phone just now, and he told me I could retract my resignation date and put in my 60-days notice now. Would it matter if I left mid-year? My last day of work would be the day we get back from spring break, April 28th.

    You all have warned me about my health, and I didn’t listen. :( I am truly sorry. This school is hell. The kids are impossible, and the administration is comprised of incompetent individuals who abuse and bully their staff. My VP gave me a 2.57 and 2.59 on both of my observations, and I’m so sick of her pestering me over the littlest things, like not having black tape instead of blue tape on the chalkboard or using “inappropriate language” like, “Finish your test, Allison. You’ve got this!”

    I’ve never ever been this unhappy, and I actually am thinking of switching careers. I honestly don’t want to be a high school teacher anymore, or at least for a while. I’m just scared of what comes next. I’ll have two months to figure it out, but am I making a mistake? And whatever you tell me this time, I will listen. I will learn from the expert teachers here.

    Thank you. :heart:
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Again, if you know you don't want to teach anymore, quit now.
     
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  4. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    There was a time when I really did love it. Now, all I want is an office job with a cubicle, a stack of books, and my laptop. Even if I did want to return to teaching later, this will look bad, right? I wanted to go on medical leave, but there’s such a stigma around mental health. My close friend (not a teacher) told me I’ll never get employed anywhere again if I disclose that I was on medical leave. :(
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I don't agree with your friend. Teachers are in great demand in many communities around the country and admitting you sought help for anxiety would be a positive, in my opinion.
    There are many, many teachers who suffer emotional problems and seek successful help. Nowadays, teaching is just too stressful for lots of people.
     
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  6. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Thank you so much. I’m so confused. Maybe I had a bad day, and maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow Morning and listen to “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco on my morning commute, and feel like I can prove to myself that I can stay till June. It’s a vicious cycle. Do you know our bathroom has not been mopped since September? That’s the smell I associate with this school. It’s a nightmare, and I fear for my life every day. I just wonder if this black spot on my resume will follow me around for the rest of my life. :(
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Why do you fear for your life every day?
     
  8. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Use your sick and personal days when you need a mental break, just use them all.
    In the past, I was on medical leave for a couple months from teaching due to my mental health. When I applied for another teaching job elsewhere the next year, I never mentioned my leave. There was no reason to.
     
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  9. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    I would say stick it out. You are more than half way done. That way you can get paid during the summer while you look for another job.
     
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  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Well, we are a day away from March. Two weeks off in April for break, a three day weekend in May, and then end of school year about mid June. I'm counting something like 3 months, tops, left. Previous posts have indicated that you need the money to live, or maybe I misread your posts. It seems to me that what you are talking about is a month and a half past your 60 days notice date. Only you know whether or not you need that money to live. An earlier post stated that you are "thinking about teaching college instead of high school, or possibly going into writing, publishing, or archival studies." In that case, no harm done if you bail. However, if money becomes tight, I suspect that the trip you would like to take will have to go by the wayside. Personally, and I do mean my own choice, I would suck it up for that last 1.5 months. You do tend to fluctuate in your choices and decisions, so I would be very careful not to make a rash decision that might come back to haunt you going forward. Once again, just my own personal decision. Best of luck.
     
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  11. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Thanks, everybody. :)
     
  12. greendream

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    I can tell you as an admin, it would not be a positive for me.
     
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  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Knowing as we do, that many teachers suffer from anxiety, why would you consider seeking help a negative?
     
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  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    This is when you let HPPA become your best friend.
     
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  15. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    In the context of hiring potential candidates, I'm not going to look at having anxiety as an advantage over others who want the job.
     
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  16. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    It's kind of sad that anxiety is stigmatized, but diabetes isn't. High blood pressure isn't. Cancer isn't. We live in a society where you are not allowed to be emotionally unwell, otherwise you get weird looks or isolation. Green Dream just confirmed my biggest fear. That's why I never even considered going on medical leave.

    I failed at this particular school because I was targeted, harassed, and abused by the administration and the students. A toxic work environment is more likely to change me than I am to change it. Nevertheless, my anxiety doesn't define me. I can offer so much to a student and to the world even if I'm emotionally unwell. Still, teaching high school is not for me. Even if I were to get hired at a school with an administrator like Green Dream, I would not want the job at all. I want an administration that's supportive and doesn't frown upon weakness.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    If you ever do take medical leave, remember that you don't need to share why you had medical leave (at least in the US). It is a matter of privacy. However, if you volunteer that information, employers can use that information in their determination.
     
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  18. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Thank you. But I'm not going to take a medical leave. Even though I don't want to return to the classroom for a while, I don't want to bring up my condition to anyone. :( It's all right. It's just four more months. I made it this far, right? :)
     
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    But the applicant is not forced to tell you about anxiety, nor can you legally ask. By federal law, you can't discriminate against someone with a disability, which is what a mental health problem is. If someone receives the proper treatment and/or medication, the anxiety becomes a non-issue. HPPA should be in every person's mind when discussing their health at work. a2z is right on target with her answer.
     
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  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    If we only had crystal balls to see our future.

    I know you said you weren't, but isn't having more information in case something were to happen better than having less?

    :)
     
  21. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    What I mean is that I am not interested in taking a medical leave for mental health. Of course it's good to have information. That's why I asked for help. However, after considering all the advice here and after thinking about it for a while, I just figured it's best to stick it out.
     
  22. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Yep, I'm aware. Which is why I was discouraging the volunteering of such information. Others saw it as a positive thing to bring up when job searching. I disagree.
     
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  23. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'm not quite sure why you think I do not understand your intent.
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I worry not only about you, but about your students. It doesn’t sound like anyone is having a good year, which is unfortunate for everyone. If the anxiety is to such a great level, the kids are going to be impacted. You say no medical leave and that you don’t want people to know a diagnosis. However, I’m sure people already know/suspect just based on what they observe. You do not have to reveal any reason for taking the leave.

    Several of my friends take medication for anxiety. One has it especially bad, so she needs more frequent medical intervention in terms of medication and counseling. I know these things because we are friends.

    You might also think of it this way. Would you want your child in your own classroom on your best day? An average day? Your worst day? How many days do you have where you’d say no? It could be time to walk away.
     
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  25. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Teachers are supposed to be "on" any time they are with students. If you think there will be a chance where you can't "perform" in front of the classroom for any reason or for any amount of time then you probably should find another profession.
     
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  26. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Of course. I am "on" all the time. Always smiling, always being the clown. Whenever I can't do it, that's when I stay home, and I think I took a total of five sick days. I got bashed here before for taking sick days when needed, sooo... :p

    And yeah, I've already mentioned that I'm leaving the profession. My question was more about if I should stick it out for the next four months, or just leave before spring break. Thanks though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  27. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Because even after clearly stating that I did not want to take medical leave in a previous post, you continued to offer advice about medical leave. When I restated that I do not wish to take a medical leave, you said it's best to stay informed, and I thanked you for keeping me informed, but I still think it's not a good idea. Then you mentioned that you got me the first time. #Confused :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  28. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    By the way, I have never had a meltdown in front of the kids, if that's what you're expecting. Never anxious, never angry. I've always treated them with kindness and love, even the kid who wanted to throw hands at me. I never showed that anxious and depressed side to anyone, not even my best friend. The anxiety happens on my way to school or at night when I can't sleep. That's why I'm struggling.

    And yes, I would love to have my own child in my classroom. Every single lesson is planned with love and attention to detail. I bring treats for my students and spend my own money on resources. I have gotten kids into colleges, especially my alma mater. The only thing is this: it's killing me to do this much work with a faulty administration, and I'm an anxious person (IN PRIVATE) by nature, so I don't want to go home and have a panic attack every day.

    And yes, I will be walking away very soon. I'm taking the other users' advice here that I can just stick it out for four more months.
     
  29. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I would advice you to leave now, not later.

    Yes, four months doesn't seem like that long in some ways, but it is a lifetime when you are clearly miserable.

    It is very obvious that you are miserable. If you weren't, you wouldn't keep returning with the same issues. If would be nice if someone here had a magic cure to all your issues, but it just isn't so. Don't beat yourself up. Don't be angry with those trying to help. Don't do yourself and your students the disservice of being where you are miserable. A job isn't worth your mental and physical health.
     
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  30. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Not being able to deal with work on a particular day isn't really the same as taking off because you are sick. Not that people shouldn't utilize their sick days, but it just seems like taking a sick day is putting a band aid on a problem that will never "heal" itself. What if you ran out of sick days and didn't feel like working on a particular day. That's the real issue.
     
  31. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    What makes you think I'm angry at the people who are trying to help? That's why I'm here, aren't I?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  32. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    I appreciate your opinion, but I respectfully disagree. I think mental health days are important, and whenever I take a sick day for anxiety, I am sure to bring a doctor's note. And of course, it would be wiser to leave, but I think I want to go with the previous users' advice that it's only just four months.
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I apologize for giving you general information you didn't want that may apply to any medical leave, not just for mental health. I thought you would understand that "if you ever take medical leave" was a general statement that meant ever, not just in this instance, in this job, or just for mental health purposes.
     
  34. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    Great. Thanks!
     
  35. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    That was in a general “don’t” list.

    I never said you were angry with us.
     
  36. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    And I really apologize for asking for advice here. Sometimes, when you're going through something so rough, you don't know who you can turn to. Sadly, it's just hard when you're a teacher struggling with anxiety, and no one else gets it. I don't really talk about it with the other teachers at school since it's not professional, and my family honestly doesn't get it either. That's why I come here when I'm having a moment of weakness, since other teachers might have felt this way before, but I know not to do that anymore. I can tell people are annoyed with me, my posts, and my vacillation, but thankfully, I won't have a need to return to this forum after I leave my teaching career. So, that's good news for everyone here. :p

    Thanks for your help. Have a great rest of the school year, everyone! :heart:
     
  37. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    With what parts of your failed observation did you disagree?
    What did the student say to you/how did he try to come at you? What was admin’s response to the write-up?
     
  38. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    My VP looks for holes in everything. She used to complain that my lessons weren’t challenging enough. Now, she complains that they’re too challenging. She is known throughout the district to fail everyone’s observation. She even failed someone for having black tape in the room instead of blue, our school’s color. I asked for a different observer for my last one.

    This student has serious anger issues and is very confrontational. His middle school teachers have so many notes about him. If you ask him to sit down or settle down, he will get violent. I asked him three times to stop talking to his best friend, and he called me “fu*king gay” and the C word. I had called security to remove him from my classroom, and of course he acted innocent towards the security guard, but as he passed my classroom, he shoved things off my desk and came at me like he wanted to fight me. But he also gave me the middle finger on his way out. My VP adores this child, so he was sent back to my class with no punishment. I think it’s because he’s also Dominican, like her. He’s mentioned that that’s all they talk about on several occasions.
     
  39. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    With all due respect, you did not actually answer the question about the observation. Maybe there are some objective things in the observation that you could change to make the remainder of the year better.

    Regarding the student, if he truly did all you mentioned, and you included that information in your write-up, but he faced no punishment, then perhaps it is time to go over your VP’s head.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
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  40. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    And this is why I will always think my private school handles discipline better than it’s public school counterparts. If said student did that in my classroom, I would immediately stop class, call down to the front office for two security guards who would then physically restrain the student if they resisted, and haul him off to the principal’s office where he would get the tongue lashing of his life.

    Now, I only had to do this once, but I will always remember when an ex-student battered another student in my second year and so I had to resort to having security involved. Next, the principal just verbally laid into him (and he’s a tall guy who you don’t want to mess with) and the shouting went on for some time. All the while, I looked on and cheered inside. Eventually, the bullied student consented to having criminal charges pressed against the buffoon and the police officers took him away. It was perfectly handled, I think.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
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  41. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Comrade

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    With all due respect, I mentioned that the VP thought my lesson was too challenging. That's it. No feedback, nothing. Did you want me to email you a copy of the observation for your reference?

    And yes, my union is getting involved in regards to the child.
     

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