How Do I Explain This and How Do I Put It On My Resume?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by penguinpc, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. penguinpc

    penguinpc Comrade

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    Mar 12, 2013

    I have posted the short version of my story below. The long version of my story is in the thread quoted following this. Read all of my posts in it to get a much better explanation of what has led to my question at the end of this post. http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=167684

    The short version of my story is that after four years out of education and seven years out of the classroom, I took a job teaching kindergarten, a grade I had always shied away from in the past. However, after the interview, I just felt like I belonged there, so I took the job.

    Things began going wrong almost immediately. I struggled with classroom management, something I had never had a problem with before. I began to have panic attacks. Thankfully, these only happened at home. I was put on a growth plan because of how bad my evalution was. I had not had any bad evaluations in my other teaching job. My anxiety levels were always high when I was a work, and not much better when I was at home.

    After ten weeks I quit. No two week warning, just an email and a resignation letter. Looking back on it now, it was the right decision for me. It was also a painful one.

    I have begun subbing in another district and it is really helping me get my confidence back. I know that in the right environment I can do well. I cannot guarantee to anyone that what happened this fall won't happen again, but I don't think it will. Especially if I take a job in a grade I feel confident about. I want to teach again this fall, but I don't know how to put what happened with the kindergarten job on my resume or how to explain it to a principal or other teachers.

    Do you have any recommendations?
     
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  3. penguinpc

    penguinpc Comrade

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    Mar 12, 2013

    I have copied all my posts from the other thread below. Please feel free to skip this post if you want.

    Although my pdoc (psychiatrist)has never given me an official diagnosis, he has mentioned bipolar disorder. This makes sense. My father is bipolar 1, so I think I’m bipolar 2. I have severe problems with anxiety and depression. The first time I sought treatment was 10 years ago. I started on Zoloft, but unfortunately, I had a mental breakdown a couple weeks later and was away from my job for a month. I was a 3rd grade teacher at the time. By the time I went back, I was able to cope better, but I still wasn’t thinking rationally. I resigned at the end of the academic year without even consulting with my wife.

    For the next two years I was a substitute teacher since I didn’t know what else to do. In the spring of my second year substituting, I decided to take an eight week assignment for a pregnant teacher to see how I felt about teaching. The eight weeks were great and I felt like I did a really good job (self-confidence had been a major problem when I taught previously). I did not have many problems with anxiety and I was able to do all the things I needed to do to perform the job. At the end of the eight weeks, the other 3rd grade teachers asked if I would consider a full time job with them the next year. I was flattered, but I was not yet ready to return to teaching.

    Instead, I took a job at the same school as technology assistant. I did that for three years and loved it, but it just didn’t pay enough. So I took a higher paying job in local government. It was that job that convinced me after about six months that my true calling was teaching. I began looking for a teaching job.

    I was with the government job for four years before I finally secured a teaching job. The first three years I didn’t look as hard as I could have, do in no small part to my anxiety problems. However, in November of last year, my pdoc hit upon a combination that I felt was working very well. I was taking (and still am) taking Vibryd, Welbutrin XL, and Lamictal. Most days I felt pretty good with only the occasional anxiety attack.

    This last summer, I worked hard at securing a teaching position. I dropped off 102 resumes in four weeks. I walked each one into the school. A year before, I would not have been able to do that because of anxiety. It paid off and I interviewed for a teaching position at one of the schools where I had dropped off a resume.

    I accepted a job teaching kindergarten, a grade I had always shied away from in the past. However, after the interview, I just felt like I belonged there, so I took the job.

    Oh, boy… I began having problems almost immediately. I’ll admit that I am not used to kindergarten and that it is quite a bit different than 3rd grade. I began struggling with classroom management, something I had never had a problem with before. I had problems being organized, something I have always had a problem with. I began having bouts of depression and anxiety at work. Whenever these hit me, I of course didn’t have the confidence I needed to control my classroom. We are ten weeks into the school year, and in many ways, I feel like I am not doing any better.

    Incidentally, I have been putting in many hours outside of class, including several hours on the weekend. And no matter how much I prepare, I almost never feel ready.

    My first evaluation by my principal had so many categories below proficient that I was put on a “growth plan”. My evaluations as a 3rd grade teacher 10 years previously had always been good, so this had been another blow to my ego. In the last 10 weeks, our Instructional Specialist has been in my classroom several times to help me teach. I saw that as helpful and felt like I learned a lot from it. I also observed many of the other kindergarten teachers at my school.

    A couple weeks ago, I had a conference with some parents. They were upset about the fact that I had not sent home many papers (something I take full responsibility for) and that their daughter didn’t seem to be progressing at the rate they thought she should. They were angry, and while they had some valid criticisms of me, not all of them were valid.

    I was supposed to start sending her complete work home every day, which I did. I was also supposed to start her on a behavior plan (which I felt she didn’t need), which I did not do. My organizational skills definitely led to this as well as my tendency to avoid things I find stressful. Yesterday they asked to have her taken out of my class, to which my principal agreed. I also got a slap on the hand from my principal (which I deserved) for not starting the contract when I said I would. By the way, the conference was about one and a half weeks ago, so they did not give me a lot of time. I think their minds were already made up.

    Teaching is stressful in and of itself, as is being in a grade I am unfamiliar with. Ever since I started this job, my anxiety and depression problems have become severe, to the point that I am afraid I may lose my job. This week and last I have been cycling rapidly between anxiety, depression and feeling okay, sometimes in the same day. I am crying a lot. While I can be an emotional person, I don’t usually cry as much as I have lately. Monday I told my principal about my condition which I felt was the best course of action. That same day I went to see my pdoc to see if I could get medication for anxiety or to see if he would suggest something.

    I did got to see him about four weeks ago with the same worries at which time he said I should give myself time to transition to the new job. Four weeks later and I didn’t feel any better so I went to him this last Monday.

    I talked about my anxiety and the stress I feel I am under. I talked about my problems with organization. I talked to him about how I felt my thoughts were always racing. He asked me if I isolate myself at home, which I often do. He recommended that I try Adderall for ADD (20 mg). He suggested I take one in the morning and then half of one no later than one o’clock in the afternoon. I am willing to try anything at this point, so I agreed. Today is the first day I have taken it. I can tell a difference although I am not yet sure if it will help me with my racing thoughts and my organizational skills.

    I think I should mention that one of the ways I deal with stress is through avoidance. For example, I may have a list of things I need to do for my classroom the next day. However, I will inevitably push some of the things I need to do out of my mind and not deal with them. Then, when I don’t have the things ready that I need to have ready the next day or whenever I feel more stress and anxiety. It is a vicious cycle. This has also affected my personal life in the past. I have had both water and electricity cut off, not because I didn’t have the money to pay the bills, but because I just avoided thinking about it.

    Yesterday, the Instructional Specialist told me that she would be teaching my class all the next week while I observed her. Then the next week we will co-teach. The third week I will teach while she observes me. What this says to me is that I have about three weeks to get my act together or I’m out of there.

    I believe this and the removal of the child from my classroom are what led to what happened this morning. I woke up and got ready for work. (By the way, I had not taken the Adderall for the first time yet.) My breathing started becoming fast and I was fighting with myself over whether I should go to school. My anxiety was at an extreme high. My wife asked if I was okay and I broke down crying and told her I didn’t think I could go to work today. In teaching, it is really very important that you be there so this also added to my stress. So I’m here at home right now, writing this.

    I keep telling my wife that this all feels like some sort of cruel joke. I believe teaching children is my calling. When I took my current position, I felt like I was meant to be there. Now I just feel like a failure. As I wrote earlier, I felt great when I taught in the third grade class for eight weeks. What has happened between then and now to make me feel like this?

    So I’m afraid I’m going to lose my job. And I feel like that will pretty much kill teaching as a career for me. I felt so sure about this job when I took it, now I feel anxious all the time and confused.

    So I’m afraid I’m going to lose my job. And I feel like that will pretty much kill teaching as a career for me. I felt so sure about this job when I took it, now I feel anxious all the time and confused.

    Losing this job would not only be a hit financially but also a blow to my already fragile ego. At this point, I feel like I’m doing everything I can to help myself. I have been seeing my pdoc when I need to, and I am going to counseling today. Ten years ago, when I sought help for the first time, I thought I would start feeling more like a normal person. Ten years later and I feel no closer to feeling good about myself than I did then years ago. I don’t know what else to do.

    Will I be able to go to work in the morning? I won’t know until I wake up.

    NEXT POST:

    Well, I guess the other shoe has dropped. I went back to school Thursday. I felt some trepidation, but the day went okay. We had a field trip the next day that I also thought went okay. After school that day, the principal tells me that three parents all asked her for conferences (all approaching her while she was doing crosswalk duty that afternoon). The principal said it also looked like that the school and I were not a good fit. Then she said she was committed to my growth plan but let me know recommendations for rehire would be in February.

    I just sat there stunned for a while after she left. Wow...three parents in one day. And these are not the first conferences that parents have had with her about me.

    I came home and told my wife that it was time I resigned. One, I just don't think I can take the pressure that's going to go with those parent complaints. Secondly, I don't think I'm going to change or get better by February. Lastly, I think these kids deserve as teacher who will do a better job teaching them. My wife reluctantly agreed.

    Since another teacher will be in my room the next three weeks, I think the principal will have enough time to get a long term sub or another teacher into place. I may go clean out my personal belongings Sunday (which won't be many) and give the principal my letter of resignation, or I may go in Monday and let that be my last day.

    I am emotionally wrung out. I am already pursuing an IT job in a district I worked for previously. I think it's the best decision for everyone concerned.

    NEXT POST:

    Just an update on my situation. I quit the Sunday after I wrote this. No two week warning, just sent an email and a resignation letter. After having a few months to look back on it, it was the right decision for me. Am I frustrated and sad after all of the work I put into getting this job? Very much so. But I think the alternative was to seriously compromise my mental health and possibly end up in the hospital.

    I keep thinking about what went wrong and I don't think it was all me. I have been subbing in another district since January and getting my confidence back. I can and do thrive in a classroom. I am hoping to teach again in the fall, although I don't know how my situation in November will impact my ability to get a teaching job. Right now, I'm just trying to see through to the other side.
     
  4. RobertTexasMath

    RobertTexasMath Rookie

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    Mar 12, 2013

    This is probably what you don't want to hear but I wouldn't be helpful if I lied and told you what you want to hear.
    If I were a principal there would be no way I could hire you. Leaving after ten weeks without giving any kind of notice puts a school in a difficult situation. Leaving mid year with notice is bad enough. You state in your first post that you can not guarantee it will not happen again.
    I don't know where you’re looking but in most places in the country there are many teachers looking for work. If I have 20 applicants it will be hard to choose someone I couldn't count on.
    If you’re really counting on teaching and not willing to consider another career you need to work on your confidence and the confidence that principal will have in you. I believe it will take longer than a year to do. Maybe you can look for some long term subbing jobs.
    There is no way to make it look pretty on your resume. You need to have some success to put along with it. It will be difficult because you need opportunities and I think it will be hard for you to find those.
     
  5. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    Mar 12, 2013

    In my state you would lose your license for doing that. I am surprised you can teach at all. Many of us finish out the year rather than lose our license. Basically, that kind of decision is always equated to ending your teaching career in my state so I do not know how to advise you on going back. Let us know how it turns out.
     
  6. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Mar 12, 2013

    while i have no answers, my thoughts are with you. i commend you for leaving in terms that it was dangerous to your health and, as you stated, the children deserved a consistent and constant teacher. it may not be the best thing and perhaps at least two weeks should have been given but that is the past. i do somewhat agree with pp that it may be hard for you to be rehired but if i were you i would focus on YOU and getting yourself at a place where you feel your best and are confident in what you do. i think you may need more time at subbing but that is just my opinion. what about being a ta?
    i wish you the best of luck and i hope that you find some peace.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 12, 2013

    Maybe leave the job off your resume...
     
  8. RobertTexasMath

    RobertTexasMath Rookie

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    Mar 13, 2013

    In most states the old district will need to be contacted by a hiring district in order for the certificate to be transferred. If you taught somewhere you can't hide it but you don't need to put it on your resume. You can tell them about it during the interview when you can explain it better in person. If you try to hide it, like some are suggesting, you will make things even worse.
    Health issues that prevent you from doing the job aren't private. The kids always come first. Put the kids first and let someone else have the job until you can be sure what happened last fall wount happen again. Those kids were the ones who suffered, they lost valuable towards thei education.
     
  9. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2013

    Never heard of this before. I would just leave it off my resume and don't even bother to mention it during interviews. It was only 10 weeks.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Mar 14, 2013

    In Texas, you would have to let the district you are going to work for call the old to get your teaching certificate and work history so you would be paid the correct step.

    I agree with Robert. Don't lie about your past. I would address the issue in a cover letter, but unless you are at least ninety percent sure that the next year won't be a repeat, I think you should wait another year.
     
  11. RobertTexasMath

    RobertTexasMath Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2013

    You just can't leave something off. Every application I have filled out ask for your work history, it is usually worded something like "must inlude the last 10 years". Most states do pay by a step type of system. I'm sure that information is available to H.R. through the state education agency and they likely check every new employee.
    Also every application I have fill out does ask if you have a medical condition that may effect the ability to perform the job your appling for.
    You can not just not mention these things. You have to directly lie, which sets you up for even bigger problems in the future. Maybe even legal problems.
    The condition stated, effects the ability to teach, which then makes the medical condition worse, which makes the ability to teach even worse and so on. Maybe third grade is less stressful than kindegarten but it will still be very stressful. Maybe with third grade it might be 15-20 weeks instead of 10 weeks for the medical condition to reach the same level.
     
  12. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2013

    Not every application asks for that. Most of the applications I've filled out don't ask for that. Not to mention that she was asking if she should put it on her resume, which she shouldn't if it's not asked.
     
  13. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    Mar 16, 2013

    I wouldn't even draw attention to it on a cover letter or a resume.

    What you have to worry about are the job applications.
     
  14. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    Mar 16, 2013

    A resume is not a job application. Actually putting down "health reasons" for "reason for leaving" is perfectly acceptable on a job application.
     
  15. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    Mar 16, 2013

    Poorly-worded answer. If you are ill, you cannot be the best teacher for your students. Being in the classroom when you shouldn't is NOT a good idea. Your answer seems to say that if you are sick or otherwise ill, be in the classroom no matter what; otherwise, get out of the way.

    However, there are also laws against discrimination on the basis of health and there is FMLA. I know from personal experience school districts break the law all the time about this. It doesn't make it right.
     
  16. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    Mar 16, 2013

    Really and truly you are lucky your teaching license wasn't suspended for failure to provide adequate notice. In my state, Oregon, you MUST give an employer a 60-day notice or risk suspension.

    Not good once your license has been "dinged."
     
  17. RobertTexasMath

    RobertTexasMath Rookie

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    Mar 16, 2013

    It's not just the fact that it is an illness. If it were something that required major surgery and then that person fully recovered, I wouldn't see a problem. The illness seems to be depression and anxiety attacks that were directly linked to the job. Even further had the students been third graders the illness might not even developed. The illness developed because penguinpc was teaching kindergarteners. I actually don't believe that but it is the story. For some people third graders might not be as stressful as kindergarteners but they will be stressful to just about anyone.

    The FMLA laws do have limits. A school isn't going to be required to hire someone who admits that he or she can't be sure their not going to abandon their kids after 10 weeks. If an chronic illness prevents you from being able to perform a job an employer has every legal right not to hire you. Why would you bring up FMLA laws and not no them. I have a family member in a wheel chair with MS. Maybe she should sue all the construction companies who will not hire her because of her illness. tonysam you know the law so well maybe you can represent her. Oh and your answer was worded extremely well. You should frame it.
     
  18. RobertTexasMath

    RobertTexasMath Rookie

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    Mar 16, 2013

    My earlier post mentioned that the resume is not the place to address it. The discussion moved on to the application. Oregon is so fortunate to have someone who knows everything. Please stay there.
     

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