Teachers, Anxiety and Anti-Depressants

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherman1, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Mar 21, 2014

    Although this article comes from "across the pond" it also rings true here in the United States. http://antidepaware.co.uk/lessons-to-be-learned/

    I can honestly say that, without anti-anxiety medication, I could never have stayed in teaching as long as I did. Having a lorazapam tucked into my wallet saved my sanity (and my job) on numerous occasions over the years.

    Since I retired over a year ago I haven't needed them at all....:)

    Steve

    Here's another article (2012) in the Times Educational Supplement called Pushed to the Brink: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6243035

    From this article:
    Ironically, Illingworth says, the teachers most likely to buckle under the pressure of stress and overwork are likely to be the high achievers - perfectionists who are anxious not to short-change their pupils.

    “Demands on teachers have continually gone up, while their perception is that control over their working lives has diminished,” he says. “A lot of teachers can cope with that. But the most conscientious teachers are chasing a list of ‘to do’ things that are frankly impossible. The job is never finished if you are conscientious. If they are not working, they are thinking about working.

    “If you look at the teachers who have committed suicide and what people have said about them - ‘always available, nothing too much trouble’ - this is perfectionism. But it can be at the expense of their health - even their lives.”


    And another one from England entitled The Darkest Term: Teacher Stress and Depression from a few months ago:http://teachingbattleground.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/the-darkest-term-teacher-stress-and-depression/

    And yes, another one from England entitled Why do So Many Teachers Leave Teaching: http://www.learningspy.co.uk/education/why-do-so-many-teachers-leave-teaching/
    Check out the 150 responses from teachers to this article. Many seem to be from Australia, and they're in a similar position.]
     
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  3. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Mar 21, 2014

    What is the Ofsted that is mentioned in the above article?

    Anticipating this question, here's what Wikipedia had to say:

    System of inspection 2005-2012

    In September 2005 a new system of short notice inspections came into being. Under this system the senior leadership of each school were strongly encouraged to complete a Self Evaluation Form (SEF) on a continual basis, which required them to be aware of strengths and areas for development. Inspections were generally two- or three-day visits every three years, with two days notice. They focussed on the "central nervous system" of the school – examining how well the school was managed, and what processes were in place to ensure standards of teaching and learning improve; the school leadership and management were expected to be aware of everything in the SEF. The SEF served as the main document when planning the inspection, and was crucial in evaluating the quality of leadership and management and the school's capacity to improve.[19][21]
    Poster outside village school in Gilsland, referring to an Ofsted inspection report.

    After an inspection of a school, Ofsted published a report on the school on its website. In addition to written comments on a number of areas, schools were assessed on each area and overall on a 4-point scale: 1 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 3 (Satisfactory) and 4 (Inadequate). Schools rated Outstanding or Good might not be inspected again for five years, while schools judged less favourably were inspected more frequently, and might receive little or no notice of inspection visits.[21]

    Figures published in March 2010, showed that revised inspection criteria, which were introduced in September 2009, resulted in a reduction from 19% to 9% in the number of schools judged to be outstanding, and an increase from 4% to 10% in the number of schools judged to be inadequate.[22]

    Current system of inspection

    A framework for section 5 inspections of academies and maintained schools was introduced from January 2012, and replaced with another new framework in September 2012. Public consultation was undertaken,[23] and Ofsted prepared for the new framework after piloting a series of inspections across the country. Among other changes, the new system relabelled the "Satisfactory" category as "Requires Improvement", with an expectation that schools should not remain at that level.[24]
    Special measures

    Sometimes a school is placed into special measures if it is judged as 'inadequate' (Grade 4) in one or more areas and if the inspectors have decided it does not have the capacity to improve without additional help. Schools placed into special measures receive intensive support from local authorities, additional funding and resourcing, and frequent reappraisal from Ofsted until the school is no longer deemed to be failing. Furthermore, the senior managers and teaching staff can be dismissed and the governing body may be replaced by an appointed Interim Executive Board (IEB). Schools which are failing but where inspectors consider there is capacity to improve are given a Notice to Improve (NtI).[25][26]
     
  4. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Mar 21, 2014

    This is one of the comments to the Why Teachers Leave Teaching story above.
    It's coming from a 7 "veteran"....

    It’s rather ironic that I found this post whilst looking for stories of how people have successfully left teaching. I teach Maths in England and have been looking for a viable way out of teaching virtually since I finished my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education, masters?) 7 years ago.
    I could write a multi-thousand word essay on the evils I have encountered within these 7 years, suffice to say that after 2 years in my first school I was having suicidal thoughts on my drive in to work each day – just so I wouldn’t have to face it. I did supply (substituting) for about 6 months after that and seeing how different schools operated kept me in the profession. I took up another permanent post and rediscovered the reason why I’d gone into teaching in the first place. I was rated regularly Outstanding and Good with outstanding features. I climbed the ladder and was appointed as second in department. Slowly, however, things changed. What had once been the criteria for outstanding was now only good with a similar slide down the scale. But it was ok as I was still mostly Good or at least Satisfactory with good features. Then satisfactory wasn’t good enough any more and was changed to “requires improvement” the most pernicious and degrading phrase the government and Ofsted have ever come up with. So I came under intense scrutniy again. Labelled a failing teacher. Told that I wasnt working hard enough, I needed to commit more to the job to meet the grade.
    I spiralled again. If you’re told your crap often enough, you begin to believe it yourself, it becomes a self-fulfilling statement. Every waking moment (at home and at school) was filled with guilt that I wasn’t chipping away at the mountain of work created by my job. I was having my home-life with my family ruined by my job because, if I wasn’t working, I was worrying about work.
    It wasn’t until 3 members of my family were diagnosed with cancer within 6 months of each other that things broke. I was told I couldn’t let these “extraneous events” affect my work. I walked away. I was willing to commit financial suicide – bankruptcy, losing the house, the car, all personal possessions and permanent credit blacklisting rather than face another day in job where i was not even recognized as a person just to pay the bills.
    Why do teachers leave the profession? Because of **** like this. We are people not automatons. We should not be expected to be a teacher 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We should not be expected to commit our entire lives to it at the expense of every other aspect of lving. It is a job, it pays the bills. We should not have to face constant degradation by our managers, by the media, by the government and by the pupils.
    I now teach in an FE college (where the pressures are slightly less although on the increase – particularly in my subject) but it is merely a stopgap until I can find a financially viable route out. I hate this job and I actively discourage anybody I encounter from even considering teaching in this country. Because of this I will never been anything other than a “requires improvement” teacher. I will not allow my home life to be ruined by the ridiculous demands of a job which has no positive aspects for me anymore.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 21, 2014

    Are you asking a question? What kinds of responses are you seeking? Are you looking for members to 'come out' to you? And why would they?
     
  6. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Mar 21, 2014

    I don't necessarily want anyone to respond. It's informative.
     
  7. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    Mar 21, 2014

    Teaching is difficult. Many people are not cut out for this profession. Many people believe they're cut out for this profession but are not.

    This is no different than many other professions with the exception of the general public's familiarity with teachers.
     
  8. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    Mar 21, 2014

    my teaching mentors all advise me to leave the work at school and always make time for family.

    They are a great bunch of teachers who are willing to fill in and help each other out when we have to leave for personal or educational reasons. For example, I have permission to leave school early and take cupcakes to my daughter's school for her 6th birthday next week during my planning period. one of the other teachers says he will cover my 30 minute duty so I can stay and celebrate with her.

    I think it makes a different when you have a group of coworkers to support one another and not feel isolated.

    Our principal encourages us to put our own family first and then to see the school as the "scorpion family"
     
  9. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Mar 21, 2014

    Sounds like you're in a great place, SE.
    Cherish it......
     
  10. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Mar 22, 2014

    Pardon my ignorance, but what do you mean by a scorpion family?
     
  11. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    Mar 22, 2014

    lol that is the school mascot. so its like saying that the school members: students, faculty, parents etc are part of a family or greater community. I've always believed that we should work together to educate our youth and I've been blessed to find a group of people who share the ideals and motivation to do the same.

    It really makes a difference if you have the support and confidence of others you work with.
     
  12. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Mar 22, 2014

    I left the classroom to focus on tutoring and I'm much more relaxed and in better spirits. There is zero pressure from the agency I work for as an independent consultant. Yes, I'd like to make more money, but the hourly rate is very good and there is virtually no take-home work at all. The kids are great and I love working with them and seeing results.
     
  13. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Mar 23, 2014

    Well, I have a dragon family then!
     
  14. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Mar 23, 2014

    I posted on here awhile back practically having a nervous breakdown. Things have DRAMATICALLY improved because I refuse to take things home with me. It gives me evenings and weekends to recuperate--and not fight and fuss with my husband and kids because I'm trying to do schoolwork with them climbing all over me or demanding my attention. Before, I only graded and planned at home. I used my brief planning period to clean, reorganize, copies, etc. Now, I let the cleaning slide and bust my tail to make sure I do all grading and planning at school--even if it means I stay after 30 or 40 minutes each day. Just having my weekends to not do prep and planning has been a tremendous stress reliever.

    I also incorporated much more student-graded assignments. Saves a LOT of time.

    I'm also back on Effexor, but it hasn't had enough time to REALLY take too much effect. I'm sure it is helping by now, but I was already feeling better just by having my weekends back.

    I still dislike teaching elementary and math, but it is manageable when I am calm, cool, and collected.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 23, 2014

    Good to hear, Adamnjakes!
     

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