Teaching, Anxiety and Workload
Posted by mds
24th Nov 2015

As a teacher of many, many years now, I can safely state the following

1) Teaching is a career I love

2) Schools are places I loathe

3) It does not surprise me we have a teacher shortage.

I suffer from anxiety - particularly brought on from pressure. This is not an ideal for a teacher these days. I love my job, educating students, enthusing about my subject, feeling I am making a difference - This is what i wanted from a career.

However schools are not places that seem to care about mental health . . . Let me re-phrase that - They do care about the mental health of their students (as they should). The school I work in has an amazing mental health system in place to support pupils - I am in awe of what they have managed.

What I meant was that the mental health of their staff seems to be a very, very low priority. They just pile on the pressure. You can spend time planning, teaching, marking and pushing to improve yourself as a teacher, helping students learn and advance, but if you don't hit their hoops they will not accept this as good enough.

They will tell you it is OFSTED pressures that cause this, and it may be in some way, but much of what OFSTED state is designed to reduce the workload of teachers and schools just ignore them.

For example today i heard about an unannounced marking survey. I have been marking well, so i should be OK, . . . . but . . . now consider what this does to a staff member with extreme anxiety.

It puts me on edge, I dig my nails into my leg and side to stop myself form going nuts. Going into school i know i will retrace my steps at least 5 times as OCD kicks in and leads me to get frustrated.

While my intelligence understands the reasons - but my anxiety over rules this by explaining that it is simply another way to show how bad you are at your job.

Then my self loathing sets in - You are worthless, useless, rubbish, why bother continuing - like a low engine rumble at the back of my mind constantly beating me down until I can take no more - and by now i now that insomnia will set in and I will be awake for hours tonight trying to calm myself down - failing and giving more fuel to the engine of doom chugging away in my mind.

This will go on for weeks until the sampling happens, but by then, because schools are what they are it will have been replaced 7-8 times with worse and worse issues.

I was asked the other day if i would recommend teaching as a career . . . . I had to think hard about that one . . .

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