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August


Schools Out for Summer! Thursday August 4, 2016

I've just completed my first year working in a secondary school. I can honestly say it's the most intense, relentless environment I have ever worked in - and I worked in mental health for nine years! I don't teach (I bow down in awe to those of you that do) but there's something about the pace and unpredictability of a school; the sheer size, the amount of students and staff, that makes it so, well, exhausting!

Oh yes, I know, I was one of those scoffing onlookers too. What on earth were these people, with their six week summer holiday and endless half term's moaning about? Yet here I am, having clawed my way to the end of term, half crazed and delirious. My goal most days has been to turn up and stay awake – anything else was a bonus.

And yes, the holidays do appear attractive (apart from the scandalous cost of actually having one!) There's some comfort knowing you're never more than 6 weeks away from a break.

But the demons in our mind don't book in their visits according to when we can accommodate them. They pay no attention to availability. They pounce, unannounced, without warning, at entirely inopportune moments. And always uninvited. Sounds remarkably similar to Ofsted actually.

In every other job I've had, where I (not the government) determine when I have my holidays, I've been able to take a day or two off if this happens. If I've felt my mood start to dip, I took a short break, applied some TLC; just took action before things deteriorated.

I can't do that now - and it's unsettling. If I'm struggling, other than ringing in sick, which isn't always necessary (or indeed helpful when you want to at least try to carry on) there's no options. These are the dates I work from and till, and basically "all mini meltdowns must be saved for the designated holiday time please"

I jest of course, and this isn't a pitch to feel sorry for staff working in schools (honestly!) We're each responsible for our own choices and currently I choose to stay. Just as if I feel it's not working for me, I can choose to leave. BUT... my experience has reminded me that what one person sees as a help, another could see as a hindrance. We shouldn't judge or begrudge. That old adage about walking in someone else's shoes is as relevant now as it's always been. Even school shoes.

Fiona
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Hopeful One Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 7:15am

Hi Fiona- stepping out of one's comfort zone is always a challenge but ultimately rewarding because as someone once said " Nothing grows in the comfort zone" Treat it as as an opportunity.

The Joke Squdron's raid this morning found this . As you know the Squadron believes in the power of laughter as a cheap way to boost one's mood.

Mrs. Jones was reading a letter at breakfast. Suddenly she looked up suspiciously at her husband. "Henry," she said, "I've just received a letter from my mother saying she isn't accepting our invitation to come and stay, as we do not appear to want her. What does she mean by that? I told you to write and say that she was to come at her own convenience. You did write, didn't you?" "Er, yes, I did," said the husband. "But I couldn't spell convenience, so I used risk instead."

Duma Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 9:11am

Hi Fiona. There's one job that I know I simply could not do - work in a secondary school. Kudos for surviving a whole year!

Cheers, Duma.

Jul Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 9:25am

Yes well done Fiona. The one good thing about my job, which was in academia actually was that I could take a morning off here and there or whatever and not have to explain myself if I felt I couldn't face going into work. I always made up the time and more. Jul xx.

The Gardener Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 9:42am

Very interesting, Fiona - and raises the real conundrum (can you raise a conundrum?) of how to switch off from a demanding, stressful job. We are into the second generation of our family involved in market gardening. This involves huge involvement with employement laws, health and safety, all tax matters, before you start the hazards of producing crops, coping with weather (horrendous this year) then the vagaries of the market. So, why the hell do we do it? Because, with land near London no other product will make enough money - not enough land for corn, animals out of the question near London - vandalism and other hazards. Coming to the point - when we get to the end of the season we ALL have found it extremely difficult to stop. Can't wait till late October/early November when no more crops to harvest - then inertia sets in - and sometimes depression - routine stops, you're in a vacuum. You can't take up an evening class, they start in September and we're still in full production. If you could shut the gates and put up a notice 'Gone to Thailand, or anywhere cheap and sunny. till March'. I, for a very short time, saw teachers as the 'lucky ones' week-ends off, long holidays - and able to take said holidays with THEIR children. Then my niece taught in a school with a high number of immigrant children and the huge amount of extra work involved, a grand-son worked in a 'sink' school, and none of our family were 'perfect' pupils (I think they'd all admit that). The worst was the physics master at sons' grammar school who virtually threatened me with GBH for having giving birth to one of our children in order to torture inoffensive masters. Has anybody in a like stress situation found a perfect recipe for 'winding down?'

patricia Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 9:54am

Well done Fiona, you certainly need a break, I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to deal with a classful of children, enough to drive anyone dareI I say "round the bend" Hope you can find some peace.
Not heard the Eleanor Roosevelt quote before very thought provoking, I will try and remember to listen to my heart more and not dismiss it as rubbish! I am my own worst enemy.

Dympna Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 10:37am

Finally, like you I have also just completed my first full years working in a secondary school and understand the tiredness and lurching from half terms to holidays. I had so looked forward to these summer holidays, long walks, days out, a break away. However, 2 days after breakfast up my husband fell off his bike and broke his hip and elbow. He will be fine eventually but in the meantime I have to look after him, as well as the rest of the family. No holiday, just a change from one set of demands to different demands on my time. I range from angry, to tearful but in the end I just get on with it, see friends when I can, moan at them and then have a laugh about life, making plans etc. I can't face speaking to my mother who will demand I be cheerful and say 'It could always be worse'. Yes, she's right but from where I'm standing, it's bad enough!

Dympna Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 10:37am

Finally, like you I have also just completed my first full years working in a secondary school and understand the tiredness and lurching from half terms to holidays. I had so looked forward to these summer holidays, long walks, days out, a break away. However, 2 days after breakfast up my husband fell off his bike and broke his hip and elbow. He will be fine eventually but in the meantime I have to look after him, as well as the rest of the family. No holiday, just a change from one set of demands to different demands on my time. I range from angry, to tearful but in the end I just get on with it, see friends when I can, moan at them and then have a laugh about life, making plans etc. I can't face speaking to my mother who will demand I be cheerful and say 'It could always be worse'. Yes, she's right but from where I'm standing, it's bad enough!

Dympna Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 10:39am

Aarrgh, posted too soon, should have started with Fiona and not breakfast but breaking up. First post, apologies..

Dympna Thu, Aug 4th 2016 @ 10:39am

Aarrgh, posted too soon, should have started with Fiona and not breakfast but breaking up. First post, apologies..

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