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Help im too stressed out


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#1 sarah buxton

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 09:08 AM

Hi sarah again I know ive been asking for help a lot and I really appreciate it. Many of you have replied seem to have a wealth of ideas and experience. So can you help me with my current situation as im struggling to find the time to do everying at present.

Basically how do Hof D etc etc find the time to do what is needed? Im in my 3rd year of teaching and am finding myself with so much to do. Our HoD left in July and we nolonger have one. The dept is unusual we have an NQT, 2 graduate trainees, the head of 6th form who teachers 2 lessons of yr 9, the head of year 10 who teacher upper school only and me. I have found myself soting everyone out, planning cover for people who are busy elsewhere in the school for lessons, rushing to finish this terms schemes for new staff ( prior to this, it was a case of we are doing med realms teach what you like) helping with lesson planning etc.........

I find myself in school at 7:30 and leaving at 6ish. My own lesson planning is less than brilliant as I seem to have no time left.... Will it get easier as the term goes on? Or we do eventually get a HoD? I remember the first place3ment of my PGCE do garduate trainees have a steeper learing curve on the job? Most of all with a full teaching load how do i manae my time better as if this keeps up my hubbie will KILL me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Any help even, strange, ironic or downright micky taking will be appreciated. Cheers a stressed out Sarah B :(

#2 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 09:55 AM

Hi Sarah,

Commiserations. This sounds like a v. stressful situation. It's easy for me to say from a distance, but you are taking on far too much responsibility for the situation. You may be the only F-T member of the Dept with experience but that doesn't mean you have to take everything on board.

Can the Heads of 6th Form and of year 10 be made the mentors of 2 of the inexperienced people, leaving you to look after the one?

The mad 'sorting out' of cover etc should settle down once the term gets back into routine, but even so I don't see that you should be made responsible for that for any more than a week or so.

You will have to learn to say 'No' to things. I know (from experience) this is almost impossible to do, but to stay sane it's important that you don't take on responsibility for everything.

Do you have timetabled departmental meetings? If not, try to get one organised at which these problems are aired and discussed and at which people in the Dept agree to areas of responsibility being delineated.

Talk to a member of the SMT ('officially' rather than a casual conversation in the Staff Room) about the situation if it continues for more than a week or two and press for the appointment of a new Head of Dept - at Christmas?

Try to set limits on the hours when you will be in school and stick to them. If your husband isn't a teacher too he may well not understand the pressures you are not under at the moment, but you can't allow the job to take oveer your life completely. In the long run no one will thank you the for it.

On the plus side hang on to the fact that the frenetic activity at the beginning of any new school year does usually settle down after a couple of weeks so the light is at the end of the tunnel.

Stay cool

B)

#3 Stephen Drew

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 10:07 AM

Ok!

Here is a selecton of thoughts, suggestions and questions.

1) Are you being paid as HoD for acting in the role on a temporary basis?

2) If you are not being paid to act as HoD, then your SMT CANNOT expect you to do the level of work you are doing for more than a couple of weeks. We are all prepared to do extra work to cover missing teachers for a little while, but not in the longer term.

3) If you are not being paid to be acting HoD go to your SMT and state the position. Explain exactly what you are being required to do and tell them what you want. You have two options:

a) "I will act as HoD for this term until a replacement comes, but I want the money and reduced timetable that goes with that job."

B) "I do not want to HoD for this term. It is not my job, so someone will have to come into the department from a senior positon to sort things out. There are too many inexperienced teachers for me to cope with."

Of course they may not want you to act as HoD, and in that case you can remove yourself from the role, but in a more sensible way.

If you do decide to offer yourself as acting HoD, then you may have to accept that the 7.30am til 6pm day will be your norm in the short term. If you are going to have to plan for the whole department this is what it will probably take.

4) Get worksheets and materials from the schoolhistory website. Lift them wholesale and write your lessons around them. Do not worry if your lessons seem to not be covering enough and you are going to fall behind the S of W used in the past. You ARE in a less than postive working situation, and to produce lessons for all years at this stage is tough enough.

5) Use exercises straight out of the textbooks. I know we all rubbish therse most of the time, but they can be used and will cut down on planning time.

6) HOLD DEPARTMENTAL PLANNING MEETINGS. Get the whole of the department (probably not the Head of Sixth Form due to time) round a table once every week and brainstorm ideas. Lesson plan together. This is one of the best methods of getting everyone on board and making sure they all understand what is needed. You will doubtless still have to do most of the donkey work, but it will make it easier.

7) Seek out friendly HoDs and talk to them. Ask them what you think are the stupid questions as well as the hard ones. They will not mind! They will understand the school situation and many will be only to glad to help.

8) Consider contacting the Head of History at some local schools. They may be able to come and see you after school one day, or vice versa. This is a more local contact and could be extremely useful.

I could say it will all go away, but by the look of things it will not. The most likely scenario is that you will get a new HoD in January, so you will have to do the job until then. If you think you may be ready for the challenge, then now is your chance to show it.

In addition, people such as myself have lesson plans that I am sure we could e-mail to you. If you want to e-mail me using the www link at the bottom of this post, I can doubtless send you some of my specific lesson plans that might be of use to you.

Good luck!

:angry: :( :o
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

#4 A Finemess

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 10:09 AM

Seems to me that this is a completely unacceptable siituation. You need to talk to your Head Teacher or Depute and make clear how bad the the situation is and how it is affecting you. Your employer (and also its managers) has a responsibility to look after you - "duty of care" is the correct term. If your health suffers as a result of this situation, it will cost them far more in the long run. Speak to your union by all means and get some advice.

In the meantime 1. Learn to say"No". Not apologetically, simply say "NO, that is not my job. Have you spoken to ...?". 2. Prioritize. Your job is to teach your classes. Focus on that and when you have anything else left on the "To do list" after all your time is used up, show your list to your Head or Depute.3. Stop this nonsense of staying in school til God knows when. You'll damage your health and noone will benefit from that!

Take it easy!
“All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out otheir dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”.(T.E. Lawrence)
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#5 sarah buxton

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 12:14 PM

thanks guys, you ahve given me a lot of good advice, and promptly too. My dept meeting with the HoF is tommow so i will try to act upon the advice given. I know i just do things because they need doing and it is easier to do them than ask for help. I know its wrong.. all I can say is I will try to do better in future. I have made a list of priorities, with my teaching at the top. Hopefully once the new staff get in to it things will be better... Once again thanks you have helped me and brought clarity to my addled thought patterns

cheers sarah :)

#6 sarah buxton

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Posted 09 September 2002 - 05:11 PM

hi just to let people know, the dept meeting went well. I spoke to my HoF and explained things. He will be around more to help with new staff queries. Im going to contine doing day to day admin stuff such as resources, stationery etc..........................................................but if i have too much on i will see him or deptuy head. A HofD will be advertised for Jan. Thanks for all advice i feel better now sarah :lol: :D

#7 Andrew Field

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Posted 09 September 2002 - 05:48 PM

..and now you can go for the job in January as you've shown such commitment and success while taking on the job on a temporary basis. B)


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#8 sarah buxton

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Posted 09 September 2002 - 07:28 PM

humor i like it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But seriously with such an inexperienced dept, will they want a HoD with 2 and an bit years experience??????????????????????? In other words is it worth a consideration on my part? Sarah

#9 Andrew Field

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Posted 09 September 2002 - 07:40 PM

I am certain your experience in the school will help you enormously. Your courageous determination and hard work in keeping the department going through a time of immense difficulty cannot fail to show you in a good light.

As with all jobs though, there's always something extra involved - you offer experience in school, proven expertise and (often most importantly) a lower wage bill than someone with more teaching years...


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