I have been asked to share this story with you, to bring hope to those who might need it...it is not my story.
Ever since I can remember I have wanted to work with children. I remember playing schools with my teddies as a child and always knowing that being a teacher was the job for me, my destiny.
I loved my 4 year degree, going into different schools, studying all the different subjects and the best way to teach them. The planning, marking, tracking, preparing each lesson, each day, differentiating for each child.
I found it came naturally, I loved it and went into my first job so excited.
It wasn't all plain sailing, as any new job can be hard at times but I worked hard, got promoted and loved being there.
After 5 years we got a new head teacher and unfortunately it all went drastically down hill.
Looking back I have no idea why I didn't just leave sooner but I felt I owed it to the school, the parents and most importantly, the kids. I loved them as if they were my own and I worked so hard to ensure they had the best education possible.
The new head ruffled a lot of feathers very early on, but that often happens. What wasn't normal was her definite dislike of certain people. I thought I was imagining it at first as I have never had a problem with a boss before, or anyone really. I would consider myself an honest, open, friendly person who works hard and gets the job done. What is there to dislike?!!
I started to discover there was A LOT to dislike about me and she seemed on a mission to make my life a living hell. She turned staff against me, invited people to meetings but wouldn't invite me and then blame me for not turning up. I was put on a disciplinary because I hadn't handed my grades in, in time but they hadn't sent me the system in which to do it until the last minute and then they changed my password so I couldn't login. I was never going to be able to submit my data even though it was done.
I was asked to take on more and more work that wasn't mine but if I said no, I paid for it the next day with extra duties, extra childrensent to me and being totally ignored by oretty much everyone. It was so terrible to feel like I was invisible and worthless.
It was a constant battle with clever, calculated bullying, which wasn't easy to prove to the unions. It just became my word against hers and by then she had a whole gang of them who swore she was the best thing since sliced bread.
Other teachers were scared of her so wouldn't stick up for me, even though they knew it wasn't right. To be honest I don't blame them, they could see what I was going through and they wouldn't want it to be them.
I never thought an adult could be bullied as I was experiencing. I thought naively that it stopped when you left school but I guess those bullies grow up too and just can't stop what they have always done.
I started having panic attacks, I couldn't concentrate, I wasn't sleeping or eating well and I felt like I couldn't get out of bed.
Not just wouldn't get up, I physically couldn't one day, so I didn't. I stayed in bed one morning and I cried and cried. I seriously though there was no point in carrying on as I was obviously such a terrible person who was useless at her job and not worth any support or care from anyone.
I didn't get one phone call from my school, nothing.
Luckily my neighbour saw my car hadn't moved and knocked on my door in the afternoon. She shouted up and didn't give up until I stumbled downstairs and pretty much fell into her arms.
She called the school and said I wouldn't be in for the next few days. She rang the drs and took me for an emergency appointment. I was diagnosed with depression, given some anti depressants and put on a waiting list for counselling.
My neighbour stayed over that night and I don't even remember . The whole day was a blur. I was rock bottom, in a fog so thick, I couldn't see anything, I couldn't think straight and I was starting to just feel completely numb too.
What was the point?
I was 29 and I had just lived for my job. I know that's not ideal looking back, but I had loved it. But when something goes wrong with the only thing you have and love, your world does feel very empty.
With the help from my friends, family and wonderful neighbour I decided to not go back to school. I was off sick and then managed to leave without having to see anyone again.
I was conflicted with guilt for the children who I loved but I was replaced easily enough and after a while Im sure I was pretty much forgotten.
You see it might have been so important to me but it is actually just a job and I am not the only one who can do it. The environment was toxic but I escaped and even though I don't have a reference, I have experience and I have moved forwards to find I can still live, but just in a different way.
I am now a tutor and a gardener and it is a wonderful balance of teaching and being outside. It doesn't pay as much as I was on but I have a life. I have a weekend. I have evenings. I actually go out with friends now and enjoy doing things because I have the energy to do them. I have a boyfriend and a dog and I am most importantly HAPPY.
No job is worth what I endured for much longer than what I should have done. They broke my heart and soul until I was a shell of a person, physically and mentally done.
I pray that no one finds themselves in this position and if you do, get out sooner rather than later. Don't leave it until you are broken. Look after yourself, change jobs, you can do it.
Please speak to Helen if you need help to have the confidence to change and move forwards.
Please call the Dr's if you are feeling so low.
Please call a friend or family and let them know. Allow yourself to be loved and cared for.
You are not alone.
Thank you for listening to my story ❤️