‘I was overwhelmed but my school wasn’t equipped to support those of us who were struggling with stress’

It’s the end of a long day and I feel emotionally drained after spending part of the afternoon sitting in the head’s office in tears – and then spending much of my evening in the same state. Not because of anything I’ve done and not because of any one thing: it’s everything and nothing at the same time. I realise that I am suffering from stress, complete with palpitations, racing heart and feelings of inadequacy. A primary school teacher writes in Tes

I’ve recently returned to teaching after taking some time off to raise my daughter. I do love teaching and I thought that things might be a little easier after two years away. But, if anything, the job feels even harder now.

As the latest crying fit was the second incident within school hours, I decided that it was time to ask for help from the headteacher. This took a lot of courage and I thought I’d feel much better once I’d shared everything, but the headteacher gave me more things to think about, so now I’m even more worried.

She asked the same questions I have been asking myself as I lay awake in bed, then latched onto one or two issues she felt she could deal with. And then came a brusque “right, do you think you can go back to class or do you need a minute?”

I was still in tears and my eyes were red, but I felt compelled to say “yes”. I just splashed some water on my eyes and hoped no one would notice.

The headteacher asked if I have any “me time”, to which I laughed in response. Every spare moment I have once my daughter is in bed is spent doing school work. So, where does the “me time” come from? Out of my daughter’s time? Or out of the working-at-home time, which barely allows me to keep up with the workload?

I consider myself to be a strong person. This feeling of helplessness is hard for me to deal with. I’m not used to asking for support – and when that request for help is not handled very well, it only makes things worse.

Read the full article ‘I was overwhelmed but my school wasn’t equipped to support those of us who were struggling with stress’

Have you sought help from your headteacher and found a similar repornse or were they understanding and helpful? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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