Victoria’s story: how I fell back in love with teaching

Being a teacher or working in education isn’t always easy. Recent research has suggested that those in these professions endure greater job-related stress than others.

Find out how our helpline service helped Victoria to fall back in love with her teaching career!

Your stories / 3 mins read

82%

of education staff describe themselves as stressed

I started working at a free school that was only a year old. The Humanities Department had very little organised. The workload was constant.

The emphasis on data, assessment and progress was relentless. I just couldn't meet the expectations in the time available each week, both in and out of working hours.

It continued like this for two years. Despite asking for support to identify where I could cut it down, I received no guidance. I became exhausted and as a result broke down in front of a class. I went on the Easter break but when I returned, I stepped into my classroom and instantly knew I couldn't be there.

I went to find someone to speak to and just broke down in tears. I couldn't explain it. I was sent home for the rest of the day.

The next day arrived and I didn't want to go back. I knew that if I didn't speak to someone, I would never go back to work.

I called the Education Support free helpline

I needed someone to talk to and searched online for support for teachers and discovered Education Support the helpline.

I can honestly say that the support I received from the Education Support has kept me in teaching.

I rang the helpline and received what felt like a shoulder to cry on. My emotions came out, I cried, a lot, but the counsellor listened and tried to keep me calm. She was fantastic. We ended up talking about a lot, not just the stresses I felt from work and the anxiety attacks I was experiencing as a result but things from my past and how I'd dealt with them.

She made me feel more positive about the fact that I've dealt with stresses in life before and overcame them and I could do so again. I think I spoke to her for almost 2 hours and at no point did I feel she wanted to end the phone call until she knew I was calm and safe. Eventually I reached this point with great thanks to the counsellor.

What was the impact of the call?

I returned to work the next day after seeing the doctor with a more positive outlook. I was going to move school and just had to get through the next two terms.

I wouldn't have gone back the next day without the support I received from the Education Support helpline.

I knew that if I needed someone unbiased and completely neutral to talk to over the time left at the school, I could turn to the helpline. This gave me strength.

I can honestly say that the support I received from the Education Support has kept me in teaching. Without that first phone call I can guarantee I would have left teaching. I would never have had the strength to see a doctor and take time off to get myself back on track.

How has your situation changed?

I started at a new school in September and was clear with them about my health and experiences over the last year. I feel they are completely supportive and have a positive focus on staff wellbeing which in turn makes me feel valued and confident in my ability to deal with the stresses of the job.

I now take my wellbeing more seriously and aim to look after myself in order to give the best I can to my students.

What would you say to anyone working in education who is in a similar position?

Please make use of the support available! Sometimes it's hard to speak to people you are close to and even harder to speak to a stranger. But the counsellors at the Education Support are fantastic! They listen, support and guide to help you to discover solutions that are best for you.

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