This has been quite a crazy couple of weeks.
Since my last blog entry I have been signed off from work. What started as a thought that I might need just a couple of days off work turned into something with the potential for being more serious.
High blood pressure linked to stress is truly the ‘silent killer’. On that Monday when I called in sick, I was inches away from just popping a couple of pain killers to mask the beginnings of a headache and still soldiered on through the day at school. I would have ignored the heart ‘flutterings’, the badly thumping temples, and everything else going on in my body which was screaming at me to slow down.
I have some very tough decisions to make in the coming weeks. On the one hand, my employers are being exceptionally helpful and desire me to get well. I have kept them up to speed with what is going on and what the doctors have said. I am humbled by that fact that I work in an environment that is very very supportive.
On the other hand, being this ill is nothing new. Nearly 10 years ago I felt that it was time for me to leave the teaching profession. The way in which I wanted to work in the classroom just wasn’t feasible. I wanted to personalise my teaching to each student, regularly feedback to them so that they could even further exceed or reach their potential. But such a teacher puts in a 60+ hour week. My daughter’s Year 6 teacher was one such person. He was young, just married but his wife is a teacher too. They do not have any children. He would arrive in work at 7.30 am in the morning. He would still be at work at 7 pm. He would then bring further work home to mark each night, Monday to Thursday and do a further 2 hours. He would also have to work the weekends. Such a teacher is deemed by OFSTED as ‘outstanding’. He contributed to my daughter scoring above average marks for her SATS and through his hard work she is now coming on in leaps and bounds at senior school. I have recently heard of a Head Teacher is has now suffered kidney failure which has been linked to the pressures of his job role.
So all things considered, last week I began to consider the leap of faith which was to completely leave teaching behind.
On each occasion where I have attempted to work similar hours with being a single mum, I have fallen ill. Even doing part time hours now, I was trying to catch up with work I was unable to do at work by bringing the work home during my days off instead of resting. The end result was my doctor being blunt with me about the fact that at that continued rate I would have caused permanent damage to my internal organs (it didn’t help that such news caused my nose to bleed).
So I have had to stop dead in my tracks and re-evaluate these past weeks as to where I go from here.
I know that I will have to bring forward significantly, the fact that I will need to leave teaching for good. The uncertainty of what else is out there jobwise (better the devil you know) together with the fact that I do enjoy teaching on ….. some level, are factors that I will need to weigh up when finally letting work know what I am going to do.