Hello Lovely Readers
Some of you may know that I am a trainee primary school teacher. In January I was involved in my final year placement, which would have enabled me to graduate. Unfortunately, I ended up failing my placement. What does that mean? It means I haven’t graduated. It’s been a really difficult time and it still is extremely hard for me to talk about it, however I feel it is something I need to talk about.
My placement school was horrific to say the least. There is nothing worse than being in a place working where people don’t believe in you and constantly put you down. I think this definitely made me consider the importance of being in a supportive work environment. It’s something we all need to value. It’s troubling to think that people think that everything is a competition and teaching should be a career that is the opposite of this.
We need to work together to ensure children are given the best education possible. In addition to this you need to be part of a team that shares in the same ideas, otherwise they cannot be implemented consistently. I believe the team I worked with during my placement time saw me as a threat and didn’t want me to succeed. I worked with a teacher who no longer wanted to be in the profession, and as a trainee it’s not particularly motivating to be around that energy.
Naturally, these events caused me to fall into a depressive state. It’s not something I am particularly confident talking about, although I do believe that with the current debate on mental health it is important to ensure that we develop this attitude of feeling it’s ok to talk about. I felt like giving up, I cried all the time and I felt like I was working myself so hard that no matter what I did it still wasn’t enough. I barely slept and then I was up at 6am and didn’t even think about sleeping till 11.30pm. Working for those hours wasn’t healthy, but I felt I had to do that because it was expected of me.
For those of you going into teaching, maybe you’re starting on a course at University this September, please try to find a way of managing your time. I believe that as teachers there will be times where we have to say “I’m not finished but it will have to do” rather than work until you physically can’t anymore. Unfortunately, I fully believe it is one of those jobs that is never finished. Another tip as a trainee teacher, ensure that your mentor is doing everything they should be. If you have a problem with them and maybe you feel you aren’t getting the support you should be, then speak up. If you’re still not getting the support then, please see the student support centre at your University. It’s their duty to help students, they’re on your side.
Ask for Help
What I’m trying to tell you all is that it’s not ok, whatever profession or school your in to feel this way ever. You shouldn’t have to be treated like this and you shouldn’t feel like you have to keep this a secret and close to your chest. Failing my placement was the worst thing that ever happened to me. It was hard for me to accept (I still don’t accept it) what happened when there was no way I could’ve done well in that environment. My tutor who was meant to support me questioned the state of my mental health in front of my co-workers. This is an example of bad practice no matter what role you are in you can’t say things like this to people.
If you have experienced something similar to me and you feel your University aren’t helping you are meant to speak to student support. When I did this I found a person who could sympathise and listen to everything I had to say. They understood and agreed that I should not have had to deal with this and there was lots of things done during my placement that were wrong.
I finally got the courage and the strength to lodge a formal complaint. It’s something I needed to do, for closure. Never let anyone tell you there isn’t anything you can do and you have to just accept it and move on. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly then speak up. Tell someone how you feel. I believe that if I had spoken up earlier and gone to my union representative I would have been given the help I needed.
Watching my friends graduate without me was something I never thought I’d have to witness. It was extremely hard to watch. On the one hand, I was happy for them and on the other, I wondered why this had to happen to me. What did I do to deserve this? These thoughts made me feel guilty, but I had to power through to ensure that I didn’t ruin their day. It wasn’t their fault I failed and they would always support me and in December I know they’ll be there to watch me graduate and I can’t tell you how good it will feel to show all those people they were wrong. I can do this and I was meant to be a fantastic teacher.
What happens now?
Well I will resit my placement at a new, supportive school. I’ve already been volunteering there and the huge change in attitudes there is phenomenal. Everyone is so positive and they include me in their decisions. As a trainee it is important to feel like you are part of the school and not just another visitor. Never be afraid to get involved in a school, you will find it is much more rewarding than stepping back.
I hope this post can be of some help to some of you. It’s important to talk about depression and whilst I feel I am much better than I was, sometimes I still have those difficult days where I don’t want to leave my bed. I know now that it’s not healthy to keep the curtains shut and sit in the dark. Never let someone reduce you to be someone you’re not, you’re worth more than that so continue to live your life and soon enough it will get better. If you want to comment below I will try to reply to you all if it is possible for me to do so. You can also contact me via my blog twitter page, all my links are below. I’ll leave you with this little quote I love.
Let’s stay positive!