Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ask Tom

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ask Tom

Article excerpt

Teacher, TES Connect blogger and behaviour expert Tom Bennett puts on his agony uncle hat and answers your education questions

I am just finishing my training year and have a job lined up for next year, but I fear I am going to have to turn it down. For the past few months, I have been placed at a school where only four teachers are permanent, everyone else is supply, where the headteacher is demeaning, bullying and awful to everyone, and where kids are being failed. I am on antidepressants and, to be honest, it has all got too much. I need a break to take stock. Will the six-week summer holiday be enough? I think the fair thing to all would be to turn down the job for next year and try to get myself in the right frame of mind. What do you think?

A teacher, via email to asktom@tes.co.uk

Only you can tell if you have the mental reserves to carry on. But I would recommend you take the six weeks to recover and then start again. Think of it as rebooting your career. Make sure you take the six weeks and go somewhere chilled out and tranquil. There are good schools and bad ones, and you leave the latter for the former, we hope. Depression is sometimes best salved by activity and the distraction of a focus -such as a job -rather than the four walls of inactivity. I would also -if the contract is secure -tell your employer about your medical history, so that they can make adjustments for you. They would be in breach of their duty of care if they did not. And very good luck to you. I know you'll be a good teacher because you have the most important feature -you care about doing well.

I'm a male primary teacher in London in my twenties and, not wishing to sound arrogant, I have a problem with a lot of the single mums of the students coming on to me. I have been cornered in cupboards and stalked on Facebook, and a group of them have started quite publicly commenting about my appearance in the playground. …

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