I accepted a temporary contract at an ‘outstanding’ school. Between the interview and the start of the job I became pregnant- unplanned and unexpected. A month before the job started, at around 4 weeks pregnant I started vomiting constantly- for one month I was bed bound and couldn’t eat anything but dry crackers now and again. I didn’t want to let the school down so decided to start as planned. By the time of my first day I was being sick 3 or 4 times a day and was still unable to eat much. This went on for the first half term but I continued on. I took one day off in that time. Over half term I caught a cold, which then developed into bronchitis. This lasted for four months. I also had undiagnosed gestational diabetes.

Despite this, I kept going at the job. I wrote schemes of work in the holidays, I took on extra exam marking of other colleagues as well as my own to help out, I planned and taught my lessons, did my marking, and worked really hard to do it all well. It was exhausting and there were times I felt I could barely stand but I really didn’t want to let down my colleagues so I ploughed on. I formed good relationships with my department and got positive feedback for my schemes of work.

Around 5 months into my contract the head teacher walked in during the last 5 minutes of my lesson. The projector had timed out but as it took 5 minutes to reboot it, I wrote the last task on the board. This was a very challenging and at times hostile class. They were thrown together into a newly formed class half way through the school year, they thought of themselves as the lowest set and had very little confidence in their ability. I worked very hard to build trust and gain their confidence. By this time, they would all stay in their seats, complete the tasks I set and some of the more tricky ones were doing well. I felt proud of this. The head teacher was not happy with what she saw- I’m not sure what exactly, I was never given specifics. The students were listening, they completed the task, they volunteered their ideas. She asked my head of department to tell me that none of my lessons were engaging. That was all – that none of my lessons were engaging. She didn’t even have the courtesy to discuss this with me directly.

I’ve never felt so demoralised in 15 years of teaching. I felt I had sacrificed my health, the health of my unborn child, our family life to stick at this job and do my best for absolutely no reason. She didn’t even send me a thank you email or acknowledge my departure in any way when I left.

I love teaching. I was an outstanding teacher for years. Since having children I haven’t had a Professional Development observation teaching my subject so I don’t know where I stand now but I feel that I’ve failed terribly.

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