Amber's story

Amber is a primary school teacher. She loves seeing the smiles of children when they achieve something, to see their faces when they are inspired and encourage them to explore more. However, when she became the victim of workplace bullying she thought it was the end of her teaching career.

Amber shares her story:

I was experiencing horrible bullying in a school from members of the leadership team. It went on for around 18 months and I was broken.

It all started when I was experiencing difficulty with behaviour management. From the moment I sought help they blamed me, told me it was my fault and that I should change what I was doing. They did not support me or give any advice. They showed no care at all. It drastically knocked my confidence and my self-belief, I didn’t feel worthy of being a teacher. Amber teacher bullying story

As time went on it got worse. They highlighted situations from my classroom in staff meetings which caused me to have panic attacks. I felt isolated and alone. I was also in a bad relationship which made things worse. My partner took advantage of my situation and dragged me down even further. However, I didn’t realise this at the time. Instead I blamed everything on teaching.

Talking to the helpline was a real relief

I found it difficult for a long time to find the voice to say I was struggling. One morning I went into school and broke down at my desk. I cried for three days and one night decided I needed to speak to someone. I couldn’t ring a friend or my parents as it was late so I rang the Education Support Partnership helpline. I talked to the helpline counsellor about how I was feeling and asked where I could turn for support and help. Importantly, they listened and they cared.  The helpline counsellor understood that teaching isn’t just a job, that teaching is a lifestyle choice. Talking to someone who understands the profession was a real relief.

I was able to explain how I was feeling and there was no judgement. They gave me options and they left me with those options to decide what was best for me. I felt empowered and in control.

When I rang the helpline I thought I was going to leave teaching and start my own business. They made me realise there were other ways to deal with the situation. One of the alternatives they spoke to me about was going part-time. I hadn’t considered it before. I asked my school to go part-time but they said this was not possible. Therefore, I started looking for another job and saw a temporary, part-time job available and went for it. I didn’t want to give up teaching as I had trained hard for my qualification and the helpline’s support and advice made sense to me.

Falling in love with teaching again

My recent experiences meant it was a real struggle to feel confident in my teaching for a while, but being part-time with a new school allowed me to ease back into the profession, to regain my confidence and fall in love with teaching again.

I’m much happier now. I have left the bad relationship. This and taking up a different job have opened my eyes as to why I decided to be a teacher. I’m excited to get back to teaching and look forward to being full-time again soon.

Every school should be sharing information about the services you offer

I would absolutely recommend Education Support to those working in sector. The services you provide are vital. I am so glad that you are here.

The school I have been working at recently is great at talking to staff about the services you provide. They encourage people to get in touch if they need support either emotionally or financially and every school needs to be doing that.

Personally, just the other day I was speaking to an NQT and he said he was thinking about ringing, I just said ‘Yes, yes do it! It is the most amazing service. They’ve helped me and I know they will help you too.’ 

So remember their free and confidential helpline is here 24/7 throughout the UK on 08000 562561 for all education staff. Download this poster for your staffroom now!