Depression at Work by Stephanie Murray
Each week of this Bullying Awareness Month the BAT QWL along with the National Workplace Bullying Coalition will share a story about workplace survival and bullying. This is Stephanie's story told through her amazing gift as an artist!
“There is no tired like teacher tired.” We all know that this is true. But what about when your career choice starts to really impact your personal life? What happens when you are not supported by administration when you need it to make your classroom the best it can be? We put our all in to every day to do the very best that we can for our students...many times at the sacrifice of our own lives.
Schools can become toxic environments when ruled by a top-down administrative team that neglects the collaborative process of involving all stakeholders in decision making decisions. Sometimes, a move to a new building gives teachers a fresh start to find a more compatible work environment. But when the atmosphere replicates itself, this starts to become a systemic issue that needs to be addressed.
Searching for a better work environment sometimes leads teachers to take positions that are not necessarily their first choice. In the end, this can cause more internal tension for a teacher, people who just strive to give the best of themselves to their classroom and to the children they teach.
As stress builds, teachers can become caught in a downward spiral of self-doubt and internal strife, knowing that they cannot live like this but unwilling to abandon the classroom and the children they may leave behind - the very children they swore they would advocate for and protect.
Internal stress caused by outside factors can begin to make a person question their own worth. Teachers can begin to doubt whether they are really suited for the classroom. Many will leave, seek to find another career, or even any other job that will allow them to survive financially, making waste of the years that they spent on their own education, on their own dreams.
Stephanie Murray taught for five years at a charter school company. She recently resigned from her position at a public school to pursue a career in the arts and also to be an advocate for mental health. She currently resides in Michigan