Stiff Upper Lip

Resilience is an issue close to my heart at the moment. The organisational machinery is currently whirring around me. School is not unreasonably enacting its procedures for long-term absence. My Union is now in action too – but there are limits to what they can do, based on their regulations and no doubt pressure on resources.

Whether I will be able to attend the meeting the school wishes to have with me next week is as yet uncertain. I still find it hard enough to go out just to visit my G.P. without the anxiety symptoms returning.

It is both frustrating and embarrassing – though that is probably only my problem because everyone around is being very supportive. It is very easy to feel ‘pathetic’ right now, but for some reason the anxiety returned last week it is not something I can really control yet. But The System has only so much time for individual weakness.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting research finding that children who attend private schools tend to be more resilient than those who attend state ones.

That doesn’t surprise me, having had contact with both. The interviews within the report attribute this greater maturity to the breadth of experience offered. Very little about the hot-housing for exams that the state sector is besotted with.

Resilience and maturity are surely things that education should develop – but recent experience which seems to have focussed more on running the teachers ragged to ‘deliver’ what the children ‘need’ (or are ‘entitled’ to) is unlikely to develop this, so much as Little Emperor Syndrome. And in the meantime, it is clear what it can do to the teachers.

The state sector is often critical of the independent one, for reasons I largely share. But I suspect this research has hit on something, and I doubt it is only connected with the privileged backgrounds of private school pupils.

I had been feeling that my own resilience leaves a lot to be desired at the moment – until it was pointed out to me that three decades working in a state school is enough to test the resilience of a saint.

5 thoughts on “Stiff Upper Lip

  1. Sounds like you are still in a fragile state, with lots of questions about your own self worth. My sympathies are with you in this difficult time; hopefully things will be resolved quickly and you can return to your pre-anxious self soon. I read a quote recently that stuck in my head- Depression is caused by dwelling too much on the past and anxiety is caused by dwelling too much on the future. Wise words, I believe, maybe give you something to think about.

    • Thank you for that thought. Very true, I had read something similar.

      Hopefully normal service will be resumed before too long. Thanks for your good wishes – much appreciated.


  2. I am so sorry you are feeling unwell. I can’t offer any advice besides
    1) take all the time that you feel that you need — don’t rush back from a misguided “guilty guy” syndrome. If you need to, go right up to the legal maximum “wire” — and beyond, if necessary.
    2) use all sources of advice/support that you can: family, friends, colleagues, GP, union — but the final say on which of the options to take is yours. But don’t rush things!
    3) If you haven’t done so already, consider making a self-referral to IAPT in your area ( I found their CBT programme very helpful a few years ago.
    I hope you feel better soon, and email me if I can help.

  3. Thanks very much – I will heed your good advice. Without wishing to sound sanctimonious, we teachers get so used to ‘giving’ that it is quite hard to do what many have advised and put ourselves first for once. Surprisingly so.

    I’ll email you.


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