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Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

I'm 2 days into a 5 week full time teaching prac and I'm finding it really hard to deal with. In the lead up to it was really scared I wouldn't be able to do it and that was majorly amplifying suicidal urges as it was approaching. Got to the start alive (which had seemed pretty uncertain at points), and so far I'm not getting the 'it's not as bad as expected' relief that usually happens with dreading stuff that scares me...


The days are really long (leaving at like 7:30, getting home at like 5:30, still with roughly 3 hours of planning time needed at home). And the time at school is intensely-stressful-feels-like-I'm-barely-staving-off-a-breakdown for like 70% of the time. And the intense high stakes pressure feelings don't go away when I get home so that makes it so hard to relax or sleep (just got 2-3 hours last night). Does anyone know any strategies to help with that?


And my relationship with my mentor teacher is... weird? She comes across as someone who wants to be supportive in her role and is generally friendly towards me. But conversations so often just feel like I'm being bulldozed. Normally on my pracs you decide with the mentor teacher which lessons you'll take- you agree on a subject, and they tell you part of the curriculum they haven't covered yet. Then you (me) make a plan on how to teach it, show/ discuss with the mentor teacher and maybe make adjustments, then you teach it, then you reflect on your planning and implementation and the student learning and the mentor teacher gives you a bit of feedback. But this teacher's just come ready to tell me exactly what lessons I should teach. Then I need to figure out how to make the vision for the lesson she had in mind work, and figure out how/ where it fits into the curriculum. And if they aren't what she had in mind or have problems with them, it's so hard to discuss that because it goes something like her pointing out the problem, me attempting to acknowledge the problem/ explain the thinking that led to it and suggest/ brainstorm a different way to do it, but she cuts me off mid sentence as soon as I start talking to say the problem again, which repeats until she thinks of a solution and she'll cut me off to tell me that.


Basically just feeling worse than usual and I wasn't feeling good to start with, and I'm much less confident I can cope with this now (5 weeks seems so so long).


Advice is welcome (but heads up that I wouldn't be able to talk to the mentor teacher about the problems).


Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

Hi @hellofriend,


It sounds like this first week of prac has been a particularly difficult one for you Smiley Sad I'm really sorry to hear that the feelings of stress have been persisting and effecting your sleep too- sleep is so important in getting you through tough days and I can imagine that not being able to wind down at night is contributing to the discomfort of the placement. It sounds like things are pretty tough right now, and we are here to support you through it Heart


You mentioned that the relationship with the mentor teacher is not great, I can imagine that this is also adding to the stress of the placement. It sounds like they may not be open to having a discussion about your placement and how you work together, is this correct?

I'm wondering if you have someone you can speak to at your university/place of study who can support you? For example a unit co-ordinator or a supervisor? We have heard from other young people doing their placements that sometimes speaking to the university about the placement is helpful and they might be able to offer you some more support. What are your thoughts on this?


I can hear that you have been under a lot of stress, and you have done such a great job managing the difficult thoughts and feelings! Heart You mentioned having thoughts of ending your life at times, and that these have been a lot more frequent with the stress of the prac. It sounds like you have been managing these for a long time, what strategies have you been using when these come up? Have you been able to speak to anyone about this? 


Looking back through your posts the last couple of weeks, I can see that making a difference in someone else's life is really important to you, and I can tell from your post that you really care about doing well as a teacher in your placement. We have seen you offer some amazing support and guidance to others! That passion to want to make a difference in the lives of other young people is going to make you an incredible teacher, I truly believe this! That passion is something that can't be taught in studies, but something that comes from within you.


We are here for you if you need somewhere to chat over the next 5 weeks! I'm sure there are a lot of other people here who can relate to what you are going through and want to support you too Heart



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Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

Thank you Heart

Day 3 wasn't as bad. Actually, probably don't have anything to complain about today other than being tired. Which is good, I was worried it was going to be 5 weeks of consecutive unbearable days. I am very tired though.


Yeah I don't think she'd be open to a conversation like that, also I really don't like conflict and do my best to avoid it usually, also I'm 95% sure if I tried to have that conversation I would cry which would be really unprofessional and awkward. Also I don't want to damage positive aspects of our relationship.


Uni is a bit of a maybe. Do have a supervisor (haven't met them yet, not sure what they're like,but they are assessing me which makes them seem less approachable). And I don't want to make it into a thing. But when we meet on Friday for a planning meeting I'll read the situation (who knows, maybe if they seem supportive and ask genuinely but in a way that doesn't make it seem like having an answer would be a big deal I might briefly mention stuff).


I'm not really sure what coping strategies I use. I spoke on the phone with my husband last night and covered that I was really struggling (and because he's ridiculously beautiful he did an online grocery shop including lots of food that requires no prep which will get here tomorrow and be really helpful). Spoke to KHL the night before prac (but it wasn't my usual counselor which I only ever do if suicidal thoughts are really intense, and most of the conversation was me silently being overwhelmed by emotions and freezing up/ not able to articulate anything. Wasn't bad, though). Might call soon? My usual counselor is in but not for that long and I'm pretty tired. Think I'll try but quite possibly won't be able to get through which wouldn't really bother me


Support appreciated <3


Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

Feeling really crap tonight. Dreading going to prac tomorrow, dreading the next 4 weeks, knowing I'm probably going to mess up, thinking being a teacher isn't something I'll ever be able to be and have it be good, feeling guilty that my husband will be home for several days this week and the house will be really gross when he gets here and I won't have enough time or energy for him/ us. Wishing I could be dead because I don't see how being alive can ever be good Smiley Sad know I'm being melodramatic, doesn't really make a difference.


Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

Hey @hellofriend, it sounds like things are very tough right now. I'm a little worried about your comments about wanting to be dead, are you safe right now? Heart


Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)



Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

Thanks so much for confirming that @hellofriend. If you need urgent assistance, please look at this page for services you can call, and in an emergency, please make sure you call 000 straight away. Heart


Prac can be very stressful for a lot of people, and I know that there have been some days when even the thought of going to prac has just been too much for me. In my experience, it did get easier as time went on, and I settled into the placement. It sounds like you're having a bit of difficulty connecting with your mentor teacher, is that correct?


I know how important maintaining a professional appearance is to you in front of the placement staff, however it is also really important that you feel supported in your prac. Have you discussed some of these things with your counsellor? In particular, they might be able to help you with some strategies about how to remain professional, whilst making sure you say what you need to say while avoiding unnecessary conflict.


I can see how passionate you are about helping others, and this is a great quality for a teacher, as through your work, you are shaping the future generation. From your posts on here, I think you're going to be an awesome teacher.


Have you spoken with your husband about everything? It sounds like you have a good relationship with him from your other thread, so hopefully he will understand. It's not easy to overcome the guilt though, so this might be something to talk about with your counsellor as well. Of course, we are always here if you need a chat as well.


Stay strong, and keep us updated with how tomorrow goes. Here for you. Heart


Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

Thanks Heart


Yeah, I guess difficulty connecting with the mentor teacher is accurate.


I have spoken to my counselor about most of this, it wasn't particularly helpful though.


Have spoken to my husband about most of it as well (I don't talk about suicidal thoughts with him though). I'm pretty confident he will understand, but I'm still letting the team down and it's not fair on him and I feel bad about it.


aaaaaaaaaaah Smiley Sad


Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

@hellofriend that sucks about the counsellor not being helpful Smiley Sad

How's prac gone today? Heart
No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Prac stress (will also touch on very heavy sad feelings)

@lokifish mm Smiley Sad nothing particularly bad happened today. (Which is good I guess?)


But I just feel so on edge and like I'm just barely managing to do the things I'm supposed to do and it could fall apart at any moment, and I just feel like I don't wanna do this any more. Wish I didn't have to go into prac tomorrow or finish it at all, don't really wanna be a teacher any more, don't even wanna be alive anymore (no immediate plans to bail on any of those things, but just feeling pretty awful and like none of it can possibly turn out good)