This might not be the most appealing topic to read about, (and to be honest, I’m not sure that anyone will read this) but it is therapeutic to me to write this. Last year I had a breakdown and couldn’t go to work for a fortnight, due to massive feelings of inadequacy. I did not think that I was doing a good enough job as a husband, a father and a teacher – something that according to all concerned, was only my opinion.
The main crux of it was the fact that I felt that I wasted so much of my time, watching crap on TV, doing puzzles or playing games on my phone or the internet, while we were living in a house that needed decorating and I was falling behind on my marking.
In December I started taking anti-depressants, and they helped. I tried to think about my depression as my body not producing enough serotonin, rather than an emotional issue. I was very happy at Christmas, whether this was down to the tablets or having my family around me is debatable. I seemed to be heading on the right track.
As I returned to school in January, I found myself struggling with double vision and subsequent migraines. This led to a prolonged period off work, and made my depression worse. The opticians I saw suggested that it could be a side effect of the prozac, so my doctor prescribed some different anti-depressants. Unfortunately, these resulted in insomnia, and my eyes were worse when I was tired. This was when I was at my lowest, as I was also trying to return to work, but was unable to go in half of the time.
I am now on prozac again, and am adapting to be able to manage my double vision. Part of this is managing my time better, and not spending so long planning lessons on the laptop. I now do a lot of planning in school on the interactive whiteboard, in my own handwriting. I find this particularly helpful as a maths teacher, not having to format fractions and equations. I also think that students appreciate seeing hand written workings. The second change I made was to let the students come up with the questions. For example, when teaching multiplying decimals, I ask pupils to come up with a decimal at random. I then put them into a spreadsheet to get the results to any combinations of decimals they come up with.
I have managed to go in every day since the Easter break, and am feeling a lot more positive. I am currently writing problems for the new scheme of work, and I will add some of the ideas I am more excited about on here soon.