I was going to title this post "The Real Reason I Left Teaching" but decided that the above title would catch more people's eyes. This is a post that I have been mulling over for about a week now. My blog is about my daughter and how I navigate the rough waters with her. Today's blog post is about me this time. Let's face it, how I deal with difficulties in my life will in one way or another affect my daughter.
I feel in some respects that I have been living a lie. I don't like liars nor do I condone lying but I do think that sometimes we lie to protect ourselves and others. For about two years now I have been dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder aka PTSD brought on by my administrator at the school I taught at. Most people equate this disability with war time vets. Here's Merriam Webster's definition: "a mental condition that can affect a person who has had a very shocking
or difficult experience (such as fighting in a war) and that is usually
characterized by depression, anxiety, etc." That definition fits me to a T. Since I am no longer in the situation that caused my PTSD, I am not currently suffering from the effects of it. At one time I was on medication and I went to counseling for over a year for it.
In today's society we hear about preventing bully. Teaching our children to speak up. Helping the bully. We think we know the outcomes of bullying if we leave it alone. There is one bully that society is ignoring. It is the bully boss. In the state of California we do not have any anti bully laws against employers. Most people subscribe to the the idea that if you don't like your job or your boss, just get a new job. That is easier said than done. In my case I tried for two years to get transferred to another school within my district, however, I was not successful.
I also sought legal advice from no less than three attorneys. At the time they told me that I could not claim harassment since all of the attacks were related to my job performance not sexual, religious or race related.
For a long time I thought if I was just stronger, if I just held on a little longer, if I just tried harder, I would get my bully to stop. I did everything that she asked of me. Finally, I confronted her. I told her what she was doing was wrong. I enlisted the help of my union but they were not much help. I filed a grievance stating that what she was doing was unfair and unethical. I thought maybe that would get her to back down. Nope none of that worked.
About a year and a half into the ordeal, things really escalated to the point where I was having panic attacks, having trouble sleeping and losing my hair. At that point I took a stress leave in hopes of getting a transfer to another school. The HR person in my district felt that all of the responsibility lay on my shoulders. He gave me permission to transfer but he did not help me find a position. So after six months away from that hell hole, I returned. I really wanted it to work but my site administrator wanted me gone. She did everything in her power to see that I failed. After only being back one month, I went out again. Three weeks later my daughter had her first hospital stay at a behavioral hospital.
At that time it became clear that I my daughter needed me more than my career did. The funny thing was was that my husband had been telling me for over a year that I should just quit my job since it was causing me so much stress. It wasn't until my daughter's crisis that I realized that he was right all along.
I am happy to say that I have found a new career in educational advocacy. I am using my vast teaching experience and my experience as the parent of a Special Needs child to help other parents get their children help. God used something awful in my life to change the direction of my career.
I write this not only to clear my conscience and my emotions but also as
a way of saying that bully bosses do exist. They are more of a problem
than society wants to admit.