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'She found the job overwhelming"

Social sciences teacher Anika recently accepted a role in a large public school as a wellbeing teacher.  The school has a number of visiting support staff, of which Anika is one. She gets on well with seemingly everyone in the school community and has a major in psychology. Her new role didn’t seem too hard to manage. 

But at the same time she took on the role, Anika’s marriage was getting shaky. This was taking its toll on her sleep and peace of mind. With requests from staff to see students and from parents who were unhappy with the school, as well as high expectations of performance from the school administration, she soon she found the job overwhelming. 

Anika started to fear that her colleagues thought she couldn’t cope, especially because she would get emotional when questioned. She found the problems the students brought to her too challenging to manage, but still felt obliged to stay on well after hours to complete paperwork.  On top of everything else, she was asked to attend the school camp, after which she found her way to the school psychologist’s office in tears.
The psychologist, Jackie, listened carefully, and gently suggested that a couple of days off would be helpful. She also gave Anika a referral for a colleague, who could help her workload. Anika was upset that she couldn’t manage on her own, however, she made the appointment and took off a day, which she spent in bed.

Jackie made all the difference. Anika was helped to see that she was overloaded and stretching beyond what was reasonable. Jackie helped her plan a new approach to manage her time and referral pathways for the student problems that called for skills beyond her training. Anika also learned some assertive skills to use with teachers who wanted immediate answers or who did not agree with her approach to individual student problems. She discovered that the skills she was learning helped her communicate more effectively at home, and helped her to work towards a better understanding with her partner. 

Anika’s confidence in her capacities changed and grew, and she enrolled in a training program designed for teachers supporting the wellbeing needs of students. In a short space of time, she was thriving in her new role and able to laugh at a wellbeing teacher who had embraced her own wellbeing.

#believeinchange

Are you an APS Psychologist? Email your stories to communications@psychology.org.au.