Ask a teacher - QA

3rd October 2008 at 01:00

Q: During my part-time PGCE, I developed anxiety disorder symptoms with panic attacks. I may seek counselling to overcome this, yet I fear schools will be wary of employing someone in this state. Do you have to declare you are in counselling?

Name and address supplied

A: It would be a narrow-minded person who would deny you a job on account of counselling. But, let's be honest, it could happen.

So, this might be an issue of disclosure. If you choose not to, there is the danger that it will come to light. If it does, it would be the non- disclosure, not the anxiety, which would be a problem.

You would be better off declaring it on your medical questionnaire. Not to would make you more anxious, I think. Any school that would not want someone in these circumstances isn't worth working for.

Rod, Feltham

A: If you have suffered from the horrors of panic attacks, you'll know that the overwhelming priority is to get treatment, counselling or something else.

Your employability shouldn't suffer. People are more enlightened about mental health now, and it's highly unlikely that the matter could be held against you. Be honest; it's a sign of strength.

Margaret, East Sussex

A: Studying for a part-time PGCE can be stressful and disruptive. Once you've got your life back to normal, you may not feel any need for counselling. However, if you go ahead, don't worry about the need to declare it to a future employer. Any issues could be resolved by a good counsellor, so you can make a positive start to an extremely rewarding career.

John, Cumbria

Coming up

Q: Some of our form tutors are excellent at pastoral work, but a few see their role as little more than taking the register. How do you develop pastoral skills in all staff?

Q: Our pupils go on activity days and assault courses for team-building. When I asked what we do as a staff, all one colleague could think of was "hold coffee mornings". What do other schools do to build up the team spirit?

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