So I just finished talking to someone from my union, to get some information about taking a medical leave due to the insane stress I am under at school.

Just having that conversation left me majorly stressed out. I hate the thought of just "abandoning" my class (I teach Grade 1) at this point in the year, but I am so exhausted and frustrated by the lack of support I am receiving in dealing with a difficult student, that I need to get out of there.

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I'm off again today. On Monday, my trouble student decided to run off from the classroom, stealing another student's ball along the way. He went into the washroom and started throwing it at boys who were trying to use the urinals. He was taken to the office, but then ran off from the office (again). This time, when he tried to come back to the classroom, he discovered that I had locked the classroom door to stop him coming back in, so he was out in the hall trying to break the door down, while one of the ESL teachers/Chairs stood out in the hall watching him. (I don't know if the ESL teacher was doing this of his own accord, or if the office sent him. Usually when this kid runs off from the office, no one comes after him. )

Meanwhile, every other kid in my class who has the slightest behavioural issue was also going nuts. It was insane. I swear, I felt like someone had released the Pax in my room, and they were all turning into little Reavers around me.

It is rare for me to take any sick days in a school year. Since the beginning of April I have taken 5 days off, due to stress. I have started grinding my teeth in my sleep. I feel anxious all the time, and I think I had a panic attack last week. I have been seeing a counselor through my Employee Assistance Program. She has a background in education, and is appalled at what I am telling her, and is advising me to take stress leave before it ruins my health.

I still feel really guilty about this, though.