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Anxious & dreading work

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by whirlywoo, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. whirlywoo

    whirlywoo New commenter


    I'm currently 16 weeks pregnant (due late November/early December) and last week found out which class I will be teaching next year. Without giving too much detail, I have taught this class before and it was not a pleasant experience. There were difficulties with parents (and some children) and it was an extremely difficult year.

    Come September I will be 27+ weeks pregnant, moving classrooms, moving year groups and getting to grips with a new curriculum, and with a notoriously difficult class. Having spoken to the Head Teacher a few weeks ago, I made it clear that I'd be happy in any year group except this one...and yet I'm in the one class I asked not to be in.

    This has left me absolutely dreading work. I haven't been sleeping and have done nothing but worry since I found out and there is still a while to go until September. Even going in on Monday leaves me feeling awful. I'm also really worried about the parents' reaction because there were clashes with some which I don't feel strong enough to have again come September, or when they find out I'm teaching their children again.

    I have raised this with the Head but it's fallen on deaf ears. Although I think I know the answer (which is, no - suck it up!), is there anything I can do about this?
  2. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    The cynical side of me wonders if they're expecting that you'll start your maternity early at 29 weeks because of it? If necessary, you can be signed off sick so please don't feel pressured into starting your precious maternity leave earlier than you planned!

    Speak to your midwife/doctor. Stress is not good for the baby in pregnancy. It puts you at risk of low birth weight and premature birth. Your workplace has a duty of care here.

    How long will you have to teach the class before you plan on starting your maternity leave?

    They may not be able to change the class, but what exactly are they going to do to support you with them? Are SLT going to support with the parents? I'd hope so.

    A lot of my parents are difficult customers this year and I have found that since being visibly pregnant, most daren't shout or be aggressive towards me so have hope! The parents will also know you're not a permanent fixture for their children so this may make them less concerned about you.

    After speaking with your midwife/GP, I would also ask for a review of your risk assessment and raise this very clearly with your school backed by medical advice.

    You deserve to be supported. Pregnancy is already a stressful and vulnerable time without that stress being unnecessarily increased. You shouldn't have to "suck it up" - they should be looking at how to genuinely make this more doable for you.
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    It seems odd to give a "notoriously difficult class" to the person who is going on maternity leave. It's hard enough for a maternity cover teacher coming in and taking over midyear, without having a class who probably need some stability. Have they got anyone lined up? It's not just you this could be difficult for!
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  4. 8sycamore

    8sycamore Occasional commenter

    I worked until 39 weeks. If you work to the bitter end too then you'll be out by Xmas. Keep this in mind. Do not let them get to you. Cover yourself by prepping and marking... Even if they don't care you'll have done your bit.
    If behaviour gets too much, demand an amended risk assessment. Keep a note of every incident to build a case.
  5. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    'Odd' isn't the word I'd use. My cynical self would use the word, 'predictable'.

    Is it possible that several teachers (and of course SLT) have refused to engage with this class? So this is merely kicking the can down the road in the hope that a dirt-cheap replacement will rock up. This paragon can transform the class into wonderful little angels (or at least buy time to beyond the next SLT appraisal meeting).
  6. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I once met a pair of NQTs on a course on behaviour management. They were about to start their careers at the same school, and when they had gone in for induction had been told "We've given you the year 6 classes because nobody else wanted them, but we've booked you on this course..."

    This sort of strategy seems madness, but maybe it means that the impending disaster can be blamed on the departing teacher, rather than the SLT member who really ought to be teaching them. From your supply standpoint, John, is behaviour generally better in the schools that allocate the more difficult classes to established staff?
  7. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    It's harder to evaluate that from my secondary perspective. Usually though the more difficult the class the more likely the 'proper' teacher is to be absent. Any excuse, not even illness, will do for a break from them. So inevitably supply would see worse behaviour, even before the behaviour problems that go with supply are factored in.

    I'm not really that surprised at the OP's problem. Inevitably with experience (and seniority) comes the ability to engineer class selection and other soft benefits. Though it's obvious that the awkward classes should have the best teachers, those best teachers are acutely aware that the better-behaved classes make them look good and will hustle accordingly. It takes a very astute and firm head to overturn that and they are quite rare. I'm also assuming that the Head has a capable and stable cohort of staff to draw from which is even rarer.

    At least I won't lack for supply employment:cool:

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