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Cancelling extra-curricular vs. The Guilt

Discussion in 'Music' started by dilly_84, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. dilly_84

    dilly_84 New commenter

    Hiya all
    I'm due to take maternity leave at the end of term....and I'm struggling, mainly due to exhaustion and sickness. I am in a one-person department so no-one to share the load with. Even planning GCSE lessons is taking hours at the moment due to the new spec, a huge range of abilities taking GCSE and therefore lots of differentiation of every task etc. In the Autumn Term, the drama teacher asked to do another musical this year, I hesitated as we had just done one but then agreed (I wasn't expecting this pregnancy!) and we planned it for the Summer term. However, since unvailing my pregnancy, it's been moved to 9 weeks time...even though we haven't started rehearsals yet! The thought of it is making me lie awake at night.
    The peri's timetable/contracts etc are organised by the LEA and they are stretched at the moment due to so many teachers on long-term sick leave so I can't ask them to help out.
    SO I was thinking about stopping extra-curricular for a term. This means I at least get a break at lunch to, hopefully, eat, relax and do some work and then I can go home at a reasonable hour and not need to go for a 3 hour nap!
    However, the thought of cancelling extra-curricular is making me feel incredibly guilty and worried that others will think I'm slacking. Also will it mean that numbers for groups will diminish and give the poor soul replacing me for a year a tough job to get it all running again?
    SO...what do I do? Just go 'sod em' and take my lunch hours for the next term, or do I just plod on for another few months and hope I feel better?!
    If anyone can give me any suggestions, I would be grateful. Being in a one-person department makes me feel rather isolated at the moment!
    Dilly x
  2. v12


    Reminds me of the allegory of the man who owed a lot of money to his neighbour and would lay awake fretting all night and every night about it.
    After a while, his wife had had enough and went around to the neighbour's house and said
    " My husband can't pay you the money he owes you - and it is now your problem!"
    It was then the nieghbour that lost sleep as husband had passed the problem to someone else.

    I'd pass the ball firmly to your Headmaster and make it HIS problem!
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    In that case, would it not be better to get a doctor to sign you off now? I don't think that trying to struggle on, staging a musical from scratch in 9 weeks, organising a peri timetable, and cancelling extra-curricular activities is going to do anything other than lead to tears all round.
    For heavens sake, make a clean break NOW. One of the reasons why heads get paid more than ordinary teachers is to deal with situations such as this.
  4. This Allogory is not helpful!
    Our friend here has borrowed nothing and owes nothing. This thing that we do is just a job! Your duty is to your baby and yourself and (as a Union H+S rep I can tell you that you would be derelicting that duty were you take on extra workload). You fulfill your obligations every day by delivering well planned lessons. Tomorrow you MUST tell the drama teacher that you can not be part of the show. If the show then falls or succeeds it IS on in the hands of the drama teacher. HE/She could always do a play with no music. Furthermore, we should not over-estimate our own importance - people can survive without us. We don't make the world turn.

  5. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    Years ago when I was ill and really worrying about being away from school because of all the extra-curricular commitments my doctor told me in a fairly forceful way that nobody is indispensible, however much we think we are.
    You must put your health and the baby first. I had to stop working a month before my maternity leave was due to start. I recently had to miss a Christmas concert for the first time in about 25 years - thought it would not be a problem as we have another pianist in school - then he was ill too - so our head took the children and they did it without us and it went well. People are usually very understanding if there is a genuine problem.
    Don't worry about extra-curricular things or the show. Explain the situation to both the drama teacher and your head and let them decide what to do.
    Using sixth formers or good year 11s is a very workable idea. Both my children ran extra-curricular groups at school.
    Good luck and look after yourself. It's a job, not your whole life - even though it is difficult to let go sometimes!

  6. dilly_84

    dilly_84 New commenter

    You've all made me well up! Blinkin hormones....
    After reading your posts I've given myself a bit of a stern talking to. I'm in 11-16 school and my GCSE lot are all rockers with one grade two piano player thrown in so they can't manage rehearsals but they can patrol practice rooms for me at lunchtime and sort out the other band rehearsals that take place. I have decided to run orchestra until half term and also turn choir into a 'karaoke club' sort of thing so it is less formal and more relaxed/easy/stressless etc but at least they're still turning up and singing. This will also stop at half term.
    I spoke to the drama teacher who had already realised I wasn't up to the full challenge so she's asked a friend of hers to do the vocal coaching side of the musical and I can concentrate on the orchestra, so that's should remove the need for me to attend lots of the rehearsals for now, phew.
    The only thing that didn't work was talking to my line manager. His comment was "pregnancy is not an illness" and I suppose he does have a point, it was just a blunt way of putting it!
    Someone mentioned taking time off. I did take a day off a couple of weeks ago but the state of my room when I got back was horrendous. I have always been proud of the way pupils treat instruments but there were keys snapped of a keyboard, beaters thrown up into the ceiling to make holes in the tiles, paper everywhere, damage to posters, and I had set written work! They shouldn't have needed to touch any of the instruments! I know I'm not indespensible but I'm also aware that I will be the one to clear up any problems/mess when I return as there is noone else to do it. It genuinely is easier just for me to be here. Also does anyone find setting cover work takes forever?!
    I do, finally, want to say thank-you all for replying to my post. It's given me a feeling of "there's people who understand! Wahoo" even if it is in the virtual world [​IMG]
    Thank-you again and again
    Dilly x
  7. The only thing that didn't work was talking to my line manager. His comment was "pregnancy is not an illness" and I suppose he does have a point, it was just a blunt way of putting it!

    What a jerk! You said in your opening post you weren't coping due to SICKNESS and EXHAUSTION - they may be pregnancy-linked, they may be stress-linked...that sort of ill thought comment really enrages me!
  8. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    The only thing that didn't work was talking to my line manager. His comment was "pregnancy is not an illness" and I suppose he does have a point, it was just a blunt way of putting it!

    Well you can tell your line manager has never been pregnant! Some people sail through pregnancy and feel better than they ever have before but some of us are not like that. I felt sick the whole way through both my pregnancies and got through the school day by eating rich tea biscuits almost continuously. I also used to feel faint - luckily my head was pretty understanding and used to come and cover whatever class I had while I lay horizontal in the staffroom until my bloodpressure sorted itself out (It was a smallish primary school - so things like this were easier to cover than it is in a secondary school).
    I'm glad you have sorted things out, Good luck
  9. casper

    casper New commenter

    You must look after yourself, no one will thank you at the end of the day for pushing yourself in any case( in my experience ).

    Take care, all the best
  10. Hi, Dilly-84, It's not an illness but it is very hard work and takes an extra toll on your energy, and that can affect your health and the baby's health. Your line manager sounds ignorant of what it can be like. You give lots when you are not pregnant, I am sure, but now you should ignore any pressure (from others or from yourself!) to coerce you into things that you've been doing on a voluntary basis, and put your baby's well-being first. Limit the voluntary activities to what you enjoy and can comfortably handle for now. If you find you need to go further and bring your maternity leave forward, so be it. In the grand scheme of things, your baby matters more. Best wishes for your pregancy and for the birth. I hope you'll let us know when the baby arrives!
  11. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    The only thing that didn't work was talking to my line manager. His comment was "pregnancy is not an illness" and I suppose he does have a point, it was just a blunt way of putting it!

    So what is your line manager offering to do to actually help?

    Above is the answer.
    So often these line managers have no concept of what people actually really do. Please take care and at the moment your work/life balance is just a bit more poignant.You will need to do much less practical lesons and use a lot more audio and visual resources.
    Prioritise what really needs to be done and do not feel guilty about saying NO.
  12. Never work in a one person department. It is HELL.
    Pregnancy is not an illness- surely your unborn is more important than poxy students?
  13. You MUST now go and talk to your Union Representative. Your line manager is in clear contrevention of health and safety legislation and could be liable for a charge of misconduct. Pregancy is much more serious than just an illness and undue stress and preassure can and do affect both the pregnant woman and the child. I urge you to seek at least confide in your rep so that he or she knows about this comment.
    Your line manager has a duty of care towards you which he has clearly failed in.
    I'm deeply shocked.
  14. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    I was quoting post 9.
    I agree union should now be involved.
    Clearly the risk assessment needs to be checked and LM needs to go on a suitable management course.

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