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Don't want to go back, don't want to phone in sick again either

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by fakesmiles, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    Just wondering if anyone can offer any advice / friendly words really.
    I was signed off sick nearly two weeks ago due to stress /anxiety issues. Work wasn't the only cause, my OH and I have been trying for a baby for the last 6 months or so with no joy and we went through a sticky patch before Christmas where we nearly split up. We're in a better place now but the anxiety is still there.
    Have struggled with work really since returning from my first maternity leave. I went back too early if I'm honest, although had no choice due to finances. Although my little boy is now 4, I feel that my head hasn't been in the right place for a while and my performance has been questionned in the past, but I've always bounced back. I though I was doing ok at work, recent scrutinies of work and planning had come back well but I had an unsatisfactory lesson in front of our SIP, which is what prompted me to go off. My doctor was really supportive and said she was amazed I was still standing with everything I do. She signed me off for two weeks without question and I'm due to go back and see her today.
    I don't feel ready to go back to work. I know I have to at some point but I was hoping to stay off until half term. Work have just assumed I'm coming back this week, sending me my weekly plan and other things planned by my DH. I also think they, and others, just think I'm being overly dramatic and hiding away at home not facing up to things. The thought of phoning in sick again, and having to explain this to my HT or DH makes me feel sick. I am feeling more like a normal person being at home. A better wife and mother. I know this isn't a long term solution and that ultimately I need to get a new job (my hope was that I'd be going off on maternity soon enough but that doesn't look like happening!)
    Sorry for rambling. Any advice how I can tell work?
     
  2. Hi,
    Just wondering if anyone can offer any advice / friendly words really.
    I was signed off sick nearly two weeks ago due to stress /anxiety issues. Work wasn't the only cause, my OH and I have been trying for a baby for the last 6 months or so with no joy and we went through a sticky patch before Christmas where we nearly split up. We're in a better place now but the anxiety is still there.
    Have struggled with work really since returning from my first maternity leave. I went back too early if I'm honest, although had no choice due to finances. Although my little boy is now 4, I feel that my head hasn't been in the right place for a while and my performance has been questionned in the past, but I've always bounced back. I though I was doing ok at work, recent scrutinies of work and planning had come back well but I had an unsatisfactory lesson in front of our SIP, which is what prompted me to go off. My doctor was really supportive and said she was amazed I was still standing with everything I do. She signed me off for two weeks without question and I'm due to go back and see her today.
    I don't feel ready to go back to work. I know I have to at some point but I was hoping to stay off until half term. Work have just assumed I'm coming back this week, sending me my weekly plan and other things planned by my DH. I also think they, and others, just think I'm being overly dramatic and hiding away at home not facing up to things. The thought of phoning in sick again, and having to explain this to my HT or DH makes me feel sick. I am feeling more like a normal person being at home. A better wife and mother. I know this isn't a long term solution and that ultimately I need to get a new job (my hope was that I'd be going off on maternity soon enough but that doesn't look like happening!)
    Sorry for rambling. Any advice how I can tell work?
     
  3. ROSIEGIRL

    ROSIEGIRL Occasional commenter

    Poor you.
    Talk to the doc - say the stuff you have written on here.
    When she signs you off you phone work and tell them you've been signed off for another x weeks. If they ask anything else about when you'll be back or more details tell them you've been signed off and that's all you know for now. Thank you and goodbye.
    Don't get dragged into details - all they need to know is that you will not be in to work because your doctor has signed you off. Keep it simple and minimalist!
    Then take care of yourself!
    Good luck.

     
  4. Sorry to sound unsympathetic and pre-Women's Movement, but have you considered that working outside the home is just not for you? You would clearly rather be at home with your little one and have more children, and it seems highly unfair to take the money for a job and then not turn up for it because you are hacked off with it.
    I'm afraid if you've over-committed yourself financially you now have no choice but to work, or to restructure your life to accommodate either being a full-time wife and mother, or frequent paid absence - a popular reason for repeat pregnancies.
     
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    What you appear to be saying is that you want to be paid but not to have to work - isn't it?
    It's not surprising if your head isn't wildly sympathetic, is it? Heads pay staff in the hope they'll turn up for work.
    As Lily indicates, you need to sort out whether you want to be teacher or not - hoping to get out of work by being pregnant again doesn't sound to me like your career is terribly important to you.
     
  6. Oh dear. I really haven't come across the way I'd hoped. I wrote that message after no sleep, worrying about work and it just didn't come out right and I agree that comment about wanting to go on maternity leave came across terribly. I do not think it's a crime to want another child. I have ben trying to do so for a while and not managing it is not very nice. I have so many thoughts about having another child. I don't want to get a new job and then get pregnant as I'm always told that doesn't look good at a new school but I don't feel I 'fit' where I work now. I don't know how to put this across any better. I don't know what to do for the best.
    My career is important to me. When in the classroom, removed from pressures of planning, app, curriculum responsibilities, etc, I love my job. I love the kids and I do enjoy being a teacher. I have tried to get other jobs in the past, but my confidence is rock bottom. I have had interviews recently and narrowly missed out on new posts, which is ultimately what I think I need. To work somewhere else where I am not constantly compared to the superwoman, all hours teacher I was before I had my child.
    More than anything, I just feel like I am clutching at straws trying to be a great teacher, mum and wife. It feels that I am not managing to achieve any of them successfully. The unsatisfactory observation brought everything and all these feeling of inadequacy to a head and everything came crashing down around me. Obviously I am not managing to do all these things so my doctor advised me to take some time off to get some clarity and think about what I need out of life, be it finding a new job or reducing my hours in some way. I didn't feel ready to go back to work yet - where I want to do my best for the children - which I am obviously not doing. That was why I posted - to ask advice on how to explain this to my headteacher. It is such a hard thing to do to try and admit that you are not coping - I am not just "hacked off" with work, nor wanting to not go to work but still be paid. I haven't got dressed in days, feel panicked leaving the house in case I see anyone, I genuinely feel rubbish. My doctor has this morning referred me to counselling in the hope that will help.
    I am sorry if I came across badly. I never thought I'd be someone who'd need time off in this way but I feel at my lowest ebb at the moment - that is why I was asking for help. Thank you Rosiegirl for your answer.
     
  7. When in the classroom, removed from pressures of planning, app, curriculum responsibilities, etc,
    But that is the biggest part of the job now! If you want to remove all the **** bits that go with the job and just work with children, you could do what I did when I felt I wasn't giving the most important thing in my life - a young family - the attention they needed, and be a TA or BSW for a few years.
    Have you considered that the stress you feel yourself to be under is not helping with your wish to conceive?
     
  8. That is what my doctor said to me this morning!
    I'm glad you made that choice that helped you and your family- I know of another teacher who is working as a TA now for exactly the same reasons. I am planning to use this time to rest, think about what I really want out of life and research other options. Thanks for taking the time to answer.
     
  9. Good luck.
     
  10. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    There could be a very long waiting list for counselling with your GP. Short term counselling is available via OH. You could also ask about going part time.
    Taking time off won't change the job situation and could in fact make it a lot worse and add to your stress levels.
    Also not getting dressed for days is really bad for your mental health. Although it is hard while you are off make sure you get dressed, get some time in the fresh air and make sure you do something, even if it is only small.
    If you are going to be off for longer, then tell your head asap so that they can plan for your absence. Ring them up and say that you haven't recovered yet and will be sending in a new note.
     
  11. Been in a very similar place to you, FS. Personally, I'd move on from your school asap - yes, I know you may worry about getting pregnant early in a new job but I don't think the stress you're under at present is going to help you conceive.
    I don't want to alarm you but I never achieved a pregnancy which is why I suggest you don't wait for that. If you don't feel you fit at the school you probably don't fit and it's time to go. Perhaps try part time for a bit? I know supply can be hard to get but probably worth checking out.
    I moved on under the most horrendous circumstances - capability procedures, no job to go to, confidence in ruins. It has taken years but life is good now and I'm really enjoying teaching again.
     
  12. Hello Fakesmiles sorry you are not feeling well, would a part time job be a possibility? x
     
  13. Can I suggest that rather than looking at part time, you try asking for a jobshare and go for the end half of the week-as this would make your weekends less stressful and if you are trying to conceive you really need to reduce your stress levels. As the permanent member of staff on a jobshare you would have the option to change your hours if you wanted to increase them in the future. With a jobshare you would be in the same class so would have some consistency-usually you share any allowances of the job pro-rata-I did a maternity cover jobshare in a SEN unit and we shared the sen money and the staff meetings-my colleague doing school meeting on a monday and me doing SMT meeting on a Wednesday. I occasionally also did a bit of extra supply in the school at the start of the week too. Many 'ordinary' part time jobs in school are PPA cover and having to cope with lots of different classes would do nothing for your confidence at the moment.
    If your head is not positively inclined to job-shares this would be a chance to get the union involved to stress your rights to ask for flexible working-it also means more consistency for your class-when I did a jobshare we covered for each other if one was ill (or away on holiday) , so the pupils (in a SEN unit) never had to have a supply teacher-which could be a positive way of selling it to your HT-it also means that the school has a chance to appoint someone who could take over from you in the future if you should get pregnant or leave for another job.
    Also whilst off you could check your tax situation-you may be surprised how much more you pay in tax working 5 days a week rather than 2 1/2 or 3 days. I once found that I only got £12 a week more in take home pay in one supply job when I worked 5 days rather than 3.
     
  14. Thank you everyone who answered. Am feeling a bit clearer today having had a good night's sleep.
    Went to the doctors again yesterday who has signed me off until half term We've agreed that I'll go back after the holidays and I'm going to start working towards that. I feel it'll be easier to come back when everyone else has been away too. I rang my head -which was a tremendously difficult thing to do -but I did it and feel better for doing so. I also went for dinner at my sister's - which was nice to get out. I agree I need to give myself things to do and get some fresh air.My son is off from nursery today so that'll keep me busy and I'll take him to the park later.
    I do agree that I need to leave my current workplace. I have been there for several years and I don't feel I'm ever going to be the teacher they want me to be. I cant give as much as they want me to. It is a difficult place to work - in the last year, there have been 4 other people who have also been signed off with some sort of stress /anxiety. It's time to move on. I've been looking through the job pages and I know it'll be dificult in the current climate, but I'll do what I can. I cant manage on the uncertainty of supply but my boy starts school in September and at least then we wont have childcare costs which make part time a more feasible option. I'd like to take him to school a couple of days a week!
    Thank you everyone who's helped.
     
  15. Glad you're feeling better-I have worked in a school like yours but only on long term supply-it was in special measures at the time and the head asked someone at the authority if they knew of a strong, reliable supply teacher to cover a class for a term (guess who got that one [​IMG] !
    As for your situation-I still think you could try for jobshare now-if you need back up ask for an OH referral. I think that if you give up on this job and school in your present state of mind, you may find that the new school you end up at may not seem any better-mainstream teachers are so overloaded with the box ticking culture-and with the present government that looks to continue-with even less money for help in the classroom-for the next few years. These days there don't seem to be many heads strong enough not to pass all the rubbish onto their staff.
    You also have to be kinder to yourself and stop beating yourself up about not being super teacher any more-this is what happens to women when they have children-firstly your priorites shift and secondly you stop being able to control every aspect of your life (do you remember that helplessness when the baby didn't sleep and you went off to bed not knowing if you would get 1 hour or 6 hours of undisturbed sleep etc etc). Do you have allies in your school who have been in your situation caring for your children and working full time who can give you emotional support? ; -is your HT male or female/with or without young children-maybe if you understand where people come from in the have children/don't have children stakes you will feel less paranoid. I was lucky-I didn't go into teaching until my late 30's and was a stay at home mum for years before, so I really admire anyone who combines work and young family.
    For your present situation, I think you should seriously consider dropping your hours sooner rather than later. If you drop your hours now, your school will know where you are at-they just need to find a regular supply teacher at this stage to cover the rest of the week that you don't want to do. Also you would be able to plan your life better and drop your childcare costs considerably. Then you could look at other ways of saving money-e.g. on food. You could batch cook on your days off so that you don't have to buy ready meals and if you haven't got one, invest in a slow cooker so that you can make nutritious family meals easily and cheaply-all reducing your stress levels and giving your more of a chance to conceive.
    Good luck whatever you decide to do-but be careful, I always found that when I was a class teacher, if I was off ill for more than 3 days, I really found it difficult to go back-and this was without any stress levels like you are experiencing. My solution, by the way, as I had no interest in going into management, was to specialise in special needs (these days dyslexia) which might be a good career path for you if you want rewarding part time work in the future..
     
  16. You have already received lots of good advice so just wanted to wish you good luck!

    After trying for our second baby our son was born when our daughter was 6years and 10 months!! It worked out really well so don't give up!!

    Enjoy the rest!
     
  17. Fakesmiles - hope you're feeling OK. I must say I think there's some very rude and unsympathetic people that have replied to you so don't listen to them. If they have nothing more helpful to say then they really shouldn't post!
    I can understand how you're feeling. Sounds like a change of job could do you good but it's not easy if your confidence is at rock bottom. At the end of the day - it is just a job and we all do it to pay our mortgages. So what if you're not the superwoman teacher you used to be - life changes and prorities change after having a family - and they come first. Don't be worried about telling the doctor you need more time off - it won't do you or the kids any good if you go to work and can't cope. It's just one of those things but you will get through it! Good luck with it all and I hope it all works out OK. xx
     
  18. I'm afraid that this isn't a communal love-in, Lohman.
    The Women's Movement wasn't predicated on being paid the same amount of money only as long as your interest isn't diverted elsewhere.
     
  19. I'm sorry I haven't looked at this thread for a couple of days. In some ways, I didn't want to look at what was being said. Am still feeling very low and I didn't want to read some of the comments. Doesn't do much for you when you have low confidence anyway.
    As I said earlier, I do fully realise that I need to change my job and /or hours in order to make my life more managable. It isn't just my wanting another baby that is making me feel this way, that is actually a very small part of things that I would be able to cope with if I was happy at work. The more time I spend away from my workplace, I realise that I do not want to teach there. In the several years that I have worked there, there have been at least 5 other people that have had time off with stress /anxiety and most of those left. This is terrible considering that we are only a one-form entry school! The expectations on us are ridiculous. None of the SMT have children or any responsiblilites outside of school and expect the rest of us to work the same hours as them, 7am -7pm being the norm. I was refused a part time adjustment before and I don't think it will be allowed soon. Another colleague with young children asked at Christmas and that was refused also. I don't know on what grounds.
    I am still thinking about what I want to do. I know I could resign at half term and leave at Easter but leaving without a job to go to is a big risk and we cannot manage on the uncertainty of supply. My hope is to come back after this time off with a clearer head and more 'fight' in me and do my best for me and the children in my class, whom I adore. I have a really lovely class and I do miss them being away. Hopefully, I will be able to find a new job for the new academic year. That is a far ahead as I can think at the moment. Thank you everyone with your practical solutions - I do have a slow cooker which I use to death!
    I really am sorry if I have come across as one of those whinging (sp?) yummy mummies who expect to have it all and my working life to revolve around me. I can assure you I certainly don't have it all, nor expect to. At the moment, I feel like I don't achieve anything in any areas of my life, topped off by an unsatisfactory observation. Everything has crumbled away and my life seems like some kind of charade. Hopefully this time off will help.
     
  20. None of the SMT have children or any responsiblilites outside of school and expect the rest of us to work the same hours as them, 7am -7pm being the norm.
    They can expect it all they like but they can't demand it. If the rest of the staff go along with it then they only have themselves to blame. You cannot be made to spend that many hours a day directed, non-directed or anything else on a regular basis. Your staff need to organise and mutiny. Is there no union representation?
     

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