To summarise; PGCE in primary education qualified in 2010, went to a school in Barking for 2 years which started as a maternity cover contract and was extended on 2 separate occasions. I was able to complete my NQT year from Jan - Dec 2011. I have a complex and rare genetic disorder that is controlled by a variety of means; dietary control (I eat only prescription foods and veg as my body cannot break down anything else - everything has to be cooked fresh and from scratch it cannot be fridged or frozen), I have to take 90 tablets a day, I have to do blood tests. The thing my body can't break down (an amino acid) builds up on my joints and muscles in a similar way to lactic acid when you exercise. This causes pain which needs massage to break it down and so I have to spend some time doing therapeutic massage. We all know teaching is a heavy workload career. It's more than the normal "full-time" hours. Anyway long story short when I was teaching I found I could not keep up with my medical care and I became increasingly unwell. I was either on top of my marking and my class workload and feeling unwell, or I was healthy and falling behind with my work. The tiredness was horrific to the point of painful. (I know we all get tired and I'm not wanting to insult anyone else who works hard because i know that as teachers we all do but I want to emphasise that this is more than the normal). one on occasion I fainted/passed out/lost consciousness (to be fair I'm not sure what actually happened) but I got taken to hospital where they kept me in for hours trying to find a medic that knew anything about my condition, (which they couldn't because no doctors had heard of what I have) but essentially they sent me home diagnosing me "medically exhausted" (their words not mine) and signing me off work for two days. My blood levels were out of range and far too high. In addition, I was taking a high number of painkillers because I couldn't do the necessary massage and care. This in turn was upsetting my tummy. I was just constantly ill. After my contract ended it took the whole of the summer holiday and winter term of my being unemployed and not working just to recover and bring my blood levels back to normal. I had a very good gp who helped me, referred me for massage and Physio, gave me painkillers, helped me back on feet. There were days I just laid in bed and cried because a) I felt so useless and b) it hurt. I debated what to do and decided part time supply teaching was a way forward. Since then I've done a masters in museum and gallery education and been working in Musuems doing freelance education (as well as a few other full time roles based in Musuems). This has allowed me to look after my medical care and I have been much healthier but my heart is in schools and always has been. A former colleague and headteacher heard me recently say I want to return to schools and how much I miss it. She suggested a TA / LSA role could be just right for me allowing me to have evenings to care for my medical concerns but still allowing me contact with children and the curriculum and the opportunity to use my skills. This would make me forever happy. I'm just very anxious about it. And worried that some might try to 'force' me back into the classroom which scares me. I have to confess I have a bit of a mental block in that being a teacher means having to endure the same physical pain as before. A kind of: Teaching = pain equation. I'm also worried because the last time I was in school was in spring 2015 and I have missed all the important things around the curriculum changes. So not only am I scared but my knowledge is old. A few things to point out: I didn't get DLA when I was full-time class teaching but it has since been suggested that I try for it. I likely won't get it because I can still function and the points based system doesn't take pain into account. I did ask for help from my teachers union but they weren't very helpful and I didn't ask for flexible working because I was the cover teacher. Who wants to find cover for the cover!? Finally I'm not motivated by money. If I can pay my bills I don't care. I want a career that I can enjoy and feel like I have made a difference to kids lives so even though in manny ways I'm over-qualified for a TA role just to be able to work in that setting would make me so happy. Wage is not a motivation for me. I'm very anxious. Can anyone offer advice?