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How has your school supported you through your pregnancy?

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by sabby81, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. sabby81

    sabby81 New commenter

    Just wondering how different Heads have supported teachers? I had my risk assessment at 23 weeks pregnant and to be honest it's business as usual for me! I've heard that other teachers at my school had all kinds of support - being allowed to start later/finish earlier, classes removed, permission not to attend open evenings etc. Just wanted to compare notes...
  2. Sabby I reckon that, whilst extra weeks with the baby after are precious, so are the early weeks. Feeling exhausted and unwell when you have your baby will make it harder for you to cope through labour and early weeks let alone enjoy it.
  3. trish82

    trish82 New commenter

    Sabby, no support whatsoever from my school! I had my 'risk assessment' at 16 weeks and as a Science teacher, I was told I had to research any chemicals I was unsure were safe! Apparently there are risk assessment sheets for all chemicals, my HOD just doesn't seem to think it's his job to provide them!
    Also, I'm in a unique situation where my school is situated in 2 buildings, 1.5 miles apart. 3 days a week, I have registration, teach P1 and 2, travel in my 15 minute break and then teach p3 and 4. I have recently insisted that I be given some sort of break on these days as I don't have enough time to get to the toilet/have a snack etc, and have subsequently been having to leave classes mid way through to go to the toilet - not practical in a science class! I was told (by management!) that if I was unable to do my job, I shouldn't come to work! I argued that it's not a case of me being unable to teach my classes, it's the travelling and lack of time in which I am practically able to do this now!
    Am chasing up this week and will consult my union if the school are not supportive.
  4. Trish I was in this position 2 years ago in my previous school when pg with dd. My school was split site, 1 mile apart, and we taught a 3 period day with 20 mins at break after p1 and 45 mins for lunch after p2. I never even had a risk assessment carried out! From 30 weeks I was really struggling with SPD. I went to see the dep head to tell him that I wanted to start my maternity leave in 2 weeks and I was very sorry I wasn't giving the required 28 days notice but I just couldn't carry on. He said this was fine. After this meeting, my timetable was changed and I was travelling between sites almost every break and lunchtime! I had an appointment with the consultant which they refused to cover me for, even though I'd submitted the leave of absence request weeks before. It got to the day of the appointment and I still had no cover arranged so I basically told them I'd be walking out of the door at 2.30 and there would be 32 teenagers unsupervised so they'd better sort something out!! Lo and behold, someone turned up at 2.28! I used to try and book all of my appointments outside of school too and this was the thanks I got.
    My current school haven't done a risk assessment for me yet, I'm 17 weeks but have been signed off since 5 weeks with hyperemesis gravidarum. I went back to work yesterday and tried to go in this morning but failed miserably and threw up all over the staffroom toilets. It'll be interesting to see how/if they can accommodate the sickness in the risk assessment!
  5. m55

    m55 New commenter

    In hindsight the biggest problem I had was not knowing what help / support I could ask for. The school, especially my department, were great if I did ask for anything but it was mostly informal and I sorted things, like a couple of room changes and having a particularly difficult pupil taken off me, out with the relevant teachers myself. I never had a risk assessment and was never aware that I could ask for things like later starts or earlier finishes or having entire classes taken from me. Thinking back there was a lot more I could have asked for - and probably would have got as it is a very supportive school. I'm signed off now anyway and, in all honesty, don't think any extra help / support would have allowed me to carry on for longer. My advice to anyone struggling is to ask for everything - even things that might seem unreasonable. The worst that can happen is being told 'no' and you might be suprised by what is possible. Good luck to all.
  6. M55, you made a good point about not knowing what help we can ask for. Does anyone know what we are legally entitled to request?
    I'm 24 weeks and still had no risk assessment and I too work with chemicals. My duties have actually increased and they make me feel guilty for having medical appointments etc even though I make sure they are in my free periods so that I don't impact on my classes. Since going back i've been struggling with feeling sick and having an upset stomach and I had to leave early yesterday, I taught my lessons but left since I had a free afternoon, they were not happy about it - even though I was constantly running off to be sick for some reason they want me in school anyway! I work in an independant school and so work 6 days a week anyway and have to do three late nights a week - two finishing at 6pm and one at 7pm. I wish I could ask to be relieved of these duties but i'm too scared of the HT to ask! If I knew where I stood legally then at least I could feel a bit more confident in asking for help but I am feeling so vunerable right now that the thought of asking the HT for something makes me want to cry!
  7. I thought that as part of your risk assessment you could ask for anything that would support you during your pregnancy. If you work in private industry you can change from night shift, change to a sitting down post ect so I don't see why teaching should be any different. A lady at my aquanatal class was an air stewardess and as soon as she found out she was pregnant was put onto ground based duties so she didn't have to stand up for long periods.
    At my risk assessment I asked/told my head that I wouldn't do any more break duties, I would be teaching a lot more of my lessons sitting down (on an adult sized chair!), I would be reguarly leaving the room to be sick/go to the toilet and would need somebody to call on and cover my class (as you now a pregnant woman can develop a need to wee very quickly). I also asked for a lift key as I teach in an upstairs classroom and anything I didn't take in the lift was carried for me by somebody else.
    Legally you are allowed to have time off for pregnancy appointments. I always made mine during school time for this reason, otherwise I just got stressed out in rush hour traffic. You're also allowed time off for sessions like aqua natal if recommended by your midwife. Some schools aren't very keen on this but to be honest 'tough'.
    Can't think what else I asked for at the moment as my brain is a little scrambled by a 10 week old who is refusing to nap! Hope this helps a bit. x
  8. sabby81

    sabby81 New commenter

    Thanks girls for all your posts. It's terrible the varying amount of support available in different schools. I cannot believe the ladies that have to work between sites - def time to get unions involved I think. It is horrible though as we haven't done anything wrong yet the overwhelming sense of guilt is terrible! A teacher friend of mine in another school pointed out that pregnant woman are the most protected by law/policy so schools really should be supporting us. Even my husband couldn't understand the logic of not allowing a 7 month pregnant woman suffering from dizziness/exhaustion/headaches to start school at 8.30am especially when I have an otherwise excellent attendance/punctuality/exam results record etc. Sometimes it feels like the more you do/give, the more that is expected of you. Wouldn't it make sense for heads to protect their staff so that they retain them - a few adjustments here and there would surely prevent any long term sickness?? I now feel that the next time I'm so ill in the morning that I take longer to leave home, it's best for me to just take the day off to avoid getting into trouble for being late! x
  9. trish82

    trish82 New commenter

    Update on the chair situation!! Apparently 2 of my (male) colleagues seem to have opinions about the fact that a chair <u>with a back</u> has been put in 3 classrooms in the Junior building - 'you sit down to teach a class? <u>I</u> don't sit behind the teachers desk when <u>I</u> teach!'
    Firstly, I have never seen this teacher in question conduct practical work (science teacher!) of any sort this academic year, nor has the TA that assists him. He could quite easily sit behind a desk all day because he does hee haw anyway!
    Secondly, I think I would find it extremely stressful even contemplating such work from a seat behind the teachers desk. 20 teenagers working with chemicals/bunsen burners etc would sent my blood pressure rocketing at the best of times - but taking a load off when they are doing written work I feel is totally acceptable!
    The response of one of our janitorial staff is cut and pasted below:
    Maybe they should walk around for a few days wi a sack o spuds up there jerseys see how they manage lol.
    Hahahaha...at least someone has compassion!!
  10. trish82

    trish82 New commenter

    Just realised I hadn't mentioned the chair situation in my original post!
    I requested a chair with a back, rather than a standard science stool for the classrooms I teach in. We have tons of spare chairs in the Senior building, so I asked the janitor to move some to the Junior building for me - he was turned away on 2 occassions by members of my department in the Senior building!!
  11. Did my school support me though out my pregnancy? One word: NO!
    I wish they had. I wish I did have TA support for a very demanding and large class, I know its hard to blame them but I do blame them for going into premature labour. I asked for help almost daily and got ignored.
    Hope you get more support.
  12. sabby81

    sabby81 New commenter

    Shocking stories. So much for working in a caring profession!!! ...Now if it was a student who was pregnant, the whole world would stop as SMT have external agencies to answer to. Sounds like we're all similar in that we genuinely do not want to make a fuss - we just need a little support to do the job we signed up to do!!! x
  13. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    I got none, my HOD actually gave me extra work...
    It depends, if you need help, they should give it to you, but unfortunately the attitude seems to be you are lucky to have a job in the current climate and it's your choice to have a child so why should other people do things for you.
    Obviously it varies, some people have easy pregancies, some not, so one woman might be just as normal others may really be suffering, so I guesss it's hard for schools to hava general policy
  14. I am currently 22 weeks and really struggling with pgp, I don't know what support to ask for or whether to just get signed off. School haven't been very supportive so far.
  15. It depends on what support you feel you need. It's always worth asking. On the other hand if you are unwell and struggling with work go and get signed off. It sounds like a bit of a cliche but this really is the time to put you and your baby first.
  16. Thanks duvetdays. Do you (or anyone else) know if I can be signed off on a part time basis, ie just work mornings?
  17. This is what I intend to do this week. School are more than happy for me to to do this as it means I will last closer to my due date rather than just being signed off indefinately. I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow so all being well I am going part time due to pgp. I shall let you know how I get on if you like?
  18. Good luck! I went to the gp today and have now been signed off for afternoons for 4 weeks due to pgp. HT has been very supportive but just need to check with HR re pay, I presume I get paid as normal but the afternoon will be stat sick pay.
  19. All the Heads in our borough are being consulted on whether to cut the existing enhanced maternity package for staff emplyed over a year by 50%. Bloody typical - been here 5 years and its been in place - as soon as I get pregnant, they want to cut the money. NUT fighting it. Very peeved. Going to get my letter in notifying them of my pregnancy officially today and hope that the NUT can delay it long enough for me still to get it (I'm 18 weeks).
    Anyone know exactly what I need to put in my letter.
  20. Ms Media - have a look at the Directgov website (google directgov pregnancy) as I remember seeing a letter on there where you could input your details and they filled in the official letter for you. Hope that helps. [​IMG]

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