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How to get across to management that you are not coping with additional workload.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Alisonaubrey1945, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Alisonaubrey1945

    Alisonaubrey1945 New commenter

    3 years ago i had a serious illness ( not mental health or work related ) and spent an entire year off work. When i eventually returned to work it was part time and without any of my previous tlr and responsibilities as i still have the illness but am trying to work with it. It has been a difficult time but work have been supportive up till now. Being relaxed about tutor duties and break time , twilights etc.

    Since September a colleague, who i share the majority of my classes with, has been off sick, she came in for the first couple of days and was then signed off . After a few weeks the school were able to ask another colleague to cover her teaching hours which helped as i wasn't having to set cover anymore but all the other jobs that the sick colleague does , as head of department, have not been covered. They have just randomly come my way, usually at the last minute when it is realised that no one is doing them.

    As I previous stated I am part time and still recovering from my own illness and despite sending at least 5 emails and having numerous discussions with my line manager, about not being able to cope with the extra, nothing is being put in place. Or nothing that is working at least.

    I was told yesterday that it is normal practise for teachers to have to pick up extra work when others are off. And that everyone did it when i was off sick. It is not that i do not want to help out and make life easier for colleagues and students , i just dont have the reserve. My part time timetable is more than enough for me during this recovery process . I feel like i have no choice but to go to the doctors and as i am struggling not to cry and feel really anxious about going back next week already, i am sure he would classme as unfit to work, especially taking into account my illness. BUT I really dont want to do this. I teach majority examined subjects and the students are already missing 1 teacher. I am the end of my tether and would really welcome any suggestions on how to make this better.

    TIA AA1945
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You're not posting under your real name, are you?

    I am afraid you have no option but to go to your GP. If he feels you're unfit to work then I think you're going to have to accept his professional opinion. If he gives you some tablets or recommends something to calm you then take that advice.

    You say your normal timetable is more than enough already. You haven't asked a question as such. You've asked for suggestions. But there is an implicit question - if I'm not coping should I still be working? And the answer would be no.

    If you tell them they had better back off or you'll be getting signed off it sounds as if you are threatening them. But they're emotionally blackmailing YOU.

    I can only conclude you've just about reached the end of your tether. You've done the right thing. Emails. Explanations. You've been met with the classic (and unhelpful) response.

    GP, please. You're unwell.
  3. Alisonaubrey1945

    Alisonaubrey1945 New commenter

    No it's not my real name. And I have left details out to keep anonymity.

    I have said . I am not able to keep this and I know it will make me sick and I do not want to go off sick. I do not want this to be threatening In anyway but I do need the, to understand I cannot do extra.

    I appreciate you saying that if i am not coping I shouldn't be working but I do cope very well with just my teaching , I am still a good teacher In the classroom with well planned lessons and students making progress. I have fought hard to retain this during my illness and am just so frustrated that the extra stuff that I gave up , intentionally, is what is going to take me away from teaching. How can that be right?
  4. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    Could not agree more GDW, the school knows the health situation. Perhaps self refer to Occupational Health as well.
    Alisonaubrey1945 and ldnsenco like this.
  5. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    Your GP does not have to sign you off sick but has the power to recommend, for example, part-time work only... or light duties etc. The GP can reiterate that you have relinquished your TLR and other duties so you can manage your illness, the school needs to be reminded of this. This is also why I mentioned an appointment with Occupational Health - they too can make recommendations to the school about your health status and what is best for you.
  6. Alisonaubrey1945

    Alisonaubrey1945 New commenter

    Thank you both for your replies. I still have a very good occupational therapist linked to my illness but have not kept him fully informed so as well as GP I will contact OT this week.

    I know you are saying what it right but it is difficult to hear when i really want to work.

    ldnsenco likes this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    There is no reason for you not to work at your own job, however you are not able to work yours and someone else's.

    All you need is a 'fit to work' note that says exactly that. Get a GP appointment next week and they will write one.
    Then have a open and honest talk with your line manager which outlines what you will and will not do, your union should support you in this discussion.

    Other people might pick up extra when someone is off sick, but your colleagues aren't going to want to pick up yours and the person already off. Everyone gains by you being in work doing just your own job.
    Alisonaubrey1945 likes this.
  8. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    If the illness which resulted in the reduction of your hours persists and is capable of meeting the criteria to be deemed a disability per s6 EqA 2010, it would be unlawful to impose conditions on you that cause you to be treated unfavourably or less-favourably than your colleagues.

    It is no good the school saying that all staff are expected to pick up work if a colleague is ill, if you have a disability which is negatively impacted by such a provision. If you have a disability, you have to be treated differently. It's the law.

    Talk to your union.
    Maths_Shed and Alisonaubrey1945 like this.
  9. Alisonaubrey1945

    Alisonaubrey1945 New commenter

    I am covered by the equality act, ( or whatever it is now called ) due to my illness, my OT has told me this before.

    The problem is that my illness is invisible , to many people i seem really well so it is tough for people to understand , which is why i have been quite clear in my emails and discussions , to try and help my managers understand.

    Hopefully with input from the OT and a note from the doctor the situation will improve enough to enable me to continue with my job.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Just stop doing it. When these things come up last minute, email your line manager or SMT saying, "XYZ needs to be done. I cannot do it as I am attending to my own classes and workload. Please respond quickly because 4B4 are standing in the corridor without a teacher."
  11. Alisonaubrey1945

    Alisonaubrey1945 New commenter

    That is what my family keep telling me to do. And i have tried the odd time to do this but it goes against my core and so then i become very anxious and stressed because i have not sorted it out or rather it has not been sorted out. Especially when it involves students asking you to do so stufff cos the other teacher isn't here.

    I have mostly been doing the minimum that i need to do at that point to alleviate the situation and immediately emailed to say this has happened again and i cant keep doing it.

    But once again , you are correct , I just need to say no and walk away from the situation. Maybe that will be easier with a gp note , the ot input and the equality act behind me. It will always go against my core though , unfortunately my health does not match my need to sort things out if problems keep being brought to me.

    Thank you everyone for some sound advice. At least i have a plan of action now.
  12. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    I have only this evening been contacted by a former colleague who is completely overloaded.

    She is four or five years into the profession and a damn good teacher, has a great rapport with the students and gets excellent results.

    She is under so much pressure and feels she cannot do any more. She has expressed her views to her HoD who says 'this is the way it is'. That is not the answer.

    @Alidonaubrey1945 I f feel desperately for your situation. You need to look after no 1 here and if you need time off then so be it..

    I really don't know what is happening to this profession.
    Alisonaubrey1945 likes this.
  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I have mentioned before on here (though you may not have seen it) that the definition of disability is a legal one. While OT may think it likely you are covered by EqA, that may not be sufficient to rely on. However, let's presume that your condition is covered.

    You are strongly advised to involve your union. The school cannot impose on you an expectation to pick up your absent colleague's work if it negatively affects you because of the disability. Your ability to do your job without the additional work is evident.

    Your comment that hopefully you will be able to carry on with your job alarms me. The law is there to protect you in this scenario. Use it.
    Alisonaubrey1945 likes this.
  14. Alisonaubrey1945

    Alisonaubrey1945 New commenter

    I'm not sure that we have union representation in the school at the moment but I did contact someone from the union a few years ago when I was originally negotiating my return to work contract after my illness so I will look up that email and contact them over half term also.

    Thank you.
    GLsghost likes this.
  15. Maths_Shed

    Maths_Shed Occasional commenter

    I would go straight to area representatives.
    Alisonaubrey1945 likes this.
  16. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Ring the regional office for advice and support. School reps do not usually have sufficient knowledge or understanding of discrimination law, which is complex.
  17. Alisonaubrey1945

    Alisonaubrey1945 New commenter

    Will do.
  18. Alisonaubrey1945

    Alisonaubrey1945 New commenter

    Will do. Thank you
  19. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Okay, that one is hard but you have to weigh up what's better - helping these ones out balanced against being off sick and all your classes suffering. It would go against my nature too but we all have a tipping point and if you're not coping, saying no is the only option.
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Option 1: You keep sorting it out and are then totally absent through illness in a week or so.
    Option 2: You stop sorting out other people's jobs but are there for your own job and the real emergency situations.

    Option 2 is clearly the better one...even though harder to do.
    Alisonaubrey1945 likes this.

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