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I need advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Iastbury, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. Iastbury

    Iastbury New commenter

    I finally handed in my notice so I am leaving at Easter, as soon as the head of department found out gave a long list of things to do... including reports and so on. My problem is because I am moving classrooms all the time my back is hurting to the point that I am having difficulties to walk. I had a week off and the doctor wrote in the sick note of they could please address that as moving things from one place to another one is causing me problems, the thing is that the school didn't do anything and I just feel awful. I have talked to my head of department but she's ignoring me probably cause I am leaving.
    Any advice?
  2. joannagb

    joannagb Occasional commenter

    They still have a responsibility to protect your health! Can you ask your doctor to write a more specific letter outlining the things that need to happen? Otherwise I'd call the union and get some advice from them - this is a very similar situation to that of a friend of mine who was having to lug a huge trolley full of books across the school 3 times a day, and who subsequently (I believe that to say "consequently" might get me into trouble, but...) had a miscarriage. A few of us looked into it then and they certainly do have a responsibility to protect you - especially if your GP has already told them to - ridiculous!
    As regards the long list, if it's not achievable then you can't do it - is it reasonable stuff that you've been asked to do? I'd have a look through it and do what I could to make the transition as smooth as possible for the kids, but if it's not achievable then you can't achieve it.
  3. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Not long left; just grin and bear it.
  4. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Surely moving....books,furniture whatever isn't acceptable as a teacher task? Can you not fix a time with the site manager (aka catering staff) to ask for their help?
    Alternatively you could hit on the old "male trick to get out of washing up/similar job" by dropping something delicate/vital "accidentally" to ensure you aren't asked again.....

    The reports are surely part of a professional duty and helpful in the handover to other teachers.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    In the short term, could you use some 'helpful' students to move resources from one class to another. Either from genuinely helpful ones or as a consequence' of any behaviour issues during a lesson?
    Or I have in the past used a small trolley /suitcase on wheels. No good if you've stairs to negotiate of course.
  6. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Oh my goodness..... are the kids even "allowed" to do that kind of thing any more ?
    Surely every second whilst in the school building has to be an academic learning experience.

    My elder ruled and reigned over the English store cupboard for her English teacher HoD and loved every minute of the responsibility and for being helpful and appreciated.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Remind your HoD of your Doctor's comments in an email, with a copy to their line managers (DHT? HT?), and point out that you really don't want to take any more time off with a bad back, but you fear that this may be what will happen unless your timetable is changed to take account of your Doctor's advice.

    If nothing is done, start taking 2 or thee days off every time your back hurts.
    ValentinoRossi, cissy3 and baitranger like this.
  8. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    Don't lift anything heavy and don't do anything that causes you pain. You have to care about your health because it seems no-one else at your place of work does.
    Flere-Imsaho and cissy3 like this.
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Firstly, can you think of any solutions to the moving problem that you can put to the school? There are two levels I can think of, there are probably others.
    1.I could stay in room X all morning if Ms Y could move 7N to room Y
    2. My Doctor has said that I have medical problems from moving things - I need a trolley / all the lessons on one floor / someone to move the heavy stuff.
    I would suggest getting a union person in on this part of the negotiation as this should be happening as reasonable adjustments.

    Secondly - go through the list and prioritise. Things like reports and information about class progress should be done, there will be other things that you will only complete if you have the time (and your work-induced back problems allow you to). First do a mental prioritisation, then reflect on how much you share this with your HOD - they need to see you making reasonable progress on the most important stuff.

    Thirdly, make sure any of your personal things you use at work are removed from the school in good time.

    Don't forget to thank the supportive people in your school. Good luck with the next stage of llife
  10. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Oh gosh! Shows how 'old school' I am! Never even occurred to me that with current Health and Safety regulations, students probably aren't allowed to do it anymore! What have we come to?
  11. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    I agree with Frank W and baitranger.

    I'm wondering if you could have a word with the Union Health and Safety bods. (As phlogiston said)

    Btw are you moving to a new job? Just wondering, if they could get arsey re refs etc Again, might be an idea to ask for Union advice.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Excellent advice from @phlogiston !

    Just make sure that you are not making your health worse.

    Best wishes for the rest of the term, and the start of the new job/new life.

  13. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    With regards to the long list...

    Look through and have a private list of priorities. What is it important for you to achieve on that list?

    Then try and estimate how many person hours each item will take.

    Then any very long tasks or items you really don't want to do or are unnecessary write down.

    Send your HoD an email.

    "You don't seem to be available to discuss the list of things you have given me to do. Please could you send me an email detailing the order you would like things to be done.

    As you know I am leaving at Easter. I propose to complete X, y and z. (What you feel are the most important things) by this date.

    Please arrange a time if you wish to discuss this further."

    Do not offer to do everything on your private list straight away. You will be under pressure to add things however much you offer to do.

    Refuse to do things you regard as not important unless something is removed from your initial list - in writing.

    Eg "Dear Ms/Mr Slavedriver, Further to our conversation yesterday you Insisted that I sort out the stock cupboard before I leave. You suggested I did not write any reports to give me time to do this. If I receive your acknowledgement and agreement to this course of action by email I will proceed as instructed. Otherwise I shall give priority to the report writing."

    I have no idea if your HoD is really like this or what was on the list but you must protect your time and health and have a script ready. "That will take 5 hours - what would you like me to stop doing so that I can gain the time necessary to carry out this task?" I'm sure there are more eloquent ways of expressing all this.

    Good luck and take care of your back.
    phlogiston likes this.
  14. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    How outrageously misandrous! I shall be writing to my MP just as soon as I picked this lot up. :p

    HelenREMfan and ValentinoRossi like this.
  15. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Just one extra thing to consider, if you are leaving at Easter: when are you finishing? If you are not going to another school, then resignations for Easter are usually technically with effect from 30th April (this is brought forward to the day before you start at another school, if you are starting somewhere new after the Easter holiday). In practice, schools often want the replacement teacher to start at the beginning of the term, and don't expect the departing teacher to attend after the holiday. If you are being paid until 30th April, but not expected to be in school, then it would not seem unreasonable for you to do things like report-writing in that time.

    However, you can only do what is reasonable in the time left this term. If they want lots of extra doing on top of what you would normally be doing this term, then you need to follow the advice above, and/or ask whether they can give you some time off timetable to do it. If you are only being paid until the end of the holiday, they can't direct you to work during the holiday, so you can only do what's doable by the end of term.
    cazzmusic1 and phlogiston like this.
  16. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Any employer has a responsibility to make 'reasonable adjustments' - your doctor has indicated in writing that there are certain things that you can't do. You need to flag this up again in writing to your line manager and the head, and perhaps ask for a referral to Occupational Health. I would also speak to your Union Rep regarding this. I had a physical problem that meant I could not carry heavy items and that I also needed a different type of chair. I felt embarrassed to have to avoid things I had previously always done but used the 'broken record' technique to ensure the reasonable adjustments were made. If you develop further problems yo will need to be off sick anyway.
    cazzmusic1 and phlogiston like this.
  17. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    ...if a person is disabled per s 6 Eq A 2010.

    However, all employers have both common law and statutory duties for the health and well-being of their employees.
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  18. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    'Can you not fix a time with the site manager (aka catering staff)'

    Oh dear! It is comments like these that do not help relations between teachers and support staff! While I agree that asking a member of the site staff to lift books (who, by very nature of the job they have is likely to be fit and used to such tasks) is a good idea, the site manager and the catering staff are two VERY different job roles! If support staff said 'oh that PE teacher aka Head of Maths; you would be up in arms!
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  19. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    There are H and S guidelines about lifting

    Good rule of thumb - if it doesn't move when you kick it, then you need some assistance or some equipment to help.
  20. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Oops sorry I never noticed this damn machine changed Caretaking to catering...... oops Doh sorry

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