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In shock at head's response to me being ill

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Lilmonkey1982, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. Lilmonkey1982

    Lilmonkey1982 New commenter

    Sadly I've caught the sickness bug from school, and so my partner emailed in on my behalf as I was throwing up and literally was a mess. He did so and was really polite saying I had been sick and would be off for the remainder of the week as he knew it was 48 hour rule. I had all good intentions of sending a follow up when the sickness has passed as I know the school prefer to hear from us personally.

    At around lunchtime yesterday I then receive a telephone call from my head whilst I was hidden in the depths of my bed feeling awful, saying that I should have emailed and not him. I apologized and said that I asked him as had been really bad and just didn't have the energy to sit and email between being sick and running to the loo. She seemed ok with that, however then said, I know you have an assignment due, what are you going to do about that?

    I'm currently studying through the OU and have an assignment due in on the 20th of this month, the course is self funded by myself and the school have nothing to do with it as I had signed up before I commenced working there, i'm now in my final year. What's upset me is it made me feel like I was taking the time off to do my work and not throwing my guts up, which went on from 4am until 11am yesterday! I've been really upset since, thinking they don't believe me and am now petrified of going back to work on Monday as fearful about what has been said behind my back. I'm employed as a TA and not once have I ever taken time off to do an assignment as my working hours allow me time in the evenings to do it.

    I'm not quite sure what to say to her as I am so angry at that comment and want to log a complaint as she had no right to ask me something like that especially as it's nothing to do with her about my course or assignments and doesn't affect the school, but the fact that I have caught the bug that is going around school and is spreading and was quizzed about an assignment I feel is out of order.

    What do I do?
  2. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    What do you do? Nothing.

    She may have been just concerned about you missing the deadline (ooh look a Unicorn) but you would never be able to prove it was otherwise.

  3. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    You're right the assignment is nothing to do with her.
    I would check your absence policy and see what it says about how to contact school when you are Ill. If you have followed the correct process then I would mention this to her in a very professional manner, if you haven't I would just apologise and say you have read it and will know what the correct process is next time.
    Curae, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Only delegate the "informing school about your absence" to someone else if you are at death's door. That's just the way people like it done. Better to observe the protocol.

    It's often just a voicemail on the dedicated 'phone line. But whatever the method? Do it yourself. Have a standard email in your draft folder and just click "Send" if the need arises.

    You're feeling a bit sensitive about the remark about the assignment. But it sounds more like anxiety on your behalf to me - rather than anything sinister.

    So what @ridleyrumpus said.
  5. Dyathinkhesaurus

    Dyathinkhesaurus New commenter

    My thoughts: email the head, reminding her what she said (that you had an assignment deadline) and what she implied (that you weren't ill, but were working on your assignment). Confirm the facts (that you were ill and that you self-certified, as per the school's policy on sickness absence) and tell her that you feel she has no reason to doubt your integrity.

    That way, it's all on record.

    Regarding the email, next time, get your partner to use your email address.

    I've just left a school, of my own volition, because I was fed-up of the culture of mistrust and micromanagement.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  6. SantasElf

    SantasElf New commenter

    Hi there
    Hope you are feeling better
    Are you quite sure the remark was intended to cause you hurt?
    I wonder if your Head was thinking you might need them to back you up if you asked the OU for an extension due to illness?
    I do think that mailing them accusing them of implying you were pulling a sickie to complete your assignment will sour your relationship so I'd think very carefully before doing that.
    My suggestion is that you simply greet her as normal when you're back and thank her for her concern, and (if you want to mention the assignment) say that it's put back your completion by a couple of days and taken out all your contingency time, but that you're still sure you can hand in on 20th. She may surprise you and offer you some time out to complete it while the Y3s are doing their pantomime rehearsal...
  7. Dyathinkhesaurus

    Dyathinkhesaurus New commenter

    A very good point. I had allowed my personal experience to cloud my perspective. Let's hope you're right
  8. peakster

    peakster Star commenter


    I had the sickness bug on Tuesday...

    But I went back in on Wednesday.
  9. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    (Unless it's a final assignment, your OU tutor is very likely to be willing to give you an extension to the assignment deadline. They don't usually require any evidence, except for end of module assessment.)
  10. 2r2e

    2r2e New commenter

    Hope you are better LM.
    Without sounding mean to the Head, does s/he have previous for this kind of approach? That has implications (either way) on how you might interpret it.
    Without sounding mean to you, have you got any previous for this kind of thing? Is there a pattern that others might (correctly or not) interpret as absences that tie in with other circumstances?
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Please don't assume the worst of people on the basis of one thing. If there's a pattern then it's a different matter but do give the benefit of the doubt.

    It's better for everyone. You really don't need to go through the year imagining someone has it in for you unless you've more evidence than this. Not good for you.
  12. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Regarding your assessment make sure you ask for an extension as soon as possible from your tutor as they'll let you know the details of when it can be in. Alternately contact your student support team (or equivalent) for advice on late submissions.

    Hope you feel better soon!

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Is your HT normally ok? If so, just chalk it up to christmas stress and forget about it. They aren’t taking any action, they probably just threw a moody because you won’t be the only teacher off with this bug and the kids are going mental. But yes, if it’s a pattern of snotty behaviour then that’s different.
  14. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I hope you are well now. I wouldn't look for trouble in her comments. She knows you're working hard, had an assignment to finish and was just concerned about this also I think. Try not to take offence but get yourself well and finish your assignment and get back to the school as soon as possible. It must be quite hard for you having this happen at this particular time, but Christmas holidays will soon be here and you can perhaps rest and recover and perhaps find time also for your OU assignment too. Good luck and a happy Christmas to come.
  15. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Like a previous poster said, unless you are 'dying' YOU must be the one to call/email in sick. He's your partner not your parent! Although I can understand the reasoning, its just protocol and actually a phone call where you genuinely sound ill will back up your case.

    Personally I can be a downright cynic in the actions of others but 90% of it is your own filter and the more positive a spin you put on the actions of others, the better you will feel! The Head may have been genuinely concerned for your ability to hand in the asignment and meant no '**siness whatsoever' by it.

    Get physically better and enjoy the last week of term!
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  16. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    "I'm so sorry I didn't inform the school but got my partner to do it for me; he offered as I had just thrown up all over my laptop, and he wouldn't let me near his laptop to email the school. With regard to the assignment I have to complete, fortunately I finished it last week - before I threw up all over my laptop and stuck the keyboard together, but I appreciate your concern. Thank you. By the way, do you think if I bring my laptop into school, the IT guys can sort out the keyboard for me?"
    phlogiston, Piranha, d_fahey and 3 others like this.
  17. Catjellycat

    Catjellycat Occasional commenter

    Pfff, I once got called to the Head and accused of lying about a day off and had had to justify myself. Apparently I'd sounded too happy on the phone (if I recall, I'd come downstairs from getting ready to find my two year old covered in vomit from head to foot)

    A snarky comment isn't worth anything.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. princesslegend

    princesslegend Occasional commenter

    "Thankfully, I managed to complete it last week. I'm so glad it's out of the way. Thanks for asking."
  19. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I disagree 100% with the 'you must phone in yourself under all circumstances' claptrap being spouted here (& apparently by some schools). For 8 years I was the teacher i/c cover etc and therefore fielded hundreds of calls (email was in its infancy then), and the vital thing was that the school is notified in good time - waiting until the ill teacher has woken up/finished being sick etc just so they can personally contact the school (rather then their partner etc dong so more promptly) really is stupid, akin to the school cutting off their nose to spite their face.

    So I assume it is being demanded as a form of bullying/coercion to try and force ill staff to come to work. The other comments by the HT reported by the OP confirm those in my view. They are clearly a bully.
  20. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    When I was in hospital with acute pancreatitis (following a routine dye-down-the-bile-duct procedure), and in excruciating pain and hooked up to morphine, I still rang the school to tell them I wouldn't be in and told them what I would have been teaching each class and where all the resources were. But then, back in those days, I cared enough about the school and the teaching to put myself last. Not any more though; learned that lesson.

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