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Is it too easy to be 'off sick' in teaching?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by deleted358, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. seren_dipity

    seren_dipity New commenter

    There is a system in place to stop teachers nosying into the business of their colleagues and having access private and confidential information/material about them. It's called the Bullying and Harassment Policy and/or Grievance Procedure.
    I wouldn't trust the type of person who'd discuss private and confidential information with me to be telling the truth or being accurate.
    We are not medically qualified - and neither are clerical staff - to comment on the health or otherwise of colleagues and it's for the HT to determine how to manage staff absence as per Absence Management Policy documents and it would be strange school where repeated absence was not being dealt with in some way - the fact is that it's none of anyone else's business what thay way is and that they're highly unlikely to know the full facts, and neither should they know them.
  2. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    A relative of mine died first thing on Monday morning. I was very upset but I thought I'd drag myself into work since we were supposed to have a student teacher in teaching 3 of my lessons: I figured I could manage my year 7s and year 10s who are lovely. Turns out the student teacher had also been bereaved over the weekend and wasn't in, so I ended up having to teach 5 lessons, plus break and after school duty. Our school only allows 3 days paid leave for next of kin and 1 day for any other relative. I have found this week incredibly difficult and really haven't coped well with the children at all. I've been irritable, moody and shouty, which I nearly never am as I'm generally in a good mood in the classroom. I felt on Tuesday as if I just didn't want to see or talk to anyone. I didn't speak until my first lesson of the day arrived and I was forced to, but even then it was just to tell them to carry on drafting their coursework.
    I certainly dont' feel like it is easy to take time off.
    I think it depends on the individual and how much they do/do no mind 'putting upon' their colleagues (genuine cases excepted of course!). I certainly did not feel I could take the time I probably needed.
  3. Steady on there Seren! The information was imparted on me not because I was being nosey or even because I asked for the info. A comment was said that shouldn't have been. Don't even begin to accuse me of anything! This is a discussion, purely for discussions sake.
    No, I'm not a doctor but I don't think there are times when you need to be.
    Actually I think it is when other people are being put under undue stress and pressure.
    No, I disagree. Often there is a tight line between dealing with something and then being up against a union. I can see why some HTs are cautious in calling someone up for it.
  4. seren_dipity

    seren_dipity New commenter

    You have no way of knowing whether it was accurate or fair.
    My experience leads me to believe that we, as teachers, are all too happy to comment on the health of our colleagues despite not being in the possession of any actual medical treatment or all the facts.
    That is not the fault of an absent teacher - and if you believe it to be the case for those you believe to be swinging the lead then how do you know that they're not thinking the same thing when you're off?
    I don't think many HTs are cautious about implementing clear policies and Absence Management policies are generally very clearly written and not open to interpretation. There is very little a union can do if the proper procedures are followed so I can't see the risk. Repeated short absences and sporadic long absences will reach a trigger point very quickly.

  5. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    Can I point out, that when you are a teacher, a lot of your day to day work, carries on in your absence.
    In offices if you are off sick, the work often piles up on a daily basis and is waiting for you, when you return.
    When you look at every profession, it has it's difficulty in taking time off sick.
    Teachers are not alone in this.
  6. I know that some did when I was signed off for 7 weeks!
  7. In one year when I started a new school, I very legitimitely had flu, laryngitis, tonsilitis, labrynthitis (I know all the itis'!) plus two tummy bugs.
    If your children are sick what are you supposed to do? Our society is not built so that one parent can stay at home. I am lucky that my husband does flexi-time, so in the future he will most likely be able to stay at home with sick children, or work from home etc.
    Young children go through an age where they are often very sickly, picking up lots of germs. Whilst a lot of staff in our school have time off for that, as kids get older it gets less frequent.
    It doesn't bother me at all how much time people are off for. It would be hypocritical of me! But also cos, if they are ill, they are ill. We do very little cover in our school, and one cover every couple of weeks, doesn't bother me. I sit for half an hour, do my work.

  8. To add- I get more annoyed covering for SLT for endless meetings
  9. I do more than one cover a week at my school. So do many of us. Am I doing something wrong?
    BTW I am not so much 'off sick from school' as 'sick of school' TBH!
  10. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Yes - you should a) find a document, ideally from a union stating the clear guidlines schools should be following, and b) show it when you refuse to do the cover!
    It's all in the "shared equally and equitably" bit - meaning that your year of cover mustn't be front-heavy, nor must you do more than anyone else, including the headteacher!

    Do you not have protected PPA time? Is your timetable structured so you have PPA AND time to do two covers a week? (If so, lucky you...) I am pleased I'm in a school that gets this bit right!
  11. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    In my experience, for every teacher who takes advantage of the system, there are at least 5 who struggle in when they are ill and put their utmost into the job. The procedures in place are to protect the other 5 (or 10 or however many!). I would rather work in a profession where the protections are in place for those who genuinely need it, than in one where everyone placed under pressure to ensure that no-one takes the mick.

  12. It's hard isn't it, but I guess like everything it's swings and roundabouts.
    I always used to think the whole maternity thing is cheeky, you know, going back for a few days so you get paid for the holidays or whatever, but then I also think, if you can why wouldn't you? Now I'm getting older, and noticing the disadvantages of the proffession, I can see why you might want to take advantage of the advantages...!!
  13. pomunder

    pomunder New commenter

    Well said, bombaysapphire. I applaud your attitude. There's a similar thread to this running on Opinion at the moment, and for uncharitable, sniping attitudes it takes some beating. I agree that in any humane system, there will be those get carried, but this is preferable to a toxic atmosphere of looking over others' shoulders. The vast majority don't take advantage, and it's for management/HR for to sort out the mickey takers.
  14. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Yes,I agree.
  15. neli

    neli Occasional commenter

    If I worked at your school you would probably consider me fit and healthy. I went on holiday over Christmas and have a bit of a tan. I look fit and healthy enough and I appear quite energetic. I expect you would be having a good old snipe behind my back because I have lots of time off in the past year due to vague and non-descript illnesses (sometimes it is easier to say you have the flu than that you don't know what is wrong but you do know you are just not up to a class full of kids combined with a mountain of paperwork and endless meetings).




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    In fact, appearances can be very
    deceiving, inside, I am a complete mess as recent blood tests proved. Don't always assume you know the facts.

  16. neli

    neli Occasional commenter

    No idea what the gobbledigook in the middle of that is about???

  17. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    Absolutely agree.
    Re the cover thing, I'm pretty sure it's legislation but our school will introduce it in sept. It'll have an impact on trips and so on, that's the down side.
  18. Can I ask where that comes from? I have only critisised the system. I asked this as a discussion point only. Why slur my character and make me out to be a ***?
  19. seren_dipity

    seren_dipity New commenter

    It's a snipe whether you think it is or not.
    They may or may not be. The teachers may or may not be being paid for some of their absences. By commenting without knowing all the details - and regardless of what you've been told you don't know that you know all the details - it's difficult not to see it as a snipe.
    it's a snipe - really it is....

    It's not your fault as this is the culture that exists in schools and as often as not we are our own worst enemies for indulging in this sort of thing.

  20. Fact!
    Genuine question. Several posters have used the argument the other way round as to why they take time off regarding school sending childrem home.
    A badly phrased question.
    For Neli to suggest I would be talking behind her back in my school is completely wrong.
    If I was discussing Hitler would I be called a Nazi supporter?


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