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

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

  1. tick/star/smileyface

    tick/star/smileyface New commenter

    HI, sorry just joined at the end of this and read lots of comments - I completely agree that we do no know individuals circumstances and should really concentrate on wishing them better and keeping ourselves well!
    Just a question though, it was mentioned about occupational health being involved with teachers - can someone clarify what you mean by this? Would the school do this to check up on you/use it against pay etc?

    Thanks!
     
  2. erp77

    erp77 New commenter

    There have been a couple of times in the last couple of weeks where i've thought about phoning in sick but in the end i've just gone to work. I'm in a one teacher dept so there's no one else to set the work and it's just easier to come in and struggle through
     
  3. There are certain individuals that milk the system, they know that they can get signed off with stress for up to six months on full pay, then when half pay kicks in, they then come back to work after an Occupational heath visit finds nothing wrong, have re-intergration meetings / return to work interviews, be back at work for a month and then the process starts again.
    I have a member of my department that completed her NQT year with no days off, then when she passed, returned to work in September and then was off work in mid October until the beginning of July the following year. Came back in September and again she went absent due to stress mid October and has been absent since. However half pay is about to kick in and guess what she's she about to be reintergrated once again.
    This is not fair on other members of my department and ultimatly the children she was supposed to be educating.
    The system is a joke and needs to be overhauled to stop people like this milking the system and ruining the lives of children they are supposed to be helping to achieve a better future. How can they when they have constant different supply teachers!
    Comments appreciated.
     
  4. You can't comment on someone elses time off. Even though I have had time off with depression, and make no attempt to hide it at work, people make comments about others being off for similar. Whatever people may have thought about my "mental" illness, I tried to commit suicide several times, and begged to go back to work but was refused by doctor. You cannot comment on other people's health.
    I am off sick again today. I have had a headache since weds, that won't go away even with paracetamol. I am also dizzy, and decided that me and the bean was more important than the two lessons I had to teach today.
    I have felt guilty all day, but I feel utterly rotten. I have gone in every day this week feeling rough (I can't take most over counter stuff, cos pregnant). I need to rest. Midwife wants me to come in later to test blood pressure cos of headache. But maybe I should have gone in?
     
  5. My twopenneth:
    You have absolutely no right to validate, qualify or judge other people's absences from work, unless you ARE them.
    You are a teacher. Teacher's sometimes cover lessons for their absent colleagues. You knew this before you entered the profession. If you didn't realise what goes on while you were training you needed to look more closely. It's the profession.
    Talking about it regardless of the above two points will get you absolutely nowhere but BitterTown.
    Every workplace is full of people who milk the system. The civil service is rife with it.
    In other words: 'DUH!'
     
  6. tick/star/smileyface

    tick/star/smileyface New commenter

    Gemmiepie I agree with you completely! Well said. Can someone clear up what occupational health is all about linked to this? What do they do/how do they get involved? Thank you
     
  7. Factors making it 'easy' to be off sick:
    Teachers are fortunate to have good sick-pay provision and, on the whole, the advantage that you can't really be expected to continue working from home as the children aren't there!
    Factors making it not so easy to be off sick:
    The guilt - ah the guilt.
    The fact that you know that your colleagues will hate you for it.[​IMG]
    The problem that secondary teachers are expected to provide cover work for absence and primary teachers increasingly expected to make sure that everything is 'in place' in their absence.
    I lucky enough to be generally healthy. I have generally had 3-4 days off a year with minor illnesses/back pain flare ups and had one episode of two weeks absence a couple of years ago. However I am currently signed off at home with a pregnancy related problem and have already felt stressed more than once due to phone conversations about what is happening in my absence at school.
    To be honest, I don't see the end of teacher guilt any day soon - which is why I can't see myself working in the classroom for any longer than I can help it.
    A colleague once said to me:
    'If you die tomorrow, there will be somebody in your class the next day."
    Simple, but it really put it in perspective for me!
     
  8. Having glanced through most of the posts I would perhaps agree that it depends on what you teach and the guilt factor and issue of setting work. Days where I teach sixth form I would try to avoid missing as with the AS lot in particular it is a push to get through the specification in time and as the lessons are grouped together if I miss one day that is several hours possibly wasted. If the work was set and given to the students you have the usual few that do the work and then those who don't - meaning you have to go through it again when you return so that everyone has the information.
    The issue of cover was recently raised in my school and actually what they are looking at is allocation of free time so that people are evenly spread across the week as what is currently the problem is at one period of time many teachers may be available to cover but at others only a few making their chances of being as to cover much higher. Again this is more a timetable/management issue but if you are asked to cover lots maybe this is the issue.
     
  9. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    I find this annoying:
    as it implies that absence is always avoidable.
     
  10. I am really torn on this issue.
    I'm lucky at the moment because I have a good immune system and don't seem to pick up illnesses. I've been teaching for 2 years and never picked anything up at all. I also don't have kids. I had 4 days off when my Dad died at the end of last term but other than that I've never been the subject of the backbiting that I know goes on about staff absence at my school (and actually I don't think it did in my case because I'm the youngest member of staff and was a good couple of decades 'too early' for bereavement so most people were wonderful).
    I think it's a very good thing I've never been physically too ill to work because I think I'd be too frightened to call in sick anyway. Not that my school isn't lovely, I'm just ridiculous about that kind of thing. I have a range of mental illnesses (bipolar, OCD, an eating disorder) which make work very difficult sometimes but I can't bring myself to give in and stay at home (I think it's part of the OCD or something abnormal anyway!)
    However, I can understand why staff moan about colleagues so much. I work in an independent school and we certainly don't have any cover limits. Supply teachers are never used (except for maternity or really extended absences) and it's unusual for me to get away with less than 3 cover lessons a week. I hate that unpredictability and the sudden removal of time you'd planned to do something vital in.
    I also hate that teachers can disappear with 'stress' and 'anxiety' for so long. I'm very aware that some people have clinical stress and anxiety but others are just stressed and anxious. As we all are much of the time. I hate this attitude in myself because I dont like being so intolerant, especially when I'm aware that my own mental health record is so checkered (chequered?) But I can't help feeling like this and I guess it's better to say it to a computer screen which doesn't know me than to ever end up saying it out loud to actual people!
     
  11. kellyegg

    kellyegg New commenter

    I don't think it is too easy to be off teaching in the same way that it is not too easy to leave school early. The reason being there will always be those annoying teachers who go on about how professional they are as they are always in , you know the type I even drag myself in when I'm sick. yes we know you do and then spread your germs to healthy members of staff who then have to take a day off that they wouldn't have needed if you had been less selfish. I have not had a day off in 4 years but would never criticise a colleague who might need a day off as they feel ill, in the same ay I encourage my staffto go home if they are finished. In my school Friday is celebrated as Poets day (*** of early today) Rant over
     
  12. joli2

    joli2 New commenter

    I agree and would add it's even more annoying because doing so passes round the germs.

     
  13. I always thought it was P*** Off Early, Tomorrow's Saturday.
    Nowt wrong with POETS day, though. I LIVE for that bell at 3.10!
     
  14. Is it too easy to be 'off sick' in teaching?

    Yes. You simply phone in sick and that is it. Your head may call you at home so make sure you have you cough/sneezes ready.

    Is it too easy to be 'off sick' in teaching?
    Depends on the teacher and their subject. Core subject subjects will likely have a textbook and other staff who can organise a lesson easily. If your subject does not have textbooks and you are the only person who teaches the subject, you are more likely to turn and and teach the lesson anyway.

    I think the OP has made it clear that we all know a teacher who is off sick a bit too much. A teacher who always calls in sick on the Friday before a holiday. A teacher who will awake with, a slight fever, a slight headache and call in sick when we all know that two asprin will get them through the day.

    I think BombaySapphire made a good point, you will always have the scum who abuse the system,
    I once read of an idea where teachers who have no sick days off by June/July, can be allowed to take days off in recognition of their effort and resilience during the year. As somebody who has never had a day off sick I would welcome this.
     
  15. In the Police force where I live, there used to be a Christmas bonus and one of the specific criteria was linked to absence. This used to mean over £1000 just when it was needed! Certainly changed attitude to sickness. Since the removal of it, sickness rate has increased rapidly!
     
  16. EmiW

    EmiW New commenter

    I haven't read all the responses so sorry if I am repeating what others have said.
    I do think teachers feel guilty at being off because we know that someone else is covering our classes. However, I was a bit surprised to read responses about how other jobs can just go in and "sit behind a computer with a lemsip" if they are ill, so its easier. Talk about belittling other peoples' work!
    Public sector employees are lucky to have a decent sick pay provision, but I suppose there are always going to be the odd few who take advantage of it. Still, better that it is in place for those who do need it.
    One more point here, and I am being pedantic. To those who said that going in when you are ill spreads germs - I am not denying that it can do, but you are actually most contagious before showing any symptoms, so staying off every time you have a cold, really won't stop it spreading.
     
  17. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Calling in sick is really stressfull. If I know I'm going to be off, because I'm very poorly the night before, I always wake up several times throughout the night thinking I've slept in a missed the "call time". Our school day starts at 8am, so you have to call in sick as early as possible before 7.30am. When I call in, I always feel like I have to justify myself, even though I am clearly too ill to work.
    I have been off once this year, when I was completely wiped out with proper 'flu. I could barely lift myself up out of bed and spent three days wrapped in a blanket, shivering. Our school also has an unwritten policy that you set your own cover work. This took me over 3 hours the night before because I simply couldn't sit at my computer long enough to do it all in one good and could barely focus my mind to think of what to set them. If I didn't set cover work, I'd incur the wrath the following day. It's all very well to say that it's the HOD's job to set cover, but the guilt is immense.
    Once cover is sent in, I then spend my day off stressing that it hasn't been implemented properly or that it was sufficient, or that it hasn't been received properly. I worry that I'm get slagged off by some of the staff who I hear b1tching and moaning about others who are off, "She was alright yesterday!", "That cover work was rubbish" and so on.
     
  18. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I have several points:
    1) This teacher was incredibly irresponsible and I hope he realised that he voided all insurance by coming into school when he was clearly not physically fit
    2) If someone chooses to come into work when they are clearly physically unfit, then that is THEIR choice. They should not be held up as an example to any other teacher who takes time off for what is clearly a painful phsyical injury. No-one with a genuine injury whould be pressure into risking their health to come to work just because one teacher did it in the past. For one thing, if I had injured my back, I would not be able to drive into work, never mind teach once I got there.
    3) I'm not convinced that teaching with a long stick pointer is the most effective way of delivering any subject. I teach English and there is just no way that this method of teaching would be as effective as having a qualified, long term supply teacher who can plan and deliver lively and engaging lessons
    4) It's extremely irresponsible that any teacher should know what his or her students are corresponding about on Facebook. This would suggest they have their students as 'friends' and/or are actively following conversations had between students and their friends online.
    Finally, just because I'm completed anal (and I really apologise!) I can't resist commenting on the ridiculous use of capital letters and hyphens in your post.
     
  19. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I have several points:
    1) This teacher was incredibly irresponsible and I hope he realised that he voided all insurance by coming into school when he was clearly not physically fit
    2) If someone chooses to come into work when they are clearly physically unfit, then that is THEIR choice. They should not be held up as an example to any other teacher who takes time off for what is clearly a painful phsyical injury. No-one with a genuine injury whould be pressure into risking their health to come to work just because one teacher did it in the past. For one thing, if I had injured my back, I would not be able to drive into work, never mind teach once I got there.
    3) I'm not convinced that teaching with a long stick pointer is the most effective way of delivering any subject. I teach English and there is just no way that this method of teaching would be as effective as having a qualified, long term supply teacher who can plan and deliver lively and engaging lessons
    4) It's extremely irresponsible that any teacher should know what his or her students are corresponding about on Facebook. This would suggest they have their students as 'friends' and/or are actively following conversations had between students and their friends online.
    Finally, just because I'm completely anal (and I really apologise!) I can't resist commenting on the ridiculous use of capital letters and hyphens in your post.
     
  20. I suppose I'm quite lucky in the way I am "off sick" as it is a physical injury, i have made sure that each day I'm off I give myself a couple of hours in the morning before I take my painkillers and am away with the fairies, so I can think straight and set some decent cover work.
    I find the best thing to do is to do a separate worksheet for each lesson with LO, starter, activities etc on that the cover teacher can have and all the pupils can have a copy as well and should have no excuse for getting behind.
    despite doing this you can still always go back in and find that the work you set has not been done for a variety of reasons, kids played up, work not found etc et, which makes the return all the more stressful and chaotic
     

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