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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sunshineonarainyday, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. sunshineonarainyday

    sunshineonarainyday Occasional commenter


    As a regular reader of the forums, I have benefited from so much useful advice, and wanted to thank those who take the time to support others. My dilemma is a sadly familiar tale of stress and workload, and I was wondering if there is anyone out there who is able to offer any advice on how I cope with the coming weeks and months.

    I returned to work following almost a full academic year's maternity leave in July 2015. I hold a TLR position, which I was allowed to retain despite reducing my hours to 0.8 in order to have one day each week with our baby. The only other time I have posted on here was back in the summer regarding an issue with payroll and my reduction in hours, which was thankfully resolved. I mentioned when posting then that my timetable is incredibly heavy when compared to full time colleagues in similar roles, as I teach an almost full-time timetable in four days, and have virtually no time to do my TLR role. I raised this as a concern in school in September, and was told that there is no alternative because of the subject specialisms needed. I have had a look at the timetables of all those in similar roles, and my non-teaching time is undoubtedly significantly reduced, even when calculated pro rata to account for my day at home. There have been many changes made at school whilst I was on maternity leave, many of which affect my TLR role. The workload is therefore heavier than ever, and I have significantly more to do than when I was last doing this job, with the time allocated to do it substantially reduced.

    In addition to this, I have been told today that following year 11 mocks I am now expected to run booster/intervention groups every evening I am there except the scheduled meeting night. I am in a state of panic. I could manage one, or even two evenings, but not three plus a weekly meeting. The only way I keep my head above water is to use that precious time at the end of the school day. I can't stay for more than two hours owing to the nursery pick-up, which I have to do as my partner (not a teacher) has a horrendously long commute and simply wouldn't get there in time. Asking grandparents/family to do it isn't an option as they all live in another area of the country. This year is proving to be so difficult in so many ways, but I honestly feel as though I cannot cope with this additional demand. I already work until 10:00/11:00 most evenings, and most of the weekend. I know I am lucky enough to have my day with our baby, but it breaks my heart on other days to hear her shout for Mummy and my partner tell her, "No you can't see Mummy now, Mummy has to work". I think the most difficult thing is the lack of sleep, as our baby has yet to sleep through the night and will only settle for Mummy during the night. This means that I am functioning on about three or four hours sleep on school nights.

    I know the sleep issues are probably exacerbating my stress, and I know that issue doesn't belong on this forum. I also know that this will pass as our baby grows up. However, if anyone has been through a similar situation at work and could offer any advice, I would be so grateful. I am searching for a new job, but at the moment I can't even see my way through to the end of the week. I simply cannot do everything I am being asked to do in the time available, but the current culture of the school is that you give up something else in order to work. It doesn't matter if you're already working until midnight, you're simply expected to find the time. I know that I can't do this any more. My family means too much to me. Many thanks for reading.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I feel for you.
    Raising children and working as a teacher don't always mix well.
    You need to have a conversation with your line manager about orders of priority of work,
    Their order of priority is probably:
    1 Staff meetings 2 Interventions 3 Stuff they want you to do 4 More stuff from them 5 marking 6 preparing for lessons ......97 Family

    I would look at it slightly differently.
    What is the minimum level of time for the stuff you have to do in your classroom / school (e.g physical things like putting resources out.). This needs to be untouchable.
    Then think about the interventions - how can you maximise what the kids do and minimise the prep you do? Reteaching the stuff they didn't learn properly last time won't do much unless you do something differently. Give them tasks do do along the lines of "show that you understand topic X by....." Make them read the texts.
    Is there anyone who can share the interventions with you? If the kids are attending interventions with you they won't have time for any other interventions, and I bet they need them.
    I would focus on reducing the interventions to two per week (preferably
    one). If there are different kids each time you either need bigger groups or more help.
    best wishes
    Good luck with the CV reformatting!
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  3. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    You do not have to do the interventions. If you are being 'directed' then this will be directed time. Doing 3 one hour session a night every week will certainly put you over 1265 x 0.8. I used to do one a week last year which was fine by me.

    As for doing more and more work and taking more and more of your free time. Get together with other teachers and say 'I haven't got the time' - until teachers start doing this they will have more and more piled on them.

    This nonsense has to stop in schools.
  4. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Talk to the union about this!

    The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less-Favourable Treatment) Regulations might be helpful here. If full-time worker in a similar role is not being put into the position in which you now find yourself, then neither must you be, as a part-timer. You need to find a comparator, so that you can compare your situation with the relevant full-timer and show the less-favourable treatment.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  5. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Feel for you sunshineonarainyday. You sound like you always give nothing less than your best, and try to remain positive no matter what, when honestly, I don't know how you do it being sleep deprived. Important to establish clear boundaries and let management know what these are...for your own health and the sake of your family. It is, after all, just a job.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  6. tall tales

    tall tales New commenter

    Intervention every evening is ridiculous - just say no! Not that you need an 'excuse' but you have the perfect one - a new baby.
    The school have a duty of care for their staff - I'd be having a word with them and your union. You have the right to a work/ life balance - claim it.
    janemk, Compassman and johnberyl like this.
  7. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    I'd be interested to know whether these extra sessions or "interventions" actually make any difference - or are they arranged so that someone can write it down on an action plan to prove they are doing something about the fact that the pupils are weak, lazy and don't concentrate in their normal lessons and don't do homework/work at home? And perhaps they give the pupils the false impression that they are doing something to remedy their failings.
    PizzoCalabro, Landofla and Compassman like this.
  8. sunshineonarainyday

    sunshineonarainyday Occasional commenter

    Thank-you so much for the replies, people here are so lovely. I very much doubt that the intervention/booster sessions will have much impact, other than to raise everyone's stress levels including the students. However, so much of what we do now is based around ticking a box, I know we will have to do them anyway. I would love to speak to someone about how much I am struggling, but if I do I know I will add my name to the list of those the Head wants to remove from the staff and my life could become even more difficult.

    @GLsghost (don't know if tagging has worked, sorry), my timetable and that of others' in similar roles makes my situation very clear. I also have my timetables over a number of years pre-maternity when I was full-time, and the reduction in time given is obvious. I have also worked it out as a percentage of the total working week. I also have to teach my A-Level class on a reduced number of hours as their option block has classes on the day I don't work. I didn't know that until I returned to work in September and saw their timetables. They're not happy about it, and when parents have challenged it the DH told them that it was because I now work part-time. No-one gave me the option to review my working pattern in order to ensure that I could teach all of their lessons. However, if I challenge any of this, I think I will be out by Easter.
  9. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Tagging worked brilliantly, @sunshineonarainyday!

    It also occured to me to ask if you are still breastfeeding? Pregnancy / maternity discrimination legislation exyends protection to bf mothers.

    There is also protection from victimisation for asserting your statutory rights!

    Speak to your union about these potential avenues of complaint! Keep a very careful paper trail, 'confirm' every instruction in an email, which you BCC to a private email address. If we are talking discrimination, discrete illicit recordings are admissible in evidence.
  10. sunshineonarainyday

    sunshineonarainyday Occasional commenter

    @GLsghost, I am so touched that you remembered that I posted about returning to work and breastfeeding. To answer your question, no I'm not breastfeeding any more, we finally stopped not long after our baby's first birthday.

    I'm going to call the union for advice today. My partner and I had a long chat last night, and I'm thinking of asking if the Head will let me step down from my TLR role. I know they don't have to say yes, as thanks to the valuable advice on here I know that I am contracted to do that role since I was promoted to that position a number of years ago. However, it is worth asking the question, as four other people have been allowed to step down from TLR responsibilities during the past twelve months or so (says something about the workload...). We just need to do the maths first, to check that we can manage without that money and with nursery fees to pay.

    I'm also going to learn how to set up job alerts on here... Need to get out of there as soon as I can.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Sounds like a plan! ;)
    sunshineonarainyday likes this.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I agree with the points above about the union intervention. This is unacceptable in my view.

    But if you want out, I can help you.

    Do make sure that you find out about all the possible jobs:

    Get the TES Jobs App

    How to set up a Job Alert

    And that you are ready to roll when you see one that is for you:

    Get ready for the application season! * * * Must Read * * *

    Come on down to the Jobseekers Forum (just scroll down) and get loads more advice.

    Best wishes

  13. sunshineonarainyday

    sunshineonarainyday Occasional commenter

    @TheoGriff, thank-you! There isn't a lot out there yet (I'm being quite picky as I don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire), but I have set up my alerts and am working my way through your advice so that I'm ready as soon as something appears.
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter



    There is a lot more advice where that came from - come on down to Jobseekers and ask - just scroll down to find us.

    Best of luck @sunshineonarainyday

    GLsghost likes this.
  15. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Yes, I agree with you when you say there are a lot of lovely people on here. Most people who choose to teach really are lovely and I can see that things are truly awful for many teachers today. I believe the same can be said for people in the NHS. I always wanted to be a teacher and was happy as a teacher, but I'm retired now and I can see that everything seems to have changed - and yes, even young people. We had to have respect for our teachers and had to behave ourselves and I'm afraid that in the dark ages when I grew up, there was a cane in the school which was used without hesitation. I wouldn't want to go back to that. It was dreadful beyond words, but life is hard for teachers today I can see. Good luck.
  16. joannagb

    joannagb Occasional commenter

    Aaargh this is horrible, I'm so sorry you're having such an awful time! No advice except to follow the above advice, but lots of sympathy.
  17. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    Teachers are people too!! These SLT need to get a life, there's more to life than interventions!! Go work somewhere you'll be appreciated!
  18. sunshineonarainyday

    sunshineonarainyday Occasional commenter

    Thank-you again for such lovely responses. I have spoken to the school Union rep, who is lovely and said that they were surprised that I didn't say something earlier. They're going to speak to the regional office, so we'll see what happens. I have to be careful, as I need to address this situation, but I also don't want to jeopordise my chances of a good reference when that dream job appears!

    I thought it was interesting today when a trainee teacher who has just joined our school was looking at our timetables to plan some observations. The trainee turned to the mentor and asked if my non-teaching time is allocated on my non-teaching day. When the mentor answered with no, the trainee looked baffled and surprised, but had the manners to not ask anything more. I thought it said so much that a trainee with only one placement behind them noticed the imbalance immediately, but our SLT members have said that they can't see a problem!

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