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Phased return to work after sickness with school inspection

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by misswaters86, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    I could write a book but basically I've been off for a year with depression and been very poorly. My planned return to teaching is phased and inspection will be during that time. I'm sure you can all imagine how I feel.
    Not sure if anyone else can advise me or been in a similar situation.
    I do plan to leave teaching but need to go back short term. Feel it might crush any confidence I've built up although that's very little.
    Inspection is during my week 4 phased return.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    How do you know so far in advance when the inspection will take place?

    Currently, Ofsted use a strategy of "almost no notice" inspections, calling head teachers the day before arriving.
    ilovepoppies likes this.
  3. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    It's Estyn so not ofsted. Just feeling awful enough about going back. Feel nervous, ashamed, just don't know if I can go back and face that. Year groups changed too.
    Estyn give notice but that is changing I believe.
  4. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Thanks for the clarification.

    I would suggest you arrange for your phased return to NOT include the inspection days. I suspect the powers-that-be will be supposed, taking into account what is at stake for you and the school.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  5. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    I've contacted the union and they'll get back to me but as it is Easter it might not be quick.
    I know the start date but don't know how many days they're in. That week I'm in for 3 days.
    It is normal to be this nervous, just want to be physically sick when I think about it. Day dreaming about it, dreaming about it, panicking and I'm not even there yet. ?
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    To be honest, it is more a matter for occupational health than your union. Talk to your HT first day back. Since there is nothing you can do before then, try to put it to the back of your mind until then.
    pepper5 and ejpicton like this.
  7. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    I having an appointment with OH soon. Just don't know my rights, with regard to responsibilities that I'd usually have, observations, interviews.
    Union hopefully can let me know and OH. Finding it difficult to not think about but know that's what I should do.
    After 15 years of teaching, feel totally lacking confidence and like running away. Think returning anyway would be difficult and that this has put even more pressure on me during that time.
    What to do!
    Thank you for your responses.
  8. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    • Take a time-out. Listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
    • Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthy, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
    • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
    • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
    • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Take a 30 minute walk every day whatever the weather.
    • When anxiety looms, take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
    • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
    • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
    • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
    • Welcome humour. A good laugh goes a long way.
    • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
    • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress. For example, volunteer to go into your local primary school to hear children read. This will help you to get back into the work environment without the stress.
    • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a your doctor and ask if you can be referred to someone for talking therapy.
  9. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    During my time off I've been doing those things and had counselling and CBT. Did think I was there or there about but I'm not sure now. I just don't know where I'll end up. Don't know what to do but do think I need to change direction, also feel I need to prove a point and go back even if for a short time. Mind all over the place in reality.
    Your advice is great, thank you. Hopefully I'll get there.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    How soon in your phased return is the inspection? Can you delay the return or phase it over a longer time period? If you are only in for 3 days, that's 0.6, so could just do mornings that week, or ask to just do afternoons, when you are less likely to be observed.
    Do your school want you back and do you want to go back? If so then all parties should be working to make the return a success. Your SLT, if good and decent people, will want to support you and will know that having an inspection will not be helpful.
    Best of luck, going back is incredibly hard, but worth it.
    agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  11. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    You will. It won't be quick, but you will get there.

    There will come a time when you will look back and ask yourself what was all the worry about.

    It is like taking a backward step for every two forward. Slow progress with some worrying moments, but overall you are going forward.

    Now, look at that list I posted above, write down three things you are going to do tomorrow and stick the list on the fridge door, then get some sleep.
    agathamorse and blueskies31 like this.
  12. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    It's 4 weeks into a six week phased return. Worried about delaying return as it'll mean I've had more than one year off. Not sure of implications on that.
    Also so many staff have left, I don't even know who the SLT is anymore. There'll be lots of new faces.
    I hope it works and I don't end up being as I was last year. I was a complete mess.
  13. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    Thank you. I try to do too much I know. I will do that, and although I've made a promise to myself to stop my lists of things to do, I'll do the three post its. Thank you, I hope I will look back and realise I worried for nothing.
  14. nomorenails

    nomorenails New commenter

    Returning is going to be tough, but you've come so far you can go a bit further. Talk to your school and ask to be kept out of the inspection, I'm sure they will listen to it. Phased returns need to be gentle, especially after a long time off, for your benefit. I'm on a phased return and have had to ask for it to be slowed down just because of the tiredness! Wasn't expecting it. Good luck, try to catch your negative thought cycles and interrupt them before they tell you, you can't. If a phased return is on the cards, the professionals think you can do this.
  15. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I hope today has been more positive for you, @ejpicton
  16. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    Lots whirling around in my head. Hopefully the OH appointment will be positive.
  17. historicallass

    historicallass New commenter

    I was in a similar situation to this, in a school in Measures. It was a short notice inspection and the SLT informed the inspectors and although I taught my phased return lessons, the inspectors stayed clear of me. Maybe that would be something to consider?
    ejpicton likes this.
  18. diamondjane

    diamondjane Occasional commenter

    Hi ejpicton. Sorry to hear you are so worried and anxious about going back. I can understand as I was the same after 7 months off. On my first day of phased return we got the call to say ofsted would be coming the next two days. My anxiety levels went through the roof - I spoke to the Head (a new one appointed while I was off) and she told me to stay home for those days. I was so relieved that she had understood how hard that would have been for me. Maybe you can negotiate something similar.
    Now for the good news - like you I had decided to move on, but wanted to do the phased return as the next step in my recovery. It was hard at first. I had no confidence and not everyone understood how fragile I was. But some did and they helped by being considerate and helpful - not changing things suddenly, things like that. My confidence grew and I got my mojo back. It was worth going back. I then left on my own terms. I hope it works out for you. It is perfectly normal to feel the way you do right now but getting this phased return right could be a big step towards finding the old you again. Good luck
  19. maud1901

    maud1901 New commenter

    Poor you. You do NT need the added stress of inspection or formal monitoring of lessons during your phased return or for the following term. This will help you to regain your confidence.

    I have been in a similar position and had the support of the HT re. monitoring.

    Re. your therapy and CBT together - you are lucky to have had the 2. I have had counselling for 3 years (self-funded_ and my GP has offered the CBT but when I spoke to the Health authority they said they were unwilling to offer CBT alongside my own therapy.
  20. misswaters86

    misswaters86 New commenter

    I am seeking advice on that as a phased return is daunting enough. I hope I have it in me. I plan to go back but then leave as soon as I can, want to do that on my own terms and find a different career or even just a job. Thank you and I do hope school SLT will help. fingers crossed.

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