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Providing Cover Work When Off Sick???

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by prc88, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. I'm sure there is an answer to this question somewhere on here a million times over but surprisingly enough, I don't have time to look for it :(
    My question is: If you are signed off as unfit to work by a doctor for a short period (say 1-2 weeks), for reasons such as stress or depression, are you still supposed to provide cover work for the classes you would ordinarilly be teaching?
    Any info gratefully received. Thanks.
  2. No, and neither should the school ask you for it. When in the same situation I sent an email outlining where in the SoW each class was and I would be back in touch when I was coming back to work.
  3. No you can't be asked to produce lessons when off sick BUT there would be an assumption that say for example you were sick on a Tuesday, that you had already prepared the next couple of days lessons at least and if not why not....??? So by not forwarding you may open a bigger can of worms.... certainly one of the things I notice is that teachers that have managed to keep up appearances, when they get signed off, suddenly someone relaises their lack of planning, organsiation, Schemes, records etc, this in turn eventually cuases more stress and so the cycle continues....
    IME often this is what then causes the teacher to seek new positions or end up down the capability route - the absence having highlighted for all the world supposed inadequacies...
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I heard a story of someone who was off sick. He was supposedly very organised with lots of labelled folders etc. Turned out they were all empty!!
    Seriously - you should have planning available for the week, MTP available somewhere and class lists. As someone who has done supply, it's really useful having a class file somewhere and at least an outline of short term / medium term plans somewhere.
  5. But a teacher's lesson plan is not always functional to the person covering. As a former cover supervisor with a specialism in English, had I gone in with a teacher's lesson plan to cover a Science lesson, the pupils would not get anything out of that lesson. Not to mention that, even in subject specialism, CS aren't meant to teach but to supervise independent work. So even having full lesson plans might not be helpful
  6. I'm in a simliar situation, off work due to stress. The day I was signed off I gave them a detailed list of where each class was and what they should be going onto next.
    I thought I was doing really well, panicky symptoms going and feeling like me again until HoD emailed saying I should be setting cover work for each day and he'd bring me the textbooks so I can do it.
    Stress symptoms kicked straight back in. Clearly writing cover work is not going to help me get better and back to work.
    I've emailed my union to ask their advice. Its good to hear that other people have not set work whilst absent, I thought I was being unreasonable!
  7. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I'd ring your union as you will get a quicker response. They are being unreasonable especially when you are off with stress. You can ask for all contact to be through your union if you think it would help.
  8. jubileebabe

    jubileebabe New commenter

    The point is that a suitable lesson plan written for either a CS or a supply teacher is likely going to need to be written in a different way to one that the teacher wrote for himself, so even if the teacher had prepared the lesson well in advance, that lesson might not be suitable to hand over to a CS or supply teacher.
    A science teacher might have planned a practical lesson which even a fully qualified (but non science specialist) supply teacher would not be able to deliver. In such a case it would not be fair of the school to complain that a suitable plan was not already in place.
  9. Roboteer

    Roboteer New commenter

    nimmity - it is indeed bullying/harassment and completely unacceptable for the school to be asking you that.
    Make sure that you keep copies of the e-mail sent or write down details if they phone - which they are also not allowed to do if you have told them you are signed off sick for a certain period and sent in the note from the doctor.
    I think we all find this hard because we have been in the position of trying to put together cover for absent colleagues with no time available and so feel guilty if we "let our colleagues down". Heads of Department are more than capable of sorting it out though - so don't feel guilty. If you had an accident and were unconscious in hospital I'm fairly sure a school would somehow survive!
    Something we have done in our department to cope with such occasions is we have a folder of cover lessons on general skills which the pupils need to know. In emergencies we can use a few of these until we sort out something more permanent. It's taken away a lot of the stress. It's also great for those times when "darling Jane/Jonny" is excluded and you suddenly need to send some work home.
    Take care of yourselves and stop checking your e-mails [​IMG]

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