1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Return to work after 4mths

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by pippin35, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Hello everyone
    Its been eons since I posted on the forum with a problem, thank goodness. Here's the basic info:
    Been off work for 4 months with a medical condition. Returned to work mid week being promised by HOD that all planning and prep was taken care of and that I would be able to simply "come back and teach as a supply would do until the end of the week".
    On arrival at work I received no planning, no prep and inaccurate notes from the departing supply teachers that simply said "see another member of staff". I was placed in front of groups with no idea what to teach even though I had asked the week previous so that I could plan. My hasty planning was even undone as the bell went for 1st period by the HOD arriving to say the group needed an assessment this lesson which must be taught marked and entered on our reports by Monday. I had to improvise a lesson and repeat this several times as various groups arrived without any plans or info to accompany them from anyone at school.
    After 4 months out I have now asked my HOD, DH and HT where my groups are up to and have been palmed off with a "breakdown of communication". I have had to improvise lessons for several days. I have requested help several times from HOD, DH and HT over the couple of days I have been back and have received no help whatsoever. After 4 months off I would have expected at least some support with knowing where my groups are up to. Not even been offered a phased return yet a member of non-teaching has??
    Is it just me or is it unfair to put a qualified teacher in front of groups without any planning having told them it was already taken care of? Am I unjustified in thinking a few lessons off to ascertain where groups were at would be a reasonable compromise? Or am I just being tetchy and should put up and shut up?
  2. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    I assume you asked for a phased return and were turned down?
  3. A what? I didn't even get to see Occ Health until 2 days after I had returned despite being told I would be reffered after 4 weeks !!! Occ Health recommended a phased 5 week return, told them I had already returned and that the only support I had been given was a sheet of inaccurate notes. They were not suprised by the lack of support and suggested I approach management for a phased return. Not sure this will work now I have returned and experiencing the lack of interest already from HT 'etal.

  4. I don't think this is particularly fair, it has an element of throwing you in the deep end on the first day back.
    As above, if they needed you to plan they should have told you to rather than tell you not to and then leave you in the lurch.
    This seems a reasonable request, it may be that it wasn't possible for them to deal with it immedaitely.
    Would the condition you have been off with warrant a phased return?I'm sure this would have been arranged if this was the case, if not you are basically 'fit for work'. It would be a good idea to mention it if you feel you are not.
    I don't think it's particularly fair but as an experienced teacher i'm sure you had classes 'in your back pocket', certainly enough to busk through. Not ideal but manageable as a one off.
    I personally feel you are being a little selfish in this situation. I don't mean that to sound harsh and apologise if it comes across that way, I just think you are forgetting how difficult things may have been in your absence. I don't know what its like at your place but at mine having staff off is an utter nightmare and sometimes the best you can manage is to tread water until their return. This is not something you could have helped of course, but we all know how horrendous it can be when permanent staff are ill for long periods. Different supply all the time, no consistency and sometimes losing a team member can feel like losing a limb. Your HoD/team has probably had an awful and very stressful time. Your return was probably very welcome relief, as if the cavalry had arrived.
    If they had said that all the planning was done, then yes, they should have had that in place and you shouldn't have had the baptism of fire on your return. It may just be that things have been in rather a lot of disarray trying to cover all of your work and that even with the best intentions they simply didn't have time. I'd have a good chat to your HoD before you get too annoyed, I may be wrong and they may be swanning around twiddling their thumbs but I think it unlikely and would imagine they are very happy to have you back, even if they haven't demonstrated that.
    I hope next week is less stressful for you!

  5. To clarify:
    I asked last week where groups were up to so that i could prepare. I was told NOT to as it would be sorted for me. I emergency planned lessons in the 15 mins before school started only for my HOD to enter with a group as the bell went and inform me it was inadequate as an assessment must be done with a 3 day lead time on completion, marking and data collection. Phased return has never been mentioned.
    I understand the difficulties of an absent member of staff having previously planned, marked and even swapped groups to cover for my long term absent HOD. On their return they knew where groups were at, what had been studied, what came next and all assessments, reports and moderation/exam admin had been completed by me by me so their return was as easy as possible.
    I specifically asked where groups were up to last week so I could do the planning myself. I was told not to as it would be provided then received nothing, had my emergency planning pulled apart as a group entered leaving me with literally nothing and was left with nothing... and standing in front of a group who were expected to produce assessment work which was to form the entirity of their report to parents grade.
  6. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Pippin, I think the key thing is communication. I can see how, in the same situation myself, I might have forgotten to have given you what you needed (as HOD) - I would however have apologised to you for making life difficult and tried to ensure a time we could meet. I don't think YOU are the one being selfish myself, and I think that's a horrible thing to say. We feel bad enough about being off ill and four months - pippin hasn't said what she had, but it evidently wasn't just a cold, was it?
  7. As I said in my post, I apologise if that sounds harsh, maybe its the wrong choice of word. The point I was trying to make is that I felt the OP was a bit all about 'me, me, me', without consideration for what have been going on behind the scenes. If it had happened to me I would have been annoyed but I would also recognise how much they might have struggled in my absence to get specialist and good staff, it may be recognition of the OP's standing in the department that may have made them crumble in her absence, things are probably all over the shop. My personal opinion is that it is all about the children and how we can work as a team, sometimes we get the good bits, sometimes the rough bits but we work through it together. The OP has obviously been let down and had a stressful return.
    I don't know what the condition was, it might be a torn achilles tendon for all I know. The reason I felt it wasn't related to mental health was because I would assume that a phased return would undoubtedly be in place if this was the case/
  8. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    I didn't think it was necessarily related to mental health either - I don't think I said that in my post, or implied it for that matter.
    The OP has, as you have said, had a stressful return and that shouldn't have happened. She's asking if it is reasonable that she's given a bit of time to catch up on things her cover should have really arranged. I think that's reasonable, and I don't really understand how it's selfish or "me me me." Being ill is really horrible and going back to work after an illness is exhausting and draining enough.
  9. Has this been request been refused?
  10. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    If you wanted a phased return, I think you have some responsibility to ask for it. How else are they supposed to guess you want it?
  11. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    This is what she wants to know!
  12. Are you joking, ME, ME, ME??? Don't you think for one minute as a professional i have been trying to get myself fit and well again to teach?
    Yeah and I'm not so sure what your professional status is but WE as professional qualified teachers are all too fully aware of the plight of sickness absence and what SOME inadequate supply teachers are dragged into schools to cover and may or may not deliver BUT quite frankly teachers have to be fit and well to teach and whilst for obvious reasons I do not wish to disclose the exact medical condition other than to say it was not mental health, the school and HOD have a responsibility. If they over look the responsiblity then I feel they should at least make adjustments to enable me to do my job not blatantly overlook and try to ignore me and hope I just get on with it.
  13. And unless you are a seasoned sickness absence candidate, which I am not. How are you supposed to be in the know about "Phased Return"?
  14. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Pippin, try not to get upset.
    I don't understand why people have been less than pleasant towards you. I may (hopefully won't but we'll see) need a good month off in the near future and I'd expect information on returning.
    It isn't your fault you got ill. Take care. x
  15. It does sound like you've had a stressful time, which is very understandable in the circumstances. Is it possible that the assessment is what the HOD meant when he/she said that that the planning was all taken care of?

    I'm a bit confused about the phased return thing: you clearly do know about it, or you wouldn't have mentioned it. It's not something your HoD could be expected to arrange on your behalf. The only time I've come across it was at the request of occupational health, on the grounds that the person needed it due to their medical condition - although it does sound like a good idea, I don't think schools can afford to do it just to ease the return to work.

    Coming back after a long time absent is never going to be easy, perhaps your HOD was trying to help by telling you not to worry about planning. If it was me I'd assume that he/she has planned it all and just turn up and ask them for the work. I'm not entirely sure what it is you want done... are you saying that your lessons should continue to be covered, even though you're back?
  16. Badger_girl not upset just infuriated by some peoples lack of understanding. Must be a management thing!
    Thank you for your help, just wanted to make sure I was looking from all angles and I have and do understand the pressures for a dept during sickness absence having stepped into the breach on many occassions for my HOD when they have had numerous sickness absence stints.
    Hope your illness/absence is short lived and wish you a supported return back to the forefront. x
  17. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    No, she was told that her lessons for the first week were planned and so she didn't prepare anything for these.
    She arrived back to discover they were not planned and this "wrong footed" her (for want of a better word!) and she has not had a proper opportunity to see what the children are doing or where they are now.
    She would like to know if she's being unreasonable in asking for extra planning time in order to find out the above and plan from there.
    I don't think she is.
    It was a poster following the original post who first mentioned the phased return, I think.
  18. Of course I think you have, your concern about having to teach unplanned lessons is one example of what you've written that demonatrates that you care.
    I'm a HoD of 2 large, happy and successful departments. I haven't had a member of staff go off sick for longer than 3 wks or leave in the past 6 years. No sicknesses have been stress related, I take great pride in looking after them, they are my work family. If someone is up against it then I will offer to teach a few classes for them/do some planning to lighten the load so that they can get back on track.
    I'm assuming you have returned because you are deemed 'fit to work', if this is not the case then you should see occupational health - your school should have seen to this.
    I wouldn't for one minute invade your privacy by enquiring what the condition was. In my opinion your HoD has not fulfilled their duty to you. I would not have put a returning member of staff in your position, I certainly wouldn't have had a go at them, your appears to have had a go at you on your first day back when you tried to cover for their own error, shocking.
    In your OP you were not clear that they had walked into your class, told you that your plans were inadequate and then walked out without offering any help, this you stated in a later post. This behaviour is clearly unacceptable, as is the fact that they had told you planning would be done for you only for you to arrive and find to the contrary, putting you in an uneccessary and stressful position. I have stated this several times.
    If you were a member of my staff you would not be in this position, it would also appear that your school is rather sloppy in the occupational health area, any member of my staff off for more than 2 weeks would have a 'return to work' meeting BEFORE entering a classroom. At this meeting we would discuss all groups, check all planning together and I would also check that their workload was suitable, depending what the sickness/personal issue was.
    Your school has not managed your return - at all, i'm not questioning that or saying that their behaviour is appropriate.
    All I suggested was that it might be an idea for you to look at the bigger picture. I may have used unfortunate wording which you and Badger_Girl have taken offence at for which I have already apologised. In your OP you ask for an opinion - "Or am I just being tetchy and should put up and shut up?". If you had issue with someone agreeing that maybe you might be a little tetchy and that the only response we should give is to completely agree with you then it would be best to state that.
    Is your school normally a well oiled machine where management are thoroughly considerate of their staff? If so, what has happened here or do they normally treat their staff in poor fashion?

  19. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    No offence taken Jenny, I completely accept that you take back that choice of word. It's just that, no matter how desperately needed sick leave is, when I am off poorly I worry and fret and hate myself for letting everyone down and being described as selfish, even anonymously, would really, really have upset me so I picked up on it.
    Thank you for clarifying what you meant. x
  20. Try reading my post. OH mentioned Phased Return 2 days AFTER I had already returned.
    That is exactly what I thought and was over the moon to hear it when I requested info about groups the week before I returned. When I arrived however there was NOTHING. Worse than that... the work I scrambled together in the 15 mins before school started was pulled to bits as not good enough AS THE BELL WENT and the group sat down... in front of the group.
    I did... there wasn't any
    No planning for this assessment was provided simply an instruction to my face in front of the group that the work I was about to commence with them was wrong and that an assessment was required which I then had to improvise. Plus have the work marked and data collected by Monday.

Share This Page