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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Flexiblesink32, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. sparklebanana

    sparklebanana New commenter

    As the title suggests, I am really struggling at the moment. I work part time as I have a chronic illness which causes pain and severe fatigue, amongst other issues.

    My problem is that within my part time hours I have to cram in so much that I am left crying with pain on the drive home, and exhausted all weekend. The post I work in was originally KS1 but then I got moved to EYFS. Since the move I have explained about my illness and have had to reduce my hours because foundation stage teaching is so physical.
    I have to do a disproportionate number of break duties (as do all part time staff but I seem to do the most, pro-rata for some reason) and this does not help. I know break times are for the children and not teachers but it’s not fair that full time staff get break times just to nip to the loo or get a drink.
    I don’t get chance to talk to anyone and feel really lonely and never know what’s going on around school because staff meetings are on my day off.
    I feel that, because of pain, I can’t do my job as well as I should be doing. A few things have been mentioned about things I should be doing (more outdoor learning, setting up more exciting continuous provision, etc) but they are all physical things that I struggle to do. I am now terrified they are going to put me on capability as I hear if mentioned a lot on here.

    I have got to a point where I am really depressed, I know I can be a good teacher, but just not in the Eyfs. The pain is just relentless. I am now struggling with anxiety, every morning I feel sick when I wake up, wondering how the hell I can get through the day. Even on my days off all I do is either work for school or sit dreading going in. At times I go to bed and hope I don’t ever have to wake up. I can’t sleep for worrying about all the things I am not doing right, and every time I go into school I tell myself I will just push through the pain and do it anyway, but i just feel worse and worse as the day goes on.

    I would love some advice, or even just some understanding comments from anyone who has experienced similar circumstances. I don’t want to go to the drs because they will probably sign me off - they are “clamping down” on sickness at school and I am worried how I would be treated when I returned.
  2. ms honey

    ms honey Occasional commenter

    Sorry to hear you're feeling so s*it, the school sounds horrible, 'clamping down on sickness' whatever happened to caring about teachers well being? My advice is get to the doctors explain exactly how you feel, you have to put yourself first, and get out of that school asap. I know I don't know all your circumstances, financial, but your health is, always, the most important thing. At the moment your mind is probably foggy, with the stress, but from my own experience and the many posters who have escaped such places the only regret is not leaving sooner, take care
  3. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    Poor you. You sound done in.

    You need to seek medical advice, I’d say. Put yourself first because the school won’t. That’s worth saying twice, actually. No amount of money is worth the pain you feel, and you cannot go on going to work feeling like this. Talk to your doctor about your mental health, too, because going to bed hoping that you don’t have to wake up is a strong signal things aren’t right.

    Take stock. Is this really the school where you want to work? Are you looking around for other jobs that ARE in KS1? You don’t have to stay here feeling like this.

    Don’t be afraid to get yourself seen by occupational health. You have a diagnosed condition. They can help to put things in place to make it possible to do the job you love. They are on your side, not the school’s. As you say, EYFS is more physically demanding, so moving to another year group is a priority, but other things can be put in place, too. Remember the words DUTY OF CARE applies to your school’s staff as well as its children.

    Contact your union for advice, particularly if you feel there’s a risk of unfair dismissal through capability or ill health heading your way. Document everything in case, and back up verbal conversations by sending and asking for emails confirming what was said that you also BCC to your home address. Try the Teacher Support Network too. Just having someone to listen can help sort things out.

    Best wishes.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Talk to your union.
    Ask for a referral to OH.
    See your GP. Better to risk a few days off than your health.

    It sounds like this is not the right role for you, with your health issues. It sounds like the school didn't know about the illness until after you moved to that role, so perhaps they're not to blame for that, but now they know perhaps they would be willing to discuss solutions. I also wonder whether you'd be better working half days than having some full days and some non-working days.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Good advice already provided, by the time my laptop had finished updating, and as said seek help sooner rather than later.
  6. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You are in a very dark place. Go to your GP. Now.
  7. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    You can't 'clamp down' on illness! Either staff are ill or they're not. By saying 'clamp down' in my opinion they're suggesting people are faking/exaggerating illness...
    I think you need to speak to your union about this. It doesn't sound like they're making fair and reasonable adjustments for your needs. For example, I would have thought EYFS is the worst place for someone with physical limitations. Some of the other issues you mentioned however are just a symptom of being part-time - when I was part time, I felt very out of the loop too.
  8. sparklebanana

    sparklebanana New commenter

    Thanks so much for all of your kind replies. I am scared the dr will sign me off sick and then not only how people will be with me when I go back but how it will affect future jobs I go for. But if I stay I am worried I am going to go under, both physically and mentally. I feel like I am on the edge as it is.
    Financially we are lucky that we have got used to managing on my part time wage. However, we are trying to move house (for a specific reason) and if I am off sick i’m not sure how much that will affect mortgage applications. I know my health is more important than moving house but as I said it is for a very specific and important reason.

    I just feel damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I don’t go out any where or do anything due to being in so much pain and also feeling so down because of it all. Last night I was up crying all night feeling so desperate.

    Thanks again for listening, just receiving replies that are understanding helps more than I can say.
  9. sparklebanana

    sparklebanana New commenter

    Ps, I look every day for other jobs in KS1 or even lower KS2. I’ve also been looking at TA jobs.
    pepper5 and jlishman2158 like this.
  10. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    Pop and see the doctor in the morning. Call in to work and let them know you have an appointment. So what if you’re signed off? You’re unwell. It’s not your fault. Teaching is a difficult and demanding job even if you’re on top form, and right now, your physical and mental health needs to be your priority. Any workplace should understand, and if they don’t, why would you want to work there anyway?

    I promise you, one day you’ll look back at this dark time and wonder why you kept struggling on as long as you did.

    Thinking of you.
  11. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Which is better in the long-term?

    A. See the doctor now;
    Be signed off for a few weeks/months/as long as it takes;
    Get your role sorted out with OH and anything else which helps;
    Recover, go back and do a good job;
    Be able to move and get a new job.


    B. Carry on struggling until you can't do it any more;
    Eventually see in the doctor when you're broken;
    Struggle to recover, and be unable to work for a long while;
    Plans to move left in disarray;
    Find it hard to get a new job.

    What advice would YOU give someone in your position?
    Act on that.
  12. mollyhog

    mollyhog Occasional commenter

    All I can do is echo what others have said. Why can't people just be kind?
    At least you can be kind to yourself - see your GP and get some breathing space so you can think things through properly and then approach the school with a suggestion of what you need from them in order for them to get the best from you.
  13. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter


  14. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    You sound at the end of your tether. It is not healthy for you to feel so scared about work, about being told off, or looked down on for taking time off sick. You MUST see your doctor tomorrow. You really are not well enough to carry on the way things are. The school sounds ****. Being part time is always a bit ****, but it looks like you are being dumped on. Get out of there! Speak to the Union, too. You have a health condition which makes EYFS work really tricky for you. Look for a KS1 job elsewhere, and, as you say, maybe consider TA work, despite the loss of earnings, it could be right for you.

    Don't struggle with the current situation! Sort something out tomorrow, please!
  15. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    It’s half term in 2 or 3 weeks, depending on where you are. You could get signed off until the last day of the holiday, that would give you some much needed breathing space?
    pepper5 and jlishman2158 like this.
  16. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Grandsire and pepper5 like this.
  17. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    It sounds as though you are suffering from work-related stress, partly due to the fact that you have been moved into a new role without the necessary support. You told your school about your condition shortly after being moved, so they know that you are struggling and have a duty of care towards you.

    You need some time/space to get your head straight before even thinking about taking long-term decisions about your future. Please see your GP and get proper advice about your options - if you had broken your leg, you would have to have the appropriate treatment, including time off: this is no different.
    phlogiston, Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  18. sparklebanana

    sparklebanana New commenter

    Thank you so much, everyone. Literally in tears reading all these messages! Still not feeling too good today but better knowing that others can understand what i’m going through. Got an appt booked for a couple of days time with the drs so will see what they say. Still v reluctant to take time off but at the same I know i’m not working to the best of my ability.
    Thanks again to everyone.
  19. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Well done for going to the GP. You MUST be honest while you are speaking. don't downplay anything. Write it down first and take it all in with you if you think you might forget. I assume your GP is well aware of your condition, so you don't need to explain that, but perhaps keep a record of how the next couple of days go, so you can show it.
    You deserve happiness and security, and it sounds as if you have neither at the moment. It may be that you are going to be signed off for a few weeks. Meh. The school will cope.
    By the way, ask the GP to write Work Related Stress on the sicknote, not just Stress. This will send a signal to the SLT at your school that things need looking at.
    Take care.
  20. Just catching up with this thread now. I'm sorry to hear things are so difficult at the moment. I'm so glad you're looking after yourself. Look after your health as your top priority. It's so precious.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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