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Time off work with anxiety

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by emie2203, May 8, 2017.

  1. emie2203

    emie2203 New commenter

    Hey guys!

    So I've been signed off with anxiety/stress for 2 weeks. This is mainly due to work as I've had a huge amount of observations and my school has been threatening for months to put me on capabilities. This has lead me to have a near breakdown and panic attacks most mornings going into work. I told this to the doctors and I've now been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I went for a review and explained that nothing had really gotten better over the 2 weeks off as my employer informed me that the final observation /meeting with my union to decide if I needed to be put on capabilities will take place when I get back. Sigh. (I'm honestly not a bad teacher guys, I promise). So I'm still incredibly stressed. The doctor has given me another sick note but this time for a month.

    How will this look to future employers? I'm hoping to leave teaching after this year but I'm worried to take the additional note knowing it'll say that I've had 6 weeks off with stress. I know that mentally I'm not ready to go back but I know that it'll only cause me more anxiety knowing that I'll struggle to leave because of time off with anxiety.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So. You'll be leaving teaching.

    The question is how much notice a prospective employer will take of your absence through illness in 2017. What sort of sector are you looking at? Is it very competitive? Are you in an area awash with people seeking work?

    Hard to know. But I'm sure you can construct a good letter and fill in the relevant forms. You can cast your illness as entirely related to teaching. You have to sell yourself.

    What are your options? Teaching is not for you. Can you cope with going back? It doesn't sound like it. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. How about (not saying you should do this - just think about it) you explore the idea of handing in your notice now for 31st May. You will then be motivated to do your very best to look for other jobs PLUS talk to to your current employer about the sort of reference they will give you. Make sure they do give you a decent one because you don't want to have to admit to a lot of time off and get a dodgy (or no) reference.
    phlogiston likes this.
  3. emie2203

    emie2203 New commenter

    Hi Grumpydogwoman (love the name!)

    Thanks for responding so quickly. I'm a SEN teacher in London so there should be plenty of opportunities (She says hopefully). I'm hoping to go into education recruitment. I'm a little worried about the reference as they currently dislike my teaching. I didnt think about handing in my notice for the end of May but I suppose it makes sense.

    Thanks again for responding :)
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, unless you're on a fixed-term contract and it expires at the end of term? You'll need to resign by 31st May if you want to be free on September 1st. Knowing you're planning to go might make school back off a bit. Not guaranteed but it might.

    You're in the best place geographically to find alternative employment. Education recruitment seems like big business if the number of emails and calls I still get is anything to go by.

    I'm sure they'd be understanding about any WRS and ensuing absence. I hope they would.

    I'm not telling you to go for it. That's up to you. But what sort of future is there for you in teaching if you go down the capability route? Unless you want to stay in teaching. It could be just this school or this age range or a single factor. If you feel it's your metier then stick with it. But you seem to have other ideas rather than just an unfocused desire not to have to go to work. So that's better than just flailing about with no clue what to do.
  5. thegeologist

    thegeologist Occasional commenter

    Perhaps you just need a bit of a break, I left teaching at Christmas and my mental health has improved massively. But I wish to stress improved, not cured. I left off my own accord, mostly due the effect on my mental health and constant worry about my life passing me by, always being anxious on a Sunday, moving from a sensible college to a place where work-life balance was not respected and the general oppressive atmosphere of seeing colleagues put on capability.

    Firstly, could you just need a break do something different or supply work for a while and discover if it is just the school or in fact education as a whole? If doing supply I am sure you would have less observations and pressure. What about tutoring? Perhaps you could look at your degree and see what other options you could follow. I went back to my degree and this proved to be my way out. However, there are lots and lots of things you can do outside of teaching, it is just a case of perseverance and believing you are in control of the situation.

    Good luck and feel free to PM me.
  6. nickyjcwtch1

    nickyjcwtch1 New commenter

    I totally understand your anxiety. I have similar fears. But you have answered your own question - you do not feel able to teach your class at the moment which confirms your GPs professional opinion that you are not fit for work. Returning too soon and having any kind of melt down at work will have a greater impact on you seeking and securing another job than sick leave.

    As other posters have said your school isn't right for you anymore but teaching might be if you find the right school. Speak to supply agencies, find out is there work out there for you in Sept. if there is consider handing in your notice by the end of May. Keep an eye out for jobs that are what your looking for and if needs be use supply time to gain experience and confidence in a range of schools. Most importantly be kind to yourself.
  7. Simonmil

    Simonmil New commenter

    Hiya. I'm on the other side, and better for it. Handed in my resignation and I'm leaving in September, solely due to depression, anxiety and threatened with capability (I failed a support plan from poor exam results, then being monitored when I stepped down from HOD).
    You know what? Never felt better. Working to an end, possibly supply in September, possibly not but my eyes are open to what I shouldn't go through as an employee. Before I joined my school 3 years ago I was the HOD of the highest achieving dept in one of the NE highest attaining state schools. It's not you, it's the poor management. Jump before pushed, it does you the world of good and levels the field right before your eyes.
    hrainford likes this.
  8. ianj6

    ianj6 New commenter

    Im an experienced union rep....who's been through capability at one school (2 years into my career) to have my next promote me, pay moving expenses and retention bonus'. ( I've now been teaching nearly 20 years!)

    I'm finding that often schools will use "capability" as a means of removing square pegs from round holes. The "peg" itself is almost always a perfectly crafted tool. Get together with your Union and agree an exit plan with the head. This could be a settlement agreement, (you get money). It could also be the head making it easy for you to find another job, (they'll like this as it saves them money, they just be a bit more generous in reference comments) part of the agreement is no capabilities, (they will almost always go for this)

    Re stress, it's an illness, caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Your body needs time for the chemicals to clear. Take the time and the medication, it normally takes at least 2weeks for the medication to build up in your body to put things right.
    pineapplehead and grumpydogwoman like this.
  9. September

    September New commenter

    What is a reasonable settlement amount?
  10. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    A good question to which there is no answer.

    A settlement agreement happens when both parties agree to separate - your school may not want to do this

    Remember you need an agreed reference.

    As for money - the school does not have to pay you anything! If yo or your union can prove any dodgy practices you stand more of a chance

    If you want to go at the end of the year and the school wants the same the you have until this Friday to sort it all out (resignation date is in half term) - the short time frame could work yo your advantage as it means the school can advertise straight afterwards.

    How long have you been working there?

    Have you been offered anything?

    Remember as you are in no fit state to work you are allowed six months full pay and six months half pay after which you will hopefully be better - if not you will not be entitled to anything.

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