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Time to attend counselling sessions

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by lwec, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. Would it be unreasonable to have permission to attend counselling sessions in the school day if I had volunteered to take them unpaid? I have 5 sessions to attend and the counsellor can only offer me 1 hour per fortnight in school time. Is this a discretionary thing which differs from school to school?
  2. Would it be unreasonable to have permission to attend counselling sessions in the school day if I had volunteered to take them unpaid? I have 5 sessions to attend and the counsellor can only offer me 1 hour per fortnight in school time. Is this a discretionary thing which differs from school to school?
  3. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    I've turned up to teach my classes when I felt really bad and could only manage to talk with difficulty. Why? Because I would never deliberately let my students, who were relying on me, down. In other jobs I've very occasionally had the odd day off sick, but you would probably have to break my legs to stop me going in to school.

    So, yes, it's very unreasonable to expect time off school.
  4. weebleme

    weebleme New commenter

    I don't think it's unreasonable at all, in fact when I was suffering from PTSD I was referred to counselling by school. The counselling was through occupational health, was once a fortnight and didn't have to take it unpaid. In the long run your school will benefit as it may stop you becoming ill. I would recommend speaking to someone at school and seeing what the OH policy is.

    Good luck!
  5. missgeo

    missgeo New commenter

    I would think it was reasonable. Your no good to the children if your mental health is not up to scratch.
  6. ...and I would not deliberately let my students down either! Having taught for 35 years with only a handful of days off sick I now find that I need these counselling sessions to get me to the end of my career and the only times this counsellor can give me are in school time. I will not be away for more than an hour. My HT has now told me he will need to change my contract for a whole year - where is the fairness in that?
  7. weebleme

    weebleme New commenter

    No you're right that doesn't sound very fair. So because for a half term you will be missing a Wednesday afternoon (for example) he's going to change your contract for a year? This sounds very silly! Have you tried talking to him? (although he doesn't sound very approachable!) Try to find out if you have an Occupational Health Dept in the LA and if they can do anything?

    I wish you all the best. But agree that you must get this sorted, or will really affect you in the long run. Try posting this in health and wellbeing see what people think there?
  8. salg73

    salg73 New commenter

    You need to speak to your Union and if these sessions have been advised by your doctor you should be allowed time off. If it is only 5 days and a hour each time then I do not think you are being unreasonable - some staff have more than that in a year just with being 'ill' or with long term medical conditions.
  9. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    Exactly, and it's no different to being referred for a hospital appointment. You have to attend them when you're offered them. Can you get a sick note if your HT is being awkward? Still in the first place I would definitely talk to your union rep.
  10. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    I don't think it's unreasonable at all, especially if it's something you need for your mental health. In fact not putting yourself first for this and possibly ending up taking longer off work is more unreasonable. I happen to be one of these teacher that has an ongoing medical condition that requires medical appointments, thankfully it's normally just a blood test a couple of times a year, and I know that if i can't avoid taking time off in my working day for it then in reality the school need to let me get that sorted.

    Speak to your union, it sounds like your HT might be over reacting, after all it's only 5 lessons, which amounts to a day's teaching and in the times of cover supervisors it's not like they'll have to get a supply teacher in for the day to cover you.
  11. cinnamonsquare

    cinnamonsquare Occasional commenter

    Ridiculous. I would say you are letting the students down by struggling through a lesson, talking with difficulty. If you're not well, you're won't be doing your job to the best of your ability, therefore the students aren't getting the best teaching and learning they could be getting.
    Stop letting guilt get in the way. A healthy supply teacher will do a much better job than a regular teacher who is struggling with their health.
  12. I assume that if you broke your legs you'd be required to go to hospital appointments.
    So, from your comments, am I also right in assuming that if the only hospital appointment time you could get was for an hour during school you'd refuse to go so that you're able to hobble around in front of the children instead? Seems rather odd that you'd make the decision to decline hospital treatment that would enable you to walk around your classroom and do your job with ease with the stance that you'd be "deliberately letting down your students" if you went to the appointment.
    How is attending a counselling appointment any different to seeing a doctor to sort out your broken legs? It isn't, beyond the fact it is a different area of the body that requires care.

  13. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Absolute rubbish! At least in my case. For the occasions I'm thinking of the school most certainly would not have found someone who could teach maths or physics. I'd probably have given better lessons if I was healthy, but I certainly gave better lessons than anyone who would have replaced me.
  14. Henriettawasp

    Henriettawasp New commenter

    Not lessons in humility I'd guess.
  15. catherineb87

    catherineb87 New commenter

    How do you know? I went in when I was feeling horrendous once and felt so bad half way through lesson 1, I had to get them to read silently and answer questions. I ended up going home straight after as I was seriously unwell. It turned out to be swine flu! I'm not saying that time off should be taken all the time, but if someone feels that bad, NOBODY can teach well, and certainly NOBODY can teach better than a person who is 100% healthy?!
    I think I am good at my job too, but at the end of the day I'm not unbreakable and I'm certainly not perfect, nobody is.
  16. DavidGetling is, we've established that.
  17. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    And not lessons in suppurating false modesty. When John Conway was giving a lecture he made the comment that he knew 10 times as much maths as anybody present. Someone like you called him arrogant, to which he replied that if he was being arrogant he would have said he knew 100 times as much.

    So, if the Mandarin teacher isn't feeling well, but I'm in tip top condition, I should be able to teach it better than him.
  18. cinnamonsquare

    cinnamonsquare Occasional commenter

    I would hope that every good teacher realises there's much more to teaching than just subject knowledge. At university we had some lecturers who clearly knew their stuff and we admired their intelligence, but they weren't too great at communicating it and so we didn't learn as much. Conversely, we had some teachers whose subject knowledge wasn't brilliant but they were fantastic communicators and so we got so much more out of their sessions.
    Of course, the ideal would be someone who is at the pinnacle of the subject they teach AND can communicate it well.
    Back to the OP, no one, whether teaching or not, is so irreplacable that you can not be afforded time of for health or personal reasons. In our vocation, that's why supply teachers exist.
  19. cinnamonsquare

    cinnamonsquare Occasional commenter

    *time off

    sorry, typing too quickly
  20. I think its probably going to be at the discretion of your head. Have you spoken to your head about it? Can you arrange it so it doesn't affect the same class every session?
    People need time off all of the time for appointments, my friend sees a physio on a regular basis and I needed extra time off when I was pregnant for extra scans. Ultimately you'll be at your best and able to perform at your best when you have a healthy mind and body, and if seeing a counsellor helps you achieve this I think it would be unreasonable of your head to deny you attendance at these counselling sessions.
    There will be people who say they will drag themselves into school regardless of their health but I doubt this will help anyone, least of the the pupils - but I also think this opinion is not really related to your issue, and quite inconsiderate due to the nature of your appointment.
    Best of luck - hope you sort something out xx

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