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When to quit for?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by oscillator, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. oscillator

    oscillator Occasional commenter

    Dear sages of the workplace dilemmas board,

    I have been at my current school since February half term of last year. In my contract, it says 8 weeks notice for either party in the first year of service and a term thereafter (Independent school).

    So my quandry is this: it looks ever more like my husband and I are heading for IVF, which has made me a complete wreck of a human being. I am moderately depressed and barely coping. I know that I will not be able to undergo the procedures involved while working full--time in my current post (ordinary classroom teacher), if I can cope at all to get to that stage. I can either resign for Easter or Summer, if I can make it that long.

    So I am suffering not so much from wrs, but infertility-related stress exacerbated by work (all self-diagnosed). I know I am not thinking very clearly at the moment (and probably not writing very clearly at the moment either), so I thought I should seek your advice.

    I do think leaving at summer would be better in the long run (I intend to take next academic year focusing on treatments and starting our family - we have saved long and hard for that benefit, and I know we are fortunate to be able for me to not work for probably most of the next year). And obviously there would be a considerable difference in pay... But I'm not sure I can make it that long (I've spent most of this weekend in tears). The advantage at leaving at Easter would be to begin treatment a month earlier, and to have some time for counseling and complementary therapies (acupuncture, yoga etc...), both of which I cannot do while full-time at this school.

    Any thoughts?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Go and see your GP and get their advice.
    Stress, anxiety, depression, etc are all perfectly acceptable illnesses and can be treated by your GP.
    Once all of that is under control, you will be better able to make a sensible decision about the future.

    Could you have a chat with your head or deputy about all this? Just put them in the picture.
    They will much rather you leave in July and could well find ways to swap things around to make a part time arrangement for the summer or something similar to help.

    Talk to the people who can do something to help.
    GP and your Head.

    Best of luck.
    frustum, clarefrankie and sabrinakat like this.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Whatever you feel at the moment? You are clearly a supremely organised and sorted kind of person so no apologies. You are thinking clearly but it's just there's a lot to think ABOUT.

    Your heart is telling you to take a break, I think.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I agree with the others.

    Don't rush into any decision while you are feeling a complete wreck - see your GP.

    I like the idea of seeing if you can negotiate part-time for the summer term, or from May. If you're in secondary, once exams start there may be enough slack to make that a win-win for you and the school. That might then enable you to clear enough time for other things, and you'd keep some income until August (and probably enough to give you a better chance of qualifying for maternity allowance - which you get if you've worked 26 weeks in the previous 66).
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  5. oscillator

    oscillator Occasional commenter

    I've been signed off work for two weeks and given some medication to start adjusting to. Obviously, in my absence work will carry on, but what handover do I need to do - let my Hod know all the last lessons I taught for each group? A basic plan of lessons for the next two weeks? I have my form's reports due this Friday (should have done them this weekend but was too busy falling apart)?? There's a parents' meeting next week too??? I obviously don't want to make conditions for my return more unpleasant than it needs to be.

    I sent in cover work for today, but as I cannot take a break from infertility (it's my body's fault), I would like to try to take a break from the other stressor in my life - work! So I am hoping not to have to set cover each morning as my classes will soon move beyond daily cover-type work. Bit worried about Year 11 in particular (aren't we all?).

    Oh and I am meant to lead a trip in my first week back, for which paperwork isn't quite done! Being off work seems like a lot of work...
  6. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    You absolutely can have IVF and work full time.
    I did.
    And my clinic was a 2 hour journey each way from school.
  7. oscillator

    oscillator Occasional commenter

    Right - but it's more about coping with the emotional side of things. I'm already falling apart and IVF is still several months away. The current disappointment in my body's failures is more than I can handle at the moment. Because I have been so low (and distracted?) I have been receiving parental complaints over some really petty things, further lowering my mood and ability to cope. The kids have responded really negatively to my missing lessons in the past - behaviour goes to Hell in a handbasket, again something I find difficult to cope with when I am already feeling so ****.

    So thank you for trying to be supportive, but again that feels like something else I am failing at - that everyone else is fine about IVF and I have been sent to the loony bin over the prospect. That others can cope with a full- time job and I can barely cope with it when NOT having IVF.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You shouldn't set work when you are off. There's a medium-term plan and whoever covers must use that. You can provide as much as you feel you want to but there is absolutely no obligation to do so.

    What has the doctor advised? A complete mental break from work? Probably. Stressing about it is the opposite of what you need right now.

    Please don't judge yourself. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. It's not helpful. Your body isn't failing. Not conceiving easily is perfectly normal in 2018. How you feel about it is entirely up to you and nobody has any business holding you to some weird standard. There are no rules. You are literally the only person who thinks you are a failure.
  9. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    That's the worst of teaching, isn't it.

    The simple answer is that you are not obliged to do anything whatsoever, although I quite understand your concerns.

    Planning - I'm sure your HoD will appreciate knowing where each group is up to, and roughly what you were planning to do next, and what gaps your year 11s still have. However they are also capable of going into each class and finding out from them what they were doing. (I've never been a HoD, but I did that for my HoD when she was not fit to set work.) And you're absolutely right about the difficulty of setting work for a longer period.

    Reports - HoY will have to do them or put a note on saying that "due to illness, it is not possible to provide a form tutor's comment". I'm not sure form tutor comments always add very much to a report, and if there are things like lateness/attendance to comment on, they should have that data.

    Parents' evening - you are off ill, you don't go. Depending on how your school approaches teacher absence from parents' evenings, it might be useful for your HoD to have your records on this group, so that they can respond to any queries on the evening. If there isn't an existing system, there's a lot to be said for a form available that says "Please fill in this form with any questions you have for Mrs Oscillator". That way, they've been offered the opportunity, and if they don't have any questions, you needn't feel you need to make any contact. The chances are that there will be relatively few questions - many parents feel that they go round and hear much the same from ten teachers, and actually five would have done!

    Trip - alert someone to the fact that, as you are ill, it will not be possible for you to complete the paperwork, and so somebody else will need to take over from you as trip-leader. They need to have a contingency plan in place in case you're not back then, anyway. If necessary, they have to cancel the trip.

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