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WRS over Easter

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ACVX, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. ACVX

    ACVX New commenter

    I was signed off with WRS a week before Easter, mainly due to the stress caused by SLT observing me every week (I think it's informal capability, but I'm not sure) over what is apparently two low-level (not a big issue) parental complaints. With no end-date, and vague, perhaps-threats of capability if I objected to the observations going over the suggested three times/three hours, I think it's unsurprising I was signed off. Just been back to my doctor, and have been signed off again, backdated to the end of my previous sick note, until the weekend after term starts again.
    My question is, what about work over Easter? Obviously it would be a wonderful world if we never had to do any marking etc over Easter, but that's not the situation most of us are in.
    I have 90 yr8 essays (end of unit assessment) done about a week before I was signed off - can school expect me to come back with them marked? I cannot personally mark that many in the free time over a week, but would it be expected?
    Additionally, I was working on a scheme of work for a book that another teacher is teaching this coming term. The department were aware I would be finishing it off over Easter - am I still obliged to do this? There is a lot of work to do on it to make it useable for other people.
    Thanks in advance.
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. Jazztess79

    Jazztess79 New commenter

    Hi, so sorry to hear about your situation. If you are signed off with WRS, you are too ill to work whether in the classroom or your own home. Please put your health first, and focus on getting yourself back on track. In the grand scheme of things, you are much more important than a set of essays or SOW. Take care and look after yourself.
    lrw22, Piranha, SundaeTrifle and 4 others like this.
  3. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Why are you working when you are ill ?
    lrw22 and agathamorse like this.
  4. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    If you are signed off, you should not be working!
    Too many teachers do send in work, mark work etc when they are off (including myself!). We should not feel obliged to do so, but we do so cause we feel guilty etc. This needs to stop!
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Unfit for work doesn't just mean unfit to turn up at the workplace. If it did? We'd all video-conference our lessons in from home! It's 2019. Perfectly possible. Have a low-paid TA in the actual room to keep order and the teacher literally dials it in! The internet age.

    How do you feel about that? Good idea?


    You're not going to do that and you're not going to do anything else work-related. I don't want my WRS pilot flying my aircraft by remote control and filing flight plans.


    Just. No.
    lrw22, agathamorse and mothorchid like this.
  6. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    If you are up to it, could you pass all the work done so far on the SoW to a colleague to pass on? Or even email it into school, so they can see you have started it. That would help the colleague without causing you extra work or stress, I'd hope.
    I don't know how essential these Yr 8 marks are in your school, but if possible, get them back to school (drop them off at the office before term begins?) for the HoD to handle. That is not your issue and once they are out of your house, they are not your worry.
    When you do get back to school you don't need the extra work created by this marking. It would just make you ill again, which is not what anyone wants.
    Take care of yourself.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Speak to your union to get their support in clarifying what is going on.
    Is this informal capability or not?
    Do school feel the complaints were justified or not?
    Can there be reasonable adjustments at work? (i.e. not planing work/creating schemes of work for someone else!)
    It sounds as if you need to have a meeting with SLT and your union and sort out what is happening and make a plan for next term.

    Don't work over the holidays (though maybe try to do as @mothorchid suggests with whatever you've done so far...sounds sensible to me) but contact your union to arrange a meeting. If you are signed off for the first week back, maybe try and sort the meeting for the Friday of that week, or the Monday of, what is hopefully, your first day back.

    Hand it over to your union and relax and enjoy the holidays.
    agathamorse, strawbs and mothorchid like this.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I'd definitely go along with what @mothorchid suggests.

    Give 'em everything you've got thus far. That's fair and right.
    agathamorse and mothorchid like this.
  9. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Dear HoD,
    Obviously you know that I was signed off this week. As I'm not sure how much you will have been told, I thought I should make sure you are aware that my doctor has signed me off until the end of the holidays, and has advised me to do no work. Obviously that means that my year 8 assessments and scheme of work will not be completed as expected by the start of next term, so I thought I should make sure that you are aware of this. The scheme of work (so far) is on the shared departmental drive, and the assessments are <wherever>.

    [If the assessments are at home, there's a slightly tricky situation: a good HoD would think of the fact that (a) you might be signed off for a further period, and (b) it's not reasonable to expect you to mark 90 assessments in the first week. If I were them, I would be inclined to get hold of them now and make a start on marking them myself before term starts. However they shouldn't be hassling you at home, and you shouldn't be reading school emails. If you can drop them into school that would be the easiest thing - then if the HoD wants to intervene, they can.]

    I would mention this work to your union rep, so that they are all ready to intervene if the school starts expecting you to do the work too quickly on your return.
  10. renegade29

    renegade29 New commenter

    The very First thing would be to find out if you are indeed on informal capability or not.

    Many people on these forums, and rightly so in my opinion, see that as their cue to look for another position.

    It may also be worth familiarising yourself with the idea of an agreed reference and settlement agreement.

    I'm not suggesting you pursue either of the above , only that your awareness of their existence might prove reassuring to you...

    They both helped me massively when I found myself in a similar position to yourself.
    agathamorse likes this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    If you are signed off you are signed off. End of.

    You are not there. So the school has to make alternative arrangements if they want things done.

    Imagine that you were in hospital after major surgery. Would it be fair for your HoD to drop round with a stack of exam papers to mark? No, I say.

    If you feel up to doing some work, and you feel that it might aid your recovery, that’s different. Sometimes doing a little of the things you enjoy can help get over stress.
  12. ACVX

    ACVX New commenter

    Thank you everyone for the advice so far.
    To clear a few points up:
    The scheme of work I'm meant to be writing is for a book I taught over the last half term. I have a few powerpoints and some rough notes, but I let the direction develop rather organically from what the kids seemed interested in (I have an excellent relationship with that class), so quite a few lessons were more about discussion prompted by their questions and ideas, rather than teacher-led, so I have a feeling my powerpoints will make no sense without a lot of write-up behind it.
    The year 8 essays are in my school bag, and I live more than an hour away from school - additionally, driving part of that same route to go somewhere completely different last week almost gave me a panic attack, so I think those will just have to wait.
    When I last spoke to my union (on the phone to the regional centre, because I couldn't get in contact with my case worker and hadn't heard from them for almost a week), they said I shouldn't be trying to "sort things out while off sick". I'm slightly confused, as this seems like suggesting I should go back in when I feel well enough, having had no discussion about how to improve things? Have I misinterpreted things?
    Thank you all again for all the advice and support so far.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    It sounds like the most you can do would be to offer to email the PowerPoints and, possibly, scan (if they are on paper) the notes and send those too. I know you don't have to do anything, but offering a little can be a good thing - it shows willingness. They may not be that helpful, but a good teacher would be able to use them, if they wanted.

    When you are (not just feel) well enough, then you should go in, although a meeting to discuss how to help you back would be normal, I think.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If you can look over some stuff and email it in without endangering your mental health? Do it.

    If you can't? Don't.

    If something makes you feel worse and is connected with work? Stop.
    agathamorse and Piranha like this.
  15. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    They're quite right that you shouldn't be trying to sort things out while you're off sick, but a single email just to make sure that your HoD doesn't expect something that isn't going to happen might save a lot of aggro later.
    Perhaps just sticking the essays in the post to the school address would be worth the postage cost.
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Hey, just mark it FREEPOST. I don't see why you should pay. But, if it takes a weight off your mind, it might be worth a few quid.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    That really isn't your problem, to be honest. Even if you were well, it still wouldn't be your problem. Send the colleague the powerpoints and let them make of them what they will. Copy in the HOD and write a short message to apologise for not being able to work at the moment and so not write a full on scheme of work, but that you hope the powerpoints will be of some help. (No, of course you don't owe anyone an apology, but sometimes making an unnecessary one help with professional relations.)
    Then put the bag in the shed, garage, car boot, wherever and forget about them. No one will die if one set of assessments for year 8 doesn't get marked. Even if they never get marked, it still isn't going to matter in the grand scheme of things.
    If you are still at the point of having panic attacks for going anywhere in the direction of school, then get back to the GP and have your sick note extended by some way. Then relax and forget about going back. You'll know when it's time to return because you'll want to get back. Until then, it's too soon.

    Once you are ready, then sort out meetings and so on with school. Before that, relax and enjoy the sun.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, I wondered about that. When I was going to teach something new, it was nice to get the odd resource off a colleague, but I considered it my responsibility to plan my teaching. I suppose it might be different if the person doing the teaching is a non-specialist but, even then, surely it is the HoD's responsibility.

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