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Teachers!!

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Animallover
Member

Re: Teachers!!


@MissP wrote:

I’m a secondary Food Technology teacher and I was diagnosed in March, had my operation in April and have been off work since then. I really miss work but also understand that the nature of condition and certain side affects will make it difficult for me to do so. Having gone to Occupational Health, I’ve been told that my main priority should be ME, getting through treatment and recovery. I have 6 cycles of FEC-T and then 3 weeks of Radio Therapy to go through.  There seems to be a total lack of understanding on the part of my employers, they are following their procedures and seem not to realise that I now have a disability and how it is affecting me mentally, physically and emotionally. This illness is not of my own choosing.

I went one day before my chemo started and was told that “I looked really well considering”, I’d made a huge effort to look okay and this seems to have counted against me. I have good days and bad days, on my bad days I really don’t want to go back into work even though I love my job. I sit crying, shaking about what will happen when I go back.

In this day and age when Education has,  in some ways become a business, the mealy mouth platitudes surrounding veiled threats is wearing me down.



Hi Miss P

My employer wasn't great and Head said 'she only has cancer' to my colleagues about me. That said, my union NASUWT was brilliant and 'held my hand' and guided me throughout my return to work. I know exactly what you mean by wanting to look 'normal' and healthy then being penalised for it!

Animallover
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi Miss P

My employer wasn't great and Head said 'she only has cancer' to my colleagues about me. That said, my union NASUWT was brilliant and 'held my hand' and guided me throughout my return to work. I know exactly what you mean by wanting to look 'normal' and healthy then being penalised for it!

MissP
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I’m a secondary Food Technology teacher and I was diagnosed in March, had my operation in April and have been off work since then. I really miss work but also understand that the nature of condition and certain side affects will make it difficult for me to do so. Having gone to Occupational Health, I’ve been told that my main priority should be ME, getting through treatment and recovery. I have 6 cycles of FEC-T and then 3 weeks of Radio Therapy to go through.  There seems to be a total lack of understanding on the part of my employers, they are following their procedures and seem not to realise that I now have a disability and how it is affecting me mentally, physically and emotionally. This illness is not of my own choosing.

I went one day before my chemo started and was told that “I looked really well considering”, I’d made a huge effort to look okay and this seems to have counted against me. I have good days and bad days, on my bad days I really don’t want to go back into work even though I love my job. I sit crying, shaking about what will happen when I go back.

In this day and age when Education has,  in some ways become a business, the mealy mouth platitudes surrounding veiled threats is wearing me down.

Animallover
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Thanks to all for your sound advice. I've been offered (and have accepted) 5 x afternoons per week. Not quite what I wanted - more full days off to recover - but Head was having none of that. Have bills to pay though and needs must...
lexilou3
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi All,

 

Am not a teacher - but have you seen the EMPLOY document on this site? Wish I had had it to hand when attempting to discuss my return to work. Also the macmillan return to work book. Good luck to us all.

 

LL xx

waveylocks
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I think your head is being rather unhelpful & clearly hasn't experienced or hasn't had a positive experience of job sharing. Two teachers to one class of pupils can bring other strengths such as different skills which the class benefit from. You will need a pass over time to ensure continuity especially in any behaviour management issues. However teachers do sucesfully job share without health issues being the reason to do so I would have thought your head is on a sticky wicket turning it down as a reasonable adjustment!! It does mean he/she will need to advertise and interview to appoint a teacher to do the hours your are not going to do. You can ask for a temporary reduction of hours in your contract which gives you the right to put your hours up again as you regain your health without permanently loosing the hours...reductions can last for several years. I was on a burnham terms & condtions when this happened to me a few years ago.
Animallover
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Thanks dog mad. I've had my union cast their eyes over my initial letter/request and they say it's strong. They also mentioned about making an appeal should my initial request be turned down. I think in a primary setting where the kids more or less have one teacher for all subjects all year, my Head thinks two professionals somehow won't communicate effectively with each other, and thus, the kids will suffer. Grr!
Dogmad84
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hello, Animal lover- Heads have to make 'reasonable adjustments' to accommodate staff returning to the classroom after a long illness. 

Are you in a Union?  ATL were brilliant with me when I needed advice returning to high school after a year off for my BC treatment and surgery. The regional Rep will normally attend any meetings you have with the Head, and they are experts at asking the right questions, and spot on with Occupational Health and other work related rights that staff should have.

My guess wuld be that your Head is most concerned as to how he will cover the shortfall in your timetable should you go down to PT!!

Animallover
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi, Im a FULL-time primary school teacher and I'm new to the forum. I've had breast cancer, a double mastectomy and both ovaries removed. My lovely sister has secondary breast cancer and is a regular on the forum. My chemo is now finished and I'm about to start letrozole. I want to return to work PART time. My Head isn't thrilled about this saying it'll be detrimental to pupils. Anyone got any useful counter arguments?
Swirly
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi Jacqueline, I hope you have had some good news from your results.

Jacquelineann
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi
I am due to start my nqt year tomorrow.However, I was diagnosed with dcis on the 7th August. Due to having it throughout my breast, with the possibilty of invasive cancer.I will be having a mastectomy in a few weeks.Thankfully, my new school is very supportive..I am hoping to continue with my nqt year after the operation. However, if chemo is involved, Ill do nqt next year. This is going to be a challenging year! More biopsi results this Thursday.
chinook
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hello
I'm back at work full time. I did a 2 week phased return as it was my head that needed to be sorted at this stage rather than my body. (see previous post). I'm back in class but I'm not expected to do anything else until September. Because of lymphadema I'm now classified as disabled. This means I am not expected to do any displays, mounting of work or anything that may aggrivate my arm and back. I have extra time allocated to me for my class displays.
I am according to my boss back to the real me. Last week given 5 year all clear and celebrated with friends at work.
Friday before Easter hols I was escorted off the school premises!!! I wanted to change a display so I thought I'd hang back till everyone had gone and I'd recover over the holidays. Trouble was some other staff knew what I was thinking and wouldn't leave until I had. Display was done for me on the Tuesday we got back.
In training at the moment to do the Jane Tomlinson 10k to raise funds for The Haven in Leeds.
My advice, take it very slowly or it will come back to bit you in the bum.
Chinook

salsasuzi
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi ,
I'm a specialist learning Mentor in a PRU and have just started a very long phased return. Work are being absolutely brilliant regarding my return and are phasing it over 13 weeks in total (holidays included). By mid June I will have built up to more or less full time and I do worry about how I will cope.
My business manager is carrying out regular reviews so make sure I am ok, I don't have to do any duties yet so they are being very considerate (possibly because of the nature of some of the pupils in a PRU as it's a bit different to main stream).
Like bluebird I am concerened about how I will be in September, I suppose we will only know when we get there!!
Good luck everyone
hugs Suze x

Midge
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi

I did a phased return over six weeks. Although I was originally full time, it has been agreed that I can work part time for the next two years and then renegotiate. Week one I just id a morning, then stayed til two the next week and just gradually built up. I know it's not always possible, but as the sen teacher I could be flexible. I have been back now since March and now even do a days playground duty- boooo. : ) so far it is working well. Am aware of tiredness as I am still on herceptin, but have my fingers crossed that I don't crash and burn.

Good luck.

Debx

Reeb
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Good luck bluebird. I bet it's a bit scary but must feel good at the same time.

I'm a head in a primary school and just finished rads after chemo. I phoned our authority occupational health who surprisingly weren't that interested even though I've been off since the beginning of September. Told to negociate my phased return with the governors so I might use your experience as a model.

Reeb

bluebird
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I have just started back at work this week. I work for an FE college, and work 18.5 hours per week. I met with HR and my manager yesterday and will be doing a phased return over 6 weeks, starting with only 4 hours this week, 6 next, then 9 etc. Apart from the meeting yesterday, this week I only have to go in for a couple of hours on Friday. They have even agreed that at the moment I can go late morning, so I have time to do my physio exercises which I need to loosen up in the morning. (I had mx+LD recon in January and had Femara and Zoladex since last September).

It's also a bit late to be taking over classes as it is near exam time and wouldn't be fair on the students. So it looks like I will just have to help in class and spend time doing other jobs, like checking the new GCSE maths changes. Then it's soon the summer holidays. So it looks like a gentle return to work. I think September will be more of a shock to the system!

I have been on sick leave since last September, but haven't actually worked since last July. I have been in a few times whilst off work. But it will be strange being back at work. I'm just so glad I will be having a gentle return, and they are even paying me my normal salary! Let's hope it really is good as it seems.

Lily200
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi,
Chinook I am sorry to read about how bad things have been for you. Not sure I would have survived that lot even without BC. I was told I could not go back but the chemo makes that distinction with low or no immunity. Even rads insisted I had 21 days off after that. Hope the lymphoedema improves and is not too bad at the moment. I have not lifted heavy weights with that arm, mowed the lawn or done anything repetitive in the last 2 years and ok so far. I think writing on the board, as it is my right arm is stress enough for it. I hope your break does help things to settle for you.
Jo can I suggest you metion what i did to your head. They kept on my supply teacher and I picked up all the C/D borderliners and had 11 groups of year 11 maths classes. We took them out of other classes, mad small groups, etc and really pushed our 5A*-C with maths and eng up by a substantial amount and met our target as a HPSS. It was lovely for me as the parents got almost private tuition free, kids were all keen or chucked out the class and boosted my confidence back up high. You are a core subject so maybe you could suggest this if they can afford to keep the other one on.
Mo I wrote officially to the head and he consulted the pay committee chairman who wouldn't set a precedent!I contacted the union several times but kind but no help at all. They even insisted I continued to pay union subs out of what was left of my salary as that it their rule. When I challenged this at NASWUT HO they were very embarassed and said they could only pretend I was on holiday on a sabbatical. Ha!! What an insult so don't count on them too much anyone, they just cut it to 50% each month
Good luck all
Lily x

chinook
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Just posted this on a retuning to work thread. \Sorry for repeating.

I went straight back to work after a lumpectomy, lymph removal and radiotherapy. Straight back full time into Year 3. The class included 2 children with downs syndrome, something I had zero experience of. I have "coped" with and lead from the front through 2 Ofsteds,become expert on autism (learning through experience!). Ive lived through a 21 day experience no teacher should have to go through with zero support from authority or union.

Now after 4years and 9 months I should get the all clear shortly. Everything should be fine. Instead I,ve crashed and burned. I gratefully accepted a sick note for 6 weeks. This time I'm taking it slowly . This time Occupational Health will help me with back pain and Lymphedema. This time I'll think about me and not how my supply teacher is doing. This time I will I will say no.

P.S.

Jo90
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Thanks Lily, I really wanted to hear that. I'm secondary English. I HATE not being at school and am missing the kids like mad, and if what my replacement says is true, they're missing me too.

My work is (almost) my life because of the wonderful kids I teach and the thought of being too ill to do it is awful.

I was dx in July, op in august, chemo sept to jan and then rads. I'm having a hol before I go back to work BUT then will be in for the final push before GCSE's. I'm desperate to get in there and have 'MY' year 11 kids back before they leave.

Jo

moser
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I have read through these posts today for the first time after posting near the beginning of this thread... I agree absolutely about the DDA - The employer is required by law to make "reasonable adjustment" for anyone who has cancer from the time of diagnosis for the rest of the time that the person is employed by them. I ensured that our personnel officer (I work in a FE college) knew that I knew about this. I am sure I was told by the Occi health nurse that the organisation would actually be on a sticky wicket if they dropped me to half-pay for absence especially during treatment! I also think that the Union (I am in UCU) should be able to offer support to anyone who feels that they are being treated wrongly during or after treatment.
Mo

Lily200
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi,
I am a secondary maths teacher and now back in full time work. I had 10 months off after 7 months chemo and 3 weeks rads. Then went back 3 weeks after that. My GP was happy to sign me off for longer but my pay went down to half before I even completed chemo. Half pay for teachers is not what it seems and one month I received half of 17 days pay, as it is based on working days and then halved after that! I had 14 days notice of it dropping and was really angry as I pointed out that mortgages and bills are monthly not fortnightly. I did get the non means tested benefit payments and an added bonus was they gave me £250 for returning to work afterwards as I agreed to attend an interview at the job centre. I was totally honest that I had a job and still got it as I claimed child benefit, no idea why.
I did not use occ health just went through my school but secondaries tend to have a lot more admin staff with roles to see. The head invited me in for a chat and I decided when I went back. I decided to start on a Thursday and just before a half term holiday. This was a great plan as I got all the comments, looks, etc over and when I went back kids all knew I was there now with very short hair!Totally shattered every day despite doing nothing. I found it hard just being upright and wanted to lie down most of the day and have drinks when I felt like it. I taught about 11 hours a week and had little booster classes to raise GCSE results. I really enjoyed it and no marking. I had one term of that then back to full timetable in Sep and was fine. It was quite a barrier to jump going back and giving up seemed a much easier option.
For me, I wanted to at least try out my old life as I felt I was going back to where I had been before Bc took its toll. Maybe a bit of a challenge that i could still do it if I wanted to. Funnily enough going back to it was the biggest influence in making me move on and put it out of my mind a bit more. I had got to the point when I used to introduce myself and tell people about my cancer as though it was now a part of me. As if they wanted to know that!!! So I would encourage anyone who still likes teaching to give it a go. The kids boost you so much and at least you don't have time to dwell on it, much too busy. You also have high life insurance when no-one else will touch you, so a bit of protection for the family if that is important in your circumstances. We are covered by the disability discrimination act for life now, which I point out every time someone tries to move me to a worse room, take my room,etc. They have to treat you as well as any other teacher in fact if necessary they have to treat you better, so worth quoting.
Good luck and I am loving being back
Lily x

aliceinwonderl
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Long story short...
3 YEARS AGO a 47 yr old HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER, NOW I AM NOT.
DIOg primary breast cancer, WLE x2, SNB, rads, that I worked through after sch day, tamox. now Arimidex. Was depressed prior bc diog. BC diog triggered serious mental health life endangering issues and after 6 months return to work signed off sick. After 2 yers off on long term sick given early pension based on ill health. I was totally supported by LA, school, teacher's pensions. Not much but do get other benefits which means I can afford my basic bills, I am very low maintenence, no dependents or man to deal with, just me.
Teaching, I was once so passionate, loved it, the kids, great.
Now I take each day as it comes, no expectations of anything or from anyone.
You DO have to do what is best for you, it is your life. We are all replacable, which we can forget sometimes!
All the best Alice

perko
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi again, thanks to everyone for these really interesting posts re returning to teaching, whether it be primary, secondary, full-time or part-time! It seems to me that the occupational health people are worth contacting (my Union suggests that too), as well as talking to the Head or governing body about a phased return to work. I hope we all find our schools supportive when we really need them to be. I shall be following this thread during my treatment - just had first chemo, second one next week 😞 - and will let you know how I get on when I try to return to work next summer (I hope!).
Jan

Midge
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi
I have finished chemo, but had my op before chemo. I have rads starting in just over a week. I spoke to my gp first and asked him if he would support the view that after a phased return I should go back part time. He said that he would. I then spoke to my head, mentioning the doctors support and he said he would put it to the governors but expected that they would support it. I am looking to go back around half term, then start properly at Easter all being well. I am happy to give up at least one of my coordinators roles, as de stressing my life is the point. Good luck. Dx

Reeb
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi

Re going back - contact your LA occupational Health department which may well want a meeting anyway before you go back, on your sick note the Gp may tick the 'altered hours' box but also chat with your Head and I know not all can be the most supportive. If you don't get much joy write to the Gov Body and make a formal request which they must consider, it might mean a change in duty ie from being in a set class to covering PPA or something. However if your school budget is anything like mine the possibility of someone dropping hours can be welcome. If they need someone full time the job share should be ok as on costs to the school shouldn't be too bad. As to time I wouldn't worry about it just yet. You're way ahead of me but I get the impression you need a couple of weeks at least after the radiotherpay so during that time might be the time to put out the feelers.

Hope this helps.

Reeb xx

Tree
Member

Re: Teachers!!

It is so helpful to read your comments and find that many feel the same about returning to teaching full time.
I have one more chemo to go (phew!) them mx and rads, so returning is still quite some time in the future, but I wonder if anyone could advise me on who, and when, to speak to someone about the possiblity of returning part time?

Reeb
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Thanks Pam.

Unfortunately I've still got a few more years to go before retirement is an option. Certainly the post would have to be advertised. I was in school the other day and almost mentioned the idea to the deputy but thought I'd better not until I was really sure. Everything is still a bit surreal at the moment. I keep thinking I'll suddenly click back and be where I was. Anyway promised I'd review the medicines in school policy today.

Reeb xx

Petal5
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi Reeb
I can totally see where you're coming from having been in a similar situation at the start of this year (primary head dx just before Christmas) I originally thought I would be back by Easter and was happy with that however things didn't go that way and further surgery followed by chemo and then rads put a whole new spin on how I felt about things. You do very soon feel out of the system and yes you realise just how much of your life it is swallowing up. I too was in a small school so understand the pressures. I am sure that once you return you would soon get back into the swing of things but it is how your energy levels are and how your new outlook on life is that is different.
As you can see from my previous posts I decided that as I was only a couple of years from retirement it was in the schools interest to offer me early retirement as I would be having so much time off ( still hoping for recon next year). I therefore retired officially at Easter. If you have several more years to "give" then I am sure the school would welcome your suggestion of a job share. In my area good heads are hard to find particularly in small schools were everyone knows the pressures are greater because you can't share the load. If you get on well with your chair why not have a confidential discussion with them to sound the idea out. Legally they might have to advertise the 0.5 Head position but there would be nothing to stop your deputy from applying. I would say it might be the best answer for you and the school. Pm me if you like.
Best wishes
Pam x

Reeb
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi all

I'm a Head at a primary school and was Dx three days before the start of school in September. Just waiting to start my chemo (having problems with seroma so they won't start the chemo until it settles). My GP happens to be my Chair of Govs and is being wonderful. He's written me off for the duration as school tends to be plague pit and has talked about a phrased return when I'm ready. Trouble is I really don't feel I want to go back full time and reading your comments adds to the idea. My deputy is acting up and she's part time and I'm wondering about job sharing in the future. We're a small school so the budget is horrendous. We're due Ofsted this year so I do feel guilty and do the odd bits but already feel out of touch but my god don't you realise just how much of your life the job takes over. I suppose the upside is it won't be me having to make the decision about closing the school when the snow comes.

Reeb

bluebird
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi all,

I work at an FE college. It is a 0.5 post, but I regularly worked 3 long days. I was diagnosed in August, during the holidays and have since been on sick leave, so I haven't worked since July. So far, college (HOD and HR) have been very understanding. However, I do wonder how I will manage when I return. At the moment I can't imagine being able to cope with the amount of class contact I had before, being on my feet long enough, and wondering whether writing on the board will bother my arm. Even prep will be be more diffciult as I find I can't use the computer as much because it irritates my arm (due to node sampling op).

Hopefully when I return, I will do a phased return, and by then it will be nearly exam time and so not too many clases, and it wouldn't be fair to the students to change teacher at this time. It may be September before I find out whether I can cope with it.

Annys: your comment about OFSTED is similar to some of my thoughts. As I said to my colleagues, having cancer is a rather desparate way to avoid our OFSTED revisit and to avoid having to teach functional maths! I am hoping that by the time I return the team will know what we are doing.

Julie

maltomlin
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I'd like to comment here please.

I wasn't teacher but was the bursar and was a member of the senior management team. I monitored staff absence and was down on those whose absence was excessive but for those who had a genuine reason, that's different.

Nobody expects you to be back at full strength after a BC Dx. and the Occupational Health Dept should support you in this. They should be working with you on a phased return!

For those who are really suffering, Occupational Health should work for you.

Mal x

sherbert
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi all,
I was diagnosed 3 years ago and have been back at work teaching,on and off, for about 2 1/2 years. I had my last zoladex injection in April and am still taking tamoxifen.

When I returned to work, I did three days a week for about 6 months. I found it too much and my confidence had become very low. I was advised on this site, to make an appointment with occ health and it really helped. I reduced my hours right down to 1/2 a day rather than finish work completely! I now work every morning.

I would strongly recommend having regular reviews with Occ health. The occ health nurse made it clear in her report to school that I was covered by the DDA and therefore the school should make reasonable adjustments which could include part time hours.

Although in many ways I'm enjoying work and most days I am pleased I decided to continue teaching, it hasn't been easy. My colleagues are often so tired themselves that it is difficult for them to be supportive. Start small is the best advice I can offer, perhaps a couple of 1/2 days and build up gradually.I apologies if this doesn't make sense like others have said my brain feels very foggy these days!
Good luck

annys
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi everyone
Have just discovered this thread and have read all the posts with great interest. I had a mx last Jan and am now on tamoxifen. I’m a primary school teacher, working 3 days a week and this last tine last year was completely freaked out as we were having many new initiatives dumped on us just as we heard we were due to be inspected. Then I was diagnosed. I realised I was totally stressed out when my first thought was great, I’ll miss the inspection and then only secondly, OMG I’ve got cancer. How crazy was that?
I was off for 9 months, accompanied by depression. I go to counselling and my counsellor insists I should treat my two days off as work free and only spend Sun afternoon working. I went back to work in Sept and I did this for the first half term. It was great as there are loads of interests I want to pursue. However, when I returned after the half term holiday assessments were due in, I went straight into parents’ evening and ended up doing 11 hours work that day. The next day I was asked to hand in an endless stream of work, which I had either not been able to do (there have been many changes to planning and new initiatives introduced) or I had not done due to my not working on my days off. I had a mini meltdown and was crying in front of my job share colleague, who often has to carry me when things are not done. I went home that night in exactly the same state I was in last year.
I realise now that I can’t treat my days off as days off. This job now has so much paperwork to complete, much of it duplicated and pointless that if I don’t do it I’ll be causing my job share partner more work. As she’s been so supportive and wonderful I have to increase my work load. So today I worked all day. Funnily enough, I feel calmer because I now feel more in control, knowing I have completed tasks and made resources. I love the days I’m in class with the children but the constant stream of new initiatives, requiring new planning, making resources and even more paperwork, is starting to make my 3 days a full time job. How you ladies cope full time I’ll never know! Give yourselves a cheer!
I would love to give up work because even though I’ve endured so much I still allow the job to swallow me up. I envy those of you who can say that since having bc they can put their jobs or problems into perspective. The Tamoxifen makes me forgetful, making me appear incompetent in front of parents and colleagues, and I am enduring the most frightful hot flushes, both day and night, so a good sleep eludes me too. Giving up is not an option as our finances could not cope with a drop in income. I guess I’m still searching for a good life/work balance but am convinced that expectations heads make on their staff today will make that balance hard to achieve. Sorry for the long ramble. This started off as just a small post but has grown horribly.
Annys xx

perko
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi, I have read all the posts about teachers and how they have coped through their treatment and how they have managed with going back to work - all very interesting to me as a secondary school languages teacher, who has recently had a lumpectomy and axillary clearance and tomorrow starts first chemotherapy (FEC x 3, T x 3). Then due to have radiotherapy and on to Tamoxifen. My school has so far been very supportive. I miss my wonderful colleagues and students, as well as the day-to-day buzz of the school day. But it is also good not to have that to worry about as I have enough to cope with, facing whatever chemo will make me feel like! I wondered if there were any other teachers out there going through the same as me at the moment who would like to share their experiences? I too am concerned about what I will be like post-treatment and whether I will be able to cope with the workload - I am a HoD and have a significant pastoral role too.

Jane_75
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Forget about what your pension might be, as Tree says,we might not be here to get it anyway, so go for it now and enjoy quality of life. A friend of mine (nurse not teacher)applied for ill health retirement which she got, without any problems whatsoever. She also gets DLA and ESA allowances. She and her husband made a few cutbacks in their monthly budgeting and moved to a smaller house. They are now enjoying a nice quality of life, she's not stressed and they go away when ever they can. so sieze the moment.
Good luck to you all xxxxx

Midge
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Totally agree. Dx

Tree
Member

Re: Teachers!!

SueBeth, this is what I do not want to go back to. Total exhaustion, mounds of unfinished paper work, accompanying guilt about that....
It's just not worth it.
My feeling about pensions, to be perfectly honest, is that I dont know if I'll even make it that far....Sorry to be bleak..:(
Live for today, surely what this dreadful, disgusting disease had to teach us.
Live on less if you can, and strive for a better quality of life, maybe with less consumables and stuff, but what do they really matter?
I dont know, I havent decided much, but I am feeling more strongly everyday that I cannot return to that crazy full time life with absolutely no work/life balance.

suebeth
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi folks, Im just back to working fulltime now since Easter this year after chemo,radiotherapy n herceptin - plus got diabetis now after chem... Im glad to be back at work - but I am so tired. As a single parent with no supporting family my work (and pay!) are my security blanket and I'm finding it hard to decide what to do. My daughter has left home so I am on my own with my dogs and cat - I live in the country so a car is essential. I am so afraid to go part time incase I end up struggling finacially. How long do I struggle on with this horrendous exhaustion in the hope it will go eventually? How do others cope? At work my paperwork is way behind, and there are times I am not really enjoying my job like I used to. Then at home I just sit down and sleep! I feel I am stuck not knowing how to get over this blip... if I had the money I would love to work part time. The worry is that I won't have a good pension if I go part time now. Help! How do others cope and decide please...?

Tree
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Many thanks for all your replies. And quite a lot of them as well!
I do wonder if breast cancer is any more common amoungst teachers than other professions....
I am going to try everything I can to return to work part time.
I had some lovely colleagues visit me last night, (who I really miss seeing everyday) but they were both so stressed out, it was frightening. 😞

miscally
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi,
i was a secondary English teacher until two years ago when i swapped to part time work as a specialist teacher - working with the Support dept in school. I got an MA in Special and Inclusive education four years ago and decided I wanted to reduce the stress of teaching full time and use my expertise. I was diagnosed this August and had WLE and SNB, waiting for rads appointments and on Tamoxifen. I am working just one day a week in school and doing private tuition outside school. Money is rubbish but the work is great and I really enjoy it. Not sure if I will be able to work through rads - especially as the round trip will be about two and a half hours! School have said I can have the time off and make it up when I 'feel able'. Which is great and I may well be taking them up on it. I may ask my GP for a note to allow it as sick leave - has anyone else done this?
Anyway, ramble aside, I wanted to suggest tutoring and special needs support work as part time and rewarding work to try.
All the best to you all.

cupoftea
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi
I'm a primary teacher too. I had just started taking on more work when my youngest started nursery when I was dx.
I gave up work completely on chemo-just too ill- and didn't return until a few months after rads. I returned to the same school 3 days a week last year doing the 1:1 tuition programme,and spoke to my head about doing some extension groups, which was all a much less stressful job than being in class. I was also offered cover for other teachers which I only did if I wanted the odd extra day. I don't know if something similar would be an option for you but could be worth asking unless you want to be away from school completely.
This year I am job sharing-we both have young children, and I find I just have less to 'give' after having BC-so 3 days works well. I must admit I do find being back in class full on. I've said I'll do another half day -that is about right for me!

I hope you find a solution that works-and if you do, please post-I'm often considering my options work-wise!
All the best with it.
C

Petal5
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hi. I was a primary school head teacher before dx. I decided to take early retirement and I am so pleased that I did. I think that the stress of the job was certainly not doing me any good and bc certainly makes you stop and look closely at your lifestyle. Teaching is a very full on occupation and can easily take over. I now have time for my family and am enjoying getting to really know my young granddaughter. I also think that not having to worry about work has aided my recovery from treatment. I love having the time to smell the roses!

Welsh_girl
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I had to make the same sort of decision after another serious illness and didn't recognise the strain I was under..... returned to work and then cracked up good and proper as I just couldn't cope with all the responsibilities and an OFSTED.
I was disciplined for short term absences and I was devastated. I kept going down with viral infections and stress. There was no support at all only more disciplining!!!
I'd always been a good teacher (PRIMARY) and now they were trying to get rid of me....
My story is a warning because the aftermath of being disciplined wrecked my confidence and my living!
Luckily Occ Health were my only support and after more ill health I went back into associated work with children where my expertise was useful. Working with disabled children and their families, positive parenting coursework as a leader,individual tuition,mentoring, museum work with children..... I have done all sorts over the past ten years and really enjoyed all the experiences but mentoring has been the best!
Money is greatly reduced but there is life after teaching in a school! I only work part-time but have a better life/work balance now.

Unfortunately,BC came and bit me on the bottom but that is a different story!

Good luck to everyone wanting to step outside the profession.
Look after yourself first and leave the stress at the door!

moser
Member

Re: Teachers!!

Hello everyone,

I am a teacher in a FE college, had a management position pre dx in 2004, worked all the way through chemo and rads and then stayed fulltime. I have to say that my employer was great. Then in 07 I had a strong feeling that I needed to make a change, was exhausted all the time, worried that it was not good - so went p/t. Big pay cut, but worth it.I had a regional recurrence in 08. Am still p/t, and yes, loads of pressure on me to take more hours, ... but I really feel that I'm doing the right thing. As soon as I am able to I shall take my pension. I just keep praying that I get that far, 2 more years till I can take it (at a lower rate) at 55. I keep thinking how unfair it is that after paying in all these years I might not benefit.

love, Mo

Daisy_do
Member

Re: Teachers!!

It seems we need to take our individual circumstances and work towards a compromise. I think I am older than all you ladies I am 54.

The tamoxifen affects me differently every three months or so, energy, headaches, joint pain and foggy brain. I knew that a) I didnt want to go back to teaching and my onc was pleased that I decided this based on my stress levels and b) I wanted to change some aspects of my life and enjoy more freedom to wander around, shop, cook, see my grandchildren. It was the phrase "take time to smell the roses". I had my scare and that was it I wanted NOW and got my way for once ha - what a way to change your life!

It will be different for everyone but whatever you choose to do enjoy life and live to the full.

Dx

et1
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I am a primary school teaching assistant, and was planning to apply for initial teacher training (PGCE) last October when I was diagnosed. I withdrew my application, had six weeks off following Mx then returned to work as a T.A. whilst undergoing chemo. It was a decision I now regret as I was so tired and am still lacking in energy six months after treatment finished. I have applied again this year for the PGCE but I do have reservations as I know how exausted and stressed most teachers get and worry that this will have an adverse effect on my health. On the other hand I don't want having BC stop me getting on with my life. I have decided to get the qualification do my first year as a newly qualified teacher, then look for part time or job share if I feel full time would be too much. I do agree that a lot of teachers and a fair amount of TA's seem to get BC.

cromercrab
Member

Re: Teachers!!

It is very interesting to hear of the high number of teachers who develop BC. I am a secondary school teacher, and have been signed off from middle of May this year until January. I unfortunately have secondaries dx at same time as primary diagnosis. Work defined me quite a lot, and I have struggled to adjust. Too much thinking time. I have just started chemo, on 2nd out of perhaps 4 FEC, then Tax after hormone therapy didn't work. I hope that chemo will do the trick as then I will have mx and full node clearance and will feel like I am getting somewhere. I will then want to go back part time, but I am thinking of a supportive role rather than actual teaching. Something on the pastoral side. My head has been very supportive and has encouraged me to drop in when I can to say hi to staff etc.School is such a pressurised place, I am HOD of the Art dept so it was difficult to let go! I don't miss report writing and filling in the SEF.Just miss our fabulous staff and that interaction you get each day.
x sarah

cat107
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I am a primary teacher too. My situation sounds similar I was working in a school that was causing concern and under alot of pressure and long hours as well as my own 3 young children. I had mx and reconstruction, chemo (3 FEC 3 Tax) now on tamoxifen and just coming to the end this week of 25 rads.
I have already negotiated my return with my head and I will go back after halfterm. I will be doing mornings only to start with. My head has been very supportive and has said its entirely up to me how many days I do and how I want to build up to full time again. I won't have a class to start with just support other teachers, which I feel is a good way to get my confidence back. But like you I can't imagine going back to exactly the hours I was doing before and I know in the new year a teacher is leaving and they want me to take over that class. I am already thinking that I want to do a 4 day week. (I am the main earner so can't afford to do less than than).
I rang the union for advice and they were very sound. She advised getting the fit note from the doctor with the phased return box ticked and then first negotiating with the head before going down the occupational health route as there is a cost for the school if this happens, but if not getting what I wanted then this was the next step.
About part time work/reduced hours, she then suggested going back to the doctor and then getting them to tick the amended hours box on the fit note. She said my head would find it hard not to honour this under the circumstances but suggested it was done with a yearly review as at some point I might want to go back full time especially as we are now having a 2 year pay freeze.
I hope that in 3 weeks I will feel fit for work. I have been feeling great with a post chemo energy rise, but just in the last week have felt tired again and my skin is very sore form the rads.
I feel it is important for me to get back to work as I do enjoy working with the children and I need to move on from being a cancer patient and get on with my hopefully cancer free life.
Cat

Daisy_do
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I forgot to say that there is a high incidence of breast cancer (among other issues) with teachers.

It would be interesting to see the stats although this disease affects all walks of life, ages and gender.

Daisy_do
Member

Re: Teachers!!

I taught 16year old disaffected youth and it was heart wrenching, sad, successful and enjoyable most of the time but it did take all my time of 16hrs a day 7 days a week. stressful.

I am on tamoxifen and foggy brain, no energy and bad joints have seen me take a part time job at M&S. I go to work with hours that suit as my ankles dont work in the morning, I meet interesting people and celebs and leave the work when I leave. The pay isnt too good but I get working tax credit, tax is low - havent looked into other benefits but I should have done this years ago. 3 days off a week including friday and sunday and I get a 20% discount.
My point is I really miss the kids but not the workload, the stress or the inspections, observations and lesson planning.

I think you just need to consider how you want to live your life from now on - we have had a challenge to deal with that has left us looking at what we do and we have been given a chance to change what we want.

I also took a job with nhs professionals but the travelling was too much they send you on jobs as they come up. It was for admin and wasnt too demanding.

Perhaps you could start the research and see what will be of use to you. Think about you and be brave and go sort out the money, benefits etc., and be strong as it is hard to fight what is rightfully yours!

I have just adjusted my lifestyle to eat, drink and live healthier and that includes less stress - I dont want to go through anything like this again.

Good luck in all you do ladies.

Delphine x