My return to work interview was three weeks before I returned to school. I had had almost eighteen months off sick, due to complications post treatment. I took my Fitness to work slip from my GP, which recommended a phased return over four to six weeks- longer than the average, because the chemo had also damaged healthy tissue, necessitating major surgery post BC treatment- namely a Total hysterectomy, and a major repair of the bowel and bladder, as a direct result of damage caused by the chemo. As I was still healing from the surgery described above, I was subject to bowel and bladder urgency, so it was also noted that I needed a TA in every lesson, to supervise the class, should I need to rush to the toilets during lessons. I was also not allowed to lift sets of textbooks, carry marking to other classrooms, move classroom furniture etc, and so it was all duly noted at the interview by the school business manager, who was in attendance. She wrote it all on a formal document, which was then passed to the site supervisor, so he was aware I may need to call on his help for moving resources etc. I have to say my Head was just brilliant- he employed a Supply teacher to shadow my timetable for six weeks- initially, she taught the bulk of my lessons, whilst I caught up with various paperwork, schemes of work etc, as I was Head of Faculty [I have since taken voluntary redundancy, and no longer teach] We then built up my teaching comittment, part time initially- team teaching with her, half a lesson each, and she came in and taught the lessons the days I was not in school. I eventually built up to a full timetable as the weeks went on. School allowed me to stay at home two to three days a week to begin with- such a blessing, as I was still so frail, as the whole treatment thing, surgery etc, had totally wiped me out. I found that even giving out resources in the early weeks, too exhausting, and it is really important to accept any help offered, as the rigours of the classroom come as a real shock to the system after a long absence. The interview was so supportive- it was a chance for school to offer as much help as they could, and I understand that employees who have been through cancer treatment are covered by the Disability Act, so employers should make reasonable adjustments to ensure your return to the workplace is as straight forward as possible. All the very best for your return to work.
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