Are there any other teachers on here? I am a secondary school music teacher. I changed jobs in April to a nice school after working in challenging schools and am now part-time. My line manager knows about the MS and has been really supportive and at first I was coping fine. However recently I had a lesson observation that went badly followed by another the same. They now are talking about putting procedures in place and having to observe me more. They are being supportive and giving me lots of 'tips' but this is basically making me feel like an NQT again even though I have been teaching over 6 years. The annoying thing is I know all of these strategies they are suggesting already but the truth is I have just been so exhausted this term that I have not had the energy levels needed to keep a class engaged, which has started to affect behaviour and progress in lessons. However much I plan interesting activities, differentiate resources, sanction behaviour and give rewards etc what it really comes down to is having the energy and authority (which energy is needed to assert) to manage the class. I know that if I had the energy I used to I would be able to captivate the students' attention and that right now I am simply using all that energy just to stay awake the full lesson! I tried to not bring my MS into the observation feedback conversations as did not want to seem like I was using it as an excuse, but then broke down a bit in conversation with my line manager today and admitted this. She was really supportive and seemed to agree that it is a big factor but still they have to do more observations etc and she can't officially take it into consideration. I'm not sure what I am hoping to get out of posting this apart from a chance to rant about the situation! But I guess it would be useful to hear from any other teachers if anyone has experienced anything similar or has any advice about how to control a class when energy levels are low? Or advice on ways to improve energy? Or failing that suggestions of other careers for me as I am seriously considering if I am able to stay in teaching now!
@amys , I know of one other Shift member, who has recently stopped taking Tecfidera, as it was making her very tired. I just wonder whether the Tecfidera has a part to play. Otherwise, there are a couple of fatigue medications available. Amantadine and Modafinil may be worth consideration. And, finally, is there any flexibility to introduce a teaching assistant into the equation?
I taught for 35 years, the last five after diagnosis. I know exactly what you mean. I was i/c performance management, Ofsted stats and documentation and tutored/mentored PGCE students so was very familiar with competence procedures and the Teaching Standards. I don't believe there are any quick answers as regards how you manage in the classroom, but as @Stumbler indicates, it is probably dependent on your state of health. Now would be the time to try and get meds and/or specialist advice on anything which might improve your energy levels. (Doing so would also be an indicator to your performance manager that you are firmly in control mode). Whenever we were concerned about a colleague's performance, we would look at 'the evidence', i.e. lesson preparation and most of all, his/her marking. Nine times out of ten, if the prep/marking was good, any concern around the teaching was resolved. Mostly, however, sight of the marked work confirmed the weaknesses that had been observed in the classroom. I don't know how much you have to mark as a music teacher - guess it depends on how many exam classes you have. If you do have marking, perhaps you'd like to PM me and I can pass on what I know is good practice. xx