petal87 16/05/17
Last reply 9 months ago
Teachers out there….

Hi there – those of you who are teachers, how do you find balancing work with MS?

How do you find the right balance of work/health/life? Have your schools been supportive?

I am just so tired – finding it hard to keep on top of marking and everything else and then there is the energy of getting through actually teaching!

I was only diagnosed a few months ago and I’m still finding my way through it all.

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heids
9 months ago

Hi @petal87, I’m a primary school teacher and work .7. I was diagnosed a year ago at the age of 43 and I am still getting my head around things; trying to understand my body and work out what is MS, old age or just being unwell!
The SMT have been brilliant, allowing me to attend an 8 week mindfulness course (recommended by my neurologist) and try to make things easy. I am now on the SMt so that has increased the workload and although the head and deputy are constantly saying if it’s too much let us know, I don’t because it makes me feel like a failure!
I also find it hard to concentrate and permanently feel like I’m lacking mojo!
Have you informed your SMT or someone else at school so that they are aware and also so that you have someone to talk to. With MS you are covered by the disability act and there are also funds/grants that are available to support you e.g pay for additional help at work to either work with you or for you. I can’t remember what it is called but I can find out if you’re interested-our SENCO did tell me!
My MS nurse says that I need to prioritize and break things down; rest when I need to etc but this isn’t always possible! They have referred me for a fatigue course!
Do you have an MS nurse because they are a wealth of information and support.

Sorry, I’ve rambled on and probably put you to sleep!

Take care,
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Oh and check out the MS Trust website, they have some great publications that can be downloaded or ordered for free!


niccis
9 months ago

Hi @petal87
I’m a head of dept in a secondary school and also really struggling. I was an Assistant Head but fatigue proved too much and I stepped down to this job in a different school in January. Circumstances have meant that this is just as exhausting though and I have this week applied for 3 non teaching jobs after 13 years as a teacher. I can get through the working day ok, although cognitively things are sometimes a bit foggy, but when it gets to the evening when I ‘should’ be working I just don’t have the energy any more. I used to work all the hours but it’s not an option these days and I feel panicked that I’m falling behind, then resentful that I’m having to work at the weekends when I so desperately need to recharge for the week ahead.
My line manager has shown concern for me but only when I was visibly unwell a few weeks ago with a month of cold/flu symptoms. The invisible nature of the illness means that as soon as my nose and eyes stopped running she, and everyone else, expected me to be working at full throttle again. It’s hard to explain that it doesn’t work that way!
I’m sorry this post isn’t more encouraging. I’m sure there are plenty of teachers who are managing fine. I’m hoping it’s just the time of year and once the exams are over I’ll be able to relax a little. Otherwise it’s a route out of teaching for me 🙁


vixen
9 months ago

Hi all, great to have people I feel I have something in common with! I’m a DH, newly diagnosed and aged 51. Like @heids I am still trying to work out what is me, what is MS, what is the Tecfidera, what is old age/menopause etc. It’s so tough and isolating.

One thing I would advise is to not fall into the trap that was mentioned on BBC education website a few weeks ago: that a growing number of teachersreduce working days with a pay cut, only to fill them with catch up. This means that you are doing the same job on less pay so always consider that if asking to reduce hours.

I have only told a few key people at work and they are really supportive. I think it’s best to get a grip on what you feel you need, rather than wait for an offer. We can’t control the MS but we can control ourselves and our choices!

Something I’ve found useful to me, is to think further ahead and fix an end goal to work towards. In my case, I know that within 4 years I want to be working 50pc or less. When I have a down day, I at least chalk it off as a day towards this. The cog fog is really tricky, not least because you can’t predict from one day to the next. I start every day with a bullet point list of the very bare minimal that has to be achieved that day; anything over this puts me in credit with myself.

It’s great to ‘chat’ with you all, therapy indeed!

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