sending in lesson plans when off sick or other, special, leave?

(112 Posts)
overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 09:44:55

just a quick poll really. My school expects staff to send in lesson plans /cover when sick. Has to be by 7.30 am. So when I'm really ill (which I have to be to phone in) I also have to provide a lesson and send it in? Obviously I have lesson plans at school but not necessarily at home. So I have to get up early and think something up. If it's planned leave that's ok (eg hospital apt) but when unwell? It's also an expectation for other leave, eg if off unpaid when own kids are ill.

Is this normal and is it reasonable? My sister's school doesn't expect this btw.

SilverApples Wed 25-Sep-13 09:51:25

It's the normal expectation round here, all detailed planning for the week available in electronic form by Mon am first thing, before 8am.
Not just my school, all the local schools.

PractialJoke Wed 25-Sep-13 10:07:15

But surely lesson plans are done long before 7:30 on the day of the lesson. You just need to store them where others can access.

SilverApples Wed 25-Sep-13 10:22:49

I plan at the weekend, based on the previous week's planning and outcomes.
If I'm off on Monday, I'd email them to school. Any other day and the plans have been uploaded to the server and are available in printed format in my planning file.

overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 12:21:49

we don't have the same protocols for lesson plans in my school. We have to store our lesson plans by the end of the week (ie after we have taught them)

although we have something electronic it isn't accessible by me from my home and school says is the cover teacher (who may be a supply with no log ins) can't search the database for teacher's lesson plans so we have to send in each lesson for each class each day so the admin person can print them off. It cannot include any handouts or resources or IWB (which would be available on the database if they looked).

So I have to remember what has to be taught, adapt it to not use any resources and type it up for each lesson. It genuinely takes me a long time to do this. I don't have the same software at home as at school so cannot store stuff on memory stick to look at at home. It happens that this is the first term I am teaching these PoS at this school and I don't have last year's stored anywhere.

I just wondered really what every one else has to do. I have been off since last week and I am on unpaid leave so although it affects me at this moment am thinking about the principle - don't have my contract to hand

Kayakinggirl86 Wed 25-Sep-13 21:09:35

My last school you had to send your cover in that morning, cover work was emailed to cover supervisors who picked it up in the morning. It had to be text book based- no photo copying or iwb allowed. Almost impossible to do when you were not allowed to take text books home.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 25-Sep-13 21:14:20

I am secondary, and we do not have saved lesson plans or anything like that.

Our policy states that where possible, the absent teacher should send in cover work on the standard proforma by email. If the teacher is unable to do so, the head of department is responsible for setting the cover work.

Almost all staff send in their cover work, fortunately.

SuffolkNWhat Wed 25-Sep-13 21:30:34

We are the same as FallenMadonna, almost all departments have plans on our system but rely on being actively taught. Our school uses Cover Supervisors so cannot teach, only supervise. As such cover needs to be sent in that is appropriate.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 25-Sep-13 22:16:28

We have lesson plans with our SoL, but they are not suitable for cover. Actually, we do have loads of cover lesson plans on our intranet, because we had a serious staff shortage for about 5 months last year, and we were writing over 60 cover lessons a week. So if anyone is off after Christmas we are sorted...!
The strain of those 5 months is the reason I am so very glad that most teachers write their own cover lessons and send them in early in the morning!

bamboostalks Wed 25-Sep-13 22:19:02

Why aren't you receiving paid sick leave?

clam Wed 25-Sep-13 23:48:38

I would have thought that if you're too ill to attend school, then you're too ill to faff around at 7 in the morning organising cover lessons. I think that's the management team's role.

Although the flip side to making a stand about this is that the HT might decide to insist all lesson plans are on the system at the beginning of the week, as opposed to the end. Would you be prepared for that to happen?

overthemill Thu 26-Sep-13 09:45:29

I don't get paid sick leave because I have used up all my entitlement. I am new to schools (come from Adult Ed) and have only 2 year's reckonable service. Unfortunately, I have had cancer and used up all my paid leave (50 days full and 50 days half pay). I am back at work but unwell (not cancer related but possibly because I am not fully 'well' iyswim). It's just one of those things and I am not complaining about not getting paid because I understand the rules.

But, in principle, if a teacher is sick, should they have to struggle to send in lesson plans?

overthemill Thu 26-Sep-13 09:46:52

And my school have been fantastically amazing to me and I have no complaints about that at all. Just this principle!

SilverApples Thu 26-Sep-13 09:55:45

The primary focus in school should be what benefits the children, and that their needs are put first. They need continuity and for every day to be stuffed with relevant and significant learning opportunities.
I teach primary, so I know my class very well.
So sending in plans you have written. tailored to the children and with awareness of what they already have to build on is a better deal for them than having a random supply come in and do something as a filler in most cases.
The fact that so many schools seem disorganised is something the SLT should be looking at. For example, we have a login and password that all supply are given that enables them to logon to any computer and gain restricted access to the server, the resources and the shared planning.
Weekly plans are uploaded by 8am Monday, printed off and put in a planning file in class. You use them and annotate them throughout the week, and you retain the paper copies and use the annotations to formulate the next week's planning.
Supply would have access to the electronic plans, any resources you linked to the plans and to the class planning file.
I think as part of the job, you should expect your class to have access to high-quality and relevant teaching at all times, and the planning is a key part of that.

overthemill Thu 26-Sep-13 11:58:53

silverapples how could i disagree? but my lesson plans are written by me for the week ahead and uploaded at end of week as per protocol (though often ahead of that in fact). BUT my school doesn't allow supply/cover teachers to use those lesson plans - they have to supervise classes only, no active teaching. So I have to think up something different from home, when ill, without access to my previously written lesson plans. Because my technology at home is incompatible. Seems daft to me, potentially unreasonable. And after 8 days sickness, surely HoD should be dealing with it?

clam Thu 26-Sep-13 16:31:44

If the children are to come first when their teacher is ill then it is the senior team's role to sort it out, not someone who is sick. If they weren't too ill to work, then they'd be coming in to teach!
So I agree, it's ridiculous for the class teacher to plan one-off fillers (or even related activities) for a cover teacher to give. It's always hard to teach to someone else's plans anyway.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 26-Sep-13 18:07:27

When I was HOD, I dealt with cover work for long term sick leave and indeed that was the situation that led to the 60+ cover lessons a week. It is really hard to plan for progression in cover work, and also to assess it and give feedback, in subjects where it's well nigh impossible to get a specialist supply teacher.

ilove Thu 26-Sep-13 18:12:46

Speaking as a cover supervisor, there is no way EVER that we can get away with just sitting and supervising - that's somewhere in dreamland! When I'm in school there is never, ever a lesson that I'm not actively teaching - which is one hell of a challenge when I'm not QTS! I'd love to just sit and supervise written work!

Yep, that's been the expectation in all schools I've worked in. Last year DD was really poorly and I had to rush her down to the doctor first thing. It was my morning off (I was part-time) and I wasn't due in until 11.50. I emailed my HOD full cover work as soon as I got DD back from the Docs (at maybe 10am) and I got very short shrift from her. All she had to do was print the email and stick it on my desk.

The lesson I have learned from that is NEVER work in a Department where you are the only one with children!

BrianButterfield Thu 26-Sep-13 18:26:29

We have to send in cover but it doesn't have to be in any specific format or a full lesson plan.

Also, I'd find it impossible to write a full week's planning in advance: I have three lessons a week with my classes and I don't know at what speed they'll progress or, for example, whether we'll manage to read the number of pages I planned to read. Planning should be dynamic and student-centred and you need to adapt every lesson.

Phineyj Thu 26-Sep-13 18:28:17

We have an online system (secondary) so can write lesson plans on there - we are expected to do that if we are ill or can't get in (weather etc), but it can be as simple as some reading from the textbook and the cover supervisor will, well, supervise. Year 13s don't get cover.

I am a bit hmm by the tales of incompatible technology and not having textbooks at home. When I entered teaching I assumed it was my responsibility to get compatible software at home (although we only use bog standard Microsoft stuff) and also to provide my own copies of textbooks if there weren't enough for me to take one home from school. I see this as saving ME hassle and make sure I keep all the receipts and set them against tax!

I do think your school are being unreasonable for a prolonged absence, but for a day or so I wouldn't think so.

Why don't you contact your union to get some advice?

Hope you feel better soon.

overthemill Fri 27-Sep-13 08:08:48

Phineyj thanks! I've actually resigned now and feel so relieved, I know that I am not 100% and just can't face the thought of all this hassle again and again each time I succumb to a virus going around the school (and there are always lots in this age group).

The issue I feel is not that I should or shouldn't keep copies of textbooks at home or pay for expensive software myself - surely it's about how the school supports staff and students? My students are a huge range of ages and abilities and I teach 18 formal lessons a week to kids from 1C (and below tbh) to 7A. I also have to factor in differentiation for each lesson for each student in one SEN class and 3 mixed ability classes which I can't adequately do cobbling lessons together from home and I am ill ffs! Shouldn't someone else be dealing with it?

ilove I sympathise, but last year when I had to plan to go off for chemo I prepared the rest of the term's lessons totally in line with school policies, differentiated for each student including my SEN class. One day I nipped in at lunch time to pick up some stuff I had left by mistake and met the cover person who was loading up a video of the book the class was studying. I asked 'ooh didn't you get my plan for this week?' and she said, 'oh it's really hard I think to explain this book so I thought they'd like to watch the film instead'. All my careful planning, all my progression, all those LOs...

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 09:47:20

I expect all staff to send in cover work when they are off sick. I can't expect cover teachers to create a lesson plan and deliver it in their own planning/marking time.

It's a good idea to have a ring binder with emergency cover work in it in your room, so that you can just refer to that if you are unable to set something relevant to the current SOW.

If a teacher has to be off to care for sick children, that leave is meant to be unpaid.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 10:01:14

Surely if you're off sick, you're OFF. SICK.
If I am vomiting into the toilet bowl, or sweating with a temperature of 102+, then I am not about to be firing up the laptop at 7am in order to reel off some plans for someone else who is being paid to cover my class for the day.
If the school feels strongly about this, then they need to plan ahead and organise easily accessible cover planning folders that can be used in such emergencies.

Arisbottle Sat 28-Sep-13 10:07:01

I think that if you are ill enough to stay home you are often too ill to be writing lesson plans . Departments should have " sick" lessons for every scheme of work or a line manager should take care of it.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 10:10:23

Because, let's face it, few teachers are off sick unnecessarily - we know how disruptive it is for colleagues. So if we DO phone in, then it means we really are ill, in which case sending in work is unfeasible. And unreasonable.

It is unreasonable but it is standard. You can't blame one school. The change needs to be wholesale I think.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 12:08:42

I can blame any school that insists upon it! Many don't.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 15:51:39

It's reasonable to have setting cover as an expectation. After all, teaching is a profession, isn't it?. Obviously any school will be sympathetic to someone who is at death's door. But I am sure we all know that there are some teachers who will call in sick for a sniffle. If not, I would not have had such a lucrative living in my two years on supply.

Teachers are fairly independent in the classroom. Their HOD will not necessarily know exactly where they are with any particular class. The HOD should really only step in in a "death's door" scenario. It's not unreasonable for an absent teacher to give a page number of the textbook and ask the students to read and answer the questions. If their subject does not lend itself to this, then they should have pre-planned emergency cover work, easily accessed in their classroom or from their pigeon hole.

I spent two years on supply and have seen the good, bad and ugly. An example of good practice was a school who had a whole school policy of having emergency cover work. Every classroom had an orange ring binder with class lists, seating plans, and emergency cover work for every class. This emergency work was realistically only good for one or two lessons, but it gave breathing space for the HOD to work something out if the absence were to continue. Another was to have booklets that could be used for maybe 12 cover lessons, over the course of the year. Another was to have books about the culture of France or Spain, in English, as MFL cover.

The worst cover is copying from the textbook. For some reason, the teachers seem to over-estimate how long this takes, but it is better than nothing.

overthemill Sat 28-Sep-13 16:02:23

Well for my subject we don't use textbooks but have PoS written by staff and used by all as basis for lesson plans. I've just had 8 days off and so have missed teaching well over 30 lessons and have not been able to do that much cover. I do have some cover lessons on shared drive but not suitable for any of the units we're doing at present.
Interesting discussion and one which is about to be irrelevant as I've decided my health is too fragile for full time work st present. I'm not at death's door and have recovered from cancer but just not ready for the full on pressure of full time teaching and the stress of having to provide cover on what may well be not infrequent periods of sickness. Shame, as I'm a good teacher, great with kids and love my school.

Still think that if you're poorly you shouldn't have to prepare cover over and above previously written lesson plan and HoD are paid for precisely that!

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 16:11:25

You are a professional, which means getting the job done. If you anticipate not being able to do your job, you need to have robust contingency plans.

SummerHoliDidi Sat 28-Sep-13 16:16:50

We're expected to set cover work if we're ill, but only for the first 3 days, after that it becomes the responsibility of the supply teacher who is covering (the first 3 days are covered by cover supervisors but after that we get a supply teacher).

I do find it difficult to set cover first thing in the morning when I'm ill. I can't just send in my lesson plan for the lesson because the cover supervisors are not supposed to actually teach, they can help the pupils complete the work set but they shouldn't be teaching new work. So I have to think up something that the class can manage without much help or teacher input.

overthemill Sat 28-Sep-13 16:32:05

If my dh is sick he is not expected to send in cover arrangements for his job. He is expected to let them know by 9.30 so that THEY can make any necessary arrangements to sort out urgent stuff. ( professional in NHS)

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 16:33:00

All our plans for the week are on the system first thing Monday morning. They are not detailed lesson plans, but include sufficient information as to what each session should be covering, with books/page numbers if relevant. I think that is reasonable.

If the lesson doesn't lend itself as appropriate for someone else to come in and cover, then they can do something else (related but appropriate)and I'll catch it up when I return. It won't kill them.

It's nothing to do with professionalism - surely everyone is entitled to vomit in the privacy of their own home when ill without work phoning up every five minutes to ask where little Jimmy's sweatshirt is, or what Susie should do if she's finished her maths already? Or is that something else that Gove wants to control?

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 16:36:24

Where does sorting out lost property come into lessons? Surely that is a pastoral issue, and a non-urgent one.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 16:42:33

My point was that school should not be contacting a staff member when they are sick. Or expecting them to spend time cobbling together work to send in for another professional to carry out.

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 16:43:31

It's why you need supply teachers rather than HLTAs or cover supervisors.
Staff who can come in and teach a one-off lesson, a day or a week and make it meaningful and interesting.

Orangeanddemons Sat 28-Sep-13 16:44:37

I thought when work place reform happened, we weren't supposed to set cover when off sick.

I always do, but we have folders full of cover lessons and we just use those.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 16:48:31

No supply teacher is mind reader. They still need the subject teacher to tell them what topic they are on and where.

And not many supply teacher will take the class forward.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 16:49:02

But a well-run school should not be fire-fighting last minute like this, but have a system in place for ensuring that children's time is spent productively if their teacher is ill. This means that there should be no need to expect an ill person to sort this out when they are not fit. As I said before, if they are fit, then they'd be at work.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 16:50:31

That sort of information should be in the planning folders on the system.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 28-Sep-13 16:52:02

Are you primary or secondary clam?

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 16:58:08

There is a spectrum of fitness.

There is a big range of fitness from being unable to do anything, through being able to use your brain and a computer, to being able to stand in front of a class.

It's not black and white.

I'm glad to say that I have never been off sick in the 8 years of my current job, but did have one day last year when I had lost my voice. I was in school, but had to arrange cover for my lessons. I was well able to do this, and it was the best I could do for my students under the circumstances. I suppose I could have stayed at home, but I didn't feel so unwell as to justify this. If I had a different professional job that didn't require me to talk all day, I would have gone into work without a second thought.

Orangeanddemons Sat 28-Sep-13 17:04:21

< scratches head>.. Don't think I have any lesson plans unless being observed. Not sure anyone does, and we are an outstanding school

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 17:05:33

Same here, orange

TheFallenMadonna Sat 28-Sep-13 17:08:23

Hence the primary/secondary question...

Quite different procedures in place I think.

SummerHoliDidi Sat 28-Sep-13 17:08:33

Orange I'm glad you said that. I was thinking it, but I think a lot of schools expect formal lesson plans for every lesson. My lesson plans are all in my head, with resources planned and a little not in my planner reminding me what topic we're doing, what resources I need and what homework to set. I definitely couldn't just send that in for a cover supervisor, they need significantly more to work with than "tree diagrams - page 42" as a lesson plan.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 17:12:21

(No formal individual lesson plans here either. 27 years' experience means it's likely to be time wasted stating the bleeding obvious. Head agrees fortunately).

OttilieKnackered Sat 28-Sep-13 17:14:37

We have to send in cover (sixth form college). Setting cover for someone else, especially a non specialist is 20 times harder than planning for yourself. I also plan little more than a lesson in advance as sometimes the students do a lot more or less than I expect in a lesson.

I certainly wouldn't have time to upload 24 hours worth of teaching every week.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 17:16:02

Re: degrees of sickness, I assumed the OP was talking about last-minute "wake up in the morning about to die" sorts of thing. I was signed off for many weeks earlier this year after surgery for a badly-broken leg. The Head phoned me a few times to discuss various things, but she always prefaced her call with an apology for bothering me and was I OK to talk. Whilst I couldn't walk, my brain still worked (just about - heavy-duty painkillers) and I was happy to help.

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 17:20:39

(No formal individual lesson plans here either. 27 years' experience means it's likely to be time wasted stating the bleeding obvious. Head agrees fortunately)

30 years here, means bugger all to the head who wants plans in the same detail as an NQT from everyone first thing Monday.
I hate the inconsistency between schools.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 17:21:55

I agree, silver. I always said I'd never work for such a Head. But I appreciate it's not always that easy to move.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 17:25:43

If I had written lesson plans, they would not be suitable for cover work as the would inevitably involve practical work or IT.

I would never plan a lesson that meant students were doing silent, independent work - but that is what is needed for a cover lesson.

I struggle with the concept of suddenly wake up ill /demarcation and being totally unable to contribute to work in every situation. Surely real life isn't like that.

I am SMT responsible for cover and only have one member of staff who consistently doesn't "get it " wrt to lesson work-setting expectations (fortunately her HOD has mastered the dark art of being in two places at one time). Everyone else seems to care enough about their classes to set work intra-vomit. We might have to wing it for period 1, but are usually on task the rest of the day.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 17:31:34

Fgs, it's got nothing to do with "caring about our classes." As I've already said, there are plans on the system with sufficient detail on them for cover, and any additional detail can be provided by the parallel class teacher. As I do if she's ill.

I reserve my right to be ill in private at home!

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 17:33:49

That's SMT clam.
It's how they think, and teaching has run on guilt and blame as long as I've been in the dance.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 17:35:53

You're probably right.
But I've been SMT (pre-kids) and would never have dreamt of hassling colleagues in this way.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 17:36:03

Tbh, your posts reflect the attitude of don't touch me, I'm ill.

Is there ever a circumstance when you are unwell but willing to work? Is there a middle ground our is it always fully well or totally ill?

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 17:40:57

I've already explained that I was willing to work whilst signed off with a broken leg. I hobbled in much sooner than the doctor advised in order to do admin work out-of-class.
I've also said that a well-run school (and remember I'm talking Primary, and acknowledge that Secondary might be different) should have a system in place for staff absence. Ours has. And besides, with the exception of my broken leg, I'm hardly ever off ill, so I'm arguing a hypothetical here.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 17:47:02

If you have been in a professional job outside of teaching, you soon realise that the world doesn't stop work doesn't go away when you are unwell. It really doesn't. That is what life is like in the real world.

Of course colleagues take into account the suddenness and severity of your illness versus your general work ethic and make allowances. Any professional would expect you to make contingency plans -- ie set cover-- for a minor ailment.

My non-teaching DH was unwell last week. He got an emergency GP appointment in the morning followed by a prescription, and was emailing before lunch. He pretty much did a 5 - 6 hour day. This was a necessity to keep his project on track, and because colleagues were relying on him, even though he felt like %^#*. It's what professionals do. They put their work/projects/clients before themselves.

Orangeanddemons Sat 28-Sep-13 17:53:04

But what have we come to, when people are expected to work when ill?

EndoplasmicReticulum Sat 28-Sep-13 17:53:15

I do have my lessons planned.

However it is not possible for them to be used by cover teachers as many of them will involve practical work.

So yes, I have found myself firing up laptop in between visits to toilet to throw up in order to come up with an alternative.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 17:54:59

Pisses me off when people make sweeping generalisations about "the real world" when they want to make a point.

And I resent the implication that somehow I'm unprofessional because once in a blue moon I might have the misfortune to be ill and create a minor problem for the SMT to have to deal with.

My experience of friends in this "real world" you talk of hmm is that if they feel the slightest bit off-colour they 'work from home' and take it easy for the day. That's a luxury teachers can't afford, and the vast, vast majority of us stagger in to work regardless, even when we really shouldn't be spreading germs amongst the workforce, not to mention the children.

Orangeanddemons Sat 28-Sep-13 17:58:17

Y y to staggering in. It's easier than setting cover

loopybear Sat 28-Sep-13 17:58:27

I teach I a primary. I always set room up night before and draft planning is on my clipboard. School principle so if your off there is an outline of what you'd do x

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 18:02:15

Sorry to burst your bubble, clam.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 28-Sep-13 18:06:18

In secondary schools, the plans are not on the system, and it is not SLT setting cover, it is HoDs, and they are usually pretty busy. Last year I was Head of a core department, with 4 missing staff to cover. I taught 20 lessons (hour long) per week myself, and wrote another 40 odd of cover. And my colleagues wrote another 20+.

Silver lining - we have cover lessons on the system now!!

My DH works from home when he is ill, in the "real world". He was sending emails the day after surgery for example.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 18:06:56

What? confused

OK, name me what sort of jobs you're referring to in this "real world" and explain why a professional teacher doesn't appear to count as belonging to this rarefied 'club.'

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 18:14:22

I guess a teacher doesn't belong to this club because they shirk professional duties. The key thing is to keep the ship on course. If you don't play your part, this doesn't happen.

If you are truly incapable then your colleagues will understand and rally round. If you have a minor ailment, you should do as much as you can. Only you know how much this is. But at the end of the day, you have a responsibility to your students. If you don't feel this, do you really feel comfortable calling yourself a professional? Do you think that teachers should be on the same parapet as other professionals? It's a serious question, from someone who started her career working for a blue chip. Teaching was quite a shock to the system, and not in a positive way.

Donki Sat 28-Sep-13 18:16:29

DH is a professional (Clinical Scientist). When he is ill he is NOT expected to work from home. It would be impossible, anyway. No microscope at home, and you can't take patient data home to work on.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 18:20:13

Wow, TFM

You were teaching 20 (presumably out of 25). .8 is our standard allocation, without additional responsibility.

If a teacher called in sick at 8am, and you had your own P1 class, it would have been pretty difficult for you to set cover for them, as well as teach your own class. Hopefully, you don't have a tutor group as well.

Sometimes I wonder where these magic cover setting fairies come from.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 18:22:15

donki, your DH is not a teacher. Students don't just disappear by magic when the teacher is absent. They are very much there and need to be catered for.

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 18:24:33

It's why any SMT worthy of the name plan a head for possibilities, including LT and ST illnesses and have an effective system in place before it is needed.
Like they do in industry.
Plans made up by a vomiting teacher are not going to be as coherent and precise as those created in advance by an unstressed and fully-operational one. With appropriate resources.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 28-Sep-13 18:26:16

I lost my tutor group in order to be able to organise the cover every morning, yes.

But writing it took rather longer than the 20 minutes that freed up!

chibi Sat 28-Sep-13 18:27:10

teachers shirk professional duties? really?

i may as fucking well, apparently everyone thinks i do anyway hmm

Viviennemary Sat 28-Sep-13 18:29:56

I think this is just not on and never used to happen. If a teacher knew about an absence and left work then fine. It's another jumping through hoops exercise which has now apparently become the norm. I agree with contacting the union.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 18:30:47

"I guess a teacher doesn't belong to this club because they shirk professional duties."

Seriously?!! You're a teacher, yet can seriously offer this as an argument?
I'm still waiting to hear of jobs/careers that count as "the real world."
And I will point out, again, that I rarely, if ever, take time off work, so I would like you to project your frustrations with what are presumably some of your less dedicated colleagues, elsewhere.

<<wonders what hope have we against Gove with people like this on out team>>

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 18:33:32

In the past, you were ill and the school contacted a supply teacher.
They came in with their own lessons, skills-based and taught pulling from their own knowledge base, like a professional teacher.
I did it for a couple of years and loved the opportunity. I worked FT and enjoyed the freedom from SMT, the Government and the politics and pressure.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 18:36:01

You took time off ill, silver?
You shirker!

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 18:38:01


That's me, idleness incarnate. I'm waiting for the future I was promised, where I'd be at home with my terminal, upload the lesson and all the little Borglets would log on and comply.
Asimov has let me down badly I feel.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 18:39:09

If a teacher considers themselves to be a professional, they will set their own cover work. This means doing it on the spot, or having an emergency plan in place.

Batting it up to the HOD or SLT does not display professional credentials. It is really not someone else's responsibility to set work for your class. Yes, they will do so as a last resort (for the benefit of the students), but anticipate a stiff telling-to when you return, should your illness be classified as minor. As I have said before, a major and/or sudden illness will be treated sympathetically and everyone will rally round.

Teachers with the attitude of I've-called-in-sick-don't-bother-me, have you worked in any other industry?

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 18:42:17

I don't recognise your scenarios, silver. This has never been my experience.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 18:43:11

So who are you talking about, coldconfusion? Do you have colleagues who have this attitude/don't set up contingency plans for sickness? I don't.

And still waiting for some examples of jobs in "the real world..."

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 18:44:22

As I said, we upload our plans to the server, and unlike many other schools, the supply and cover staff have their own login that enables them to access the plans and the resources.
So they click on the folder for that week and there it all is.
Or if for some reason they can't teach that, they use the cover plans in another folder for the year group.
The system was created during a sm rather than leaving it up to individuals to work out how to have an effective system.
It's ridiculous that there are schools where a supply can't log on or access the IWB and resources.

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 18:45:30

'I don't recognise your scenarios, silver. This has never been my experience.'

What scenarios?
Supply knowing their shit, or the Borglets? Be more precise please.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 18:49:04

Being ill and school contacting a supply teacher. State school will only do this after three days; independent schools never.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 28-Sep-13 18:50:38

If a class is covered by a supply teacher, they are highly unlikely to be asubject specialist. They do not come in with a bank of appropriate resources for that reason, and even if they are subject specialists, they may be unfamiliar with the specifications we are using.

Is this another primary secondary thing? Supply knowing their shit?

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 18:55:34


One of the lesson plan requirements these days is to teach about life after school (sorry, can't remember the TLA). You really ought to know about life outside school. It's not enough to dismiss other professions as if they were beyond contempt. They make up the real world.

If you really don't know what the real world is, you need to gen up, pdq, and put it in your lesson plans.

As a parent, I would hope that all my DDs' teachers had an acute awareness of life outside and beyond the classroom. Although my DDs' school is out with Ofsted, this is an Ofsted principle that I fully support.

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 18:57:38

'Is this another primary secondary thing? Supply knowing their shit?'

Yes, in my own little bubble, burbling away. grin

My last two primaries used supply from day one where possible and covered it from budget, insurance kicked in after three days.

Orangeanddemons Sat 28-Sep-13 18:58:59

BUT the bottom line is, you are NOT supposed to set cover when off, unless it is a planned absence. So no one should be phoning in/ emailing cover, although I do grin but that is to save my poor stressed colleagues. They should be routines in place in all schools to cope with absences, that do not involve the absent staff.

I only tell people where my classes are up to, and to find them something suitable in the cover folder... Lesson plans ..pah!

chibi Sat 28-Sep-13 19:02:29

i set my own cover work when i was passing a kidney stone, in premature labour, going to the funerals of each of my parents in law, and my grandmother

i really needn't have bothered, i am an unprofessional goon with no knowledge whatsoever of the real world, i really should have lived down to expectations.

fwiwi have also set cover for absent colleagues and never begrudged it because i (wrongly it would seem) thought teamwork and supporting ones colleagues was the professional thing to do. silly me, i will bitch moan and slag off my colleagues instead, like some posters on this thread hmm

Orangeanddemons Sat 28-Sep-13 19:07:18

I luuurve my colleagues. They are the reason I set cover

SilverApples Sat 28-Sep-13 19:10:13

Yup, some people like to climb that ladder and entertain themselves on the way by peeing on those beneath them.
T'was ever thus, in the forces, industry, commerce and teaching.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 28-Sep-13 19:13:55

I would expect there to be a lesson plan for the first week as you don't plan on the day do you? If there is only one class in the year then presumably somebody else would have to plan after week 1 but if there is more than one class per year then I'd expect the other teachers to share their lesson plans.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 28-Sep-13 19:17:42

It's about working in a team though, no? If I am away and can set cover, I do, because it makes my colleagues' lives easier. And my colleagues do the same, because we all appreciate how hard the rest of the team work. If you can't, someone steps in and does it. Ultimately, the cover is sorted because the kids need to do something!

A very few people take the piss. Which is a shame.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 19:17:49

Aha! Now we have it! The real world: forces, industry and commerce AND TEACHING!
We're up there with the main guys!

coldconfusion, do you deliberately misunderstand people in your 'professional' life, too?

TheFallenMadonna Sat 28-Sep-13 19:18:39

Or what everyone else has said blush

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 19:29:19

Anyway, much as I'm enjoying hmm this debate, I have to zoom. Real world is calling.... oh, wait, I don't know what that is.

Donki Sat 28-Sep-13 19:32:41

CF No, DH is not a teacher. But he is a professional. He is not expected to work whilst ill. Very much to the point, when people were arguing that working from home whilst ill was a requirement for a professional. I however AM a teacher...

olivo Sat 28-Sep-13 20:32:09

Wow,I am so surprised at some of the comments here. I am not in the Uk, but working in state education. If off sick ( or with children, we get 5 "family days" for emergencies, largely due to the fact that people don't have family around to bail them out) you must phone school or text before 7.30. We all text the whole dept, then of possible, email work in. Some days, my emails have been, this is the topic, find them something. To do, or draw a poster, or book ICt rooms, other times, especially when DCs are ill, it is very detailed.

We bail each other out, but none of us is unprofessional. If you're ill le enough to be off, you're too ill to work.

Beveridge Sat 28-Sep-13 21:03:03

Secondary teacher in Scotland - the expectation is that you will email in cover lessons when absent but only if you are in a position to do so. Quite frankly, I prefer to set my own cover even in an emergency as it helps avoid having to unpick a shambles when you come back.

I plan my lessons on the day (sometimes as I go, depending on how crazy things have been/how good an idea I've just had!). Obviously we have the courses already written for each year group but I couldn't tell you exactly what I would be doing with each class in 2 lessons time - that depends on lots of different factors.For example, I may decide a certain class needs more practise with a certain exam skill or that another class has taken to a particular topic really well so we might do a follow-up activity.

Beveridge Sat 28-Sep-13 21:07:22

* except in an emergency! Funnily enough, I didn't give a stuff about my cover plans when I went into preterm labour or dealing with serious illness of close family members.

overthemill Sun 29-Sep-13 13:03:48

wow! lots of weekend responses from teachers! i still maintain that if you are off sick, you are ill and shouldn't have to send in cover. Maybe say year 5 is doing 'mathilda' or year 7 has just finished nuclear fusion (you can tell i'm not a science teacher). But detailed lessons? no way. I got 4 texts from our cover admin person first day and 3 emails from Head about it. I supplied cover for first 3 days but not last 5 days. sent in email saying it wasn't possible. Going in tomorrow, no way am i fully fit but i can stand up now and that'll have to be good enough. and i am a professional and this is not my first career. I am rarely off ill but since having cancer it's commonplace.

Arisbottle Sun 29-Sep-13 13:09:17

I had time off last year because I had a miscarriage. I phoned my head of department to let him know where I was up to with my classes and he set my cover - much of which was from the pre planned cover lessons we had planned as a department.

If my HOD had said to me I know you are grieving and still bleeding but I would like you to plan a series of lessons I would have handed in my notice there and then.

overthemill Sun 29-Sep-13 13:10:59

well i have handed in my notice

clam Sun 29-Sep-13 13:14:04

How sad, overthmill.
I wonder if it might have been different if you'd had a more understanding management team.

Good luck.

Arisbottle Sun 29-Sep-13 13:16:07

Overthemill have you contacted your union?

overthemill Sun 29-Sep-13 14:14:00

I haven't contacted union this time. Haven't found them very helpful in past. But for me at this point in my life I simply can't manage this much hassle. I've tried my best but am just not up to it. Love the job still and want to go with good reference so that maybe when I'm 100% I could try somewhere else

SuffolkNWhat Sun 29-Sep-13 15:01:54

As a HOD I'd rather set the work for an ill colleague, I have written all the SOW for my subject so know where a class should be and where they are going. I always say to my team that if they are ill to contact me via text or email with a brief outline of where their classes are up to and I will send in the amended plans for the cover supervisors (even on my day off so no shirking here thank you very much)

Loshad Fri 04-Oct-13 22:14:23

overthemill sorry to hear you have had to resign. Coldfusion thank the fuck you are not slt where i work. I have never had a day off since i moved to teaching, but if i did i would definitely be too ill to set cover work. I have worked previously in 2 other professions/other jobs and in neither of them would you be expected to sort any work out if too ill to go to work. Your comments are typical of ill informed, jumped up, never been out of teaching types imo.
I have detailed lesson plans on the system for all my classes, but i am a science teacher, and a strong advocate of a range of pedalogical approaches, so that virtually none of them would be suitable as cover ie i don't do sit down shut up and write lessons. I also don't have a textbook at home, as i rarely (never?) use them in class so would not be able to refer to page x.
My Hod is great, efficient as hods should be and easily capable of setting some cover work or delegating that task in the time between 8 am and first lesson at 9am.

mineofuselessinformation Fri 04-Oct-13 22:26:23

Sorry if this is a repeat of what has already been said...
I keep a working planner which I bring home with me, so I can give an outline of what my classes should be doing.
I also keep a planner at school, in which I write up what has been done, all home works set etc.
My department works to a set scheme, so it is easy for someone to set what comes next if I am unable to. Doesn't prevent supply staff from losing the work you have spent hours slaving over for a planned absence though.
If you are too ill to go to work, IME you are too ill to set work. I also don't think it's legal for school to insist on this.

sheridand Sat 05-Oct-13 19:11:56

When I was teaching in Secondary ( last year was 2007) I was expected to phone in by 7.30 and email cover by 8am. Any planned absence was obviously different.

Now, returning to work as a HLTA, it seems the rules haven't changed. I cover at the last minute, and work is mailed in. Doesn't matter if it's bare bones, just a skeleton to hang stuff on is good if you're covering!

ravenAK Sun 06-Oct-13 20:56:47

This came up a few years ago when I was doing a Union Rep training course.

If you are not going in to work because you are too ill to work, your responsibility is to let school know, asap & via whatever channel is school policy. That's it.

You cannot be expected to set work or do anything else work-related, because you are Not At Work because you are Not Fit For Work.

In the real world, if I'm off because say I've broken a couple of ribs in a Lego-related incident, as last year, there's obviously no reason why I can't email in work. It's better for the students, less hassle for whichever colleague otherwise has to sort it out, & means it's easier for me to pick up the pieces on my return.

My school has a culture/expectation that, in a spirit of professional goodwill, you provide as much in the way of lesson suggestions as you possibly can - I've emailed confused ramblings before now whilst self, dh & 3dc were all riding the Norovirus train...

However, it cannot be a requirement. You can't be reproached for not sending in lesson plans etc, because as soon as you've let school know you are too ill to aren't working.

Really, any decent Department should be able to provide one day's worth of acceptable cover work. We have an electronic folder for each Scheme of Learning - it's mostly scans of slightly dated worksheets, & topic-related videos, but it creates a breathing space so that if someone's going to be off for several days, another member of the Dept. can then plan the next few days & liaise with the supply teacher.

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