To refuse to do any more at work?(22 Posts)
Since returning from maternity leave I have reduced my hours so I only work mornings. I work in a school and am officially paid 9-12 (ie while the children are here). For childcare reasons I need to leave very soon after 12. However, I arrive at work very early so use this time to tie up any loose ends from the day before and to do odd jobs. When the children arrive there is no time to do anything except for supervise them so I do quite often have to leave things till the next day.
The problem is, as I used to work afternoons as well, the teachers got used to me having time to do lots of 'extra' work (by which I mean the things that are in my job description but not working with the children. Displays, admin, photocopying, that sort of thing). As in the afternoons there are more relaxed lessons meaning you can do quick jobs, and I also used to work over lunch time.
Now that I have cut my hours down, the teachers expect me to still be able to do the same amount of admin, but also be with the children constantly from 9-12.
I've been trying to keep up with it since September, but I can barely keep on top of it all. And when something happens and I don't arrive at work an hour early, I find that I don't have time to do it all. I've also recently been diagnosed with depression so have that to contend with, and the side effects as I get used to the anti depressants I've been prescribed.
So WIBU to say to the teachers 'no, I can't do this amount of admin and be with the children constantly'? And if IWNBU, then how do I actually phrase it? I feel bad because it is in my job description to do this stuff and if it wasn't for the depression I'd probably manage. And why should others have to pick up my slack, if I'm too ill to do my job then I should be signed off. For that reason I haven't told anyone at work. Except I'm not too ill to work 9-12, I just can't give 110% like I used to be able to.
are they friendly, or do they just see you as a faceless assistant? you need to communicate how you feel . who is your line manager, do you get chance to have an update meeting/ review - these issues need to be addressed
they are thoughtlessly assuming you can still fit it all in, and if you're silently getting on with it they'll never know otherwise
If you are paid for e.g 50% of the time you should have 50% of the workload.
Doesn't your job description need a little tweaking if you are supposed to be 100% supervising children AND doing stuff that can only practically be done while NOT supervising children? The duties were described as part of a 6 (?) hour day; even Superwoman can't reasonably be expected to carry them all out in half the time.
Do you have 1:1 supervisions? If so I would bring it up during that.
Just say that the reduced hours are suiting you just fine and you have settled in to them. You arrive earlier on a morning to ensure that your work is ready and your duties are completed by 12.
However you think that some of the teachers are unaware/have forgotten that you have reduced your working hours and there is still an expectation for you to complete extra work they bring you in the time you have available.
This is causing you some stress as you want your work to be of a high standard and completed but given the time frames this is an impossible task.
You need to talk to the teachers in question. They might not know that this is a problem. I don't really know what you should say, it depends on the relationship you have with them.
YADNBU this is a classic case of trying to do a FT job in PT hours. You need to speak to your manager and say that you cannot be with the children and do the admin. You can do one or the other, or a combination of some of each but not all of it and they will need to think about how they will cover the remaining work.
Actually, seems you're already doing 133%. Just speak to the head, or whoever line manages you.
Well, is it really because you're depressed that you can't get the work done, or is it simply the fact that their expectations are unrealistic now that your hours are shorter? It sounds like the latter to me, but obviously you will know best.
If there is just too much to do in the time available, I'd approach your boss and explain that you can't do all the admin and spend all your working hours with the children, so what would he/she like you to prioritise.
If you think the depression really is affecting your ability to work, are you actually well enough to be there? Remember, it's an illness like any other, and you need to give yourself the space to get better.
You mention that the jobs you're being given are in your job description, but I'm wondering if this was reviewed when you reduced your hours? Sounds like it should have been - you can't possibly do the same amount if work in a half day as you used to do in a whole day!
I think you need to get your role defined. You can't be expected to do the same amount of work in half a day as you did before. I'd approach the head teacher as a start. Do you work for the three hours and then go home. Next day the same. Easier said than done. They should have employed somebody for afternoons if the workload is to much for one person part-time.
They're friendly enough, I get on really well with them.
However when I was struggling a few years back with similar problems (I have some chronic health problems) I was basically told to either shut up and put up, or if I couldn't do that I was too ill to be at work and should go get signed off. Hence not wanting to tell them about the depression now.
My line managers are the teachers themselves. I have performance reviews a couple of times a year, but they only cover the stuff I do with the children.
They do know I'm struggling because I get pointed comments whenever one of them has to do something that has previously been my responsibility, usually because I've just run out of potential time to get it done. But they act like it's my fault for not being organised, or think I've forgotten to do something, when I haven't I just had to prioritise and let something slip.
Of course, we're all under similar pressures from above (head, gove, OFSTED) so I don't want to complain if I'm unjustified iykwim.
YANBU, and I also think you shouldn't be going in an hour early either unless you are being paid overtime. By doing an extra hour over the school year you are working an extra 195 hours - i don't know what you earn hour but say it's £6 an hour thats a shortfall of £1170! Don't do it, turn up at 9, leave at 12 and if other stuff needs doing you tell them them they need to allow you time during your paid hours. Ps I'm a teacher and would never expect my TA to do extras outside her paid hours!
But OP, presumably they agreed to let you reduce your hours. Was there no discussion then of how your workload might change?
I think you need to be really clear with yourself as to whether your health issues are actually impacting on your ability to work. To me, it doesn't sound like your health is genuinely a factor, I think it's a workload issue - I don't see how anyone could spend 100% of their time with the children and do the other stuff as well. However, if you convince yourself that you could do everything if only you weren't depressed, it'll make it much harder for you to assert yourself.
The job description is a fairly generic one that covers part time and full time employees, the full timers are just expected to do more of it if that makes sense.
Jinsei- it feels like it's the depression holding me back because I always used to thrive under pressure and I could do things quickly yet to a high standard. Now I struggle to remember all the things I'm supposed to be doing (try to write it down but not always possible) and when I do remember I can choose to do it well or quickly but not both- though this could be related to one of my other health problems, my mind just feels slower than it used to- I do remember everything eventually but it's a slow process!
However, I'm sure I'm well enough to work, not least because my depression manifests itself more at home and work actually gives me a break!
No, you're not being unreasonable.
It sounds as though you are a teaching assistant or cover supervisor rather than a teacher, in which case you are paid to work a set number of hours. In your case you are paid to work 9-12 , so those are the hours you should do.
The way you should phrase it is to explain that your working hours are 9-12 so when would they like to release you from classes so that you can do this work.
(FWIW I have been a teacher and am now a TA; when the teacher I work with asks me to do admin tasks /photocopying etc I am released from class time, e.g. when the children are completing independent work).
You should have supervision meetings with someone more senior than you, this would be the ideal time to raise your workload.
Nope, no discussion of how my workload might change, other than the fact that I obviously wouldn't be there in the afternoons! And I did tell them that I would need to leave on time unless by prior arrangement.
There is a real culture of unpaid overtime in schools because it's just impossible for anyone to get everything done in their paid time. I guess technically I could refuse to do any of it at all, but then I wouldn't have a clear conscience over it (and would probably find myself first in line for any redundancies, or leaving myself open to bullying).
And to complicate matters even further, in a few weeks my terms and conditions will be changing so that I am contracted for an extra half hour or so every day, but will no longer be paid during holidays so my overall wages will stay the same.
Oh, and I can't really go to the head with any of this as she's a pretty nasty piece of work who I don't trust as far as I could throw her.
The other way my depression changes things is that I used to do all this because I honestly loved the job, yes even the repetitive admin side of things. Now I'm doing it because I have to, I'm not trained for anything else and jobs like supermarket shelf stacking jut wouldn't pay enough.
It's a really common complaint that PT job just means PT pay, but still the expectation that FT duties can be completed. You need to be clear with your manager about what is possible. And, doing more just means they'll expect more I've found, not that it gets recognised as 'going the extra mile'. I think you should recognise the value of your time, financially and to your mental health, and not regularly give away a free hour of work in the morning.
I hope you belong to Unison!
Are the other assistants treated the same way? Is this primary or secondary?
The word no is good to use and be reiterated-without constant explaining. 'No I can't do that, I don't have time', repeat without embellishing until they stop persisting and walk away. And don't apologise for it, do not say 'sorry I can't or I wish I could', stick to no.
Also tell your line manager, get her/his advice and support.
Your a TA not a teacher. TA's are paid an hourly rate, teachers are paid a yearly salary and work extra non contact hours as a result.
I think you need a meeting (head, teachers etc). State you are paid to be in school from 9 till 12 and you are with the children between those times. You do have an extra one hour unpaid every morning that you are willing to use to assist them with other jobs, however it's only one hour and they need to give you jobs you can do within the hour. You won't be able to do any more.
The staff sound awful. Can you just remind them that you have to leave at 12 but if you can fit it in before you start work, you will. And repeat this everything you are asked something.
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