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Teaching and stress in pregnancy

(32 Posts)
DichotoMous Thu 08-May-14 18:57:52

Hi everyone,

I am 25 weeks pregnant with my first baby, everything is going well with the pregnancy and I am getting to the point where I think I should be slowing down a bit. However, I have just worked out what I have left to do in my remaining 9 weeks (!) left at school and wondering how on earth I am going to fit everything in.

I teach a Core subject and have three external exams (approx 140 students, revision, past papers marking, etc) coming up in the next fortnight or so. I also have a scheme of work to prepare ready for the new Year 7 curriculum in September, and a trip to plan (although I won't actually be going on the trip, as I'll be too big by then!).

In addition to that I have a TLR for a whole school role, and I have three 'whole yeargroup' trips and a whole-school enrichment event to organise, as well as trying to get assessed for an external award (already about halfway through). These events are already in the calendar and I cannot cancel them.

I currently work 8-5 or 5.30 at school with 5 mins break and 20 mins for lunch, as well as half a day at the weekend to catch up with marking, and I feel like I'm not sleeping properly.

I am just after some advice or other people's experiences really, as I'd like to see how this compares with other people in my situation. I would love to delegate all some of it, but at the same time I don't know how best to go about this (my line manager for the TLR role is very newly appointed). Am I making a fuss over nothing in terms of my workload?

Thanks in advance thanks

bramblecat66 Thu 08-May-14 19:11:59

Fellow teacher here and I'm 21 weeks!! This time of year is always a nightmare! I've just got my coursework off today thank god!
My school is however on red ofsted alert and as head of department I'm just all over the place!
My plan is to just take each day as it comes - I'm planning to use my make up time from y11 and y13 leaving to sort stuff out and then do some work over summer but I'm really trying not to over work.
Keep your head up and dream of that maternity leave before baby!smile

porcito Thu 08-May-14 19:18:42

That sounds like a lot for the last part of term- to me, it doesn't seem like you're making a fuss over nothing! I'm only 20 weeks and am already dreaming of winding down. Hopefully you'll have more time after the exams - that's my favourite time of term every year!

Could you delegate at least some of the planning/organisation to the year group form tutors? Is there any way of deferring the external award so you can do it more slowly over summer?

I'm teaching abroad, which doesn't have the same pressure, but I'm planning on doing my SOWs over the first part of summer and send them in - not ideal, but at least I'll be able to take my time. If you haven't already, use the TES website for ideas/help too - some people might already have resources you could use?

Good luck!

sarahquilt Thu 08-May-14 19:38:04

Sounds like loads tbh. I'm a core subject secondary and I went off around 34 weeks. By that point I was exhausted and I had less on my plate than you - just lots of marking and moderation. My honest advice is to start finding other people to do some of those tasks now, so that you're getting organised. For example, there's no way you'll be able to do 3 school trips. The sooner you let people know, the less pissed off they'll be.

NeedaDiscoNap Thu 08-May-14 19:40:30

I think you need to delegate some of your workload if you can. I'm 34 weeks and in a similar position - still loads to do before I go off (am HoD so trying to get everything organised for when I'm on mat leave).

I'm usually an utter control freak, but I've found a few colleagues have wanted to take on some things, and it's a good development opportunity for them too grin.

One of the DHTs gave me a great piece of advice early on in my pregnancy - that this is one of the few times in life you can afford to be selfish. Put you and your baby first. smile

mssleepyhead Thu 08-May-14 19:59:26

fellow teacher, 24 weeks and currently drowning...

marking is taking a back seat. i'm concentrating on my y11s and just keep thinking about 22 may when they'll be gone and i'll get 5 hours of teaching time back. apart from that, i have no advice, i'm just drowning too and wanted to sympathise...

CleverWittyUsername Thu 08-May-14 20:03:54

I'm 20 and in the same position - school in SM with DFE breathing down our necks, whole school TLR, core subject, mentoring 2 kids as part of a new programme which takes a parental meeting for each every week, 2 exams in 2 weeks then another a week or so after, external marking, have to organise a massive reward trip and a whole school day off timetable. My plan is to a) concentrate on yr 11 b) take it day by day c) delegate what I can but I have no idea how I'm going to do it. I'm surviving at the mo by going to bed by 9pm at the absolute latest and only marking at the weekends, not mid week. Just see yr 11 off then deal with everything else!

squizita Thu 08-May-14 20:04:11

21 weeks, HoY and HoD (Core). All exam classes, no ks3.

If its any comfort you're doing better than me! My brain has slowed down and I seem to need to be in 7.30-6pm! Bah. There is only so much that can be delegated! Onwards and upwards!

CleverWittyUsername Thu 08-May-14 20:06:10

20 weeks that is, not 20 in age.

DichotoMous Thu 08-May-14 20:21:17

Thank you everyone - I was worried that I was BU but your responses have made me realise that perhaps IANBU!

I know it isn't a consolation for anyone but I feel reassured that I'm not the only one in this situation. One day at a time eh!?!?

sarahquilt Thu 08-May-14 20:58:58

Sounds like loads tbh. I'm a core subject secondary and I went off around 34 weeks. By that point I was exhausted and I had less on my plate than you - just lots of marking and moderation. My honest advice is to start finding other people to do some of those tasks now, so that you're getting organised. For example, there's no way you'll be able to do 3 school trips. The sooner you let people know, the less pissed off they'll be.

tabbycat28 Thu 08-May-14 21:24:17

I'm 35 and a half weeks pregnant at the moment & a primary school teacher. I go on mat leave at half term, eleven working days to go and it can't come a moment too soon. I've not been able to 'wind down' and I'm exhausted as a result.

I think the workload/stress can be manageable however my school has an OFSTED rating of RI and there's been no let up in terms of observations /scrutinies etc. We had a mock OFSTED when I was 33 weeks, it was horrid and I've not been cut any slack at all. I did ask once if I could not be visited on a learning walk as I had really bad morning sickness, but this was denied. I've just tried to be as organised as possible and complete as much work in school time so I can rest at home.

However, I'm sure you'll find that your colleagues will do all you can to help you out. My phase colleagues have been doing my duties and helping where they can and this has definitely made it easier. I think that you should at least have a conversation with your line manager about delegation - you may get the same response as me but at least you tried!

katymacp Thu 08-May-14 21:38:32

Hi there,
I'm not sure about the guidelines in England but in Scotland you are entitled to rest periods if required. Check out the 'Health and Safety at work' section:

johull Thu 08-May-14 22:25:15

Fellow teacher at 32 weeks. Also teach core subject and am bloody shattered!! I got my tt reduced this week. SLT took away my year 7's and 2 of my year 9 classes. I also don't have a tutor anymore which means I can start just after 9. Look into a reduced tt! You shouldn't be doing duties either. X

RubyRuby007 Thu 08-May-14 22:35:31

I can also sympathise! Currently 26+5, HoD (core), no KS3, 8 different GCSE classes, 1 BTEC, two different A Level subjects (one 100% coursework!) and ESTYN (Wales' OFSTED) in 2 weeks! Our school changes the timetable after half term, so not much gained time for me when years 11/13 leave sad

Totally shattered all the time, heartburn and low bp, and still a pile of stuff to do by half term / summer! I leave school full of good intentions, but often just flake out on the sofa - lethal! The council-provided risk assessment suggested that I take breaks at different times if I get tired.....I don't think they've quite understood how the school timetable works ;)

Hopefully going to make it until the last day of the summer term, but I'm not holding my breath! Have some awesome TAs who hold the fort while I visit the loo (which is regularly!), as often I can't make it to the end of a single lesson let alone a double lesson!

It's nice to know there are others in the same boat.
Good luck to everyone smile

mineofuselessinformation Thu 08-May-14 22:47:48

Delegate anywhere it is humanly possible. Prioritise the rest and if something has to go, let it go if you can.
Catnap! 5 mins with your head on the desk can be a life-saver.

icklekid Fri 09-May-14 03:54:03

Am 31 weeks primary but assistant head so fair amount to do...trips- make life easy by using as much paperwork from last year as you can?
If you are struggling look at if a reduced time table would allow you to stay longer rather than ve signed off as your line manager is likely to prefer this?

Can you do some curriculum planning at home so can rest as well as get the work done? Similarly with external award or ask if others are willing to take over parts.

My maternity cover was organised yesterday and now just keep thinking about how good it will be for them to do x,y,z - my hope is to handover next few weeks pre half term so they can start with me supporting after half term incase I go early.

Been very unwell throughout pregnancy and definitely been a wake up call to put baby first...

Bellyrub1980 Fri 09-May-14 03:54:05

As someone who isn't a teacher (but have friends who are) can I just say I think your workload - pregnant or not - is totally insane and I take my hat off to you all!!

I'd milk the pregnancy for all it's worth and delegate the work now if at all possible!

ohthegoats Fri 09-May-14 09:18:59

Deputy head of a primary school here. 20 weeks and knackered. My work load has increased in the last few weeks quite significantly due to new initiatives the head wants to start implementing. Yesterday he told me off for being 'shouty and stressed' - he was lucky to escape the meeting with his life. I think he's trying to wear me down/undermine me so that I go off on mat leave when he WANTS me to (not when I want to). If he has his way, I'll be off at the end of the summer term in July, when I'm not due until the end of September, and really want to come back for a few weeks in September. He'd previously agreed this, for me to do a project we've needed to finish for some time, but has gone back on it in the last couple of weeks.

This just makes me more determined to do what I want, which means working harder than normal - but I'm not sure I can keep doing what I'm doing. Already working 8am - 9pm most days. Boyfriend had to sit me down last night (I was in tears on the way home from work after the way the head had spoken to me), and explain all the finances we have for my mat leave so I could see that if I need to go off in July, that's fine. But really.. my mental health will suffer from that amount of time at home.

Gah... it's not a very good job to be pregnant in, is it? Good for child care in the future, but rubbish now.

johull Sat 10-May-14 03:26:28

Perfect thread to write this- I was admitted today at 32 weeks having an induction at 34 weeks because of lots of difficult and emotional reasons. The whole time all I can think about is how much I have to do at school. People (non teachers) think I'm crazy but I'm sure you'll agree, our job never stops!! Anyway went for a walk round the hospital after yet another internal exam, 4 hours in bed and a painful steroid injection and who do I see...

MICHAEL BLOODY GOVE!! He is the local MP for this area so I'm not surprised at all. Mixed reactions TBH!!
DH whom is HOD ( English) would have killed to be where I was at that time. Unfortunately although his wife (me) and unborn child are sick in hospital, he was unable to leave his year 11's today, as they have an important exam next week and now, thanks to him, their grades depend on our futures!?
Opinions... Should I have said anything...

dramajustfollowsme Sat 10-May-14 03:41:43

I am a primary teacher, 32 weeks and was admitted today, having had a potentially life-threatening (for me and baby) fall. I'm sure the stress, workload and exhaustion have all contributed.
Please don't put yourself where I am. It isn't worth it.
Im in Scotland but work in the private sector and they just kept piling on the work, relentlessly until I said stop.
I can't sleep as I'm worried the bleeding and contractions will start again and I'll be in having my baby tonight.
Please look after yourself and your baby. You won't get any thanks for the work you do.

BilboTheAlmighty Sat 10-May-14 14:42:45

Poor poor you sad This thread has me a little worried. I've just found out I'm pregnant so still too early to really think about these things. But still, I can't help but sympathise. It's only week 4 and I want to sleep all the time. So how you're coping, I don't know!

My only advantage is that I work 3 days a week and have a very close circle of friends at school/work.

Please take it easy ladies. And take care xxx

htbftm Sat 10-May-14 14:45:48

I'm only 9 wks and assistant head in a high school, so cant wait for all this lol!

I agree about delegating, also speaking to your line manager / SLT about possible reduction in responsibilities for the remaining weeks is a possible.

The only other thing I'd add is, if at any stage you list all the things you've got to do when working in a school, it seems completely impossible, and yet somehow we manage to still manage to do it!

Johull - hmmm - don't think I could have said anything that would have enhanced my career prospects or improved my blood pressure, so I guess silence would have been my preferred option!! :-D

Parliamo Sat 10-May-14 14:59:19

I had a bleed (subchorionic haemorrage) in my second pregnancy that I am absolutely convinced was provoked after I lost the plot with a year 10 boy. Dd2 was much smaller than dd1 and earlier. Obviously it might just be w coincidence, but I'm convinced it was all linked. I taught a class I physically didn't feel safe in, and in the end slt got a retired colleague in my class to act as bodyguard.

In my third pregnancy I ended up off sick at about 28 weeks with complete exhaustion. I went back just to do mornings till 34 weeks because they couldn't find a supply teacher to cover me (they didn't even manage to find a mat cover!). In retrospect it was a huge mistake. I wasn't fit to do my job properly and so I just pissed off loads of kids and parents. Now I'm back I feel like I've got so much ground work to do to make it up to everyone.

My advice - go off sick if you can't cope. It's really truly not worth it. They can't force you onto mat leave till 36 weeks.

Oh and hypnobirthing transformed my pregnancy. I'm still feeling the benefits now

PuppyMummy Sat 10-May-14 16:01:06

Just wanted to add a different view. im a secondary teacher and Head of Yr. I am currently 37 weeks and am hoping to work up to 39 weeks. I have been lucky to hav no pregnancy issues other than tiredness and I manage that by not taking work home on an evening.

It is possible to be a pregnant teacher and not hav too much stress! if your school is supportive. mine have been very good. I have been offered a reduction in teaching although I havent felt the need yet and am passing some work to my maternity cover including meetings.

I would second the advice of others to say if you are unable to do things. I was asked to write a scheme of work to a tight deadline but refused as I am not able to do extra on top of my pastoral commitments.

I have also refused on occasion to deal with pupils where I may be at risk.

don't be afraid to say no to things if you cant manage.

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