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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.

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.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 28-Sep-13 11:19:36

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.

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