Terry Pratchett always says that the use of multiple exclamation marks is the sign of a deranged mind, I concur however one simply was not sufficient. Please excuse any typing errors in this, I can spell (honestly!) however I’m desperately tired and in need of a nap but wanted to get this done first of all.
The big news of the day is that Occupational Health have cleared me to go back to work, as long as my GP will do the same. This is HUGE for me, absolutely immense. It means that, once my place of work have organised a proper risk assessment, have rearranged my classroom accordingly and have met with me to discuss the way forward, I can go back to work. It feels so odd just typing those words, I can go back to work. I. Can. Go. Back. To Work.I know that there’s a long way to go until I’m able to teach a full timetable, plus the associated marking and preparation, there’s a slim chance that I won’t be able to manage it entirely and will have to look for part time employment, but I’m not willing to rule myself out just yet.
I’m hoping thatManagement and HR will hear me out and understand that the phased return will have to be very gradual in order to prevent a flare up and will listen to me. The Occupational Health GP mentioned a 4 week phased return to me today and I nearly laughed my way out of the office, apologising for wasting his time. Turns out this is just a guideline, it can be extended as long as (and here’s the clincher) the school management and HR agree to it. The last phased return was wholly unsuccessful as they wouldn’t listen to me and refused to admit the effects of my condition. I can’t blame them, at the time I refused to admit them myself, I’d not reached that point yet. However I’ve learned now how to recognise, work within and push my boundaries and have also realised that no-one knows properly how I feel except for me. Management are just going to have to come to terms with that, my line manager will need to accept that I am disabled and that this isn’t going to disappear, even though I might look well, there’s a lot more going on than it may seem. It sounds like I’m being very militant and not acknowledging their business needs, I’m not but I’m truly not prepared to have months of hard work be wasted. I’m more assertive than I was this time last year, more willing to stand up for myself.
Following on from that, my second milestone of the day was when I realised that HR hadn’t included something vital in my file, instead of standing in the same building as them, umming and aahing over what to do, I marched straight to the front desk and asked if the Head of HR could meet me for a few minutes to discuss the situation. When he came out, I was calm but assertive, thanking him for his time and discussing other matters, even the odd joke, with him. It was only as I walked away that I realised that 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have had the nerve to do that. I’d have been totally intimidated by him being the Head of HR and if I’d had the nerve to speak to him, would have been giving fulsome apologies for bothering him. None of that today, calm yet assertive – I like it.