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Taking time off


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#16 Piano Meg

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 18:09

It seems to me like you need time/rest/space now, Babygrand - then you'll be in a better place to make any longer term choices. It's hard to make decisions when every ounce of energy is geared towards survival. You need respite now. Health has to come first. That's for your good and also for the good of your pupils. It sounds like your body is telling you that you can't keep going... it's best to listen now!

 

Do you have a half-term? If so, you could make the decision to stop straight away, and have three weeks to rest, with pupils only missing two lessons (which is nothing in the grand scheme of things, even for exam pupils). Even if you teach through half-term usually, they'll be used to other things stopping when the schools do, so it won't be a big deal. If it would take you ages to craft a suitable email to pupils (as it would me!), ask here and I'm confident you'd get a number of suggestions, one of which is sure to suit you. But it could be as simple as. 'Dear pupils, my apologies but I'm unable to teach this week due to illness. Please keep practising! Yours, Babygrand.' That could be followed up next week by 'Dear pupils, I'm afraid I'm still unable to teach this week. Have a lovely half-term holiday and I hope to see you after that.' That puts a plan in place, while also freeing you from actually committing to going back after half-term, and you can give yourself a good rest before even thinking about what you need to do long-term, whether that's a substantial period off work, or doing something different, or cutting down with pupils. We can help with what to say when you get to that point, so don't worry about that now (or anything else). Just rest. 

 

Talk to your GP (and if they don't seem to understand or be able to help effectively, find another one) and talk to ISM. I'm not in ISM, but I'm in EPTA, and they'll send around emails with events/ adverts etc. If ISM do the same thing, you could ask if any teachers would like to take on some temporary pupils by Skype or something. Or they might suggest teachers who live in the region who do one-off coaching, which might be perfect for exam candidates. 

 

I have a long-term condition which means I have to pace myself. Last year, I decided to reduce my teaching year from 39 weeks to 38. I went through the 'but will my pupils miss out?' questions, but ultimately, I know that they will suffer if I'm over-tired. I also know other teachers who have taken a few months off to travel, and almost all of their pupils either waited for them, or came back to them when they returned. 

 

Hugs grouphug.gif


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#17 maggiemay

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 18:31

I was forced to take five weeks off at the start of 2018 following surgery.

The support from the families I teach was humbling. I lost only one pupil (and that was largely for other reasons).

Not only did the others all return, but in the main, they kept up their practice in the meantime. It helped that I was able to plan a ‘no exams’ term, but looking back, there was barely a wobble.

I echo what others have said - you need a break, and you need it sooner, rather than later.
Please, for your own sake, do it. Wishing you all the best.
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#18 Minuet3

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 19:02

Just to add, as someone earlier mentioned counselling, if you are a member of ISM, don't forget they have a free counselling helpline available. I have used this in the past, it was a very useful resource, and you get access very quickly, without having to go through a doctor or wait for months. It may help you to chat through the decision, if nothing else.

 

I completely understand your dilemma, I was facing the prospect of a major operation recently, thankfully avoided for now, but possibly to happen at some point in the future, and thinking through the implications for my teaching was depressing and daunting. However, people will manage without you for a while, or go elsewhere, and when you come back, YOU will be better, and can rebuild to cover any people who have gone. Most people will be kind, concerned and caring, and the rest...you can live without!

 

Look after yourself,

Love,

Minuet3


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#19 Aquarelle

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 22:01

Time taken for yourself will be time you can later give back to others. Look after your health and well being and above all don't feel guilty about it.grouphug.gif


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#20 Hedgehog

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 22:32

A few years ago I had to have a major operation and told everyone that I was taking a term off. I found someone to look after my school pupils, but when I was better I got those pupils back, and the replacement teacher was kept on too. My private pupils were all ok to wait for me to recover, and I phased them in again.  Only one pupil and his parents had a bit of a chunter about the length of time, but they were ok in the end and carried on having lessons when I was better.

I like the idea of having a couple of weeks off now before half term, and then half term week to give yourself 3 weeks to see how you get on, and I think it's a very good idea to talk to the counselling service at the ISM.  You're not letting anyone down - you're just looking after yourself to get back to health and become your good normal self again.  

I hope that you find a way through. grouphug.gif


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#21 BabyGrand

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 13:31

Thank you everybody.  I want to reply to you all but I don't have the energy, but I appreciate every bit of advice and support, so much.  Thank you.  

 

I saw my GP today and they advised to take at least a month off.  I'm now trying to work out the practicalities of that, and whether, for example, to keep on just exam students or stop completely.  I know it's the right thing to do to take a break.  I just need to work out the logistics.  

 

Thank you again.  I may say more when I have it in me to do so.  


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#22 xini

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 22:49

So glad to hear you are doing the right thing.

Absolutely you must look after yourself and take the time you need. The doctor and the forum members agree. I just want to add my tuppence worth, which is - please don't skimp on the break. Don't go back before you're ready because it may creep up on you again. Rest. Think of other things for a while - not work. It will help.


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#23 Cyrilla

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 23:41

Totally agree with xini.  

 

Delighted your doctor has given you the month off.   It's how I started and he kept on signing me off for another month...so no, don't skimp on the time and go back too soon.   You WILL know when you're really ready to start back.

 

My instinct, from what you've said, is that you will need more time than this.

 

NOTHING is more important than your physical and emotional well-being.

 

Well done for going to the doc and start to put things in place for this significant rest that you desperately need.   True stress/exhaustion is not, as I said before, something you get over with a few days off or a few good nights' sleep.   I slept almost continuously for the whole of the first month I was off - it was like I suddenly walked into a brick wall and just had to sleep, wherever I was.

 

Thinking of you and wishing you all the best.

 

:thereThere:


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#24 jpiano

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 23:43

Just wanted to wish you all the best, BG- I don't really have anything to add to the really good advice on here, but do look after yourself and put your health and yourself first. I did have to take a break a few years ago from my school pupils- can't recall exactly how long but think it was about half a term. It was all absolutely fine. A couple did leave but to be honest they were pretty much on the borderline to go anyway I think. Just focus on getting some rest and relaxation so you can come back in good health feeling like yourself again.


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#25 Piano Meg

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 13:17

So pleased to hear you're going to take a break, BabyGrand. I'd encourage you to have a complete break from teaching, even the exam students. That way you can start to switch off from it all, and it sounds like you'll need to do that to get proper rest.

 

Thank you everybody.  I want to reply to you all but I don't have the energy, but I appreciate every bit of advice and support, so much.  Thank you.  

...

I may say more when I have it in me to do so.  

 

No need to say more. Just rest and know we're all wishing you well.grouphug.gif

 

Btw. When I get enquiries and know it'll be a long while before I can take them, I direct them towards the epta find a teacher site, ISM, musicteachers.co.uk and tutorpages to see if they can find an alternative who's available. Perhaps you could do the same for your exam candidates. Tutorpages has online tutoring too, I think, which might be ideal for a stopgap.


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