Hi all, first time using this forum today. Was just wondering if any of you out there were primary school teachers with any advice on how to cope with exhaustion and pain with the ever growing out-of-hours workload? I am already tired from being on my feet most of the day, get home and complete paperwork/ marking until about 10-11pm. Any advice welcome!

16 Replies

  • It's a difficult one this. Are you standing all day? Are there any moments when you can sit for a while? I used to teach, at a uni,so I did have a bit mores scope. But for the evening/ late afternoon I'd try to get in a 30 min sleep before starting the next bit of marking. These cat naps are the best. Hope you can work out some structure. Cathie

  • Thank you Cathie. I have a stool I have been bought from school and can sit down normally when I need to. I have a 4 year old daughter to care for when I get home. Then when she goes up to bed I start the paperwork. I work part-time but on the days I'm off, I'm exhausted from the 12- 15 hour days previously! I also really easily catch infections and bugs. My school are supportive and I've been to OH but saying to not work as much in the evening is not realistic to the job (as you will know!)

  • Oh I do know about the unpaid overtime teachers have to do! I'm sure that you do everything you can muster from your experience to lighten the load. I dont suppose that there's a way of spreading the work so that you do manage an hour or so of marking/admin/planning then instead of on your flat out working days? Its hard suggesting because you probably do everything anyone can suggest.

    I used also to find that a cat nap would help. I sit in front of the computer (!) with my eyes cupped in my hands if they aren't too painful, and just sink down into a pre-sleep state. Its not quite sleep but very restful. And I find that an alarm helps you not to worry about waking up several hours later!


  • My sister has this disease as well as me and she teaches 9-10 year olds full time. She has been on anti tnf for a while now and it helps her cope well. She no longer has young children and has a husband at home who is a lot older than her and retired so she is fortunate. I know she has loads of work she has to do after school, like you. What meds are you on, maybe they need amending as so often happens with RD.

  • Thank you for the advice. I've just switched my meds recently so I'm hoping this might help. I definitely don't feel as 'foggy' as on the methotrexate so far.

  • I was lucky. Not long before diagnosis I took the opportunity to do a post grad course on teaching children with dyslexia. I now only have to teach i:I or small groups, mostly sitting down. There is still planning but little marking as all work is checked with the child. Discipline issues are rare, even with difficult children in 1:1 situation. And it is so rewarding. I really recommend it. Also there is a real need out there for teachers with the post grad qualification. I teach in a private school and recently we really struggled to find someone to replace our Senco. There is no way I cold do whole class teaching now, but learning support teaching is fine.

    Good luck


  • Thank you Sue.

  • Hi, In the later years I found out I am dyslexic!, am 68 now. Because of MCQ exam problems I went for assessment. With the assessment report I was able to ask for more time in the exam. To help with my work I bought software for my lap top to help with reading the words as I am typing so I did not make mistakes with my work. I am retired now. I was able to fix complicated problem in my engineering when left alone. In my younger days I believe I was forced to learn to write with my right hand. No one in my country did know or understood the problem!

    Constantly I was and am told you are stupid cannot do anything right. Do you have any helpful hint to make my life easy?


  • Hi Bala

    It is so sad to hear that people have struggled for years with unrecognised dyslexia. However computers now make life a lot easier. There are a number of resources out there to help. Have you tried Dragonspeak - this enables you to speak into your computer which then types up what you have said.( our headmaster is dyslexic and uses this all the time) there are pens which you can use to trace along the line and they read for you and can be used to transfer information from book to computer. Have a look at the British Dyslexia Society website- it has lots of useful information.

    Often one problem is working memory- the amount we can hold in our heads and use at any one time. You need need to find ways to reduce the strain on this- my working memory is poor so I always write myself notes, make mind maps etc to help.

    Hope this helps a bit. Sue

  • Thanks.

  • Hi Kelly,

    I live with my sister who is a teacher, so I see first hand the hours that teachers have to put in. Have you had any support from Access to Work? I found their assessment and support a huge help when I started my new job. Here's the link: gov.uk/access-to-work/overview

    I work a busy job as a social worker and I manage my fatigue by dedicating the weekends to sleeping and resting. Are you able to get any rest on the weekend or are you working then too?

  • I'll look into that, thank you. I also have a young daughter who is not at school yet so when I'm not working I'm busy with her! My parents are really helpful and have her on a Saturday but this is the time I use for planning etc rather than resting. Maybe when she goes to school next year things may ease up a little?!

  • I do supply teaching there is no way I could cope with a full-time job teaching, like you I get really exhausted, and brain fogg. As SueB said Learning support teaching or teaching assistant work is fine, but unfortunately the pay is pretty poor.

  • I'm lucky that I only work part- time but I flog myself so hard at the beginning of the week, I'm exhausted at the end of the week and then look after my 4- year old (not much rest involved there!!)

  • Hi i cope by doing supply teaching too gives the flexibility to say no if in a flare up but feel frustrated i cant have my own class and dont get paid in the holidays totally empathise such a difficult job to do even when fully fitxx

  • Thank you Gracie, so helpful just finding other people on here that feel or have experienced the same x

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