Fertility treatment has the habit of making teachers feel like they’re not doing very well at their jobs.
Appointments all happen during the working day at a clinic that is usually further away than the local hospital down the road.
Staff will be told they need to cover their colleagues lessons, and unless they are a cover supervisor who does this for a living we know teachers know they are ruining somebody else’s day. They could be using the time to mark and plan with a hot drink in a cup that doesn’t have a protective lid on it: winding down from the lesson they’ve just come from or preparing for the one following this PPA.
It’s fair enough that they feel this way.
All teachers have been there, rolling their eyes when finding out they’re on cover again, gutted that the opportunity to get ahead with the endless bureaucracy sails out of the window along with the bright mood they started the morning with.
Free lessons or PPA are essential to teachers’ mental health and well being. They can make the difference between a good day and a bad day.
To be the cause of a sour day is a strain. A strain to the team and a strain to a potentially already fragile emotional state of mind.
Teachers going through fertility treatment are aware that the colleague who covered their lesson will now be working late into the evening because instead of planning their own lessons they were supervising someone else’s class. They’re mindful of the cover teacher who won’t settle down to watch that programme, read that book, and perhaps we’re taking time away from them to spend with their own children.
Teachers dislike cover, and perhaps on some level even resent the colleague who has put them in this position. Even though teachers know it’s not personal and is perhaps ‘part of the job’ it can still be a natural reaction.
So to be the teacher who now needs frequent cover to be able to attend fertility appointments can come with a burdening feeling of guilt.
You might be reading this thinking- nope not me! I don’t feel guilty for someone covering my lessons, it is part of the job description that we cover lessons, and right you are.
Arguably this is the mindset to have, after all why should we waste time worrying about what people think of us?
This approach however does not come naturally to all. Schools may be heading down a more business led model but often its teachers are not business minded. Teachers could develop more of a business mentality along with a resilience to eliminate the concern of what others think of us but this is not a quick fix approach and perhaps isn’t appropriate for those going through fertility treatment when there is already a lot to manage.
Leaving the students.
You may worry that your absence could have a detrimental impact on student grades.
Let’s get one thing clear here.
So long as you are providing quality resources and work that inspires students and you take the time to give informed feedback you are providing children the opportunity to learn.
It has been demonstrated that this works throughout lockdown when earlier this year children all around the world worked from kitchen tables and bedrooms after their teachers set work each morning and marked completed tasks from the day before.
It’s ok to be the teacher who is off work attending fertility appointments. Perhaps you need to read that today.
Maybe you will look at the teacher who is always off with new eyes. What could they going through that means they can’t always be in school?