Any Teacher out there??


I am a Year 1 teacher whi has been on the sick since October. I was diagnosed with MS in January following a relapse in October. I have started Tecfidera 3 weeks ago and am waiting to go back to see Occupational Health in May to see about me returning to work.

I love my job and am missing the children and the team i work with. However i am scared/worrying about returning as i don’t know if i am going to be able to cope with the workload and stress at school.

I just wanted to hear from other teachers and how they cope. I only qualified in 2010 and i don’t want to give up on something i worked so hard to achieve.



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Hi Becky,

although i am no longer teaching (took ill health retirement in 2002)i thought i would still reply.

I was really quite poorly in the beginning so was off work for a long time.

I eventually i went back on a phased return, a few hours on a couple of mornings a week, which is supposed to be a gradual re-introduction back into your role. Not all of my responsibilities were expected at that point but working up to a full time return is expected over time.

Unfortunately this did not happen for me, although every support was put into place, my job was kept open for a year and i kept in close contact with my colleagues. I missed the children dreadfully and visited when possible.

I had 4 hellish years with my MS and was in and out of hospital, so i had to make the hard decision to take ill health retirement.I will add that it was my decision (very difficult ) and i never felt forced out.

Please be kind to yourself, working with young children although very satisfying is extremely hard work, especially when you have a condition like MS. Don’t go back before you are ready and take things slowly. Accept help and support where given and take any rest breaks offered.

I wish you well,


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My story is similar to Lisa’s. I was diagnosed with PPMS in 2011 and started a phased return shortly afterwards. It was supposed to increase to full time over half a term but I only managed a few sessions. I went home and fell asleep for a few hours afterwards and I’d only been observing!

I took the decision to apply for ill health retirement and although a difficult decision it was the right one for me. I worked in a special school and I didn’t really think it was safe for me and I wouldn’t have been able to care for the children properly. Now I realise the phased return was a process that I needed to go through to say that I’d tried rather than always wondering if I’d have managed.

I do hope things work out for you.


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First of all I am not a teacher.

Have you ever thought of working through a teacher recruitment agency?

The reason I ask, is because I had to retire from my job as a prison officer (after nigh on 20yrs) due to MS. A very good friend of mine, runs her own recruitment company which covers Kent & Essex and she was looking for a TA to help in a special needs school. She asked me if I was interested because I had worked with special needs in the past and I said I will try. I needed to get back to work but could not manage full time. I started at this school in Jan 16 and am still there. I do 3 days a week and will be there until July 16. Before Christmas, I also worked in a main stream school (1 to 1 with a very young autistic boy) mornings only.

Working through an agency you could build up your hours slowly and who knows where that could take you. My friend is always looking for good teachers. If you live in either of the areas I have mentioned and you would like to browse there Website, let me know and I will put the address on this thread.



hi becky

good luck, i fully understand how you feel about the kids you work with.

i was an early years teacher who then moved areas and became an area senco.

i took medical retirement in 2008.

i still miss the last class i had in reception class, when i drive past that school i always say (to myself) bless you my babies and hope they and their families are well.

when you go back to work make sure that you accept any help offered.

Access to Work can help by providing taxis to and from work which will help financially and spare you the battle with traffic after a hard day.

wishing you all the best.

carole x


Thank you for all the advice it helps a lot. I will definitely take any help offered. It has taken me time to realise i need to look after myself and listen to my body. At first i just wanted to carry on as ‘normal’ but that is no longer possible. I will do a phased return and see how i get on. I have wondered about becoming a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, if the school would change my role, if i am unable to cope with teaching full time, or reducing my hours to see if that helps. It is scary not knowing how my body will react to being back with the stress and work load.

Thank you for the offer Ang sadly I live in Northumberland. SEN has always been something i have been interested in so it could be a possibility.

Becky x

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Although, I hate where I work forcing me down the capability route it has helped in that access to work got involved and as a result lots of adjustments have been made. I spend some time in the classroom and some at my desk. I have the best technology as a result of access to work coming in, I have a decent chair and my work area is user friendly. My classroom role hasn’t changed much and I have taken the odd tumble in front of my students not great but they were there to help me up (I work in FE so the students are bigger and stronger than me). Not sure how long I can keep up with the pace, but working keeps me sane. Ideally I would like to be made redundant then I won’t have to face making the decision to leave myself. LouLou x

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Becky - I think that a problem is you don’t know how you will cope when you go back. For that reason you need a phased return.

Don’t make any decision about becoming a Teaching Assistant until you see how the phased return goes. It may well be that you can earn as much as a 3 day a week teacher as you would as a 5 day a week T.A.

Don’t be pressurised into doing anything you don’t want to do.

And as a cynic I would say be on your guard that you are not pushed into doing something you’re not happy with.

Look after your own interests!

(not sure why above type set suddenly went all slopey on me!)

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I’m a teacher and I love my job but it is soooo tiring! A phased return is very important but depending on your energy levels and how you manage your ms symptoms things could work out fine. The job itself is crazy and stressful for everyone but I have to be very careful and realistic with how i manage my time and workload. My colleagues are very supportive thankfully but there are some days that I drive home and fall asleep on the sofa immediately. Ideally I would like to work 4 days a week as I think my lovely year 1/2 class would get a much more awake teacher! :wink: Could you negotiate part-time?

Good luck and just be careful to take your time as your body needs time to revert back to normality.

Debs xxx

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I was a reception class teacher and was really struggling with fatigue and pain. I asked access to work to come and assess me at work. The assessor was lovely and spoke to my manager as well…he said straight away that it was obvious I needed a support worker to help me…to do my duties and walk chn to different lessons in other parts of the school. I was so happy with what was recommended. …but then the head decided he wouldn’t/didn’t want me to have support worker as he didn’t see how it would help me in the long term…he was such a shi*…I worked in private sector btw…anyway after unions and ms nurses being involved I finally managed to get a support worker for 15hrs a week paid for by AtW…it really helped me…after four months tho I was pregnant and was not well enough to work full time so went off on the sick. I def think you should enquire about an assessment if you feel a support worker and special chair etc would help you manage symptoms xx