Teaching with MS

Hi all I have lasted two days back at school - I teach in a secondary school. This morning I was struggling across school (I’ve brought a crate to lug my stuff around in) and bumped into my very supportive headteacher who immediately said I should go home. I just broke down. He could see how fatigued I was. No relapse; but normal rubbish symptoms. I’m gutted. I have gone part time this year (Fridays off). I’m so worried that I’ll have to take yet another pay cut and reduce my hours further. Are any of you teachers? What strategies do you use to get through the day? Thanks so much. Kxx

Hi I am a teacher in a secondary school too. when I first became ill I went down to half time and my school were very good and gave me extra free lessons to be able to keep up with all the marking! And having a classroom on the ground floor also helps. Since then I have managed to keep working-just- and now have a timetable worked out for me so that I can start later each day and have a free lesson every day - I asked for this and they just agreed no problem - I think I am lucky that i have a very understanding Head teacher, but it shows that it is worth speaking to the head and explaining what you need to help you continue working.Also I decided that I have to think of myself first and if I can’t do something at work then I will have to accept that too, including taking time off when I am feeling too unwell. I hope that you are able to sort some things out at school to help make it easier Judy xx

Hi, There is a scheme called ‘access to work’ set up by the government that gives you employer help, advice and funding to make your life easier at work. It might be able to provide a TA to help you or an admin assistant to do some photocopying etc. Try looking at Your head maybe happy to hear it could all be funded! I’m a middle school teacher and was working full time until I went on maternity leave. I then decided that I could only possibly go back a day a week. I went up to two days for a term and I was so fatigued that although the money was great my health wasn’t. I can’t see myself ever working more than 2 days even once my children are both at school. You’ve got to put yourself first, even if that means less hours but look at the scheme and see if you could benefit. Hope you feel a bit better soon. BFx

Thank you both…such sensible advice! I think I will def see if I can be in 1 room. Yesterday I was in 5 classrooms around the school. I’ll also call access to work. Much appreciated. Kx

hi, I’m a teacher too - but in a primary special school. There are only 12 children in each class with 4 adults including the teacher. I’ve been off since May when my symptoms first started and at the moment can’t see a way back. My Head is great and we’re talking about doing a long phased return between Half Term and Christmas but I admit I’m very apprehensive as to whether I’ll cope or not. I’m sure I’ll have to reduce my hours but with 2 kids at uni and mine being the main wage it’s a scary time. S x

Very sorry the new term has got off to a bad start. I know nothing about teachers’ pay/pension arrangements. But your comment about potential pay consequences of having your hours cut made me want to suggest strongly that you become an expert (if you have not already done so.) For instance, if the time were to come when your employers decided that it was time to call it a day, what effect would your working hours at time of termination have on your Ill Health Retirement pension? I’m sorry if it sounds brutal to raise the subject of something that might only happen in the distant future, if at all. But you do need to have a clear understanding of the potential impact on your future income of any upcoming decisions affecting your working hours and how this affects how any future IHR pension would be calculated. Do you have access to a tame expert on your pension scheme and ill health terms? A good potential source of info is your trade union - they are sure to have experts on this kind of thing on their own HQ staff. It’s a horrible old subject, but it could be very important, and information is power. Alison x

Hi, I’m a secondary teacher as well. After a massive relapse in 2007 I returned to work 9 months later on a 3 1/2 day week and have managed on that since. As part of my return to work I don’t have to go downstairs to do duties and they try and keep me in the same room as much as possible, although as I am responsible for two different subjects that does prove hard at times. As previous posters have said it does help to have an understanding head and a good professional association rep who can sit in with you if negotiations need to be made. Above all, don’t struggle as the only one who loses out is you. Sometime colleagues can say thoughtless things , mostly because we MSers have loads of ‘silent symptoms’. I t doesn’t hurt to occasionally let people know about a particular symptom that is making teaching harder than usual! Best of luck x

I was a supply teacher as I have four children and this arrangement fitted in very well with family life. However, I have PPMS and had to give up last March as my legs couldn’t cope with all the moving around school, P.E. lessons, up and down stairs etc. Miss it a great deal but couldn’t cope any more. Teresa xx

Teaching with MS good topic for students If the teachers and students had been doing their jobs during term time there would be no need for teachers or the students to be working in the holidays. Holidays are supposed to be for recovering from all the hard work carried out in term time. Year 12 should just be revising and relaxing at this stage in readiness for the exams later this month.keep it academic experts


I teach in a primary school and am off at the moment with heightened symptoms and I am awaiting blood test results to rule out infection. School are great but I am feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt about having time off. I feel like I should leave teaching as its not fair to kids or colleagues when I have time off. I’ve been lucky so far in that so far it’s been one bad spell a year but I still feel it’s too much time off. Just been signed off another week so will be two weeks so far.I’ve been teaching 21 years and can’t imagine doing anything else. I can’t afford to drop a day and have to keep on full time.

I feel really down about this and can’t stop crying about it! (well partly with the pain too!)

anyone else feel like this or am I just being stupid!


Absolutely right about the guilt trip. I was told on Wednesday that I am no longer fit for work and will be retired early due to ill health. That is so tough as it’s a job I love and worked damn hard to get qualified for. But I know I wasn’t up to it anymore. As a SENCO in a primary school with a challenging clientele and the Govt. Imposing yet another huge set of changes on us I couldn’t cope as well as I should. I have shed so many tears at work and at home over this as my symptoms have come on so quickly (PPMS) that frankly I’m looking forward to a bit of peace and a chance to come to terms with this massive change in my life.

Many good wishes to all of you still out there struggling!

Hello there, I am going through my rehab after steroid therapy, I have just had my second shub. (Was diagnosed in 2015 RRSM) As I was reading your lines my dear colleagues my eyes filled with tears. I am a secondary school teacher of English language in Hungary, 45 yrs, divorced and bringing up two amazing teen daughters. Honestly, I either forget teaching at a school in general, or I educate my employers so that they stop torturing me. I had been mistreated and now I understand it might have been my fault, I did not stand up for myself because of feeling ashamed, guilty or too modest. It is the hardest thing in this country to stay on a long term sick leave, but I have to make the right decision now and stay stressfree for weeks or months ahead. Please take care of yourselves, I wish you all the best.

Hi, I am recently diagnosed and interested if you are all still teaching/ have any advice? Thanks