Change happens weather we like it or not

As if this year wasn't stressful enough, with my diagnosis, adaptation to the 'new normal', sister's cancer diagnosis, and all the other minor craziness, it just had to continue. Well, I received word today that I will be transferred to another school next year. No more 4th and 5th graders, I will now be working with Preschoolers, Kindergardeners and 1st graders - I am not looking forward to this. No one is giving me any reasons for the switch, just that "they" (I don't know who 'they' are) decided to switch me and another person as "We feel it would be a better fit." I have no idea what that means and I have been told I have done nothing wrong (the other person was told that as well). Normally, I would take the change as a new challenge and do my best to make it a good situation, however, I am scared to death that I am not going to be able to handle it physically. Of course, I didn't take the news well and immediately started tearing up. The little ones involve a lot of energy and as y'all know, with PsA, energy is a sought after commodity. Ideally, I would have to sit on the floor with them and do tons of clapping and movement activities with them - I started the school year not even being able to clap my hands, let alone even think of doing movement with them. I almost feel that I am being set up for failure so it will be easier to get rid of me.

Long story shortened, I don't know what to do. I am trying to believe my principal and that I have done nothing to deserve this, but then I think about how they haven't told the other person that there is any issues there either. I gave my principal permission to explain my health situation to the new principal so that it won't be a shock when I do not perform like a normal Music teacher. Thanks for listening to me vent.

Diva, been there! It sounds to me like "they" have an agenda, and setting you up to be the best teacher possible isn't part of it. Could your teachers' union help you with this? I'm retired now, but something similar happened to me. "They" decided to give me an assignment that I felt I couldn't cope with given my hearing impairment. (Thank goodness my PsA didn't emerge until after retirement!) Talking to the principal was like talking to the wall: there was no alternative to what had been decided. I was desperate, and I felt like someone playing "gotcha" with me. I finally went to my ENT doc, who hit the roof when he heard the plan. He wrote a strongly worded letter, and lo and behold, my assignment changed. If I hadn't been reassigned, though, that letter would have provided me with some protection if I hadn't been able to do my job properly.

While this situation was brewing, I also contacted our provincial human rights organization, in case I needed to plead discrimination on the basis of a disability. They gave me some very good advice. Thank goodness I never had to use it.

I think you need to get good advice and put your supports in place before this move happens, in case you can't cope. If you don't, you might end up the victim. And you are already the victim of this horrid disease.

You have to be strong, Diva, and (as my favourite aunt used to say) if you can't be strong, you have to be smart.

Seenie

My Principal is not happy with the situation either. I decided I am going to get a letter from my Rheumy in case I need it for accomodations. It is just really frustrating and now I have to tell them what is happening. I just keep thinking that I am going to have to resign. I can't afford it and I won't be able to find another job - Music jobs are very scarce right now. I plan to give it my best but I am also being realistic about things. I think they may be attempting to get rid of the entire program as they moved all of us around accept one (personally I think she is the one who needs to be moved but that is just my opinion). Just really sucks to be me right now.

You need to use the fact that your principal isn't happy with the situation in your favour. Yes, it's frustrating that you have to "come clean", but it is your livelihood we're talking about here. Get the rheumy to describe the conditions/accommodations that you need. (You may have to prime him/her with the information.) Put your concerns about your new position on paper, copied to everybody who is either part of the decision, or will be party to your situation if it all goes horribly wrong. Inform "them" in advance, and in writing, why your present position is more do-able than the job they have lined up for you. Do this all before it happens, and preferrably while they can still change their plan. OK, it's nasty, but not nearly as nasty as losing your job. And whatever you do, don't resign. Don't.

I know it's easy for me to give this advice, but I do know what it's like and I've done it myself. Having PsA is miserable enough, without losing the job battle as well.

Seenie

Dear Diva,

Though I am not an educator, I was married to one, and have several who are friends, and this is just so typical of what the system has become! I have heard many stories along this line now, and I agree with Seenie, she has given you good advice to CYA here! It just gets more like corporate garbage everyday!

Sounds like you need to be strong and smart! Gather your strength and rally your Doctor for sure!

SK

It might even be worth consulting an attorney who specializes in disability. Sometimes all it takes is a letter from an attorney for administration to take notice. It will cost but it will probably be worth it.

Diva, I've been thinking about you. How are things going? Any new developments?

Seenie

I haven't been on much lately because I have been moving my classroom and helping my sister. The superintendant came out to speak with me and answered some of my questions. I did 'come clean' and tell him about my situation and plan to discuss this with the new principal when she arrives as well. Apparently I am not bad enough to even consider disability but I am starting to discuss accomodations with my rheumy. It is hard to know what I will need accomodations for since I haven't taught these students yet. Surprisingly, I'm not in as much pain as I figured I would be considering all the stress. Hubby isn't helping much as we have been fighting a lot lately - he has never made room in this place for me but yet feels I am being cluttered since I have stuff (like anyone else in the world) but no where to put it since he refuses to get rid of any of his parents stuff. I convinced him to get rid of one dresser which gives me a bit of space but not what I really need. I haven't been able to clean well lately and so that is a reoccuring fight as well. I talked with a cleaning service yesterday and hopefully that will help both physically and mentally. I will be remodeling our extra room to turn it into my fiber office over the weekend and hopefully that will give me enough room to keep hubbys family off our back. I have to accept the fact that people are not going to take the time to try to understand my position and they are just too stupid to try to see things from others point of view. Part of me wants to give up and depression has been rearing it's ugly head. I feel totally alone right now as my family has too many other things to focus on right now and I am pretty much stuck in a bad situation. I have been just keeping everything to myself and not dealing with it well. I feel like I am venting too much to people and it is becoming 'old hat' - I have too many people who misunderstand me now and I don't need to alienate anyone else.

Hi. I am a "Retired" Kindergarten Teacher. When I got sick, none of my doctors knew what was wrong with me. I went to Mayo clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and not one doctor was able to get a correct diagnosis. "I know there is something wrong with you, I just do not know what" was what I heared over and over. I love children, and kindergarteners were my passion. Since I did not have the stammina to continue, I moved on to other teaching assignmens. I just couldn't do it any more. With tears in her eyes, my principal asked me if there was a way she could keep me, but I just could not. Teachers have a pension, which along with the Social Security Disability check, helps us make a living. You are set because you already have a diagnosis. That can help you qualify immediately to a full pension and SSD programs. I had to fight mine because of my lack of a diagnosis. Some Rheumys are good at filling out paperwork and helping patients get the benefits. Try it and let me know how I can help.

Update - School started on Wednesday. The new principal has been an amazing help to me and is totally understanding my situation. Upon arrival at the new school - it has been brought to my attention that there were a lot of issues in the past and I have already impressed them with my treatment of the kids. So far so good - I have been able to adjust things and modify and can teach from a chair as well as my duties. I have been using my cane in the hallways so the students will be used to seeing it and I have been explaining to them that I have a 'hurt foot' and that the cane helps me. I am going to rely on technology to help teach movements and I have a routine to help with transitions and all. The Kindergarten classes start Monday and I know the first few weeks will be establishing routine and behavior expectations but I am feeling more secure with it now. Everyone has been so supportive of me and I am being an open book so they all understand why I do things the way I do. I do not plan to 'retire' until I absolutely have to. The meds are helping and the change in diet has as well so I will keep going. You all have been inspirational to me and I do realize I do not have the disease to the extreme yet so I plan to take advantage of the time I have and do my best work I can. Thanks for all your support as well.

The last year I taught I did it in a wheelchair (scooter). I wanted to work until I could no longer do it, like you.