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Staff And Their Baggage


tess
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Hello

 

How do you all cope with the constant trials and tribulations that staff have?

 

I am so worn down this term we are only a small team 7 of us, but since Easter every week one of them has been in tears before we open because of problems outside work. (actually it's mainly only 2 people)

 

I want to be a caring manager, but I am worn down with them all.

 

We have had:- teenage preganancy, husband beat me (withdrawn later), suicide, wandering boyfriend, knocked off bike - twice, infertility, relative seriously ill (going to die - didn't. better next day), niece raped , own illness ..... etc there were lots more.

 

I know these are all serious issues and I care deeply. But I feel like the local counselling service and I'm exhausted.

 

Any advice - I have been taking them in to a side room and calming them down and listening. But now feeling this is silly and can't go on and it is having a severe affect on our practice. We are a pack away setting so 2 of out for set up, means it is not ready for opening.

 

Do I carry on listening, leave them alone in room to calm or send them home in not fit to work (strangely they are always fine in session and with kids)?

 

Advice please - I have 2 weeks until end of term and dreading the next scene.

 

Many Thanks

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I don't know what to suggest, but didn't want to read and run so to speak!!

 

It sounds draining.

And I am sure it is.

 

Maybe the people involved need someone/ somewhere that their worries can be aired and discussed openly, because if you do have a major worry it affects your work if you hold it in.

 

As I said besides listening and supporting which you are doing, I don't know what to suggest!!!

 

When they are not having a bad day, could you gently suggest that their lives are impacting on the start of the session.........

 

I know myself that once you get going, the children need you so you can't sit and mope, and it is often cathartic to work and forget said troubles for a while.

 

Good luck...... and it is only 2 more weeks!!!!!!

 

x

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I know what you mean!!!!

I have total compassion fatigue at this point in the year. I am a caring person but is it unreasonable to feel that personal problems should be left at the door when you get to work. We have one woman who has split from her husband (awful I know) but keeps crying in front of the children.

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Ok I think that made me sound a bit hard. I do care about people's problems.

But I am so frustrated because we have children with huge problems that are being ignored becasue everyone is standing around chatting about the staff's social life and problems. When I get to work I feel that I am there for the children and my own problems (mum has cancer, mother in law has alzheimers, extension, teenagers etc etc) have to be left until I get home.

I walked into the main room on friday and my first thought was, no one in here is even looking at the children! Miserable member of staff was standing behind the desk reading paperwork that was nothing to do with her (not private but obviously just a way to avoid working).

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Jane, personally I think you need to sit down with all your staff together after a session and make it clear (in a nice way) that you would like people to please leave their worries at home when they come to work. Make it clear that although you do care, when you are in the setting you are there as professionals and you are there for the children.

 

If staff don't feel up to or able to do this, then really they shouldn't be in work and I think you should tell them that.

 

It doesn't mean you don't care, as you obviously do, but just because we work in a 'caring' profession doesn't mean we can't act as professionals.

 

HTH, Sue.

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Jane - are you sure are staff are not moonlighting in each other's settings.

 

You do not come as uncaring at all - in our profession we care deeply and whilst we have a responisbility to our staff, our biggest concern must be the children.

 

As you say we have lives to and often our own worries that we never impose on others - my staff thought I had a pretty dress on one day. It was actually my Nan's funeral and I was going straight from work.

 

I did have a meeting last week with one and was very blunt and said although I cared about her wellbeing my main concern was the children and they were the centre of our universe. She actually looked hurt.

 

I am concerned about how much time I spend on these crisis and have actually started noting them in their files - that way I have all the details and use them in discussions with stafff and my committee. Just not sure my committee will back me on being firm - they don't want to upset the staff more. :o Bless....

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we called it the curse of the setting..

 

every member of staff had a problem outside, we hatted and supported each other in and out of the setting, but were lucky enough to have people who very rarely let it have a knock on effect with their work.. I think understandably it id occasionally, but other staff seemed to work harder on these occasions...

 

I was lucky with the staff I suppose, they supported me when I needed it too, I dare not list it, it would take too long, but it covered, issues from abuse/ affairs by husbands, cancer, major illnesses, money worries, children with disabilities list goes on and on.

 

For us it made us a closer team, we all did some support in some way,

 

and we were also area of deprivation so knew our parents and children were often going through the same, in some cases it helped parents to know we had gone through similar and they often told us more once they knew that.

 

and that has not helped much at all has it !

 

perhaps a chat about what is expected while children are present, allowing them time to chat when they are not.

 

Inge

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I am concerned about how much time I spend on these crisis and have actually started noting them in their files - that way I have all the details and use them in discussions with stafff and my committee. Just not sure my committee will back me on being firm - they don't want to upset the staff more. :o Bless....

Perhaps your committee could find a qualified counsellor in their midst to take some of the responsibility off your shoulders? There is enough involved in running a setting without becoming an unpaid counsellor as well! There is a fine balance between being a caring employer who gets the best from their staff and being a convenient but innapropriate person to unload all of your worries on.

 

You need to consider your own well-being as well as that of the children. Perhaps some suggestions that people talk to their GP might get the message across?

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I know where you're coming from Tess..........i only have a small staff team but so much seems to go wrong in their lives ! and i hate this time of year......how do the rest of you deal with the I need time off "its my child's sports day", "its my child's leavers service", "its my childs achievers assembly".......

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Is that personally - I begged my Mum to do the cello concert and hubby to sit through assembly and I'm rushing around like a nutter to do end of school country dancing and choir after pre-school ends. Oh to multi- task. :o

 

For staff not very well - me being soft I hate saying no (even though my own kids are sobbing), I try to encourage the staff to cover each other's by swapping etc. so they can all do important bits - but they never get to every concert, show, sports day at this time of year. It's one of the downsides of our job - we care for others children and they must come first.

 

But they then do get the whole 6 weeks off with their children and this is a huge perk..... that not many employers offer.

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I agree about the term time only working (even though it's mostly unpaid!) - it's a good plus point of the job. I said no to sports day recently as we had 2 other staff out and it would have meant leaving bank staff plus the lowest ranking permanent staff member who has only been with us for 2 months! I wasn't popular but i also had to miss my son's sports day and my husband couldn't go either as he is a teacher too and struggles to get time off.

 

we give staff 3 days per year paid for whatever time off for dependents (sickness) and for school concerts etc it is on a 'if possible and we can cover you' basis. generally that has been well received. staff don't get sick pay themselves unless they are eligible for statutory sick pay.

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I said no to sports day recently as we had 2 other staff out and it would have meant leaving bank staff plus the lowest ranking permanent staff member who has only been with us for 2 months! I wasn't popular but i also had to miss my son's sports day and my husband couldn't go either as he is a teacher too and struggles to get time off.

 

My employer said no to me attending my son's sports day but then I explained how much it meant to my son and me. I have never missed my son's sports day, my employer changed her mind and allowed me to attend sports day. This was very much appreciated and in future I would do anything as a result, e.g. stay late, work through lunch, cover absent colleagues, attend events at the weekend. The children we care for are important and so are our own children. I respect your decision but sometimes if you give a little you get a lot.

 

Perhaps your committee could find a qualified counsellor in their midst to take some of the responsibility off your shoulders? There is enough involved in running a setting without becoming an unpaid counsellor as well! There is a fine balance between being a caring employer who gets the best from their staff and being a convenient but innapropriate person to unload all of your worries on.

 

Good idea, my last setting had a number you could call if you needed support. I didn't use it but felt very reassured that it was there just incase.

 

:o

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We have the problem that all our children go to the same school, so if I was to give one the day off we would have to shut because everyone would want the day off!!! :o How would my working parents feel if I had to shut and they had to have the day off work so me and my staff could go to sports day!!! xD

 

I understand that our children are important, but not all jobs can be flexible. Being the supervisor, unpopular decisions have to be made. :(

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Like Shiny our staff have all had/have children at the same school- so most times nobody even bothered/bothers to ask. Sometimes if it's something that is really important then they will swap with other staff. However although I feel it is a shame sometimes, it's also a fact of life, if you work then the odds are you probaly will miss some of your childrens school events BUT and I feel it's a big but this is more then compensated by being around for all of their school holidays.

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ahh the joys of being in charge...

My rule:

 

I'm your boss, I am not the person to sit and listen to your "issues" I am very sorry that you are having "issues" but my concern is the children and the business.

Here is the staff welfare policy in it you will find what we can and will do to support you. If this is not enough then I feel that work is not the right place for you right now. You may take exceptional leave holiday (1 week) or you may see your GP and be signed off sick.

With regard to "children events" sports day etc- we also have a rule-BOOK it in WELL IN ADVANCE or its a no go.

 

God I'm mean!

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I know where you're coming from Tess..........i only have a small staff team but so much seems to go wrong in their lives ! and i hate this time of year......how do the rest of you deal with the I need time off "its my child's sports day", "its my child's leavers service", "its my childs achievers assembly".......

 

 

We send a letter to parents and we ALL go too!!! hahahahaha

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I'm obviously very fortunate to have a very understanding and supportive manager and in the past too. I agree that any time off should be booked well in advance, otherwise it isn't fair on the children or our colleagues. Just one more thought, has anyone seen a child's face when everyone else's parent/carent is at their assembly but their parent/carer isn't. I've had to support many children in the past who were very upset because noone came to watch them perform.

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I am in charge and I like to think I treat all my staff with respect and understanding. I always try to accomodate anything to do with attending events at school's, because these are fleeting moments that as parents we can never get back. This year I have a new member of staff who i have allowed to take the afternoon off from our leavers party to attend son's sports day, she was so grateful, I did explain that next year if another member of staff wanted to attend sports day she would have to let this person go as they missed theirs this year, which she was more than happy to do, hopefully the two wont clash and they can both go. As for other issues, life happens to us all, I would always lend a sympathetic ear and as long as issues didnt interfere with the day to day running and care of the children then thats ok also. I have a brilliant team and firmly believe you get from your staff what you put in, buts its by no means rosy, I have had to make tough decisions and have dismissed a long serving member this year, I wont go into details but when attitudes or conduct directly affect children then straightforward action is required.

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Guest MaryEMac

We are only a team of 5 and this year three of them have children who will be leaving the primary school. I have said that they can go because I know how important this leaver's service was to me and my children and I can't deny them. So on the last day of term two of us will be working with 2 of our regular volunteers.

 

Mary

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