Sunday, May 02, 2010

Really?

My request for time off for the ride in September was denied. I really hadn't thought this was a possibility until 3 weeks ago when I asked the union rep for advice. I mean, we get 3 "personal" days a year (although I knew I probably wouldn't be allowed to use them...I had to take an unpaid day to run my last marathon in 2008...to call them personal days is quite a misnomer). I expected I would have to take the days unpaid, but I didn't really get that they could completely deny them. The principal said he would support it before I requested the time. So when my favorite HR guy stopped into my room after school Friday, I knew it was bad news. I was, I think, very professional in my pissed-offedness, I thanked him and just let him know that I would have to speak with the union to see if I had any other options. He proceeded to tell me that he has arthritis in his back, so he knew how I felt.

Yeah. Anyone reading with RA, you don't need me to tell you how that made me feel. Those of you who don't have it, understand that osteoarthritis (what we all usually think of when we hear "arthritis") and rheumatoid arthritis are nothing alike. I don't even want to bother to try to explain, so I won't. But at this point I couldn't get the guy out of my classroom fast enough.

Bottom line is, I have no idea if I will be able to convince anyone (my only hope is the superintendent, and possibly the Board of Ed) that I deserve this. Apparently, through our contract, the HR guy probably does have the right to deny it. So I can ask for special consideration (which they will grant in some situations, but usually it's for deaths or serious illnesses...and...I don't know that I can convey how important this is knowing that they probably just won't care), but I don't know what my chances are.

Two days later I am less emotional about it, but still pissed. I may be able to get them to give me one or 2 days, and maybe ride for 3 or 4 of the 8 days. I may be able to do the ride another year (without having to do all the fundraising again), though for many reasons I feel like if it's not this year, it just won't happen. Fred will definitely still be going, so at least I don't have to tell everyone who donated that the whole thing is off...just my part.

7 comments:

mary said...

Clare, I am really sorry to hear this. I was diagnosed in my 20's and had to give up a lot of the physical things I loved. I do however continue to bike and swim and have been following your progress on your blog. You improvement is really impressive. Hope you can work it out. As far as not being able to do the ride in the future, you never know. I thought I would never hike again and for my 45th birthday I went hiking for 7 days in the Swiss Alps. It is a funny disease. Never say never. Good luck, Hope it works out for you.

jsmarslender said...

I am so sorry to hear about this! I hope that you get some answers from your union and that the super & board okay your time off. (Stinks that "personal days" aren't usually so easy to arrange - here we can take a personal day if we have to handle local paperwork; otherwise, it's unpaid).

At various times, I've wondered why schools - usually eager to support the idea that students' needs can and should be met differently - do not always recognize the different needs or situations of their staff. I hope an exception is made and you can do the full ride.

Michelle Simmons said...

Wow. That sucks. I'm sorry. :(

jessica said...

oh wow, how frustrating.

Maybe it's just one of those (sleazy) deals where they're quick to deny first requests just to filter out the people who really want it? And they'll break down eventually? Maybe?

rheumablog said...

I'm SO sorry to hear that your days off for the bike ride were denied! And you've done SO well with the fundraising! Astounding, really. I hope that something can be worked out so you'll be able to do the complete ride, just as you wanted to. Seems like this is the sort of thing (a marathon bike ride by a teacher with RA) that could really excite and inspire students, too. Anyway, my fingers are crossed for you ...
-Wren

N.D. said...

ugh that is so frustrating. I hope that something works out.

X-Country2 said...

That's terrible news. Such a dissappointment. Best wishes in finding a solution. You certainly deserve it.