70: Missed calls with a big consequence

At school the phone policy for students is “see it, hear it, lose it”.  Students are allowed to use their mobile phones at break and lunchtime outside.  This was introduced in the early Spring and the impact has been palpable.  Students talk to each other during social times instead of being glued to their devices.  When first introduced we confiscated over one hundred phones on the first couple of days.  Now it would be unusual to confiscate more than 2 or 3.  The majority of students are compliant and if caught hand the phone over with little or no fuss.  One or two do make a fuss and that is when either I or one of my Leadership team colleagues are called upon.  Students then hand the phones over, they are given a receipt and the phone is kept secure at student reception until 3.05pm when it can be retrieved.

The same rules don’t apply to the staff and as part of the Leadership Team we have our phones on us to check for emails, to see if students need to be picked up and taken to the disruptive free learning centre or to have phones removed.  I have my phone on silent.  This is a mistake.  I missed two calls on Monday afternoon.

When I checked my phone at 5pm on the 1st of July there was a message from the Plastics Appointment Team at Derriford Hospital and could I ring them after 9am on Tuesday.  You bet I could! I anticipated that they might have an appointment for me in the late Autumn or early Winter… how wrong was I?  At home I was full of nervous anticipation.

Tuesday came round soon enough, the usual routine …. up, shower, school uniform – no breakfast as I had been doing the 16:8 diet and the pounds were dropping off (6lbs in 2 weeks – no food after 8pm and before noon), into school, strong coffee, Leadership Team Briefing, drop ins on tutor time to hear guided reading, ensure students were correctly dressed and had the correct equipment.  At 9am I retreated to my office and dialed the number… no reply, only an ansaphone message.  This happened until I finally got through and spoke to a friendly voice.. I gave my name and hospital number and the friendly voice invited me to have reconstructive surgery in 7 days – Tuesday 9th July.  The friendly voice said she would phone back at 1.20pm to see what I thought.  Surgery wasn’t with Mr X but his colleague, Mr A, who’d come in to pick up some slack.  I was discombobulated.

I phoned Nick – he said “yes go for it”.  I phoned the BCN… left a message… she phoned back and she too was discombobulated as the Plastics team had not thought to speak to the Primrose Breast Care Centre.  This lady is extremely experienced and very sensible, we talked it through, she said about how I’d not even met Mr A so before I made any sort of  decision I’d better meet with him as it wasn’t a good idea to rock up on the morning of the surgery and say “rebuild me”.  She made the arrangements.  I was under no obligation.  The friendly voice from the Plastics team phoned.  The BCN had spoken to her and I explained that I was meeting Mr A in his private clinic on Monday 8th July so should be good to go at 7.30am on Tuesday 9th July – providing Mr A thought I was a viable candidate and I liked him.  The wheels were in motion.  Now to tell the Principal and HR team.  It was 3 and a half weeks until the end of term, we had Presentation Evening, new Staff Induction and a variety of other activities to fit in before the end term.  Could I fit these in and complete all the NQT assessments by Monday 8th July.  Yes I dam well could.  Bring it on.

 

Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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