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Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

I have had arthritis since I was 3, I am now 24. I obviously have good days and bad. I am currently working full-time as a primary school teacher. This job is physically and mentally draining at the best of times, but with rheumatoid arthritis I find it even more challenging.

I am struggling with working full-time and finding the time to feel rejuvenated to do my job to my best ability. I love my job but feel I would be better suited to teaching in a part time role, however, financially this isn’t really an option.

How do people manage to work, feel financially stable and well rested in between? I just can’t seem to find an answer

  1. I am not for certain they do. I know I did not. This is so difficult and I as a person who used to work with teachers I understand the physical and mental demands of the job.

    So if it cannot really be done, that means the question is what can you compromise on to be the best you can. First, make sure your medications are optimized. If you need to talk to your doctor about changing a medication be sure and do that.

    Second prioritize. As a young teacher, it is likely that profession will be the top priority, so if it is make it the top priority. Let other things slide. Rest has to be your second priority. and finally ask for hep. I know it will be difficult to do but you may have to ask your principal about additional classroom help. If not then ask for help at home.

    You can do this, but it will not be easy.

    1. Hi . My heart goes out to you. As a young teacher, I am sure you are bursting with the desire to dive right in and really reach out to these kids. I hope you are able to continue teaching full time, but you might also want to prepare for a second career just in case. There are less physically demanding jobs in the education field, jobs that will allow you to sit when you need to or take a moment for yourself. It might take a little more education to get there though. For instance, you could become a guidance counselor. As demanding as it can be, at least it is more deskwork and less standing. You could also look at entirely different careers that allow you to work from home and that might be more flexible. Teachers are in high demand in the business world because of their abilities to manage people, instruct in layman's terms and manage their time. Please do talk to your principal first though. There might be options you haven't even considered. Sending lots of gentle hugs your way. - Lori (Team Member)

      1. Hi . My wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here), also has JRA. She was diagnosed at two, over 40 years ago. Kelly has worked full time her whole adult life, but has certainly had to make changes or get accommodations at times to make the employment possible. I want to share this article she wrote which, while largely about changes jobs to accommodate life with RA, also includes good information on balancing RA and work: of particular importance is remembering that you have to take care of yourself and any good employer should want that as well, so that you can be the best for them. Wishing you the best. Richard ( Team)

        1. I agree with the other posters. I am a teacher myself. I think from what you are saying that you should talk to your principal and see if there are options. Do they know you have RA? Could you mix some teaching with office work or counselling, etc? Could you have a slightly lighter teaching load? Perhaps you could do some curriculum development as well as classroom teaching?

          Be honest and see what they say. Warmest wishes!

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