helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

university application rant part 3

Of course, now they've actually called me for an interview, we get onto the really fun stuff. Or, "How I disclose my disabilities without prejudicing my application". Now, any normal course would be covered by the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act), but I'm applying for one of only three or four courses which is specifically excluded from it. These are medicine, nursing and teaching (and maybe vet, I'm not sure).

You see, according to the law, you can't have people who are actively mad or likely to collapse in charge of children that aren't theirs. So teacher training courses have an entirely different set of Government rules, that are separate from the DDA. As well as the actively mad or likely to collapse, they also sneak in a load of stuff about not accepting people who might be likely to need a lot of time off sick. And of course, that's where all my problems come in.

The actual Graduate Teacher Training application form has a box precisely 11.2cm x 0.9 cm (112 x 9 mm) in dimension in which you are supposed to state your disability and all the special needs and support you need as a result of it. Who the fuck designed this form? I can't even write the names of all the conditions I've been diagnosed with in a box that size, let alone the extra support I need as a result of them! So I just put "Will supply details directly to universities", on the basis that would give me time to think.

KCL's Disability Office are absolutely wonderful - I called them to find out how clued up the college was on disability issues, and to find out whether they were used to dealing with disabled people on the teaching course (roughly half the course is spent on placement in schools, and it's essential that the department is able to adequately brief the school, or that extra funds are available from somewhere for any additional support I'd need). Apparently they'd had someone with mental health issues on the course that year, but not anyone with a physical disability - however they were confident that they had a pointy enough stick to whack the department into shape. And they sent me all sorts of documentation and useful phone numbers & things. But I still need to actually tell them what I think I'll need, and pass a medical done at the Occupational Health department.

You see, the problem is, I've had shitloads of time off work this year because of illness. But I actually now have a diagnosis, and a treatment programme. And since I've been following that, I've hardly been ill at all. Witness my cold this week being the first actual cold I've had since February. In real terms, I'm healthier than I've ever been, because I know how to stop myself getting ill again now. But on paper, I have stupidly large amounts of absence.

And then you have the thing that most medical professionals haven't even heard of hyperventilation syndrome, and they seem to be trained in distrusting things they've never heard of. And the asthma thing - "ooh, you can't be doing chemistry if you have asthma" (well actually, I spent three years at university doing 24 hours a week in lab, using far more noxious chemicals than anything I'm likely to encounter in a school, and I had not a single disabling asthma attack, only a couple of minor wheezes that were dealt with by my reliever inhaler. And I'm sure it is possible to purchase a face mask for not much money which I could use in the event of having to deal with a lab accident, and this will be covered by the Disabled Student's Allowance that I should receive.) What else? Oh yes, students will laugh at me for my walking stick and wrist braces. (yes, they will, but so fucking what? After 9 years, I'm used to it. And after a few weeks, they'll either respect me enough not to care, or they'll act like prats for me because they always act like prats in science classes.)

And the piece de resistance (add accents, I cba) - "you have an anxiety disorder, what do you think you're doing going into a stressful job?". Well, actually, I think I'm in a better place to handle stress than the majority of people who've never been anxious, because I've had to learn coping mechanisms and learn to realise when I'm getting too stressed. As a result, I know my limits. Other people, who've never suffered from stress, won't know where their limits are. And... there's stress, and there's stress. Having been bullied appallingly at school, I'm prepared for anything. Frankly, I'm prepared for everything bar a kid pulling a knife on me, and I expect after the course to be prepared for that too.

Ah, fucking hell. Got to put this in English, and without the swearing. Honestly, forget all my illness and disability thing. The one major bar to me being a teacher is that I swear too much. Going to have to learn some "acceptable" swear words!

Grr, goddamnit, don't know what to write!

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