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Date published

8 February 2019

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How it all started

I have always had hearing loss, but only so bad as to need hearing aids in the past 8 years. I worked as an IT tutor in offender learning and my classes ran as workshops. This was fine, as I could go to each individual as they needed support, and they could work on each module at their own pace. It was decided I needed to do classroom/group training, which was impossible for me: the room was too large for me to hear questions from the back of the room, the PCs all faced away from me so I couldn't see if someone was having trouble or if they were calling for me, and none of the students wanted it anyway. Because they did not consider moving me into a smaller classroom a 'reasonable adjustment' (which is fair, as no other room had as many network sockets), I was observed and rated a 4 (the worst score in observations). At the review, the woman who had observed me - supposedly the learning support coordinator, whose job it was to support those with learning difficulties/disabilities - told me I'd heard fine in a conference we'd attended the week before. She had never even asked me, and yet because of the acoustics of the room, I couldn't even hear her when she was facing away from me talking to the chair of the conference, and she was sitting next to me! Furthermore, at the first break, the other tutor we had gone with asked me if I was able to hear, and I told him at that point, no, I was completely at a loss. So for her to make this assumption was just - I just don't know how to describe how upsetting it was.

What I did to try to overcome it

I complained to my manager and to the union rep, but she was very popular and they didn't want to know. I was also at the time the Equality Rep for the union so I knew my rights, but I just gave up for lack of support, and resigned the following month.

How it made me feel

Bitter, frustrated, totally unable to progress forwards or backwards. Like shouting into a pillow.

The outcome

Nothing, in my case, although the woman did have a grievance taken out against her by another tutor who also had a disability.

Final thoughts

Since leaving, I've had a variety of short jobs, my income has plummeted and I'm very skint. I don't go on holidays anymore and I'm afraid to look for other teaching jobs.

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