Any teachers? Advice would be great...

Hi all,

I have been diagnosed with RA for a little over 12mths now. This is in my fingers, wrists , shoulders and feet. And while ok mostly the flare ups are not so great.

My biggest issue is marking work. I am a teacher at a college and I teach a wide variety of subjects many of which are coursework based and so marking load is crackers. This itself is tricky but with site wrists and hands makes it nearly impossible. If I spend a couple of hours marking it makes my wrists sore for days. And I have more than a couple of hours worth a day.

An to advice on what I could do would be really appreciated as I am struggling at the moment and know that this will potentially only get worse. I am in my late 40s with quite a lot of teaching ahead of me yet!




  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,565

    Hi @Steveg

    I know this isn't your hello post, but I can see your are a teacher who has Rheumatoid Arthritis. Your hands and wrists are really sore and marking work is a large and painful part of your job.

    I am unsure whether any of our members teach (at least are not currently teaching), but wondered whether you might find these two articles interesting? They are people's personal stories about how they coped with working with Arthritis.

    The first is a Doctor, Amy who has Psoriatic Arthritis:

    This is Bobby's story he has had JIA:

    I hope we do have some teachers out there who can tell you what they do to cope with handwriting.

    Best wishes


  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 658
    edited 26. Apr 2022, 08:18

    Hi @Steveg

    I find compression gloves help my hands - they compress but also hold in the body heat whilst still allowing movement. My finger joints and wrists ache more when I don't wear them. Also have you tried hand splints? They didn't work for me - I found them too restrictive and caused cramps - but it's maybe worth a try. Immersing my hands in hot water helps - I even volunteer to do the dishes these days. You can also get therapy putty for doing hand exercises with.

  • Steveg
    Steveg Member Posts: 7

    Thanks. I use compression gloves at various times and a splint which i am currently wearing to reduce movement in my writer which is particularly sore at the moment. I will look more into therapy putty as I wouldn't get chance to do the washing up and get my hands in hot water 🙂.

    Teaching etc is fine but it's the marking load that is the killer.

    Thanks Steve

  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 144

    I have had widespread OA for many years and as a long-time retired teacher I still recall the dreaded piles of marking, report writing etc! At the time my preferred way of coping was to treat my hands to a wax bath after completing each evening's paper work. I found that relaxed the overworked muscles and soothed the resulting pain so that sleep was possible.

    Many years on I continue to use my wax bath from time to time so it has certainly been among my best investments.

    I found that splints helped reduce wrist and thumb pain but could be cumbersome when handwriting comments on students' work and I didn't find compression gloves practicable while working - although I wore them for driving and at other times. I always used thick-barrelled pens, experimenting until I identified a model that suited me.

    We are all different so it is almost always a matter of trial and error to discover the best solutions for yourself. Happily teachers are usually adaptable and inventive so I am sure you will succeed in your search for effective answers.

  • mcdpembs
    mcdpembs Member Posts: 2


    Not sure if this would work for you or your subject, but does your school use Google Classroom? If it’s possible, maybe some of your pupils could complete their work online using Google Classroom and then you can leave verbal feedback with the Google App Mote. Or, you could use speech to text on a Word doc and print feedback on work.

    Also, speak to the SMT about your condition and accommodations they can support you with as under Equality Act 2010 you should receive support in the same way that children with needs have accommodations.

    Could children do more self assessment/ peer assessment in class? Could a TA help with some of the more mundane marking and you just look over? Does every single piece of work need marking in the same way? I’m not sure what your subject is or level you teach at.

    These are just a few ideas. Hope you find something that manages.

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,565

    Apologies for Hijacking your post @Steveg

    I just wanted to welcome @mcdpembs to the Online Community.

    Hi and a warm welcome to you @mcdpembs I always like to see when someone's first post is helping another member. Thank you for that some good tips which hopefully Steveg might be able to use.

    Please do take a look around the forum now you're here I hope there will be information to help you too. Living with Arthritis tends to be the most popular category.

    The main Versus Arthritis website is well worth a look if you haven't already?

    I hope to see more of your posts in future.

    Best wishes


  • Hi

    I’m a teacher living with RA and I totally sympathise with your issues re marking.

    I have the same problem with typing as we have to make power points for every lesson we teach and I spend much of each evening typing and then marking.

    I use fingerless compression gloves which help. I am waiting for a visit from an OT to my workplace to see if there are any changes that can be made to the physical environment, but I think the worst part is the long hours and the constant RA/ teaching exhaustion.