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Best time in career to have a baby?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Pl501, May 3, 2019.

  1. Pl501

    Pl501 New commenter

    I have only been in education for about 3 years and have just gotten married.

    I’m a Year 2 teacher and am interested in taking on leadership responsibilities asap.

    I’ve been told I’m not ready to step into a paid position for September, but I’ve been asked to take on a KS1 lead role “unofficially” for the 2019-2020 academic , and that after a year, I’d be in a really good position to plead my case and get the job with the title and pay in 2020-2021.

    I’ve also started thinking more seriously about starting a family, and would love to start trying to conceive straight away but fear what it will do to my career...

    Is doing a job unofficially and without pay or recognition worth it for a whole year? What if it doesn’t even pay off - it would also mean me waiting another 2 years minimum before starting a family...

    On the other hand, if I decide to try for baby stop me from moving up the ladder afterwards?

    I’m so confused! What should I do?
  2. Catjellycat

    Catjellycat Occasional commenter

    I had a baby in my second year of teaching. And then another one in my fifth year. I had no senior responsibilities before then.

    I'm now in my fifteenth (jeebus) and whilst I'm not in teaching anymore, I was in the SLT in a part time position when I left.

    Having the baby earlier on worked for me.
    agathamorse, Pl501 and Curae like this.
  3. Pl501

    Pl501 New commenter

    Thank you for sharing what worked for you. Makes me feel better that it doesn't have to be one or the other.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    Becoming pregnant should not stop you from progressing at work.

    From what you’ve said, this time seems like best to have children, you are in the early stages of your career and you’ve got at least 35-40 years until retirement age anyway so there’s plenty of time to progress.

    You’ve only been teaching for 3 years, so don’t rush into management; there are always opportunities to progress within the education industry, whether you’re looking for just a phase leader position, Deputy/ Assistant Head or even Headteacher.
  5. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Don't over-think it … if this is the right time in your life for you to have a baby and you want to do it, then go for it. If you chose to be at home with children for five years, schools and teaching would still be there when you're ready to return and you would be able to re-build your career then.
  6. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    I would say it depends on your age if you are 35_40 go for the baby now and dont wait. If you are in your twenties definitely secure a middle management role Then think about having children. I think most employers actually lose a lot of female talent because of their lack to adapt roles to a part time basis and once you have children it is more challenging to juggle so having professional experience before children is advantageous.
    For me my personal life is my priority which actually doesn't st mean I give less of a service to my kids at school.
    Pl501 likes this.
  7. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Sounds great and I am pleased that you managed this but if OP is young I would still go for securing a post before If age is on her side although nothing is impossible.
    Pl501 likes this.
  8. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Never a ‘ best ‘ time ?
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I'm sorry but this is your school taking the proverbial!

    Get pregnant as soon as possible and do the whole maternity thing, possibly more than once, over the next few years while staying with a classteacher role. Move around different year groups and gain experience that will aid you in leadership, while keeping things reasonably simple.

    Then once all your hoped for maternity leave/s are done and dusted, look for a post in a new school that will pay you straight away.
  10. Pl501

    Pl501 New commenter

    I'm 27 so time is still on my side - but I still don't want to wait too long as I'd ideally like 2-3 children.
  11. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Sounds to me like they just want a freebie for a year!
  12. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    Super advice above. If you want children then just have them. Don’t ever fit family life and progression around work. Teaching will always be there. There are plenty of schools that would pay you. They are taking the biscuit asking you to do that for free. Having babies will not stop you progressing. I think having children can only benefit you. It sounds like you really want to start trying. I’m due my baby girl soon and I can tell you that she is more important than any job. I can’t wait to be a mum! xxx
  13. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Aside from the pregnancy issue, it's always a good idea to be a little wary of "do it for a year unpaid and then we'll see". The school should have a published staffing structure. Either that includes a TLR post as KS1 phase leader or it doesn't. Maybe they'll change it in a year's time, but it's also entirely possibly that they won't. By all means do it, but don't count on them offering pay next year. Who has been doing it this year?

    If they don't think you're ready for the responsibility, why do they think you'll be okay to do it unpaid? Assisting someone else, fair enough, but it sounds as if they're talking about you actually doing the job.

    However if you decide to go for it, don't let that stop you trying for a baby. You don't know how long it will take to conceive, and you don't know whether you'll want to carry on charging up the career ladder immediately afterwards anyway - often people are glad to just be a classroom teacher while their children are young. I'm guessing, but you've probably got at least another 30 years before retirement, so there's no rush.
  14. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    If you want a baby, go for it. There is no guarantee you will ever have one anyway, but the younger you try the more likely it is.

    You have no idea if it will take one month or 6 months or 12 months anyway.

    You can't plan for exactly if and when a baby arrives.

    You can miss the boat completely and regret it.

    What ever you do, don't waste your time working extra for nothing for anybody under any circumstances. This "unofficial" position is exploitation pure and simple. No one who tells you you will be in a good position to "plead " for a job after working unpaid for a year has any integrity at all. I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them. They re not thinking of your interests at all.

    Management positions are two a penny. In my school no one will consider being HOD, so it has now been offered to TAs, and NQTs. My linemanger is a NQT and completely useless, but no one else would consider the job, so she was all they got.

    Its complete nonsense to say 3 years is too early for a management position. In fact, in my experience, after that, interest in management positions decline sharply

    If you want a management position, you will always be able to get one in London, nyway.

    Its plain daft to plan a family around that
  15. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    Doing a leadership role for free is a bad idea! It is likely that they will continue to expect it.

    Baby-wise, don't put it off for your career. I'm a similar age to you and pregnant with my first. It's my second year of teaching. I would rather take the hit on my career now and then go back and build it up when baby is at school and so on, so I have the chance to enjoy the important milestones in her life. I intend to put her first so if teaching does not make itself compatible with family life, the teaching will go. I will only regret expending all my energy on other people's kids whilst neglecting my own.

    A teaching career needs to be a marathon not a sprint and, no offence, because I also have leadership aspirations should I decide to stay in education, but I think more experience at the chalk face before being a leader can only be a good thing.
  16. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Another vote for trying to get pregnant now. Your job is important but getting pregnant is often tricky and if being a mother is in the long term plan start now. Obviously we all hope you'll get pregnant quickly :). Exciting!
    dunnocks likes this.
  17. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    As someone (male) with young children, you’re naive to think two things

    1) you can simply fall pregnant at a perfect time

    2) having kids changes you. Especially the mother. You don’t know that child will be healthy. You don’t know if you’ll even want to continue in the same career path. You don’t know if you’ll decide you want to halt or stay where you’ll be comfortable.

    I’d advise you don’t overthink it. Take it from me, life changes dramatically
  18. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Go for a baby now if you're ready.

    Never a good time. Start looking for a new career for the medium/long term...

    Teaching and children aren't a good mix. Some people manage it, of course, bit it is very difficult.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Get cracking. Have you considered that you might not become pregnant at the drop of a... hat?
    Fertlity starts declining by the time you're 30. I know plenty of women who deferred pregnancy until their mid-30s for various reasons, and then found getting pregnant was more difficult than anticipated. Add in this new age restriction on IVF and I think it would be madness for anyone to wait!

    If you have to find something good to say about teaching as a job, it is extremely easy to drop in and out of. Which is more than you can say for motherhood!
    agathamorse and Piscean1 like this.
  20. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Decide whether a family or a career is more important at this stage for you.

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