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Interested to hear from successful women who...

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by supply2008, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. supply2008

    supply2008 New commenter

    are mothers!
    Just wondering what your career path looked like? Did you take time out to raise your child/children or work part time and then go back to full time?
    Have you managed to get to your career goal and have children? How do you juggle being a member of SLT & a mother?
    Any views greatly appreciated!
  2. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    A mum with primary age children and I'm a head. I was deputy when I had my first child - a few years into my first DH post. I was deputy in a different ( much larger) school when I had 2nd.
    Always worked full time ( I was told I couldn't return as deputy part time and I'd worked my butt off to get there) it was tough but I'm glad I stuck it out.
    I was v young when I got my 1st DH post (not so much by today's standards but it was unusual at the time) I perhaps stayed a deputy longer than most and this was partly down to being a mum ( 10 months maternity leave in total so it does impact on career) but mostly down to wanting to gain experience and find the right school.
    So glad I did

    Kids were 2 and 7 when I became a head. Hard work but I adore it. I'm now doing other stuff alongside my headship. I do love the time I spend with my kids. Weekends and holidays are precious.

    It depends on your school, your support network and childcare arrangements but also your personality. You have to thrive on challenge and being stupidly busy.
  3. I agree with Curly girl - if you are a woman you fight your way to the top, especially if you want a family! I have similar horror stories of treatment. As a young deputy my head was horrified about me being pregnant and pushed and pushed me to take a demotion on my return. I refused and also fought to have a year working 0.8. The LA were involved and the claws were out! I won. When I came back to work my class were the worst in the school and I sorted them out and my workload increased. The head didn't speak to me for a year. I got a headship as quick as I could. At interview I was told that I would not manange my job if I chose to have any more children in the interview and the question about more children was asked. I had another child during my Headship and it was fine. I'm in my second Headship with two primary aged children. I have always worked and am close to both children. I actively encourage women and men to pursue their dreams and support all my staff who have young children. We all muck in and look after each other's children if anyone is stuck in a meeting or whatever. It isn't a big issue being a parent and a school leader. Children don't stay young for long and need consistency, good care and hugs. I have a very good other half who has supported me and the children and now they are a bit older is getting his life back. You need to look after your relationship if you are busy and have children. I used to expect my partner to keep to my sort of timetable and get all the housework done, feed everyone, do the homework, ironing and have fun with the children. I have had to learn that not everyone sees mess/thinks it matters and you have to let some things go and chill out a bit. You can't help being a good leader and you flounder about like everyone else as a parent!
  4. Weezy18

    Weezy18 New commenter

    I was a member of the SMT in my fourth year of teaching (two form entry primary). A year and half later I had my first child. I went back to work when she was 4 months (I now do wish I'd taken longer off). Our head retired and despite advertising for one we ended up with the deputy acting up and myself and another leader job sharing the acting deputy role for a term. I then went on maternity leave with my second child just as a new head was appointed.
    This time I have had 9 months off and am moving to a new school in September as a member of the SMT again. It is a sideways move as I have the same responsibilites BUT for me this is best, as although I enjoyed doing the acting deputy role I would like more experience in another school before making the leap permanently. Plus I want to enjoy my children's early years and I know that I can manage the workload I have now well and still have time with them.
    I agree childcare is an issue. I have to do all the pick ups from nursery due to my husband's job and where he works and on days when it is parent's evenings he has to take half a day off work otherwise we wouldn't be able to pick them up from nursery.
    I do pretty much everything in terms of housework/shopping/cooking on top of my planning in an evening. I am slowly getting to my husband to do more, but his hours are erratic at work and I can't rely on him to get stuff done that needs doing! Although he does try and do as much as he can when he is home.
    I know where I want to go in my career and headship is something I would like, however I am in no rush to get there just yet.
    I find having a routine and being organised both at school and home is the key. Although it has taken a while for me to get that balance right.
    Good luck.

  5. Weezy18

    Weezy18 New commenter

    Forgot to say I only worked four days a week after returning to work on my first maternity leave and was seconded to my LA for a half a day per week also. This time I am returning full time.
  6. Yes I have always been pleased to say you can have it all. I had 2 young children when I started teaching and had another along the way. The secret of success has been a good child minder and supportive husband who would take them to school and prepare the odd meal. I am now an Assistant head teacher and proud of my career achievements and my children who grew up happy well- balanced , sociable and all went to Uni. But - it IS incredibly hard work. Don't expect to have time for yourself, hobbies etc. Over the years the majority of staff have been supportive, but there is sometimes resentment from female managers who have sacrificed ( in their eyes ) having children for their careers and then see you doing as well or better than them.
  7. I am afraid wherever you go in life there will always be people like that - I don't think it has got anything to do with anything except they are miserable about choices they made
  8. bonniews

    bonniews New commenter

    I am different I wasn't a teacher I worked in industry. I chose to stay at home when my first child was born and subsequently had 2 more in quick succession. I was off work for 7 years in total until the youngest went to primary. In this time I did my degree part time.
    I then worked part time 10 - 2 term time only and taught evening classes. I went full time a few years later at a college and became a secondary teacher when my youngest started secondary. I have worked full time and progressed up the ladder to HOD and am currently applying for AHT roles.
    I am 45. I dont regret my chosen course I wanted to spend time with my kids when they were young and my husband ran his own business so juggling childcare would have been a nightmare. (and for 3 kids the cost was prohibative, I'd have been working for nothing).
    But at the same time I appreciate how hard it is for those who work and raise young children I dont think I'd have coped like they do, lol.
    It hasn't affected my prospects as such probably because I took the time to do my degree in my 'downtime'.
  9. blueone

    blueone New commenter

    Ive just returned to work FT having had close to a year off on mat leave for first baby. Although im not SMT, just a class teacher, I work in a very demanding school with a lot of work and high expectations of staff. We are expected to constantly work at Ofsted outstanding standards, which is very stressful and tiring. It is good for the career though and many teachers from our school have gone onto a management role. So im finding this tread very intersting as i have management aspirations. Im struggling a little, finding the work-life balance not balanced at all, mainly tipped toward the workload end of the scale! By the sounds of what people are saying, you have to make lots of sacrafices to be a working mum, socially especially! I do find the lack of 'lfe' hard to deal with, and sometimes find myslef daydreaming about having an hour to read a mag and do my nails. I am lucky that i have a very supportive OH who drops babs off in the morning at nursery, gives me lots of breaks and does equal baby shifts, also my mum lives very close and picks him up and give him his tea.But its god damn hard, isnt it? Im considering asking for part time at the moment, even just one day off would be a god send! Those of you who've had/have 2 and do SMT must be superwomen!
  10. supply2008

    supply2008 New commenter

    Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to respond. It has been really interesting reading all of your stories. I do wonder whether I will take time out completely e.g 2-3years or PT or go back full time. I suppose I wont be able to make that decision until I have children and see how I feel.
    Some mums love coming back to work and for others their priorities have completely changed!
    Once again-thanks to all for interesting insights!
  11. I had 2 terms off with my daughter - went back as SENCO in one school at the Easter and immediately applied for deputy head at another, which I got.
    To be honest, I didn't think I would get it and thought it would be good experience, but I did and was really pleased.
    I have been there a year and a half a term and whilst I am always busy, it is definitely do-able and my daughter turned 2 last month!!
    For me, it is about being super organised, having trust in the nursery she goes to and having a super, flexible and patient husband. I couldn't do my job without him.
    I think it's a personal choice. I have worked bloody hard to get where I am career-wise and I certainly don't think my daughter is suffering for full time day care.
    Like someone else said, I don't work until after she is in bed and weekends are our fun times, as are holidays - I make sure I pack in lots of activities and cuddles!!
    I also plan to have another baby within the next two years but am confident that I will still be able to continue to do my job.
  12. Took minimum mat leave and due to financial constraints went back full time.Had a brilliant childminder . Worked in the eves when children in bed. Deputy when youngest was 2 and a head when she was 8. My marriage suffered as we did not look after ourselves when they were young. However they now are reaping the rewards of my 10 years as a head and understand what it's all been about . Don't think I would be where I am now if I had taken any more time out ( this would be 17 yrs ago and would have had difficulty returning to any position of responsibility).

  13. I was a teacher with a TLR for Literacy and Numeracy in a small primary. I had my first daughter at 26 and came back 0.4 part time. Being part time I was out of class and when most of our SMT left one by one I was in the natural position to pick up the role of assistant then deputy, increasing to 0.6, then 0.8. I used the experience to apply for a DH role at 28. My timing was lucky, but GOOD childcare is the key. If you're always late/ rushing off people seem to have a constant reminder that you're 'mum'. By having the freedom (some days!) to stay later/ arrive early I was able to attend key meetings or deal with issues after school in a DH role. IT's hard work, but to be honest I think it's easier than being in class personally as I have abit more freedom with managing my time. Others may disagree but I think class teaching is a hard slog in comparison, as SMT I can play with time a little more.
  14. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    I'm sorry but as a Head I'd have to say that if you think being a teacher is harder than being Senior Management you are not working hard enough in your role on SMT. You can have more flexibility as a Manager and Leader but in my opinion you should be working more hours with greater pressure and responsibility

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