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Part time and HOD

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by TKA, May 10, 2017.

  1. TKA

    TKA New commenter

    I am due to return to work after my maternity leave and requested a part time 0.8 contract which was approved. However, the more I think about it, the more I question whether it is 'worth' the day off.

    My timetable is predominately exam classes which I will stick with when returning. Like most teachers, I work every evening and Sunday is my work day. This has been the case for many years and won't change now as my number of exam classes won't reduce if I go part time (I will lose the very few ks3 classes I have). Therefore, I applied for 4 days as I felt I might need a day to actually function now there is a baby in the equation.

    I can't really afford losing the day but have worked out a tight budget which means limited saving. I don't have to pay childcare fees as family will look after my baby on days when I am working. However, does it work being a HOD and working 4 days? I know some argue you can't do the job part time but I would like to hear the experiences of those who do and whether it is really worth losing the day (and money). Or for those that work full time with a baby - how do you find the balance between being a new mum and HOD?
  2. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    It depends on what subject you teach and the size of department. It's not ideal to have PT HODs for the obvious reasons but if it's just from 5 days to 4, that could be manageable providing that you have a strong 2nd in department that can take charge in your absence.
  3. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    But some who do go part time, still end up working from home anyway.
  4. htanner

    htanner New commenter

    Hi, I am now full time again after working 0.8. In terms of workload I find full time easier to manage as I felt I was trying to cram everything into four days. The benefit is a day off with baby! Good luck with whatever you decide.
  5. TKA

    TKA New commenter

    Thanks - that is what I am worried about. Working on my 'day off'.

    Htanner thanks for your experience. How long did you do 0.8 for? And now you are full time do you feel you see your baby enough/ have enough energy to enjoy him/her? I have visions of being exhuasted from work, exhuasted from her constant waking at night and then piles of marking building up so just not enjoying the little time I have with her.
  6. Eflmeister

    Eflmeister Occasional commenter

    I was 2nd and HoD and, having had the experience of my 2nd not always being there all the time, I can't imagine having a part-time HoD. I don't think it's fair on you as you'll inevitably get contacted on your day off about things or decisions just delayed until you're in meaning more work for you anyway. And for the 2nd it'd be hard as they aren't really in charge on the day you're off so things may tend to stagnate those days. Imagine if there was an Ofsted too on your off day? I think HoD should be a full-time post.
  7. atwoodfan

    atwoodfan New commenter

    I was a 0.8 (4 days) HOD for 2 years and felt it mostly worked really well. I had a great 2nd which definitely helped, and I did try to be proactive and pre-empt / prepare for potential issues on my day off.
    I think though it is largely up to you: it is always possible as a teacher to find more work to do! I was really disciplined and wouldn't let myself do any work (apart perhaps from nap-time) on my day off (after all, I wasn't being paid for it!). It did mean I had plenty of evening work, but having a family also can make you more committed to being efficient with your time, rather than allowing work to expand and take as much time as possible.
    In terms of the baby / toddler, the day off definitely made a difference. I had more daytime with them, could meet up with friends I had made during maternity leave, do day-trips / visit my family etc. etc.
    Good luck! (Whether this helps or not, with school age children I am working less and not as HOD so I can do some pick-ups and drop-offs, but this isn't because the 0.8 wasn't working, just a personal choice...)
  8. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I don't know where my reply to this thread went!
    One of the HODs I line-managed was in 4 days a week. She was much happier and healthier for it, and although it was inconvenient when things happened on her day out of school, nobody suffered as a result.
    Enjoy the day you have with your daughter, and don't check your school emails when she's awake or you will end up feeling as if you're at work anyway!
    sabrinakat likes this.
  9. TKA

    TKA New commenter

    I just replied but it didn't post so not sure if this will come up twice...

    Anyway, I confirmed going back full time but have honestly regretted that decision since. I can't change it now as I originally requested and was granted part time so I already look silly changing it once. I do feel it was logically the right decision as I am the breadwinner and in terms of timetabling, doing one less day didn't really reduce the number of classes I'd have to teach by much. Although the logical decision, I don't think it was necessarily the best one for my own welbeing and for my little baby. Not much I can do now...
    I am hoping the thought of full time is worse than the reality. I will just have to suck up this year and request part time again for the next academic year and hope it is granted. Atwoodfan/muso I definitely regret the fact that I won't have that special day to enjoy with her. I haven't left her once, I haven't been out alone, she still wakes constantly for feeds and is very much a mummy's girl. I can't picture leaving her at all, let alone going straight back in to the demands of full time teaching. I love my job but don't think I'll be happy at all. I just hope the year goes as quickly as my maternity leave has.

    Thanks for all of your advice
  10. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Hey, you don't sound very happy about this!
    Who cares if you feel silly or think you'll look silly. You will not be the first ever person to change their minds about something, and dare I say, it won't be the first time post-baby hormones have affected someone's decision making (I'm hoping to claim baby brain for a good few years!). If you really want to change your mind, just be honest with your head. If it's too late now, at least you'll have asked, and if they knew you before your maternity leave I can't imagine they'd think any less of you. Better to ask now than worry for a few weeks more then ask when all the timetables have been finalised.

    Alternatively, maybe someone who has done full time with a baby can contribute. It is definitely possible too.
  11. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Ask to revert to your original request. You sound really unhappy about going back full-time which doesn't bode well for anyone. Enjoy your baby and every bit of time you have together - it's a really precious time and it goes by like quicksilver.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  12. TKA

    TKA New commenter

    I am not happy, I wish I just stuck with my last decision. The problem is, before going on maternity leave I said full time...then part time...then full time again. I think I've exhuasted the excuse of hormones now! Also, timetables are all finalised. So I do feel stuck and really don't want to rock the boat. But I look at my husband who sees her for a couple of minutes in the morning and a rushed hour (bath and bed) at night and am dreading that becoming my life soon enough. I guess lots of people do it so maybe it's not as bad as I'm picturing (living on hope right now ).
  13. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I am totally claiming the excuse of hormones for as long as humanly possible! If it's important to you, ask. Beats spending the next half term and summer holiday dreading going back. Don't be too apologetic - obviously you asking after the timetables are done is inconvenient for them, but there may be some wiggle room still in the logistics of shifting things around. Like I said before, you won't be the only person ever to have changed your mind, and it won't be the only timetable review that ever needs to be looked at. Go easy on yourself - it's a big deal going back, and you need to be as happy with the adjustment as possible.
  14. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    By the way, one of our deputy heads came back 3 days a week after maternity leave, which I would never have thought possible. All sorts of things can be accommodated!
  15. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Everybody is different and having a baby is a huge, life-changing experience and a really steep learning curve. Every day presents its little challenges, decisions and times of joy and times of complete exhaustion! You can make all kinds of plans and agree to all sorts of things but often you can't predict how it will be or how you will feel till you get there.
    I had a colleague who was determined to come in for a school event even though her baby was only a couple of days old (baby arrived a little early - my colleague did a normal day's teaching the day before!) But every time she tried to leave the baby, he started crying and she found she just couldn't walk out and shut the door - every instinct in her seemed to compel her to stay. Could she have predicted this? I don't think so.
    Listen to your heart and do what feels right for you and your baby.
  16. TKA

    TKA New commenter

    I'm not sure why my replies aren't going through straight away. Anyway, as an update, I did end up asking to go back to my original part time request but unfortunately it was declined. It was too late in terms of timetabling. I'm gutted. I only have myself to blame but it is really getting me down. I mean REALLY getting me down. Thanks for all of your advice.
  17. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Oh no, that's a shame and upsetting for you. Here are a few thoughts for you...

    1. Enjoy every moment of the summer holidays with your little girl!
    2. But when you are free, get ahead with anything you can so that September can have as minimal a level of craziness as possible. Obviously, there are lots of things you can't do until term starts, but there will be some, like getting SoW in place, etc.
    3. Plan your start and finish times at school each day, and make sure you plan a couple days when you can leave school a bit earlier if there are no after-school commitments, so you can maximise time with your daughter. Stick to these times as far as possible.
    4. Change your mindset...you sound as if you have been very committed to your job before maternity leave. Accept that the priority you give it may change a bit, and some things you would have stayed late to complete perfectly may have to wait until the next day or even later. There will be a period of adapting, and you may not feel you're doing your HoD as thoroughly as you once did. As long as the important and urgent things are done, that's okay.
    5. Identify people in your dept who may want to broaden their experience or go for promotion in years to come, and give them opportunities to take on responsibilities where appropriate. This isn't shirking your work, but allowing others to develop, with appropriate support. What can you let go of, that will allow you to have a better work/life balance?

    Sure others will have lots more practical tips on how to make it work. Wishing you all the very best.
  18. TKA

    TKA New commenter

    Thank you very much muso2. This is great advice and I will act on it when returning in September. It will be hard not going above and beyond for everything because I genuinely enjoy my role but I was burning out pre baby...I can't imagine coping with that level of workload and pressure now.

    One of my main problems with trying to balance my workload is that, as I am not a core subject, every teacher in my department (except for one) teaches other subjects and are therefore line managed by other heads of department/SLT. The only teacher I line manage is getting promoted to a new role. I feel I have no one to rely on in terms of balancing my workload as everyone has 'other commitments'. They have also taken away my other main A-level teachers so it is now two of us teaching 100+ A level students with a course structure that really requires 3 teachers for it to be taught effectively (what with spec changes and all). I guess I just know that all the changes that have been made whilst I have been away on maternity leave would have made my job near impossible without a baby...now I am just lost as to how to do my job well. Sorry this is turning in to a whole different rant!! However, I can't foresee me being able to ease my workload which scares me as I don't feel I'll have time or energy for my baby. Either way, I will try and take your advice as much as possible. Thank you so much
    muso2 likes this.
  19. toadman

    toadman Occasional commenter

    Thinking of going part time next year but how does this impact on pensions?

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