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returning half way through a half term - acceptable?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by all_heart, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. all_heart

    all_heart New commenter

    Just phoned my HT about dates for coming back and it's half way through the 1st summer term (primary school), I don't want to go back after Easter as it's too early, plus my LO was born end of the month so I thought go back at the end of the month when she will be 8 months exactly. I don't want to go back the may half term as it's late this year (in June) and money has well run out by then. Any how I phoned her to say and she go in a massive grump with me saying how it'll be bad for my class as the cover teacher they have will probably leave at Easter to start a new job if she gets one (fair enough) and they will have a mix matched teacher for 2 weeks until I'm back. I said I've spent years thinking about my class and because I'm returning full time (which she should be pleased about) I want to spend every last week I can with my LO. She was so not happy and when I asked that reports are due in end of May and does she need to prepare the cover to do then/some of them she said NO YOU WILL DO THEM!
    This is meant t be a happy time, she has totally saddened it for me -any other job you can come an go any time, just because we are teachers why does my LO have to miss out.


    I know I sound selfish to my class (who I haven't met as I went to leave in the summer) but in the past 10 years I have given teaching my all and as my LO will be an only child I feel won't have this chance again to see her growing up. For the sake of 2 weeks, is it selfish?
     
  2. all_heart

    all_heart New commenter

    Just phoned my HT about dates for coming back and it's half way through the 1st summer term (primary school), I don't want to go back after Easter as it's too early, plus my LO was born end of the month so I thought go back at the end of the month when she will be 8 months exactly. I don't want to go back the may half term as it's late this year (in June) and money has well run out by then. Any how I phoned her to say and she go in a massive grump with me saying how it'll be bad for my class as the cover teacher they have will probably leave at Easter to start a new job if she gets one (fair enough) and they will have a mix matched teacher for 2 weeks until I'm back. I said I've spent years thinking about my class and because I'm returning full time (which she should be pleased about) I want to spend every last week I can with my LO. She was so not happy and when I asked that reports are due in end of May and does she need to prepare the cover to do then/some of them she said NO YOU WILL DO THEM!
    This is meant t be a happy time, she has totally saddened it for me -any other job you can come an go any time, just because we are teachers why does my LO have to miss out.


    I know I sound selfish to my class (who I haven't met as I went to leave in the summer) but in the past 10 years I have given teaching my all and as my LO will be an only child I feel won't have this chance again to see her growing up. For the sake of 2 weeks, is it selfish?
     
  3. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    As far as I know, you can come back whenever you like. If you started your maternity leave on the lates possible date (ie your due date) and came back after 12 months, as is your right, you might well find that you leave and return halfway through a term.
    I suppose your HT can ask you to start at the beginning of term but I don't think she can force you to. Personally I'm with you- you've long enough to be generous with your class and your LO is only a baby once. Furthermore, I bet she doesn't know for sure that your cover wants to leave at Easter- s/he might not have another job to go to and be glad of the holiday pay + two weeks.
     
  4. kittenmittens

    kittenmittens New commenter

    Do what's right for you, all heart- don't feel pressured to follow what the HT wants. It would be reasonable to ask for notes from the cover teacher to help you write the reports, or for some of the statements to be done by her (not sure how your reports work)- otherwise it'll be very hard to write accurate reports on a class you hardly know! I left for mat leave at october half term and left half-done reports to go out the next month for my mat cover, she had to fill in the bits she covered with the class and write the general statement (I also left notes for this). In my school we write reports every term.
    Hope it works out ok x
     
  5. all_heart

    all_heart New commenter

    Thanks for the replies. We do 1 annual report so I'll be writing about all topics over the year. She said use the assessment data we fill out per topic/subject but I've worked there for years and the sheets we fill in are rubbish, it only shows examples of MA/LA and core to give to subject leaders and you can't gain report data from them. I think I need to ask to see her in a few weeks when the term has settled down and she's in a better mood.
    I'm not giving in and going in earlier, if summer half term were earlier I'd wait until then but it isn't so I can only do what I can. Just sad she's put a downer on a happy time for me.
     
  6. nmason

    nmason New commenter

    Sorry to hear that your head is being unreasonable. I think you are going to have to get your union involved, that's what I'd do. It is totally unfair to expect you to write reports about children you haven't taught. I know you say you can't afford to go back at half-term but could you make your money last until then? Maybe you could say your first day back will be the Monday of half-term and then start back on the Monday after (you are allowed to do this). That will mean you avoid the reports and your head maybe happier about it for the cover teacher. I was lucky, I actually offered to go back straight after Easter, but said I'd prefer to return mid May and my head said, ''no you are entitled to the full year so you do what is right for you'' however, I was only returning 2 days a week. Best wishes and enjoy your time with your little one, as you said they are the most important thing in your world.
     
  7. Your head is being completely unreasonable. You can go back at any point in the term or holidays that you want, provided you give the required notice if it is before the end of the 1 year you are entitled to take.
    In my opinion it was inprofessional of the head to respond/react in that way or possibly they don't have great experience of maternity leave and what your entitlement is. Sometimes this happens when you have a phone conversation and people don't have time to process the information and say out loud the thoughts that are going through their heads! I would suggest sending your head a letter confirming the date you wish to return to work, you don't have to give any reason for this date (i.e money etc) just a very simple I wish to return from maternity leave on xxx date - if your head is unhappy they can phone their HR team for advice and HR will soon put them straight that you get to pick your return date not the head! It is the heads job to manage your maternity leave and return as best they can to minimise the impact on the class - that isn't your responsibility. It is really unfair to try and lay guilt on you about your class and I am sure your union would take a dim view of this behaviour! Cover teacher may well be able to do the extra 2 weeks or if not someone must be covering ppa for them, could they not step into the class for 2 weeks? If it does mean the class have a different supply teacher for those 2 weeks that really isnt the end of the world, it could happen if their normal teacher was off sick, and as I say it isn't your problem. Please don't allow yourself to be pressured into returning earlier or later than you planned - stick with the date that suits you and LO.
    I am a head myself and I am currently planning my own maternity leave (bump not due till June!) and in an ideal world I plan to go back 2 weeks before the end of a term. This will mean I get a little bit of money that month plus paid holiday and I get to settle myself back in gently before the start of the next term. You must pick the date that suits you and your LO.
    With regards to the reports, again as a head I think your head is being even more unreasonable. In the same way that it would be unreasonable to expect a cover teacher to write all reports if they were taking over a class at that point in the school year - they will need to be a combined effort. Cover teacher will need to leave you notes on progress and behaviour etc otherwise any reports you produce when you return will be purely data driven and will lack the personal touch. You could get advice from your union on how to handle this if your head is still insisting it will be solely down to you to write them.
    Good luck with it all, and get your letter sent in with your return date asap. x

     
  8. all_heart

    all_heart New commenter

    It's so nice to have this reassurance I'm doing the right things and not being 'selfish' as she hinted. I do pride myself on my reports being personal and every child's is different (I don't copy and paste). I do think a combined effort is the best approach, especially the PSHE comments. I'm happy to do my share as I will be working and getting paid at that point. I feel calmer now about it, I need to phone HR to get a form to fill in about official return dates so I'll ask them then about the return date. My gut feeling is that she'll give me a bad time when I go back (sometimes is feels like she has a person every term that is in her bad books, it'll be me!) but I know now it's not personal so just grin and bear it and think about my lovely family I'll be coming home to - they are the bottom line in all this and they will keep the smiles coming!
    Cheers everyone x
     
  9. all_heart

    all_heart New commenter

    Sorry MollyM I meant to say Congratulations on your pregnancy and hope all goes well. such an exciting time x
     

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