Sunday, 10 May 2015

I am angry....

Ladies.. I am absolutely dreading going to work tomorrow.
To explain, I need to tell you a little story.
This is largely about 'Lovely work colleague who is currently on Maternity Leave" - C.
C. joined my department 7 years ago as an NQT.  For 4 years we worked side by side to build up the subject and give all the pupils at the school a vibrant musical education.  I worked hard on all the paper-work, admin, assessment and all the other 'building blocks' of development while C. organised trips, theatre visit and tours (the "Icing on the cake" of a successful department).  We squabbled from time to time in the early years, but eventually developed a very strong and comfortable working relationship.
3 Years ago C. went off on her first 12 month Maternity Leave.
She left me with 66 exam candidates in Year 11.
However, she was covered by a great Supply Teacher (E.) who had recently given up her role as Head of Music at another local school.  E. taught exam groups in the lower years and we muddled through.  When C. retuned after her Mat Leave she exercised her right to come back part-time.  She told the school that she wanted to work 3 days per week... then changed her mind and asked for 4 days...
By the middle of the next term she was pregnant again, and this pregnancy didn't run so smoothly.
She really struggled with morning sickness and there was a period in the pregnancy when she sometimes had to take time off unexpectedly.
I re-organised classes where necessary and coped.
At the end of June last year C. went off on her second Maternity Leave.
This time I pulled all the exam candidates in ever year onto my timetable (which was a VERY good thing) because...
Lovely lady with immense health issues (SD) lasted until the end of September.
Lovely non-trained and non-special cover ladies sat with the classes for two weeks.
Lovely Supply Drama Lady did her best for three weeks.
NOT lovely - in fact epically LAZY - Greek supply teacher then arrived for three months.
Lovely Supply Music Lady (who'd run her own department until Christmas) did five weeks.
Now a sweet little Irish Girl (O.R.) - who should be a permanent member of staff in September - is doing some cover until the end of C.'s Mat Leave
During the time that the Greek was working with me, I "looked into my work crystal ball" and didn't like what I saw there.....
I know C. well enough as a friend to know that she wants a job closer to her home.
I guessed that, even if she came back off Mat leave, she would be leaving me again in September.
My school is starting a 6th Form in September and I knew that my work load would grow beyond my control AND I was likely to have to train a new NQT.
I decided that my family, my music and my health were more important than having lots of money (but being too exhausted to enjoy it).
So I gave my school 25 weeks notice that I was leaving - on 17th July.
The school - in an effort to cut costs and save money - didn't advertise my job.
They just offered it to C.
After some discussions with her husband and family she accepted it, on the understanding that she would extend her Mat Leave from March until the end of June.
I think she accepted it because she was flattered and the increase in salary was very appealing.
Unfortunately... as the days have ticked by and the situation has got more real.. she has got cold feet.  In fact it was apparent that she felt that she'd made a terrible mistake and was trapped by a job offer that she should never have accepted.
On Friday she rang me to tell me that she's found a part-time job much closer to her home.
She hasn't signed anything to commit to my job role and we are still within the resignation window for this term so she is free to go.  She doesn't plan to return to my school at all - so will be obliged to pay back the money she was paid through the Mat Leave - but she is ecstatic.
She is coming in tomorrow for a "Keeping in Touch Day" and will tell the SMT tomorrow morning.
I am dreading it because I don't really know what to say to her...
I understand that she'd rather be a stay at home Mum and that she loves her boys and her family life.
But I am deeply offended that I have done so much extra work to hold the department together and now she is "waltzing off" and leaving a complete mess for September (the resignation deadline is so close that we are unlikely to get an experienced teacher for the beginning of term).
I am really angry for my kids.
On Friday evening I seriously considered offering to stay until Christmas - but this is just another example of me being a 'softie' and covering for this woman (and the school's inability to manage situations properly).
Anyway - Mark and I have a special holiday booked for September.
In a further twist - which you couldn't have made up - O.R. (the sweet Irish Girl who has been given a permanent main scale contract for September) has now told the school that she has bunions.  She went to the hospital to see a specialist on Thursday and they wish to operate.
So she'll be off for two lots of two months over the next couple of years....
Offers - anyone?


  1. I admire your commitment to your students, and understand your anger.
    However, at some point you have to consider yourself.
    I was a softie at work too, and it cost me my health eventually.
    I retired eight years early with no company pension, and too young for government pension, but it was worth it.I won't bore you with my details, but take it from someone who has been where you are, there will always be a reason to be a softie. You have done more than your 'bit'. I remember wondering if I should reconsider my resignation, but I stuck to my guns and it was the best thing I ever did.

  2. The thing which comes across in all your posts is how you do your best for your students. I doubt there'd be many people in your position who would give a second thought to what they're leaving behind when they've handed in their notice. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I wish Eleanor had had a Music teacher like you. Hers were a joke and she's ended up dropping Music as a subject. Mind you, she didn't have much choice, the school, which incidently was a specialist school in the Performing Arts, decided not to offer Music or Drama at A level this year. Go figure.

  3. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, that is rideeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeculous!!!!!!!!! Oh for goodness sake! Not surprised why you are dreading it- I know it is demanding with children but she really should have been more considerate!!!!!!!!x

  4. Some people have no moral conscience at all. I completely understand how you are feeling. I have colleagues with the 'me,myself & I' attitude they have amnesia when it comes to their colleagues who have held things together while they've been off on maternity leave, had operations and decided they don't like working nights so 'lets go sick'. Its hard not to take it personally but you have to look at your future and what you really want. Sit back and see what happens when she informs the school. on't be too quick to offer help. Good luck.

  5. I think the above have said the same as I was going to, but for your health's sake, you must look at it positively, as you've done your best and then go your own way. The school has got to take responsability for themselves. Look forward to that holiday and the years ahead doing what you really want without so much hassle. Take care and lots of huggles.

  6. I knew when I read the headline that it had to do with your job, and you being put oin an awkward situation. As Jo said above, teachers like you are are rare. I am fortuante that my DD has tow, choir and violin, that seem to have your fortitude and passion, not to mention love of sharing their gifts, but they have a large school district behind them as well. I know it is hard to resist the urge to get pulled back in. I waffled and wained over and over before pulling the plug and moving on. Have a good talk with Mark, but don't let someone pull your strings for you and make the choice you feel is best for you. I'll be thinking about you.

  7. Bunions? I didn't realize that people even got bunions in this modern day and age. Anyway--I think you must stick to your guns, as I found out when I waffled about retiring, thinking no one could take my place or do as good a job as I had done, I found out later--I was NOT indispensable. Just walk away and don't look back and enjoy your time with Mark and a nice relaxed life!!

  8. At the end of the day, it's always the reliable, hard-working people who go out of their way to make sure the students are offered as much (and more) that they need to do well who get exploited. I don't know what to say. Try not to feel too guilty. The students will get a new teacher in the end - even if they have to go for half a term without one. It's easy to say 'You're not responsible' for the mess but I know that you will feel that you are part of it. Just look forward to you lovely holiday in September and don't think about school once you've left. They will sort it in the end. All the best, Judy.

  9. I can only repeat my comment from your last post! What is ironic is that my daughter is about to come to the end of her music degree and had every intention of doing a P.G.C.E - has now reconsidered the whole idea of teaching because of her Dad's experiences and is going to work in a nursery school. What is so regrettable is that the world seems to be full of people who feel no responsibility towards their colleagues. Grrrr!