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....
WANTED - FOR GORGOEUS MOTIVATED KIDS IN A GENEROUSLY RESOURCED DEPARTMENT - ONE HEAD OF MUSIC, WITH EMOTIONAL COMMITMENT.
Offers - anyone?