WomenEd Blogs

Job, Life and living.


by Julie Hunter @MsHMFL  @PledgeForChange20

There have been lots of press articles recently about lack of teachers and there being a recruitment problem. I have experienced the lack of retention of superbly talented teachers who are leaving due to work place demands. A colleague went on jury service and came back, resigning immediately. The reason being they had seen friends, family and had quality time to think about life.

Teachers have 2 modes, term time and holiday time modes. Lots of tweets this summer have been around the topic of life admin being completed. I had a conversation with a medical practitioner recently during the heatwave and they had been inundated with teachers. The question they asked was whether their employer was following best practice guidance on making changes to help employees cope with the rising temperatures. Not one teacher was able to answer with heatwave changes due to exam marking, reports, sporting events etc.

My pledge for change this year is to model wellbeing in a better way as a school leader. If we are responsible for the retention of teachers in the system and growing the next generation of leaders then we have to model wellbeing.

Some leaders will say loud and proud that they do no work when they leave the school building. Some leaders are seen emailing all weekend, others are seen filling their boot with marking every Friday. Wellbeing is a different fit for us all. As a working parent I am the person marking at the weekend. This works for school pick up, marking while a film is on and being at home with my family. It's not ideal but I cannot stay in school all hours and need to be at home too. That's my compromise. I explained this to a working parent colleague recently and they agreed that the ethos of presenteeism is rewarded in many schools. Parenting and teaching is doable. It is down to leaders to be non-judgemental when any colleague leaves school at a perfectly reasonable time. A healthy happy teacher will perform well and stay in the profession.

My pledge for change is to speak up for parents in the teaching work force. @maternityCPD project is doing a great job in raising awareness at the start of the parenting teacher journey. We need to be proactive in supporting them as parenting never stops. I have seen so many talented teachers giving up responsibility points, going part time at crunch points in their parenting journey. My pledge for change is to show that it can be done.

No one should need to be given the advice I had when gaining a promotion, which was don't let the job ruin your family.

This rang in my ears last year as I left the house before seeing my family at breakfast and returned after they had already gone to sleep. It rang in my ears when I arranged for them not to be home all day Saturday and Sunday so that I could get my work done. It was only in the summer holidays when I could see what that advice had been - well meaning and from a teaching parent who had made the same mistakes. My pledge for change is to heed that advice this year and to help model that teaching can lead to living a full life - not just a holiday life.

I was watching a movie in the holidays, actually watching without marking! The main character had a boss who had emailed at 4pm on a Friday saying they needed a document before Monday. The character had already stayed late and was going to be late again to do the school pick up. The character turned to their boss and said, " I have two jobs, I can't tell my children that being a parent is less important than my paid job. I'll start it on Monday." The boss looked shocked and then told the employee to go and have a great weekend and to enjoy their family time. How often do we say have a great weekend to our colleagues knowing that they will be planning, marking, emailing, reading or researching their latest CPD project and basically working on their paid job? Pledge to change and foster a culture where employees irrespective of being parents or not can have a truly get weekend.

We have a job, we have a life and my pledge for change is to get to the living it part.

Now I'm off for a mummy/ daughter day before my pledge gets tested.

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Wednesday, 29 June 2022

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