After the birth of my daughter (she was my second child, my first child died at birth) I returned to my role full time after 2 months. This is because they refused to allow me to do a staged return. Ok, not relevant exactly….but illustrates their attitudes I feel, I tried to return to my teaching role on a part time basis. Other employees with my job title had managed to return to work after maternity leave and change from full to part time successfully.
I applied for flexible working (offering to be very flexible with hours/days/term time only or otherwise doing a trial period/ doing a job share/ split shifts etc) they turned me down flat. I pointed out I needed a chance to put my case forward, have meetings with a representative, and have the opportunity to appeal a refusal etc. they agreed to “start over”.
It was a sham from the get go. They didn’t listen to me in the meetings. They admitted they never asked anyone else about a job share, they were dismissive of my ideas and wouldn’t discuss anything. Naturally they turned down my application! I appealed. More phoney meetings. They wouldn’t even consider any of my proposals. They even questioned what I would do if I had another child later!
I returned to my role full time. Partly because I’m stubborn I guess! They wouldn’t let me teach, mark, assess, assist in a classroom, verify or anything! I was doing cleaning and setting up classrooms. My maternity cover was kept on doing my role instead of me. They even gave her my desk! They said this was because the students were nearing the end of their course and it wouldn’t be fair on them to have a new teacher (even an additional one!). However I left for my maternity leave at exactly the same point in the academic year 12 months previously. There was no concerns about handover and student experience then.
My manager was very rude and unwelcoming towards me. She told me I was sulking because I hadn’t got my own way and that she had people calling her up looking for teaching jobs! I accidentally saw emails I had sent to her regarding my return to work that she had forwarded to my colleagues with comments about how I was being sneaky and awkward and trying to be tricky.
I couldn’t bear to be there any longer. So left and told them I could not work my notice in the circumstances.
I had printed off those emails and I took the college to tribunal. I WON! Unfair dismissal and discrimination. It was incredibly stressful. They thought I wouldn’t go through with it. They had worked for me for years…..I am nothing if not focused and determined….and, as I said, stubborn! I received significant compensation from them.
I have since had another child. I would like to return to teaching in the future….but the field in which I taught was a small one. I worry I will be unable to find someone to take me on if they think I am a trouble maker.
I’m thinking of retraining.