I should of guessed I’d have problems at work if I got pregnant, when I was sent home ill with a stomach bug my boss the head teacher walked me out saying I hope you’re not pregnant. A year later I was pregnant and informed her early on and that’s when things started to change, deadlines were changed instead of months away suddenly things needed to be done over a weekend or the next day. I was a member of the leadership team but I was now not needed at certain meetings relating to monitoring staff and Ofsted I was replaced in the meetings by one of my team, the reason they gave was I wasn’t going to be there. I was also not needed at IT meetings when I was the IT coordinator when discussing updating the servers/ computers etc even though I’d attended previously.
We had a new school governor and the head teacher introduced me to her by saying “this is the early years leader with the big stomach”. The head teacher also made a couple of comments about how the size of my breasts had changed.
The lessons I taught in nursery were suddenly unsatisfactory (before I was pregnant they were all outstanding or good) my teaching hadn’t changed so I didn’t know what to do. I started to change things but so did the goalposts, I got stressed as to what she was actually looking for.
I got chastised for how many training courses I’d been on and that I would not be allowed to go any more. The courses I had attended all had to be approved by the head teacher before they were booked and I’d also been sent on courses to cover the head or deputy when they couldn’t attend.
As I taught in nursery the staff never left the children whilst they were there, I was initially allowed to have a morning break of 10 mins because my lunch was 1-2 otherwise I wouldn’t have left the classroom from 8.30am. This was then changed. I could go to the toilet but would need to get someone from another class to cover, consequently I stopped drinking as much because you couldn’t always find someone to cover and it was difficult to send a 3 year old around the school to find a spare person.
When I started my maternity leave at first I was kept informed as to what was happening within the school in as much as still receiving the weekly diary, this suddenly stopped. I contacted the school secretary to arrange a visit, a date and time were confirmed with the secretary to catch up with staff, parents and children. When I went in the head teacher informed me that I couldn’t just come in and go into my old classroom it wasn’t mine it was suggested I’d just turned up unannounced.
I met with the head teacher to discuss my return and to apply for a reduction in hours. I completed the various paperwork with a union rep and attended a meeting to state my case also with a union rep, but my application was rejected. I heard nothing from the school for months. With a few months to go before I was due to start back, I contacted the school to arrange a meeting about starting back. During this meeting I was informed that they had removed my leadership responsibilities as of the previous June (maternity leave started in April). The head teacher also said that I would now be teaching a year 5 class (9-10 yr olds) my degree was specialising in early years 5-7 years. I had never taught in my 10 years of teaching, a child/class over the age of 7. I came home spoke to my husband and handed my resignation in the following week it was accepted even though I’d missed the cut off point for teacher notices.
The way I was treated took a toll on my health, confidence and self esteem and I’m still unsure about getting back into teaching.