Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I feel like I a woman who has forgotten her place. My departmental head called this morning to talk about last Friday. I had annoyed a teacher by coming in to work. I feel like this is all a big mistake, that I should just stay at home and finish my housework.

I had emailed him last Thursday explaining that I wanted to informally return to work one day per week. I wrote in the email that if I were to do this I would prefer he gave me something to work on. It is an unusual thing to have a baby in the workplace, so I am keen to make it work. That was how I ended up taking his class, and having a productive day at work.

This is where the problem was when I stopped by my old class. In doing so I annoyed the new teacher. The story is simple. It was my class, it is now hers. I checked with my departmental head about visiting and he indicated it was no problem. I waited until near the end of class and found the teacher working at her computer. I asked if I could pop on to which she responded in, what I thought was, a positive manner. I went for a quick tour of the class saying hello, showing off Eleanor and letting them show off their work. I was out in about five minutes. I thanked the teacher on the way out.

My departmental head believes the fault is with him as he did not warn her. I am left feeling like I stepped back into a silly round of office politics. Actually she was not the only one who seemed to think I did not belong. A couple of teachers stopped short of asking me to display proof that I was allowed to be there. It was as if all sense of reason had been thrown out the window. My gripe is not against this teacher, or these teachers. I am annoyed that I had to give up my classes in the first place.

Firstly I must give credit to my departmental head for what, rather than being a lapse, was a display of confidence. He behaved as if it was not a big deal at all to have me come back to help out. That he did not run around paving the way for me made things feel normal. The young tech guy who I shared a staffroom with likewise was completely unconcerned. The one time that my daughter became grizzly he dropped a reassuring comment basically letting me know the students were much more noisier and distracting then she was.

In our society there is no allowance for a woman to both raise a child and work. It had been forgotten that I was a valued member of staff, instead people behaved as if they had never met me. I could see them wondering who was this woman with a baby and what right did she have to be here. I could see them wondering whether it was safe to leave me alone with students. I am thankful for a boss who has common sense… this is not a big deal people, at least it should not be. I am still the awesome teacher I was six months ago, I just have a baby attached to me now.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading about your day at work -- I was quite inspired! I occasionally bring my 3 year old into the university where I am a grad student, for a few hours at a time -- once to a seminar (armed with a laptop and headphones so she could watch a movie...). I have a second one due in August and have been thinking about whether it is going to work this time round -- with my eldest daughter the university I was at then was very supportive but this one doesn't quite have the same facilities.

    Anyway, I hope things get better and it can be worked out. Sounds like your boss is pretty cool about it. It must be really good for teenagers to see real-life parenting close up with a baby, I think. Teenagers are often separated from children these days unless they get paid to babysit! I'm sure it would have helped me in mothering if I had seen more peopel do it when I was a teenager.