Friday, March 5, 2010

Just a quick follow up

I dropped in to work on Thursday. I had my speech all composed. My head of department is an excellent boss and we worked together very well.

In my first semester I had been shocked at how few girls were continuing on to do senior IT, for example, in a class of thirty-three students only three were female. He supported me in my endeavour to change that. I created girl only IT groups and web design clubs. Finally I told him I could go no further if the girls were not offered a more appealing senior subject. He said ‘no’ at first so I waited a semester and tried again. He began to object but by the time I had finished he agreed with me. At least that is how I remember it. He took the cause to his boss, the school principal, and fought for over twelve months to male it happen. Finally we got the subject and immediately saw the number of students doing senior IT nearly double, the retention rate of students going into year twelve increased dramatically and the number if girls shot up from 10% to nearly 50%.

With this is mind I was prepared to tell him I was going to apply the same tenacity toward convincing him that I should be allowed to return to work with my baby. However it all went very easily. I chatted with him at the lunch table while he ate. My daughter wanted a feed too so I unzipped unclipped and popped her on. I think he was a bit unsure as the conversation halted a little. This makes sense as their has to be room to adjust, I mean I just got my boob out in front of my boss. Last year that was a boob to be covered up, this year it is a food source that gets uncovered a lot.
The reality is that regardless of how discrete I try to be if you are around me long enough you will 'cop an eyeful', as my younger brother likes to say.

My boss recovered smoothly and told me he would love to have me back and involved in the classes. I made sure that he realised my baby was part of the bargain and that breastfeeding would be inevitable.

I am not bothered about feeding around my students. Mostly because I believe this is an incredibly natural thing that society should be comfortable with. Our laws in Australia make breastfeeding legal and acceptable in any place where my baby is allowed. It will only be considered natural again once us mums start behaving as if it is.

So I am going, informally, back to work while still on maternity leave. Just popping in regularly and keeping involved. The next step is to teach some classes whenever my boss or replacement are away. Once my leave is up I will see about doing paid work, contracts, supply days, or even take my senior class back.

One step at a time.

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