Just pregnant - asked to take over large module in October(9 Posts)
Hello everybody. I've nc'd for this, not sure why. I have just discovered I am pregnant with my third DC. This is a surprise, partly because I am very very ancient.
Anyway, I have been asked to take on a new (to me) module in October, and am having a meeting with the head of school to discuss next week. Clearly, if things work out, I will perhaps be able to teach this up until reading week maybe, but no more. But there's no way I want to tell them this at least until 12 weeks, assuming I get that far (I lost a baby last year at 13 weeks and there's a high risk of the same thing happening).
I feel guilty and a bit embarrassed. But on the other hand, they never staff this module properly (don't replace academic staff who leave for example, so have to cobble a teaching team together at the last minute kind of thing). They probably won't staff it right this time either should I lead it, and in some ways, it would be a relief to dodge this one. But it's awkward to discuss this with them knowing that I may well not be around! WWYD?
Same thing happened to me last year- and I was in charge of the teaching allocations for 6 modules! I ran parallel allocations and timetables (one with me and one without) until I was ready to tell people. In the end we had people quit and go off on sabbatical at short notice anyway so had to all change. I wouldn't worry about it too much, I'd just proceed as though you were ok to take it on until you're ready to say.
I think it would depend on whether I'd be likely to lead/teach it again when back from maternity leave, as taking over a new module is a huge pita amount of work.
If I was likely to lead it again, then I'd have the chat as scheduled and not tell HoD about the pregnancy until I was 12 weeks (or whenever I felt comfortable, like after the first scan). It's then HoD's problem to find someone to take it over, though I would graciously offer to work with them to hand it over . At least that way, any work I put in on the module before maternity leave would pay off when I came back for next year's teaching.
But if I was unlikely to lead it again, and any work I put into it this year would just be a one-off, then I'd be tempted to tell HoD in strictest confidence that I was pregnant, early stages blah blah, and that it might be a good idea to find someone else to lead the module as there's a good chance I won't be around for the whole thing. I might agree to teach on it up to week X but would dig in my heels about leading it and running around after a new teaching team. Learning one's way around a new module, and organising a new teaching team, is a lot of hassle and surprisingly time-consuming, but is usually worth it in terms of creating a base of experience for subsequent years. I certainly felt incredibly tired, stressed, etc. in late pregnancy, and there's no way I would have wanted that hassle if I knew it wasn't going to pay off later.
Congratulations! And don't feel guilty for anything - it's part of HoD's role to manage these things
I wouldn't say anything at this stage. There is plenty of time for the teaching allocation to be rearranged in the summer. Would you really have to invest a lot of effort in preparing for it before May or June, when you will know whether the pregnancy is viable?
Many thanks for this. I think I will stay quiet and see what happens for a bit.
I had a similar situation, which was complicated by one colleague going away at very short notice and being almost non-contactable for a long period in the middle (it's all a bit of a haze but I think it was health/personal) and I filled up a memory stick with some very important documents and gave it to another colleague (one of the few I'd trusted with the news) to pass on if necessary with a nod and a wink and a "burn before reading". It was all very cloak and dagger.
I think I'd only told this colleague as a personal matter, in fact, and as it turned out the colleague that went away, came back before I went on mat leave.
By the way I thought my fairly annoying HoD would have kittens when I told him I was going to be off but it turned out that 2 other colleagues had also told him the same thing within about 3 weeks of each other and he was delighted as he had enough leeway to employ one of our teaching fellows for another six months to cover us all.
(But in summary I agree that it depends if this work will be one-off or helpful for the future, but if you don't want to, don't tell anyone, and good luck with your pregnancy).
In my department, we have had several lecturers leave recently and they are not replacing them. So we are already understaffed and my absence will potentially make things worse. It's so frustrating not least because the absolute last thing I want to do is to make my colleagues lives more difficult when they have to compensate for my absence, so their workload goes up.
Having said all that, I have just discovered that I am also due some study leave. Wondering whether it would be incredibly cheeky to apply for this for the term following maternity leave. Feels a bit like I'm working the system though. Perhaps I need to consider this in more depth when I am a bit further along!
This sounds like a good solution. I don't think hurtling back into teaching immediately will be easy, so a buffer zone, in which you can hopefully get some papers/grants done will be ideal. Do what is right for you, I know people who have got a warning about outputs when just back from maternity leave- institutions often don't prioritise you, so you must prioritise yourself.
It would be great if I can get it. I don't intend to take long on maternity leave (can't afford to apart from anything else) and not intending entirely to down tools entirely, but a teaching free first term back would be really helpful to get things moving. Anyway, I am massively getting ahead of myself as chances are this won't be happening anyway, so must stop it. Thanks again for all responses.
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