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Feeling desperately guilty about maternity leave in teaching terms!

(11 Posts)
Yikesnotnow Thu 04-May-17 13:15:15

Anyone else ever felt like this? I am unexpectedly pregnant at an advanced age! Maternity leave will coincide with the two teaching terms. I am feeling totally mortified about it partly because I know that they won't be expecting it (as I said, I'm old) and also because we are already understaffed. They will not replace me and so colleagues will have to pick up the slack thus increasing their workload even more. From a more selfish POV all my best teaching will be reallocated leaving me with crappy dregs in 2018. Anyone else been in a similar situ? Also worried that colleagues will decide I've checked out of my already struggling career. Aaaargh.

user7214743615 Thu 04-May-17 13:54:44

You should be entitled to get the same courses back after maternity leave - ask your HoD to agree to this, to make your return from leave easier.

I doubt that you are so old that they will be stunned! (How old are you?!) In any case, it is not your problem - if another colleague was ill/on leave, you would also have to increase your workload to cover. In a few years time you may well be covering for the people covering your leave this year.

Yikesnotnow Thu 04-May-17 14:04:19

Thanks user. I'm mid 40s, two kids already. Clearly I don't think colleagues are preoccupied with my fertility status but guess at my age it would be more surprising! On upside I might be able to get some writing done while I'm off. That's the plan anyway.

mrsBeverleygoldberg Thu 04-May-17 14:41:23

Don't feel guilty, you are entitled to maternity leave by law. Congratulations!

kscience Thu 04-May-17 18:12:44


Don't do guilt, just enjoy your new arrival

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Fri 05-May-17 07:54:51

Don't feel guilty and don't let your modules go to someone else! In our dep't we would have maternity cover, it's outrageous if others are just expected to do the work of a whole other person, I would be seeing the Head of Department about who is to replace you (and plenty of unis do, I see ads for maternity cover all the time).

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Fri 05-May-17 08:00:26

Also, the advice on the other thread about coming back from maternity leave is really sound- and sounds like it would be applicable, as it seems a lot of us are struggling with a mid-career doldrums.

TooDamnSarky Fri 05-May-17 08:37:40

My mat leave was the reverse of yours (April-sept). I missed NO teaching at all. THAT was bad planning. You've done much better smile

And definitely agree to keep your courses in advance.

user7214743615 Fri 05-May-17 08:39:36

Unfortunately plenty of university departments don't hire maternity cover - mine certainly doesn't, as there is no funding made available for it. The assumption is that a big department with 70+ permanent staff can spread out the extra load. (This can of course be flawed logic - if the person on leave teaches very specialised modules that can only be covered by a small number of people.)

But this is certainly not OP's problem. The guilt should fall on those declining money for a replacement, not on OP.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Fri 05-May-17 09:00:22

I'm in a smaller department, and our teaching workloads and the money to cover those is worked out to a few hours! So, there's no slack in the system to just cover someone else's maternity. The bad side of this is I've felt at times that I do more teaching than colleagues at other unis, the good side is your teaching workload is more or less standard, and can't just be increased for one year. If we have too many courses to cover or mat leave or study leaves, then temp staff are used to plug the gap. I wouldn't take on more teaching to cover a colleague as my teaching is at capacity, and at least the uni acknowledges this.

worstofbothworlds Wed 17-May-17 14:18:05

My dept didn't hire anyone for my first mat leave (and baby was early - though not very early - I didn't miss any planned teaching though my colleague whose baby arrived 16 weeks before mine, due 8 weeks before mine, missed loads). I was off for 1 1/2 teaching term, reduced load on return.

For my second there were 2 other DC due at the same time and I was dreading telling HoD but he was actually happy since he could justify cover with 3 academics off at the same time! But this is definitely unusual.

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