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Heads of Department! What would you do?

(13 Posts)
Spiderwithoneeye Wed 05-Jun-13 19:26:35

I had a Head of Dept meeting tonight immediately after school which has been in the family calendar for weeks. I normally pick up the kids straight from school but would obviously be unable to. This morning DH comes in saying he has a meeting about his teaching job (due to start In 2 weeks) so he can't pick up the kids for me which means I end up having to apologise to the Deputy Head for having to miss my meeting.

I then receive a very curt email saying that the mtg has been scheduled in plenty of time and whilst he appreciates the problems associated with child care (I don't think he does) this is the second time this year I've had to do this etc etc.

It's basically DHs fault for not consulting the calendar and or arranging for his parents to pick up the kids (they have to come a long way but would do it) but, yet again, my career and reputation takes the knock.

But what would you do re email? Apologise profusely, dignified silence or object to the fact that its hard enough trying to hold it all together at the best of times as a full time working mother of two. He points out that 'as a female HoD your contribution is valued' (or something). I feel like pointing out we wouldnt be such a rarity if more support were offered!

Spiderwithoneeye Wed 05-Jun-13 19:28:02

Sorry, pressed early!

Go on, tell me I'm just being hormonal!

DameFanny Wed 05-Jun-13 19:34:00

I would have left the onus on your husband to find child care tbh - why should your workplace suffer for his inability to plan?

BoundandRebound Wed 05-Jun-13 19:36:50

What she said

I'd apologise in person but not profusely

PotteringAlong Wed 05-Jun-13 19:37:45

Honestly? I'd have told DH this morning that he'd got a day to sort out what was going to happen and gone to the meeting.

Where were you children? Could you not have asked whoever was with them to have them a bit longer?

Equally I'd be really really pissed off by the "female HoD" comment - my gender has bugger all with how I do my job.

Don't get me wrong - I've walked out of meetings this year when they've run over and I've had to leave to get to nursery but I can see why school are annoyed.

If I were you I'd email back, apologise and let them know that you've already found out what was discussed st the meeting and give them the plan for your dept.

TwasBrillig Wed 05-Jun-13 19:38:01

Apologise and look into childminders who may be able to do emergency pick ups.

PotteringAlong Wed 05-Jun-13 19:38:11

Ooh, cross posts grin

princesssmartypantss Wed 05-Jun-13 19:42:01

i think your deputy head is being sexist by mentioning your contribution as a "female" hod. i think your Dh is being sexist by assuming you will pick up the children when he was scheduled to do so. as for the e mail i think i would probably wait to respond as a quick reaction isn't usually the best one and to some extent you know he is right that it had been scheduled in advance but wrong in as much as something unexpected came up and it wasn't possible to arrange alternaitive care.

Onlyconnect Wed 05-Jun-13 19:42:36

Whatever you decide to do or say I would say it in person, not by email. I always think anything ba bit tricky should be said in person (if I were him I would have come to see you in person rather than send that email).

Spiderwithoneeye Wed 05-Jun-13 19:48:16

Totally agree with above suggestions about DH- cant believe I just went along with it tbh.

Children are at nursery and have to give good notice if you need them to stay longer than agreed.

Pottering; good suggestion. I'd already said I would find out what was missed and implement and will definitely follow that through.

I know ive messed up, but think it's the tone of the email that gets me miffed with him being all understanding about the pressures of child care and valuing a female opinion uugh.

Picturepuncture Thu 06-Jun-13 22:07:15

I would apologise and get DH to sort out a better child care solution next time.

Then I would make damn sure that the sender of the email knew that the fact I am female had bugger all to do with missing the meeting.

Timetabler Tue 11-Jun-13 08:41:13

Oh dear. I am afraid I would take a very dim view of this myself.

On a personal level, totally sympathies! Childcare is an arse all round! But why does DH being unable to do it automatically default to you?

Now and again, a dept member (including the males!) have had to miss/leave early from a meeting for their kids, but it is usually an emergency, or a sick child. Even at this, it is a very last resort.

As the actual HoD, I would definitely not have done this. Sorry to be harsh, but this was neither an emergency nor an unscheduled meeting. It was inadequate childcare organisation. So I would have been expecting the terms and conditions of this to be pointed out to me. Childcare is your private business.

The 'female HoD' thing would only rankle if I hadn't ever pointed out to anyone that I was a 'full-time working mother of two' (don't know whether you are just saying this to us, or whether you said it to him, sorry!). If you brought gender in to it (expecting special treatment because you are a mother who works full time) then perhaps you have set the tone?

Not what you wanted to hear - sorry! Hope it goes well in sorting it out, though smile

annh Tue 11-Jun-13 08:58:09

Timetabler makes a good point, you can't object to the email mention of you as a female HoD and then draw attention to the fact that you are female, a mother and work full-time. You can't have it every which way!

Looking to the future, what is going to happen when your dh actually starts his teaching job? Is he going to dump even more stuff on you at short notice? I think I'd be focusing my energies on working with dh to ensure that you both minimise short -notice changes for next year and that dh understands he has to do 50% of the pick-ups, emergency cover etc.

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