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Poor choice for my maternity cover
10

T4Opal · 08/09/2022 02:28

Hello all,
I have just started programme leadership having been a lecturer/ senior lecturer for 5 years and have also found out I’m pregnant due at Easter. My programme is a full year long so I would be absent for teaching the final module, exam boards, final assessed observations and programme reports, alongside next year’s recruitment.
I have informed my line manager and she has suggested an AL to take over the programme. I am really concerned about this as the individual has a poor work ethos and I feel would undo the hard work I have put into preparing the programme. This AL has openly said, “ I don’t take any work home with me, I do my hours and that’s it” which would be a wonderful ideal but not realistic as a programme leader. There have also been student complaints about this AL’s lack of knowledge when covering sessions, openly admitting to students “I don’t know any of this, I’m just covering” and their refusal to read around the content they have been asked to deliver. They are also quite new, only been with us for 2 years from industry and I just worry about the state of my programme when I return from leave. Is there anything I can do about this or is it totally not my business who takes over my programme?

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ChagSameachDoreen · 08/09/2022 03:19

I don't blame the AL! I think more and more people are refusing to work hours they aren't being paid for. Your department needs to work on paying staff properly if they want decent people. Nobody should have to take their work home with them.

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RedHelenB · 08/09/2022 07:10

You sound a bit precious, it's one year. If your programme is so wonderful it should be easy to deliver surely?

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TheBeesKnee · 08/09/2022 07:12

Having been on the receiving end of a wonderful lecturer being covered by someone disengaged and incompetent... I don't blame you 😬

Are there any other options for cover?

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T4Opal · 08/09/2022 07:12

Of course, and with a young family at home I very rarely manage to do much at home but for a programme to run smoothly you do want the programme lead to show some dedication to it. I’m talking about the example I gave in covering an unfamiliar topic and reading directly from the slides with no knowledge of the context rather than spending a short amount of time reading around it. They would be paid higher than the AL wage if given this role.

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T4Opal · 08/09/2022 07:15

@RedHelenB Yes I am precious about it, if we’re going to get personal about it. It’s the first programme I’ve led, it’s just been validated and I have a small cohort of mature students who I want it to be a successful. I could have a “don’t care” attitude while I’m off but that’s not me.

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T4Opal · 08/09/2022 07:18

@TheBeesKnee thanks for your reply, yes at the end of the day I am already feeling guilty for the timing of my leave and don’t want to leave them in the lurch. I’m sorry you had a bad experience from cover. I will definitely ask if it can go to anyone else.

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NoSquirrels · 08/09/2022 07:26

I have informed my line manager and she has suggested an AL to take over the programme.

Key word here sounds like “suggested”. That means open to dialogue, let’s discuss who might be a fit etc. I don’t see any issues in you having some counter-suggestions or in raising concerns gently about whether this particular person is correct to cover this particular course.

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NoSquirrels · 08/09/2022 07:28

I will definitely ask if it can go to anyone else.

Don’t frame it like that though! Don’t say ‘anyone but them’, say ‘I’ve been wondering if X might be a better fit’ - provide alternative suggestions not just point out a problem.

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T4Opal · 08/09/2022 07:34

Thank you @NoSquirrels yes I will not go in all guns blazing! Sorry insomnia talking, I will think carefully how to put it across.

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aridapricot · 13/09/2022 22:48

In my university, maternity covers are not given routinely (instead, departmental colleagues are supposed to distribute teaching and admin between them), but a few years ago we made a case for one and were successful. Could you make a case that your replacement needs to be advertised and recruited externally, e.g. because it requires a skillset that is not otherwise available, or because there are demands to the role that means it cannot be covered on a piecemeal fashion?

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