Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Difficult choices ahead

As many of you out there in the blog-o-sphere know, I am currently on maternity leave. I have not started a mommy blog. I am still getting to know my beautiful daughter. I am working on establishing a schedule. And yet, in the midst of all of this, I received a letter from my school district notifying me that my maternity leave will expire NEXT September. The difficult part is that they want my decision on whether or not I will be returning. They want this in writing by December 15! That is in two weeks. They claim that they need to know for planning and staffing purposes. How many school districts really start hiring in December or January? Not too many around here and certainly not my district.

Anyways, regardless of when school districts hire for the next school year, I am in need of composing this letter. Aside from a greeting, I am unsure of what to write because I am unsure of what I want to do. The options are extending the leave, quitting out right, returning full time, saying that I will return full time in hopes finding a part time position that won't be posted until the spring, transferring to a closer school... There are so many factors. I consider myself though to be a woman of my word. If I say I am coming back, I'd feel like a louse if I did not actually do it.

I have no way of knowing how I will feel in several months from now when the 2011 school year starts. While I am fortunate to be able to be with her at home for this school year, and I love it, I did originally look into job-sharing. Some of the benefits included working part time and maintaining my health insurance. Also being at home full-time all the time is hard and going to work for some of the week might break things up a bit. Anyway, job sharing did not work out and that is okay. When this past September rolled around and I was looking in the face of a beautiful 2 month old, I was glad that I wasn't distracted from that task by setting up a classroom and developing a relationship with the teacher sharing my job. Many of our administrators are against it, including the new principal in my building. So, is it even an option to consider?

Being home is good but it has its own unexpected challenges. I miss feeling like I know what I am doing. I have identified myself for a long time as a teacher and I'm currently not teaching in a classroom setting. I miss the routine of going to work. I worry about not contributing financially to our household, loosing my teaching skills and still being a stay at home mom when my daughter enters college.

Returning to work full time means that I am contributing financially to our household. It means I get back to classroom teaching before I lose my skills. But it also means that I leave my daughter for a whole day. Right now, Mr. K1 teacher works from home on his own business. If I worked all day, he would need to work all evening and maybe on the weekends too. That means it might be more challenging for us to spend time together as a family. But what if I say I am going back and then something changes with his work situation and he is not able to have as flexible of a schedule as he does now?

I knew I would have to make this decision at some point, I just was not expecting to make it quite so soon.

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