Well, I am sat in the Children’s Ward at my local hospital writing this – and what a roller coaster week it’s been. After committing to write more consistently on this blog and begin the final couple of weeks of my first term as an NQT with my mentor off sick until after Christmas – life struck.
My KS2 Department had gotten fully into a Pupil Progress Meeting looking at delightful data (and that wasn’t fully sarcastic – things are looking good) on the Thursday late afternoon when the Assistant Head’s phone rang and it was for me. It was my wife…Now my wife has only rung the school directly to speak to me once and that was to inform me she had been taken into hospital to have an emergency scan on our unborn daughter, so this was not promising. We had previously take E (my daughter) to the Walk-in Centre the previous night with what seemed to be a bad cold. Turns out she had progressively gotten worse that day to the point she had to be rushed into Hospital in a speeding ambulance! Needless to say, I was told to leave the Departmental by my Assistant Head and Head – it made things easier that, being in Year 6, I had already had 4 meetings on data for my Year Group previous to this meeting where, for Years 3-5, it was only the first one!
Fast-forward 5 days and ironically more sleep than usual, it looks like E will finally be able to come home at some point tomorrow, or by the latest Thursday, all being well. Why do I share this? Whilst I know I have avid readers of my educational blog (not), it is not my intention to regularly update whoever reads this with my life story (my wife does enough of that on her blog)! Neither is it an attempt by me to release all the tension I’ve been feeling for the past few days to poor souls who will take the time to read.
No, this, as mentioned before, is an educational blog and whilst, since starting my NQT Year, it has had a significant drop in posts, I felt it necessary to force myself back on after this torrid week to do one thing – thank my school leadership and colleagues. My school is currently in a state of shift and so as an NQT I have felt I need to be there – not just to help my Year 6 class achieve what I know they can achieve – but to help the school have a great year in it’s progress as well. I was ill one day last week (E must have caught it off all of us as we were ill previously) and subsequently have had to take Friday last week (which was an INSET fortunately) and Monday-Weds this week off.
Now, some of you may be saying ‘That’s no time at all!’ or ‘Your leadership would have to be monsters to be unhappy with you taking that time off with your daughter!’. I, however, do not like letting anyone down. The past 5 days have felt like an eternity (which I guess is not surprising given the circumstances) so all I could think about, in terms of work was, the need to get supply cover, kids not having consistency…all the things the school would have to deal with me not being there. And yet, have I been made to feel at all bad? Have the Heads at any stage asked me when I think the earliest I’ll be in is? If anything, when I said I WILL be in on Thursday they said “Well, we really appreciate that but we will make sure nearer the time – you focus on your family.”
I am sure that some school leaders would have grumbled. I am sure that some leaders would (and I’m applying this to all leaders outside of education too) make some comment, maybe inadvertently, which showed the extra problems this sudden leave of absence would cost. But not mine. They have been a support all the way through. And this has allowed me to do one thing – focus on supporting my wonderful wife, my tremendous toddler and my bright, beautiful baby girl. Today – she smiled for the first time since she became ill last Weds really – and a tear came to my eye. I had been there pretty much every step of the way – from the fraught first moments in the emergency room when her blood oxygen dropped to 70%, to the heartbreak when she had to have almost a dozen tubes strapped to her face, nose and body, to the clear lethargy she had to endure for most of the week, to the hunger she clearly felt despite not being able to feed and then finally, to that bright, cheerful smile. I was there – thank to those who supported me to allow me to leave my work for a little while and focus solely on my loved ones.
If my school had complained, would I be returning a happy employee who would do anything to support the school? No. But I will be…
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/shannonkringen/4786965539/”>shannonkringen</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>