Maximising Maternity Leave

Six weeks in, and I dare to put some words together in an attempt to be coherent. Brave at best.

With a rose tinted view of juggling three children, two under two), I realise that maternity leave this year may look a little different to last year. Notice how everyone with two under two always makes a point of making sure you know they have two under two? I understand why now. From playing frisbee with small people to get through bedtime, to five am being an optimum time for house meetings, toilet trips are carried out on a rota basis, simply to keep the toddler’s aggressive baby petting under an appropriate level of supervision.

This seemed like a great time to revisit the way I used maternity leave for professional development last year (which I blogged about hereRetrieval Practice: Returning to Work) but also to share some ways to use maternity leave that I will be taking on this year. Taking the juggle into consideration, these are my plans for the year ahead:

1. Take advantage of the excellent coaching provision offered by the MTPT Project. As East Midlands Representative for the Project, coaching with Emma had a huge impact upon the direction I took last year- at work, with the development of Litdrive, with my professional identity in how I approached obstacles or made decisions. I cannot wait to get stuck into another round of goals for myself and exploring how I can take my experiences back into the workplace.

2. Visit local schools to share best practice and stay connected with ideas and approaches. After being invited into a Parents’ Maths morning at my eldest son’s school, I loved watching the way that Primary approach teaching, discussed rote learning with his teacher and watched brilliant ways of verbal eloquence through both modelling and the pupils being habitual in starting reasoning statements with,’ I know that,’ as a result. After visiting Anna in a local secondary last year, I’m keen to spend time in local schools this year to see teaching in action to then take back into school.

3. Turn everyday experiences into teaching opportunities. Some of the MTPT community’s ideas, stemmed from days out or play time with children has been really inspirational. Charlotte Bell recently shared her reflections as a result of her son’s toy box, and Emma Sheppard regularly takes cultural visits or personal reading and creates resources to use within her teaching. National Trust visits were a firm favourite last year with Ted, my middle child (I blogged about our trip to a local workhouse here: Scandal at Southwell) and I explored an approach to teaching poetry as a result of listening to an episode of the Guilty Feminist last week that I intend to turn into something more concrete when time allows! I’d like to document my ideas a little more this year as and when ideas arise during time outside the house.

4. Spend a little time with my fourth child, of course. Litdrive needs my care and attention. Whilst it received rather a lot of my time last year, I’m excited to have the headspace to make Litdrive an even better resource for members. Evaluating existing services like the peer coaching set up at the start of the academic year, sharing the thought process and direction of Litdrive at conferences and gaining member feedback as to how we improve whilst still ensuring the workload is manageable to myself and other volunteers- all on the to do list.

One thing I’ve learned from last year, is to be realistic, and to coin the MTPT ethos, adopt a, ‘no guilt, no pressure,’ approach. Goals are great, but so are naps. Here’s to another fun-filled, baby-wipe-laden, babble-fest of a year!

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