I am sitting in Heathrow Airport, on my own, counting down the hours until I get home to see Andy and Ella. It should be about 24 and I should be on a plane right now, buckled in and ready to depart, however my flight is delayed two hours. So sad! I just want to get home!
I've been in London, well, Windsor actually, for the past five days, for a work conference. Work?! Sigh. Yes, work. My maternity leave has sadly come to an end, although the decision was mine to go back early instead of taking a full year off. While on leave I was promoted to Head of Middle Years Curriculum, which means I am responsible for all things to do with "Teaching and Learning" for Years 7 to 9. This includes curriculum, assessment, reporting, along with line management and mentoring of subject leaders. So it is a step up from my former role, which was Head of Mathematics. I am super excited about the role, especially as our Principal wants to totally rethink how we do things in the Middle Years, so there will be a lot of scope for innovation. But I am sad that I will no longer get to spend all my time with Ella.
The good news is that for the first half of the year I will only be working two days a week, focusing only on the curriculum role and no teaching. That was the agreement my Principal and I came to when I got the job, so that I could come back from maternity leave early but still have some time at home with Ella. Soon after my promotion my Principal asked if I would attend a workshop outlining a new curriculum framework that our school would be piloting in the Middle Years, held in England. This was a difficult decision to make as I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity (it is not often in teaching that you get sent overseas for training) but of course I didn't know how I would feel being apart from Ella. In the end, with Andy's support, I decided to go. I felt like if I was a man then there would be no question about whether or not to go. It was a very "Lean In", feminist/equal rights based decision. I am glad I went in the end, however it has been hard and it does feel like a little piece of me is missing. However Andy has had a great week bonding with Ella and his parents have also been around to help out. It has also made me realise I don't miss my old childless life all that much after all. It's a bit lonely. Yes, it has been nice to sleep without interruption (even though I ended up waking up every 3-4 hours anyway!), and go on a run or do yoga whenever I wanted, but those things are nothing compared to the way I feel when Ella looks at me and smiles, or better yet, I do something that makes her laugh.
We are putting Ella into daycare for the days that I am at work. Although I am a bit sad about this I do think there are a lot of positive aspects to daycare. It will be great for Ella to be around other babies and make friends as she gets older. I am also looking forward to any "tips" the centre have around things like napping, eating, and development. I know that for her to have a successful time at daycare we need to work in partnership with the centre - just like I do with the parents of the students in my classes. While I have been in England Andy took Ella to her daycare orientation and she had her first half day there on her own. Apparently it went really well, she had a nap, did tummy time with the other babies, and ate well. The centre has a parent portal where they post pictures of what the children do during the day. (Side note: I can't believe I am on the "parent" side of a "parent portal"!!) I am looking forward to meeting her carer on Monday when she does another half day there.