Working it out

Wat in Nederland de gewoonste zaak van de wereld is, twee leerkrachten voor de klas, is in andere landen nog niet zo ingeburgerd.En waar de één met een open blik na de vakantie aan een nieuw schooljaar begint, heeft de ander tijdens de vakantie al stress om het onbekende. Vandaag is de laatste blog voor de vakantie van Liliana. Onze bloggers gaan ook genieten van hun vakantie en we komen in september weer terug met nieuwe ervaringen. Fijne vakantie!


With the end of the school year fast approaching here in the UK, this week we had our boy’s reports sent home. I am very happy they both did well academically but what made me even happier is to know how well regarded they are by their peers and how it is acknowledged that they are both kind hearted and respectful to others.

At the end of each school report it was announced which class and teacher they were going to for the next year. My youngest son, Jacob, is going to a class with two teachers. These two ladies share the job. In the UK this is an arrangement where two employees literally divide a job between them, and only work a few days a week to cover one full-time role.

I have never taken advantage of this arrangement but I believe it empowers women to advance in their careers while allowing them to benefit from the reduced hours of a part-time role. How many women without access to this arrangement or to a part time job would have had to write themselves off the job market just because they can fulfill a full-time job?

So when I read at the bottom of my sons report that he would be going to a class where the teachers job share, I didn’t feel in any way that Jacob would be in disadvantaged compared to having one full time teacher. I would like to think this sharing would have been carefully arranged and that both teachers are highly organized and committed to make this arrangement work.

What really disgusted me and surprised me was the reaction of some of the mums in a class Whatsapp group I reluctantly belong to. Some of them seemed disappointed and straight away passed judgement about how unlikely it is that their children education would be as “good” as if they had a full time teacher, even though some other mums said their older kids had been with these two teachers before and they hardly noticed the difference. How quick are we to pass judgement on something we don’t even know enough? Of course my son’s education comes first, but I have no evidence to say he will be worse off with this arrangement.

A large proportion of mums in the group are working mums and some of those went straight to say that the problem is the job share in itself. And it saddens me that as women we seem to be our worse enemy. How many of us would have had to forget about our careers if it is not for arrangements as job share and flexible working.

In the UK we are so privileged to have these options, compared to my beloved Colombia. But we are still sabotaging ourselves and putting a question maker over those who have decided that their contribution to society is worthwhile. We do it all the time, with our colleagues, our friends and ourselves.

I hope my son does well next year with the  two teachers, I believe I won’t even notice the difference. I feel proud my boy’s school is supportive of these arrangements and I rather give them the benefit of the doubt. Next time it could be myself trying to earn someone else’s trust in my ability to do a job in flexible circumstances.

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