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#789754 - 10/27/12 02:00 PM Discrimination?
splash2011 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 4
HiI'm a British Modern Languages teacher and am the only female non-parent (by choice) in our department. Over the last 16 years I've been on a vast number of trips abroad etc, giving up a lot of my free. The trips are supposedly voluntary but we're expected to go for the kids' best interests. In practice none of the women with young children ever goes on these trips and until recently I've been happy to go. However I've now got two dogs and it's harder for me to make arrangemnets for them so I was hoping that, having always done it instead of others for many years, they could take their turn. However this has been met with hostility - both by the head of department and the mothers. What do I do? I feel it's discrimation?!

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#789755 - 10/27/12 02:06 PM Re: Discrimination? [Re: splash2011]
splash2011 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 4
I should have also added it's the same with meetings - recently we discussed whether meetings (in our own time) should happen before school, after school, or at lunch. The mums said they could never do before or after school due to "childcare" issues - I said I was happy with any after day after or before school but lunchtimes are hard as I like to go and let my dogs out. Again, I was treated with hostility and it was ruled that all meetings will take place during lunch and I must "make arrangements". So why aren't the mums ever expected to bend?! I've tried my (English) teaching union who were totally dismissive, simply quoting working mothers' rights at me. I feel very unhappy and helpless!

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#789766 - 10/27/12 03:35 PM Re: Discrimination? [Re: splash2011]
Connie - ADD/Sandwiches Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chimpanzee

Registered: 10/03/10
Posts: 7412
Loc: Kansas USA
It is discrimination. When you take on the responsibility for the pets, it is a loving obligation. I salute you for giving your dogs great care and affection.

If the trips are optional, do the maths and figure up how many trips each teacher should do over a period of time. Then, figure out when it will be your turn again. If anybody asks, tell them in a pleasant tone when you should take your turn again. Let them know that you don't want to deprive anybody of the joy that you have had all of those years. Also tell them that you realize that taking the kids is such a joy and you don't want to be selfish. The fun needs to be shared. Ignore the hostility, even though it is hard to do.

On the meeting--since most can make it easier during lunch, take your dogs after work on those meeting days. Hope for other teachers to come to work there who cannot meet at lunch.
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#789862 - 10/28/12 02:41 PM Re: Discrimination? [Re: splash2011]
splash2011 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 4
Thank you - that's really helpful. I'll try what you suggest. It's just so hard being in a minority of one in a very family-oriented profession! Thanks again - I'll give it a go.

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#789905 - 10/28/12 08:24 PM Re: Discrimination? [Re: splash2011]
Elleise - Clairvoyance Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Zebra

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3944
Loc: IL
Eeek!

Just got a flash or more empathic feeling of well, alienation and legalities.

I feel for you, litterally.

I'm thinking, get out your handbook and see what rights you, as a member of the Union, have (each person). Then, look up for your own sake/info. what parent's rights are and how/if they differ from yours.

I'm thinking 2 things (check-mate) comes to me. Informed (legally), with the capacity to speak in terms politely, with just common sense, stating what you need and why you value the Union to protect your rights. You don't want to be "forced" elsewhere with a fiction or non-fiction "paper-trail"

Second, if you've a flat, this wouldn't work, but a "doggie door", or someone you could trust that might be happy to dog-walk for you.

I take care of people's animals when they're away and I enjoy it, plus it's a little extra money. You may have someone in your neighborhood or reputable dog-walking business, that could do the same. You might check w/a tax preparer to see if it can be written off.

I agree w/you though.

Yes, life is more complicated w/children and daycare issues, boy is that a pain unless you've a flexible sitter. There are contracts involved and penalties, etc. Just arg!

However, I've also seen parents who USE the fact they DO have children to get away w/just about anything they don't want to do. It's a convenient excuse...The trips especially? I agree w/connie...every teacher should have their fair share. If it comes down to it, just say you can't. In advance parents can make arrangements too.

Have you considered job shopping perhaps? Just wondering if you've more than one near your living quarters.


Edited by Elleise - Clairvoyance (10/28/12 08:33 PM)
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#789914 - 10/28/12 09:36 PM Re: Discrimination? [Re: splash2011]
Ninjahedgewych Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1456
Loc: Portsmouth, England
An interesting thought occurs: Could you claim to be a Witch and your dogs are your familars? Being as they are your connection to the natural world, and a Deity such as Anubis, taking care of them is part of your spiritual path. Considering how sensitive people in the UK are re "religion" this approach could be a winner. The Union would have to support you or look REALLY bad and it bypasses a lot of the counter arguments.

Hope that helps wink
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#790008 - 10/29/12 09:47 AM Re: Discrimination? [Re: splash2011]
Gaynor8002 Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 197
Loc: Rhodes Greece
Oooh, I like the witch idea. sounds interesting.
I had the same problem years ago when I worked in the police. there was a woman on my shift who didn't start til 7am ( the rest of us started at 6am ) the guys weren't happy with the arrangement either, but when I complained and said I wanted an hour off every early day too, they told her she shouldn't have a lunch break ( right ! like that didn't happen !! )
she was a single parent , and I would have been a bit more sympathetic, but she was the shift 'bike', going through most of our shift .
All the bosses were scared of falling foul of the 'mothers rights at work' so she generally got away with whatever she asked for.
Things obviously haven't changed....but stick to your guns, and try to explain, as politely and reasonably as possible, your stance. good luck.

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#790184 - 10/30/12 12:51 PM Re: Discrimination? [Re: splash2011]
splash2011 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 4
Thank you - I've really appreciated all the posts and I feel so much better for no longer being isolated - it's quite comforting to see that other people understand and have experienced simlar things! I'll definitely try the Witch idea if all else fails....! I don't think that technically parents DO have more rights according to the school or the union but there seems to be a general assumption that if you don't have kids you should do more to compensate for those who do - and I do feel I have done that for years but finally just got a bit fed up with it! My husband feels the same way as he's also a teacher at another school. I think we just feel some unspoken pressure and get a feeling that we're being uncharitable to people who seem to think we've got more time on our hands than them - this may be true to some extent but I always think; they did CHOOSE parenthood after all didn't they?! Anyway thanks again, I'm really happy I've found this site!

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#790691 - 11/02/12 07:55 AM Re: Discrimination? [Re: splash2011]
Ninjahedgewych Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1456
Loc: Portsmouth, England
Let me know if you need any advice! smile
_________________________
Ian - Pagan Editor

"We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves."

"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world. "

Dalai Lama

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#792110 - 11/09/12 10:02 PM Re: Discrimination? [Re: Connie - ADD/Sandwiches]
Rhinestone Rocky Offline
Newbie

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 5
[quote=Connie - ADD/Sandwiches] If the trips are optional, do the maths and figure up how many trips each teacher should do over a period of time. Then, figure out when it will be your turn again. If anybody asks, tell them in a pleasant tone when you should take your turn again. Let them know that you don't want to deprive anybody of the joy that you have had all of those years. Also tell them that you realize that taking the kids is such a joy and you don't want to be selfish. The fun needs to be shared. Ignore the hostility, even though it is hard to do. [/quote] ^^ This is a fantastic idea. It really isn't fair of them to expect you to take time from your life to take all these trips after all the ones you have gone on already! Just because you don't have children, doesn't mean your time isn't valuable. I hope everything works out!

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