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returning after maternity leave to a crazy mess!


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I have been off work for a year whilst i took maternity leave and i am set to go back to work in a little over a week. Today i had a meeting with the nursery owner and nursery manager to discuss my return and in this meeting i learnt the following:


* The pre-school room that i am returning too (and had worked in prior to maternity leave) is an absolute shambles!. when i went on maternity leave they promoted a member of staff to room leader, but apparantly this member of staff can 'talk the talk, but not walk the walk' and all things fell behind especially childrens learning journals. The two staff in the room outright lied to the manager and said they were up to date but when the manager checked she realised this was not so. The manager decided to put in a joint room leader so they could support one another but no change - so since January the manager and owner have just let it all slide.


according to the manager and the nursery owner they had the following feedback on the room.


* no group registration takes place


* no circle time


* no 'educational activities or teaching' takes place (they have a seperate classroom that is never used)


* resources are not looked after or tidied away properly


* cleanliness is a big issue, the room and toilets are a mess apparently


* the displays are poor


* the room is not set up appropriatly for activities


* the children's interests are not followed sufficently enough and no evidence of the children's input is seen in the room.


now after telling me all this they said they are glad i am coming back to sort it out. :o :angry: :( i asked at this point (rather flipantly) why are they paying these staff!.


They have said to me that they are taking one of the staff out of the room upon my return and leaving me with the other. I have a few issues with this


1) i used to work with this person and had many issues with her - i explained these at the time and explained them again today and apparantly she still does the same now, so nothing has changed


2) the person i will be working with is third in charge (which up until today i thought was my role - another story there!) and they expect her to take instructions from me as the room leader - this won't happen! and also she will be in charge of the room on the two days i have off! - this person seriously should not be in charge of herself, never mind a room and the nursery occasionally (but again another story!)


the other person they are moving out is someone i have not worked with directly, but i know her work and feel i could work with her.


i said today that basically i am not happy working with the person i used to work with but i will give it a try. i explained that in order to move the pre-school room forward i need someone i can bounce off and who shares my idea, this person is not the person they are putting me with, so ultimatly i feel they are setting me expectations that are going to be very hard to achieve when essentially i am going to be working single handidly to make changes!.

I also said that i have chosen to come back to work there because i love my job, but i do not have to work (it is just extra spending money for us) and that with that in mind, if i am not happy i am not going to be seeing myself with a long term future there. (as soon as i said this i felt bad, kind of like i was saying put me with the person i want to be with or i will leave - which is not what i meant!) - i did re-iterate that i would try working with this person, but equally was honest and said i will not try indefinetly to make it work if i am not happy.


i just feel so angry right now. Angry that they have left this for my return and then angry that my third in charge position is gone (apparantly because of the hours i am doing now, which means i don't open or close the building.... now these hours suit me, but these are the hours they gave me and not hours i requested. they did not discuss prior with me that i would not be third in charge (they have kept my pay the same - but that is not quite the point). as an EYP i now feel unable to effectively use this skill when they are keeping me as room leader and the person 'in charge of me if you like' is clearly less able and not professional - but possibly this is just sour grapes on my part and i will get over it.


i don't really know why i wrote this out, other than to just get it off my chest LOL.... but gee i am cross now! :angry:


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need to think about this one... welcome back Dawn, it is not really what you expect to walk back into..


Think your management need a bit of a kick up the proverbial... and personally i would let them know that I cannot make any changes or take charge if not given the authority to do so... which is really what they are asking you to do.. take charge but have someone who could veto everything and take no notice as they are more senior on the setting..


not sure they could legally demote you like that anyway for having maternity leave.. may need looking into..


off to think a bit more... on how to word what I would like to say!!!

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It seems there are lots of issues to deal with, but what springs to mind first is what does your contract say? Do you have a job description? They can't be changed like this without your knowledge. For me, that would be a starting point. I think you are right to tell your managers that you won't work like this indefinitely. But you seem so committed and willing to give it a go. What a challenge you have on your hands! As far as tackling things on a practical level, I would make a list of all the big things that need changing, then break each of these down into smaller, more manageable parts. I do hope you get the support you need and that you are able to turn things round.

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My main comment, which isn't very helpful, is that the management is appalling! The fact that they were willing to let things get so bad without really addressing the issues speaks volumes to me. My gut feeling is that you'll not get a lot of satisfaction where you are right now as you clearly would like things to be run in a more professional way but that seems unlikely to be honest!

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Oh dawn , hope you feel just a tad better for getting it off your chest although it seems to be a situation you should not have to be in and quite concerning that management have not managed it in your absence - so on one hand it is a compliment they know you can sort it but on the other a bit of a pee take to expect you too. stick by your guns and don't allow any more pee taking and ask yourself if it is really worth it or would you be better off staying at home with baby x

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it is so hard because my baby has been settling at nursery and he loves it and part of me feels that i really need to give it a go so not to disrupt him again, but equally i know he will do just as well developmentally and socially being with me and attending mum and tots etc. The main thing is i want more, i need to work for my sanity lol and part time work is a happy medium, plus some guilt free spending money!


I am pleased that work feel i am the right person to sort the room out, but peed off that they have left it for me to do - it is just poorly managed and to be fair that is the last thing i thought i would be saying about the place as i really did love it there prior to maternity leave and know i will love it again when it is sorted..... but will be more aware of how badly managed it is.


as a previous manager of another setting i want to go and shake the current manager and ask her what they were thinking making this particular person third in charge of the nursery when they cant be in charge of a room effectively - its ludocrous. but i also must remember they are my bosses and there is a fine line between trying to advise professionally (without coming across as bitchy) and passing on my thoughts in a way that they feel i am jelous that she now has my role. To be fair i realise that legally they should not have given her my role without telling me this was happening (i have reduced my days to come back part time so can understand why they have done this) but i do not want to have to do more hours to fulfill the role so i am 'happy' to not be third in charge as long as my pay stays the same (which it has), but yes some prior warning would have been nice and i really can not see how they expect me to be in charge of her and the decision making in the room when she has been given a role that is above me (it all seems odd!)....


anyway i am waffling lol - that is what 4 hours sleep and a teething baby does to you xD


thanks for your thoughts so far ;)

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Is the other person an EYP? third in charge i take to mean locking up and just in case one of the other managers is away and the other is off sicks kind of scenario... does she have any more authority than this? or role? (im hoping since you said she can barely take charge of herself that the answer is no... ) If that's the case then when it comes to the room and the childrens learning/practice, being an EYP trumps this, and i would take a deep breath and try your best to bring it up to standard. If you find that she is not cooperative, then bring that back to your managers at your supervision, or sooner if its a bigger issue, and again, remind them that you have your EYP "hat" on as you are calling these issues. You are in charge of the room, they are in charge of her.... she is supposed to work with you for an effective team, and not for you, or against you, so IF the situation does arise where you need to speak up, im sure they can't think its sour grapes. Good luck and enjoy it :)

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