Any secondary teachers out there with 2 kids under 4 at home? Help!

(49 Posts)
Brookville Sun 26-Jan-14 20:20:51

I'm struggling to cope with my return to school after 3 years off. My subject requires a lot of bitty planning; data and marking have gone bonkers at the school and so that's added time pressure and I've got the full spread Y7-13 to contend with. I'm on 0.6 over 3 days with just 1 PPA a day when I photocopy/mark so I'm taking all my planning home and working 3 nights 9pm-midnight and up at 0600. As marking increases I'll have to do it on weekends.
My kids have just started with a CM and are anxious as are rarely left with anyone but DH and me (no family here) so that's adding stress too. And DS1 is very emotional and explosive so that causes huge tension at home.
I think I'm mad to have accepted the post - did I really think it through? I missed the intellectual challenge and was getting down being at home f/t but this is too much!
So if anyone else out there is in my boat I'd love to hear how you cope or if you quit...!

SweepTheHalls Mon 27-Jan-14 22:05:58

3 and 5. No naps round here any more, but the 3 year old now does 1 2.5 hour playschool session a week now! Oh the plans I had for that time, and then the ckeaner quit!

noblegiraffe Mon 27-Jan-14 22:06:06

I'm 0.6 over 5 days. I guess I cope by mentally thinking that I work full time (and as I put in 40+ hours a week, I suppose I do). So any time I get in the week with the kids is a bonus, working every evening and Sunday evening is just expected.

It's a bit shit, but the holidays make up for it, then I do next to no work.

LizzieVereker Mon 27-Jan-14 22:10:41

I did this, but my children are a bit older now. I have always been FT even when DCs were tiny. I think I would have found PT harder, personally, as your focus is more split. Sorry, I'm not sure that's helpful?

I am high up the pay scale/ responsibility in a very demanding school, and am by far our family's main earner, so again I've found the element of "no choice" helpful, no agonising.

The things that work for me are doing as much at school as possible, rigid activity timetable when I'm there ( set time for planning, checking e-mails or I faff). Sticking to a daily book marking timetable so that I don't drown in it every couple of weeks, as mine is a very marking heavy subject. All this ensures that I do get time with DCs. It gets easier once they sleep!

It only works because DP's work is arranged so that he can do school runs, and he does all housework apart from cooking. He is fab, it just works this way for us.

If you teach English I'm happy to share my millions of Powerpoints, resources etc if that will help you a little bit?

noblegiraffe Mon 27-Jan-14 22:10:52

I'm 0.6 over 5 days. I guess I cope by mentally thinking that I work full time (and as I put in 40+ hours a week, I suppose I do). So any time I get in the week with the kids is a bonus, working every evening and Sunday evening is just expected.

It's a bit shit, but the holidays make up for it, then I do next to no work.

noblegiraffe Mon 27-Jan-14 22:14:28

Sorry for double post!

I have also set up a marking timetable: Y8 Monday, Y9 Tuesday etc. Mon- Thurs and one lot at the weekend (I have 5 classes.) I am ruthless about getting homework in on time, if they 'forgot their book' they are in at lunchtime, no messing up my schedule with dribs and drabs!

SweepTheHalls Mon 27-Jan-14 22:14:44

.6 here too, mon, wed, fri. Great for the boys as they never have 2 days of childcare together, but I feel like I never switch off.angry

Noggie Mon 27-Jan-14 22:16:25

I teach secondary with young children- it's hard! I've gone down to 3 days as found more just too relentless. My dp works 6 days a week so no breathing space if I work full time- no family around etc survival definitely reliant on accepting less than perfection in all areas and lots of organising! I do feel pulled in all directions at times and sometimes feel I don't do anything particularly brilliantly but most of the time , now that I have 0.6 timetable over 3 days it feels manageable grin

Philoslothy Mon 27-Jan-14 22:20:37

I don't have two under 4 but do have four children, plus a stepson and am expecting baby number five - hopefully with number six soon afterwards.

I am very strict with my time at school , every minute is accounted for from 7am until 6pm. I have a marking timetable and will mark a set of books or batch of essays/exams a day to keep on tip of things.

One evening a week I leave at 4pm. That is written in stone and happens regardless. That evening I will not work between 4and 9pm.

Friday evening I finish at 6pm and then we go out as a family . That happens every week and is a highlight of the week .

Between getting home and 9 pm is family time, also set on stone.

I work from 9pm until about midnight most evenings. I work in my study where I can't be disturbed.

My weeks are full on but that means I mostly have weekends and holidays free. Again that is set in stone. If I can 't do my job in that time it is an unreasonable request. I became a teacher to have time with my family that is always more important than my job .

I do my housework in the morning before going to work . I then do housework as I do other things. For example cleaning kitchen while supervising homework . Cleaning bathrooms while supervising bathtime.

The children have chores every day .

My husband pulls his weight.

We shop online .

We have detailed schemes of work as a department, that means I am only ever tweaking lessons.

I do a lot of peer and self assessment .

Philoslothy Mon 27-Jan-14 22:21:32

I am SLT. As with lots of jobs the further up you move the more flexibility you have with your time - which helps.

jellyandcake Mon 27-Jan-14 22:36:10

I am .6 (3 days), have a 3yo and am nearly 28wks pregnant. I had a full teaching day today and no time for a lunch break, I was so busy. Got home, couldn't get up off the floor, had to lie flat so as not to vomit and had a 2 hour nap. Back in bed now. It's too stressful and too hard and I am so busy that all I can think is how crappy a job I am doing of everything. All my lessons today were rubbish! Expectations just get higher and higher all the time. I am desperate to find a new career after maternity leave - I honestly don't know how I will get through the remaining 8 weeks before I go.

Philoslothy Mon 27-Jan-14 22:40:37

I think it is impossible to plan good lessons as you go along. That would make me ill. I do think that unless you are superhuman you are doomed to failure if you don't have detailed schemes of work.

jellyandcake Mon 27-Jan-14 22:41:09

Sorry, and with regard to your kids' anxiety, OP, my 3yo has had a hard time settling into pre-school so the guilt and stress over that has exacerbated how hard everything is. The problem is that with young children, when anything goes wrong with them it tips an already fragile balance over the edge and the pressure if coping with that and the workload becomes unbearable.At times I feel I am managing ok but days like today remind me just how precarious it is.

jellyandcake Mon 27-Jan-14 22:44:34

And agree, Philoslothy, there is no way I could be planning from scratch all the time - having SOW in place and sharing resources as a dept is vital.

BlanketSky Mon 27-Jan-14 22:52:14

jelly, are you me- 0.6, 3 days, 3yo and 26 weeks here! I have PGP and am finding this pregnancy so tiring. I have so much marking to do and never the energy to do it... Have decided I am going on ML at 32 weeks or I'll be a wreck by the time baby arrives. Though if my PGP gets any worse I will just ask to be signed off I think. Just not coping really. Complete lack of motivation doesn't help!

No idea how I will cope when I go back afterwards, but will have to as I don't think I can earn anywhere near this salary on a pt contract (on UPS) sad

BlanketSky Mon 27-Jan-14 22:53:55

precarious is the right word for the balance definitely

mumnosbest Thu 30-Jan-14 16:03:59

Another struggling mum/teacher here. I teach primary, have 3 DCs and am constantly scouring the vacancy boards for an alternative to teaching.

ladylord Thu 30-Jan-14 16:16:07

This is a strangely comforting thread...I have a 2yo and am 25wks pregnant. I am .6 and everyday I work is a total struggle. I feel like the only option is to leave teaching, which breaks my heart a little. But the pressures; poor behaviour, lack of support for pt workers and general heavy workload just aren't manageable any more and certainly won't be when I have 2 children.

Brookville Thu 30-Jan-14 19:58:44

Ladylord maybe there is the option for you to drop some classes. If they want to keep you on-easier than recruiting a newbie- then they might negotiate. Why do you say no rights for pt workers/support? Have you asked SLT? It must be hard being pg too. The tiredness will lift and then you'll have nice mat leave ahead...

purplebaubles Thu 30-Jan-14 20:09:51

Struggling to see how I can afford to go back to work with 2 under 2..Don't earn enough to cover the childcare! (lowly paid M2 here!)

SweepTheHalls Thu 30-Jan-14 21:09:49

The salary sacrifice Childcare vouchers is the only way I can afford to work.

ravenAK Thu 30-Jan-14 23:04:17

I've always gone back f/t after each ML. 3dc aged 5-9 & I'm a secondary English teacher. It was fine till dh started working away most weeks...then it got a bit painful!

I think FT is definitely easier than PT. From what I see of my PT colleagues, it's 60% of the £££s for 80% of the work, & taking up much more of the domestic slack because they're the partner who supposedly 'only works PT'.

My advice is - get a nanny (PT or shared) who'll work from your home. Mine has more than adequately replaced my dh's contribution now he's away several days every week, & I no longer have to race out of meetings to collect from CM then drag tired, grouchy kids home. They're already in when I get home, changed out of uniforms, doing homework. It's the best thing we ever did...

louloutheshamed Fri 31-Jan-14 07:46:56

I agree raven a lot of my colleagues have gone back up to ft after pt for the reasons you describe. I'm back ft in the summer. I've done it before with 1 dc so I'm really determined to make it work with 2!!

EvilTwins Fri 31-Jan-14 16:02:59

Just to add, my two closest friends at work and I all started there 10 years ago, and at that point, had one child between us. Now we have 6. All of us are full time, all of us have positions of responsibility, and all of us manage just fine. None of us have nannies, though we do all have supportive other halves.

Having said that, another colleague, who has two children of a similar age to ours, is finding it very difficult to cope at the moment. I think it comes down to individuals - there is no secret formula!

Brookville Fri 31-Jan-14 22:08:23

And if anyone out there is reading and wondering what to do, I' m 0.6, got paid first cheque this week and childcare is 80% of my salary so maybe as some posters say ft is the answer... But on a positive note, it's good to be back and I still get 2 full days with my pre-school kids. So I think that's taken care of the financial / moral dilemma for me.

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