Missing your child's events when you're teaching

(44 Posts)
Verycold Thu 13-Jun-13 07:50:22

Christmas plays, sports day... The list is endless, how do you cope emotionally and/or practically? I am going back to teaching after ages away and the thought of this is really getting to me after never missing anything before.

Verycold Thu 13-Jun-13 11:23:30


orangeandemons Thu 13-Jun-13 11:26:45

We are allowed to go the Xmas play if we arrange internal cover. Or take unpaid leave.

Verycold Thu 13-Jun-13 11:41:03

Are you primary or secondary?

orangeandemons Thu 13-Jun-13 12:32:56


Hulababy Thu 13-Jun-13 12:35:08

I work in an Infant school and our staff can go to some events. They have to use their ppa time though and then make up their planning time in their own time.

Theas18 Thu 13-Jun-13 12:45:18

Depends on you management team I think. When DH worked in the state sector he managed to make the "really important" stuff eg year 6 leavers assembly. Prizegiving when they had a proper prize to collect etc

This was party because the primary head he worked with thought " we want parents to come and support the kids at our school for special events because it's important for the children, so I will try and hep you to do the same".

I'm sure that the fact that DH has always had a role that needs loads of "none core" hours anyway- so eats into family time- and the head realises this and thinks sensibly " if he's spending all of Saturday taking the choir to another school for a performance them letting him leave an hour early and allowing he TA to do story time is a good way of balancing the good will we all need".

However there was a lot at primary that we both missed. All the bl**dy parent participation days etc that were part of the " community outreach" type stuff. THat really really annoyed me. Days that were really hyped as "really important that you bring a parent we'll have such a super time and learn so much" with kids who are 6 or 7 really sets them up for disappointment when actually mum and dad work, and they don't have a local gran or auntie . Oh and the days were 1 per year group per term. So that would be 3 days every term I'm supposed to be in school? you are having a laugh!

Eyesunderarock Thu 13-Jun-13 12:49:05

I always missed everything during school hours, I lined up OH and grandparents and treated children who had done something special to buns a la Railway Children.
There was no compromise at any of the many schools I worked at. Primary.
It's part of the shit of being a working parent. You need a co-operative SLT and decent colleagues.

GW297 Thu 13-Jun-13 15:29:01

Always ask. It's at the discretion of the Head as others have said. Offer to swap PPA time, take unpaid leave - whatever helps!

HedgeHogGroup Thu 13-Jun-13 18:22:48

I always try to accommodate my staff if they want to go to their childrens' events. Mainly because I want to go to own children's.
A happy staff are far more likely to give time back in return and a little bit of goodwill goes a long way smile

colander Thu 13-Jun-13 18:23:08

I ask for the "big" stuff - sports' day, Christmas play, but don't ask for all the other cr*p that we get invited to. Totally agree with the disappointment for younger ones when teachers talk about having parents there. I'm secondary, private, and with a lovely head who is a parent herself (although hers are older) and who totally 'gets' that by giving me a couple of hours off twice a year in return she gets my appreciation and dedication to the school. I usually only ask if cover isn't needed, or if it is this term when I would have been teaching y11 or 13.

Arisbottle Thu 13-Jun-13 18:37:20

Since going into teaching I have never attended a school event , I think the holidays make up for that .

Pozzled Thu 13-Jun-13 18:40:40

Up till now I had a really understanding HT and have usually been able to take the time instead of PPA or make up time elsewhere (I work pt). The one thing that I couldn't make was DD1's first day at school, which was quite gutting. She was fine with her Dad, though.

I now have a brand new HT, so not sure how easy it will be to get to things now.

Verycold Thu 13-Jun-13 20:37:18

Interesting, so you think it's okay to ask? A friend said to me she wouldn't even consider asking.

colander Thu 13-Jun-13 21:01:25

Looks like some of us think it is ok to ask, and some of us don't!

I work on the assumption that if you don't ask, you don't get. Having said that, when I first started at my new school for at least the first two terms I didn't ask ... just worked very hard and tried to make a good impression. I also wouldn't ask for times when I know it would be really inconvenient. There are two days coming up that I would love to be able to be there (one for DD1 and one for DD2) but I haven't asked for either because we have something on at my school.

So - if you want my advice - don't ask straight away, wait until you have a solution e.g. moving ppa if primary, exam groups out if secondary, and wait for the really special days. Good luck!

SprinkleLiberally Thu 13-Jun-13 21:13:59

DH goes instead. It's hard but they have a parent there at least. He is no less of a parent than me after all. Dc grumble a bit but they are fine.

2kidsintow Thu 13-Jun-13 21:56:30

DH has to take most of his holidays to cover times when their school is closed and mine is open, or for medical appts, or for times the childminder or the children are poorly.
He's not particularly bothered by school events, but I am and up til now I've been lucky enough to have an SMT that has allowed me to attend important events. They are older now and all I have to try and fit in is one assembly and one sports day a year for the next 3 years. My new head allowed me a paid afternoon off (covered internally) yesterday for sports day.

ninah Thu 13-Jun-13 23:39:12

I love not having to sit through sportsday unpaid

Verycold Fri 14-Jun-13 08:09:52

I'll just have to get my head round it, I haven't missed a thing before so it will be weird, and feel a bit sorry for ds who is the youngest, as I was always there for his sisters' things but won't be for his hmm

Euphemia Fri 14-Jun-13 17:57:55

In my experience, it depends on the HT. Some won't entertain the idea, others positively encourage staff to go.

snotfunny Fri 14-Jun-13 18:48:21

My Head is unsympathetic and I've stopped asking. The only thing I kick up a fuss about us my DS's statement reviews - and even then I don't only go on alternate years and send DS's dad with my written comments on the other years. I also don't go to his hospital appointments. I bend over backwards, yet the Head still gave me a stern talking to when baby DD got chicken pox and DP was working away as I had to stay off for the whole week. It sucks hmm

Euphemia Fri 14-Jun-13 20:12:31

What exactly were you supposed to do when DD was ill, snot? Phone Mary Poppins?

Noggie Fri 14-Jun-13 21:50:25

It is so hard- I asked and got to go to Christmas show but can't do school trips and other parent helper type things. My dd knows I work but would love for me to be more involved with her school and doesn't understand why other mummies who work can attend and I can't hmm x

BoysRule Fri 14-Jun-13 21:55:31

Do you not think it is a bit hypocritical as a teacher to not be allowed to go to your own child's school events? We put on a nativity play, assemblies, open afternoons etc that we expect parents to attend, yet we can't attend our own child's.

I remember a Head I once worked for saying that we should be aware of children who were going to breakfast club and after school club every day as it was too much for them at that young age - and someone pointing out that her staff's children would have to do the same!

I haven't taught yet with my own children at school age and I would feel terrible if I couldn't go to assemblies etc.

schooldidi Fri 14-Jun-13 22:00:51

The only school events I have ever managed to go to were when I was on maternity leave. My friend asks to go to quite a few things at her kids school and as long as she has managed to organise cover through favours within the department the head hasn't had a problem with it (and yet he had a huge problem with another colleague attending a funeral this week confused), but her dcs are at a school 5 mins walk from ours whereas mine are at a school near home which is 30 mins dirve away so would take more covering.

I have generally tried to get my parents to go along to the important things, and since my mum retired they've both been to everything the school has invited anyone to. When we lived closer to them my dad was the 'parent helper' they asked first for every school trip because they knew he was always available and keen to help out.

Verycold Fri 14-Jun-13 22:57:06

Argh I feel so despondent about it, like I made a huge mistake. Ds has hospital appointments as well, don't know what we will do to fit it all in. On the other hand I'm lucky really to have got a job after 12 years of being at home

Arisbottle Fri 14-Jun-13 22:58:01

No I don't think it is hypocritical, I have far longer holidays than the average parent.

schooldidi Fri 14-Jun-13 23:16:24

I don't feel hypocritical either. I think the problem is that primary schools have so many things they want parents to come to. It still seems to be the expectation at some schools that one parent is either at home all the time or works flexibly and part time so they can go to all of these "fantastic" events.

Dd1 has never missed me at anything, she knows I have to work and I don't get to choose my holidays like some other parents.

OP I think you and your dcs will adapt more easily than you think right now. We're all remarkably adaptable when we need to be. All you can do is ask for some of the big things, if you get to go to them great, if not then it's really not the end of the world. My mum was a teacher and never managed to get to any of my school events, I have no ill feelings about that at all, and never did as a child. She feels guilty about it, but my siblings and I never really paid it that much attention.

Verycold Fri 14-Jun-13 23:20:28

It is crazy really isn't it, I worked out that just for ds there are about 15 things per year to go to! shock

Verycold Fri 14-Jun-13 23:20:48

That's just school events

2468Motorway Fri 14-Jun-13 23:48:00

I know teaching is slightly less flexible but plenty of working parents inc me do not make every event. I do make it to the Christmas show and 1 assembly for each child but I haven't done sports day (their dad goes). There are just too many events in working hours.

We try to make sure that someone is there for the sort of thing every child has a parent at but not for the helping out type things and days. They are lovely and one I'd us will try but what with the school holidays and occasional sick days its just too hard to keep taking leave. Also I work in a less flexible job too.

BackforGood Fri 14-Jun-13 23:56:46

I think it's probably harder to get your head around, as you've been used to going over the last few years / for your older two.
IME, I went back to work when each dc was 3 months old, so you just accept that it's part of the deal.
I do agree it depends a lot on the Head though, and, to some extent, the rest of the staff.

Verycold Wed 26-Jun-13 21:30:23

Somebody slap me. There is a thread going at the mo with lots of people saying it's terrible to miss stuff and I feel very hmm

TreeLuLa Wed 26-Jun-13 21:32:26

We have 5 rolling days of Family Friendly time we can take.

Most parents need to use it for illness, but I am lucky that DH is at home with the DTs so I can use it to go to SPorts day, CHristmas show etc.

I did miss their first day at Preschool thought sad as it was also on the first day of term.

Hulababy Thu 27-Jun-13 07:12:49

My head does acknowledge its unfair of her to ask parents to come to events but not her staff, hence she does try to accommodate everyone for key events for their children. I have always been able to go to prize day for example, been to the memorial for dd's teacher who died this year, etc

Pozzled Thu 27-Jun-13 07:45:31

It's not terrible to miss stuff. You'll be with your DCs for the vast majority of the holidays, which is something that most working parents can't do, and is really valuable as well.

My DD1 is just finishing reception- I've had to miss a couple of things, but she didn't really notice or mind. She did, however, notice and very much enjoy the days we spent together on the holidays. (Especially as DD2 was still in nursery for some of that time, so it was just her and me!).

So try to focus on the benefits.

cricketballs Thu 27-Jun-13 18:39:18

I think it is easier in secondary - for example my DS's sports day was this week and I should have had year 11 so there wasn't an issue at all with me being able to go. Other times then as a department we cover each other if we are free to enable parents to attend.

I am shocked though snot that you have even had a statement review meeting turned down; every head I have worked for has always ok'd this without question

Euphemia Thu 27-Jun-13 19:57:41

I sat in the church yesterday on the verge of tears, barely holding it together, because 30 minutes away DD was playing the flute in the church nearest her school and there was I yet again listening to other people's children murdering playing their musical instruments. sad

I'm starting at a new school in August and I'm determined to get time off for some school events. DD will be in P7 next tear so it's my last chance while she's still at primary school.

I'm fed up always putting other people first!

Euphemia Thu 27-Jun-13 20:00:05

Next year, not tear. The next tear was when the church youth worker got up and urged us all to play air guitar along to this fucking "rock" song about Jesus.

The devil has the best tunes right enough! grin

JRY44 Thu 27-Jun-13 20:04:54

The Head at my school will not allow time off, but complains when parents do not attend things at school!

I have missed many things but sadly that is just the way it is. I tell my son it is so I can have all holidays with him. You are allowed a certain amount of time for children under a certain age which means you can have time off for first day of school etc. but heads don't like to remember that law!!

olivo Thu 27-Jun-13 20:14:05

Wow, I realise from reading this how lucky I am. I SMS echo dary, and my head has always allowed time off for nursery and school things. I suppose I manage to go around three or four times a year, has been more this year with transition to school for youngest. He'd says family comes first, I am secondary teacher.

I give a lot of my own time to my school though, so I guess that helps.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Tue 02-Jul-13 07:01:28

This could be renamed 'missing your child's events when you are working'! All working parents have to somehow juggle this - where are all the imaginary employers that give their staff time off to attend events? At least teachers have most of the holidays with their children, a luxury most other working parents don't have.

Euphemia Tue 02-Jul-13 07:14:40

Fully aware of that, MrsSalvo. hmm

The point of the thread was about teachers, not working parents.

Verycold Tue 02-Jul-13 12:16:21

Mrs Salvo, I know lots of people working in offices who have the flexibility of going in later or moving their lunch break. Teachers don't have that flexibility

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