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To regret taking on the pre-school job? (please be kind)

(7 Posts)
ffs78 Tue 15-Dec-15 23:23:44

In September I took a job at ds's pre-school working part time helping out after several years of being a SAHM to both my children. My old job was in IT and I loved it and felt confident doing it but couldn't get a part time IT position after having children. So this is obviously a completely different line of work for me but the manager of the preschool said she felt I was brilliant with children and would be great. On paper the preschool job is perfect - it fits into school hours, it's only a five minute drive away and it's flexible. I haven't even come close to finding anything like it in terms of convenience and to have money coming in has given our finances a much needed boost. We were getting severely overdrawn on one wage.

But I'm struggling. I love working with the children and they're all lovely and I do get some good days but most days I feel out of place. DS clings to me still most of the time because I'm there and doesn't really play with the other children and I find myself sometimes bribing him to join in, which feels awful and stupid. I also find it hard not to feel sad if another child is mean to him even though I know it's part of pre-school life. The work is also rather monotonous - a lot of it involves breaking up arguments, sweeping up food, changing soiled clothing, singing the same songs over and over etc.

It would help a bit if I got some kind of guidance or feedback on how I'm doing but that hasn't really been forthcoming. The other staff have worked together for years and understandably have a tight bond and have their ways of doing things so I learn mostly by error or by trying to follow what they're doing. But I find myself catching onto things too late all the time and realising too late that I should have done something. I do silly things because I'm nervous and I feel so embarrassed. When the manager is abrupt with me I wonder if she thinks I'm crap or if she's just having a bad day and I find my confidence disappearing rapidly. I am second guessing myself constantly and just feel so nervous. Especially when I'm given cooking jobs to do - I am utterly shit at baking anything!

I was just wondering if anyone else had had a change of career after having children and felt a huge crisis of confidence and how you dealt with it? I don't really want to look like a huge failure and give up the only job I'm likely to get in the near future but I need some positive input to help me get through this.

Thank you!

OctoberRose Tue 15-Dec-15 23:54:39

I'm sorry that you are going through this.

I have/am going through a similar situation. Except I have been in my job for a few months longer than you have and my role is a little different. My role varies hugely, so much so that there are often tasks/situations that will crop up that I have not yet had experience with. I always ask for guidance/advice, however I have learned that sometimes my senior colleagues/line manager will unwittingly forget about certain aspects of the task, that then I am pulled up on for not doing/doing the wrong way. confused
Or I do follow through exactly with their instruction and then after weeks/months of doing it this way (with my line manager happy) - the manager further up will pull me up on quite abruptly as she thinks it should be done another way sad She is like this with all staff members, which creates a sense of walking on eggshells/anxiety when dealing with her. Then sometimes she will be lovely and throw you completely!

Sorry I couldn't be of more help, just wanted to share that it's not just you flowers I took this job for the hours to suit my children too, so not really an option to change. I left a lovely full time position (which was more senior) for this job - but find my confidence lower than ever!

BackforGood Tue 15-Dec-15 23:54:44

You need to go and speak to the manager, and tell her what you've said here. Explain that, whereas you are enjoying the job, it's all very new, and you were wondering if you could arrange a meeting one day, so she can tell you what she thinks you are doing well, and what you can improve on, and you can let her know the bits you aren't so sure about and ask for some tips / advice.

I'm just very surprised they are paying you to work there, without training confused

Maybe ask her if she knows of some training you can access - a lot of childcare training can be done part time.

ffs78 Wed 16-Dec-15 00:03:39

Thanks for the advice both. She is looking at getting me some formal training - I think I'm just by nature someone who works well when I have time to think something through and I'm good with anything technical but in this job it's very practical and you have to think on your feet a lot and I struggle with that and it makes me feel a bit slow. I think a chat would be helpful but I guess I'm afraid of what she might say - I've felt she's been a bit off with me lately and I'm scared she thinks I'm useless. God when did I get so pathetic?!

CuppaSarah Wed 16-Dec-15 07:53:48

I felt like this when starting in childcare and I had all the training and qualifications! There's a lot that can't be taught with preschool work and it takes time for it to become second nature. Plus it changes a little depending who is on staff that day.

I would say as long as you're doing your fair share of the cleaning and singing which are the parts staff tend to either love or hate, you're good. The rest comes with time. Is there a room leader? Or supervisor? I would tell them you feel a little lost and for them not to worry about asking you to do stuff.

But truly I've seen people who were stupidly well qualified and experienced struggle in new preschools, it really does take a long time to feel like you've got it, you're doing great I promise.

notinagreatplace Wed 16-Dec-15 08:48:23

I suppose I think you have two main options:

The first is that you could decide that family-friendly hours are the most important thing for you and, at that point, you just accept that this isn't going to be an amazingly fulfilling job for you but you're going to do it because you need the money. And that's fine, many people work mainly for the money - I'm sure your DH hasn't loved every minute of his job over the years. As others have said, you push to get feedback from your manager to help with it.

The second is that you could retrain and do something that suits you better, like a return to IT, accepting that it would probably mean less flexibility, less family friendly hours and your DH would have to step up more than he's used to.

I think either are perfectly reasonable approaches.

blobbityblob Wed 16-Dec-15 10:50:50

Not quite the same but I went into care work after having dc and leaving my career job.

It sounds very similar to my early experience. Eventually you get used to what's required and your confidence comes back. I think you just have to recognise it's a completely different culture. So talking abruptly to people is just what they do. One of the hardest things I found with some managers is that they didn't want you to have any intitiative. Just do it how I like it done, in the order I say. Which varied according to who it was. Often with no good reason behind it. I don't remember anybody getting positive feedback in the four years I was there.

It sounds to me you're reacting very normally to a completely new job in a completely different environment. If you do choose to stick it out, your confidence will come. But the work environment will likely always be one where you're told off like a naughty dc if you're not doing it quite the way envisaged.

I found it useful when my dc were small. But got out once I was able to find office work with school hours. As a stepping stone, it worked well. But I did find my confidence eroded at times. Fortunately the residents were the saving grace really. They were lovely. I'm very glad I was able to be there for my dc, whilst earning some money. You don't have to be perfect, you're still learning the job.

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