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Should I quit teaching? Pregnant with 3rd child(24 Posts)
Hi everyone, looking for some advice please! I'm pregnant with our third child and I have a work related dilema - should I quit my part time job in teaching? At the moment I feel like I'm not doing a very good job as a teacher or at being a Mum.
The cost of childcare for 3 kids is virtually more than I would earn. I'm seriously considering giving up my job and staying at home. I think could be a better, more present and less stressed Mum this way! However, I'm a bit daunted about leaving work.Work has become all consuming and as a result I don't have any hobbies or many friends.If I make the wrong decision it would be virtually impossible to a job in a decent school in our area. I have no other qualifications or skills that would lead to an 'obvious' job.
On the whole I do enjoy my job and work in a good school. I'm not a 'natural' teacher and do have to work really hard as it to be even half decent. My job is very stressful, I never get a minute to myself, lots of pressure for results.On a typical day I get up at 6, get 2 LO's ready, drop them off at childminder and nursery, teach a 4 or 5 period day, lesson plan after school, do two pick ups, get home by 6:30 and look after tired and grumpy kids until OH get home. After kids are asleep around 8-8:30 start work probably until around 10 when I'm too exhausted to do any more. I spend my evenings off marking or at kids swimming if I'm lucky.
When I had my last LO I found the return to work really stressful and had to take time off work with depression (didn't tell work at the time this was the reason). I'm really not sure I could manage all this with a third LO.
My OH is really supportive but can't help much at home during the week as he works long hours quite far away. We don't have any other family nearby that could help.
It's funny because if one of my friends had written this who worked say in an office role, I would definitely tell them it would be madness to continue with their stressful job to end up with £20 at the end of the month. Yet the nature of teaching means I'm really unsure what to do.
Any advice or suggestions welcome please!
It sounds like you know what you want to do. I know you have said it would be hard to get back into teaching but there will always be a need. Plus there is tutoring or coaching. It doesn’t sound like you are enjoying it much at the moment and it is causing more stress than it’s worth. Good luck in your decision
Why do you say it would be impossible to get another teaching job if you left this one?
If you can afford it then have a break. I'm a few years further on and almost all my mum friends who stopped work for a while are now back in a job. It is possible. I did carry on but looking back I'm not sure it was worth it! With teaching there are always mat leave posts that come up that can be a good route to get back into work.
I would have thought that teaching was one of the few jobs you could take some years away and get another job. Sounds like a no brainer. Does your local authority offer career breaks - mine does for 1- 5 years- worth looking into what, if any, they offer.
Good thinking I’ll check. Think the problem is there aren’t many decent schools here and not many jobs tend to come up in my subject plus in a good school and I’d face lots of competition from people with more recent experience. I’m not sure I’d have the time to learn say a different a level course or gcse modules compared to the ones I’m already teaching and do all the other things on top. I suspect if I quit my job I might be quiting teaching for good
I used to nanny for a family where both parents were teachers, they had 4 children. Whilst a lot of their income would have been going on childcare (paying me) it may have been more cost effective at that time than having two children in nursery and two in wrap-around care/childminder due to a nanny being paid for care of all children in the family, not on a per child basis.
Once more of the children were in school, it became more cost effective to have a childminder for the youngest child and a little bit of after-school care. So the things change... look at what costs may be in a years time and in 5 or 6 years time.
How part time are you?
I have been where you are- doing it for little money, on little sleep and wondering wtf the point is.
But, I didn't quit- I hung on part time and now my DC are at school I'm so glad I did. Reasons are: my pension contributions have carried on, now I barely pay any childcare (just after school childminder two days) and I have been promoted I have more money than I've ever had before - my career and finances are on the up and if I hadn't carried on that would not be the case.
Do whatever you're comfortable with but if you can hang on to a day or two, you might find yourself grateful for it in the future when the DC are at school. ￼ to you, little kids and teaching is a slog
Stop considering childcare to just your income as it's a family expense. Remember that by dropping income this will also have an effect on your pension & NI contributions unless you put something in place.
Can your DP do more to help with drop offs, housework etc so you are less stretched?
However you do sound stretched. Can you look at supply or tutoring? Would they have less prep and pressure while using your skills? Excuse my ignorance if these would not reduce prep or pressure as I don't work in education. Alternatively can you look at moving careers to something outside education?
Thanks for all the suggestions lots to think about. In response to some of the comments above, it would be tricky to find another teaching job as there are say 5 good schools within an hours drive, the chances of them have a vacancy would be small and lots of competition to get the job, last time at my work we interviewed 8 people (about 20 applied), so statistically low chance of getting back in at a good place, don’t think I could work at a school where behaviour was poor - just too much extra stress!
Supply work - could be an option in the future but couldn’t arrange childcare at the drop of a hat unfortunately.
OH does do loads at home when he’s here but unfortunately his job is about 90 min commute away and location is fixed at the moment. He’s away by 630am every day and often not home until 7pm.
Lots of think about definitely the long term view I hadn’t thought much about impact on pension etc.
First day back from half term today, went well but hardly had 5 minutes to sit down, not sure I can do this on top of lack of sleep etc with new LO.
Really not sure where to go with this decision. Anyone been in the same position?? Thanks
Also, what jobs have others done after education? I had a look at local vacancies and found recruitment in education but it was less money and 730 to 530 shifts which would make childcare impossible as nursery not open til 8 and closes at 6.
I don’t have any other specific skills, I’ve done jobs in customer service before while I was at university but not really any management etc. Did think about office work within a school but very very competitive and I think I might be bored.
Really don’t know what to do for the best!
Look at Education sales or similar maybe?
I have been in a similar position. I went back part time after the third and it was fine in a good school with a nursery on site and family around. We then moved for work reasons and I got another part time teaching post. With my partner working long hours, no family around to help and less convenient childcare it was stressful (an understatement!). When I got pregnant with my fourth I decided to have a break. It was a relief to be honest and with another house move it was 5 years when my youngest went to school that I thought about returning. I did a return to teaching course - not sure if they still exist - but I did some teaching in a local school which led to a job. Life was a bit easier as they got older and became more independent but it was never easy balancing being a parent with teaching. You kind of feel that you are not doing either well enough. It is no good trying to second guess the future so do what is right at the time. Opportunities come up that you don’t expect and I doubt that you will end your teaching career by taking a few years out.
I think you should take some time out. You say you’re part time - are you in school 5 days a week? If so - trying to negotiate a better part time contract may be an option - I’m primary and work 3 days and it is so much better - as my working week is maximum Tuesday evening to Friday evening and a few hours at a weekend. Some weeks I can get it all done between wed morning and Friday home time!
Something has to give and it can’t be being a parent (even if you have the best childcare, with your dp job currently you’ll be the once doing the most of the kids stuff!) don’t do anything until end of maternity pay though!
Would a part time nanny be easier than other child care? No getting dc up, breakfasted and dressed for childminder/nursery. Will take toddlers to music/swimming ext ext during day. They will keep children's rooms tidy. deal with kids washing,cook a healthy meal for kids and if they leave at 6 o'clock you will have no pick ups and kids will be fed and bathed all ready for you to do story and bed. Could also be a bit cheaper than 3 lots of nursery/childminder
I just quit my part time job as a teacher as I'm due my second child this week and felt like you. I will have 2 under 2. I'm thinking I can always do occasional agency work. Once youngest is 3- I will go back as I love teaching. Just felt at the moment I wasn't giving my whole effort to my class and wasn't giving my son enough attention.
Thanks for the reassurances! I’m currently working 3 days but they all exam classes so on my days off I spend most nights planning or marking once the kids are in bed. There’s a lot of pressure for exam results. But often I’m too tired to get much done and end up with mountains to do on Sunday. While I’m at work I only get 2 or 3 free lessons a week so not much time to get it done at work and lunch and breaktimes are generally spent either on duty or moving classrooms and setting up next lessons etc.
Like the posts above mention, without family support it’s really tricky, many of my friends have kids and have been promoted etc but they have parents doing all the kid related things. I suppose we are all lucky but in different ways!
Good idea about a nanny, I’ll consider that as an option, ideally I’d want youngest to do some nursery to meet other kids though so I’m not sure. Depends if there’s anyone reliable - at least you know nursery is always going to be open.... appreciate all nanny’s are different but my friends nanny was more expensive than nursery and decided to quit giving only 2 weeks notice yet nursery wanted about 6 months notice for her kids to join eek!!
Anyone working (or has worked in) secondary? And had these issues?
Thank you for all your replies, I really appreciate the good advice here! It’s hard because not many of my friends are in a similar position
Honestly, I wouldn’t.
I sympathise with the childcare issue but it is short term.
How many days do you work?
Are you enjoying your work? (and the life this gives you overall with kids in tow) Or are you looking for something different? Do you think you would actually enjoy being at home full time with them for a few years? How do you feel this would work in terms of your relationship and role? Is this about just having a break or wanting to look at different career options?
It is really hard to give general advice, because so much depends on personal circumstances, finances, emotions and priorities. But I reckon the first thing to try to work out is what you would like!
It’s a difficult one. I do enjoy my job with the good classes it’s great but i Have a couple of tricky classes where behaviour is an issue and it gets very stressful/wearing. And the workload is exhausting. Think it’s come to a head as last year a series of events left me feeling very undervalued at work. I do my best but I can’t compete with others who must literally have no sleep and constantly work at home.
There’s no progression at work as the people in the roles above me intend to be there until they retire in 20 years time!
I don’t enjoy the lifestyle, I’m either working or travelling 2 hours a day (traffic not because of distance) or with kids and get no time to do anything for me. I do 70-80% of the housework, shopping, all the pick ups and drop off for kids, sort out all their birthday parties etc the mental load is exhausting but need to do this as OH has such a demanding job.
In the long term I don’t fancy staying at home alone for good, I didn’t seem to keep many close friends on maternity leave last time. However, seen as OH can’t move his job closer, we aren’t in a position to move house, I have no one to help with childcare, and I’m struggling to take kids to clubs after school etc doing work on a night time, the only thing that can really give is me ie my job. I’d be paying £500 a month just to take 2 of them to school and another £700 or £800 approx for 1 in nursery.
I’d probably be bored at home after a while but would that be worth it to not be totally stressed with kids, for them to not be at nursery 730 til 6 etc? I could go to all their school events etc? House could be a bit less of a health hazard, maybe I could take up a hobby?
We’ve tried to see what we could change but OH can’t get home from work any earlier, I’ve tried to streamline my work, we can’t move house, OH can’t move his job or regularly work from home. Perhaps I stop working to help out my family?? Sorry for the long post
Op it sounds like you already know what you want to do so that's what you should do. If you can afford it and that's what you think is best for you and your family then go for it.
As i said down thread, I am also secondary so I know the pressures. I also had a pile of very young children not so long ago and felt like you! But I chose to stay part time and I'm glad I did because my pension is looking healthy, I have independent income and now the dc are all at school I've had a promotion and am financially in a better place than I've ever been.
Teaching is something you can go back to and maybe if you leave for a bit and go back in a few years you could try a different type of school for a lesser commute / better balance.
Just a thought - are you married to your OH? Just because you put yourself in a much more vulnerable position if you looked earning power, pension contributions etc if you’re not married and anything we’re to happen in your relationship.
It sounds like you don’t have a lot of support nearby and your OH is commuting quite far and there aren’t a whole lot of suitable schools near you. Have you thought about moving in the medium term to somewhere with a better commute for him and better choice of schools for you / that may make it easier to get back into if you take a elder years out.
That’s the thing I haven’t completely decided but massively struggling with how things are at the moment.
We could potentially move house but OHs work isn’t in the best area, to live somewhere nice with decent schools for the kids could still mean a commute for both of us hence the dilemma. We would potentially be nearer to family but they have other children to look after.
Might wait and see how I feel during maternity leave but ideally wanted to tell work before that do they know if they are looking for someone permanently or not. Lots to think about.