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Teachers with 3 (or more!) dc...

(63 Posts)
jennifersofia Sat 17-Oct-09 10:47:39

How do you do it? I am doing 3 days a week in Y4 and just feel like I am drowning and making a bad job of it. Any advice?

alysonpeaches Sat 17-Oct-09 22:29:07

I found it hard enough full time with 2. I sympathise, its a very hard job very draining emotionally and tiring physically. Part time can often he difficult as if you miss out on things on your days off you end up spending your own time playing catch up. Also part timers can still end up with co-ordinators roles, that everyone else has 5 days to do and you only have 3. Will a change in the order of the days you work help?

If you have to do 3 days a week for financial reasons then I hope you find a way. But bear in mind, this is the hardest term. I would say, try supply, but this isnt without its stressors.

I hope you find a solution.

Heated Sat 17-Oct-09 22:31:39

Not primary, but secondary with a very heavy mark load, and RA in hands, and I feel exactly as you do at the moment.

ravenAK Sat 17-Oct-09 22:54:54

Me too. I'm also secondary with a horrible mark load.

My solution is to do it ft, which I think is actually easier than colleagues who do pt. Obviously dependent on a brilliant CM, dh having a bit more autonomy in his job so can sometimes work from home, & supportive MIL who does the odd day/evening babysitting.

I find these help:
* Holidays are sacrosanct - I leave the coursework boosters etc to younger, childless colleague. They need the money more & I'd be spending half of it on childcare anyway!
* I kick dh & the dc out of the house for one morning either Saturday or Sunday so I can do 'big' marking tasks
* I get into school as soon as the caretaker will let me in - dh sorts kids in the morning - in order to fit in another hour's marking/prep time
* One 'handbag night' a week - plan something nice & take absolutely NO work home
* Smart marking. If it only needs to be acknowledged, go round the class with stickers/a stamp whilst they're working
* I do two 'to do' lists on Monday (Monday's my tutor group's assembly, so I jot it in my diary whilst they're getting their weekly bollocking act of collective worship) & Friday - ONE crucial task per day. Anything else is a bonus.
* Make it abundantly clear that anything to do with housework etc is just going to have to take a backseat during term time. I let the place disintegrate inexorably about us & then set about it come the holidays...grin

Honestly, I think part-time teaching combined with kids is as tough as it gets. At least I'm permanently MIA & there's no point even trying to juggle work v kid stuff.

alysonpeaches Sat 17-Oct-09 23:04:03

Another top tip is if you go full time, get a cleaner.

ja9 Sat 17-Oct-09 23:06:39

sympathies. a friend today was telling me today about her job which involves no take home work sigh... wouldn't thant be great?

Feenie Sat 17-Oct-09 23:18:56

You have my sympathies. I have just one ds and teach full time, and it is very difficult.

jennifersofia Sat 17-Oct-09 23:41:46

Thanks for the kind thoughts. Interesting the concept that P/T is more difficult than F/T. I can kind of see what you mean. Then at least you know exactly where you are at.
Thanks so much for all the tips ravenAK, I am taking note! (Instead of doing my literacy planning! Double sigh!)

sillysalley Sat 17-Oct-09 23:51:46

Not sure if Im allowed to join in as I only have 1 DC, but I just want to explain that you arent the only one really struggling

I work 3 days a week, but during my days off I constantly get phone call from school due to my 2 coordinators roles and stand in senior management role. The people who ring feel bad, but most of the time it is unavoidable. So I second that in some ways working PT can be more difficult.

To add to this my DS is still not sleeping through the night and find myself getting up at least once with him. Plus DH works long hours so he can only help out with DS at weekends.

Somedays I just feel as if I am drowning in school work.

alysonpeaches Sun 18-Oct-09 10:41:16

I really hate to say this, but reading this thread has made me feel so glad I quit teaching. I was constantly drowning in work. For a while life was difficult, we had to sell our house and downsize, but funnily enough we have adjusted and now feel better than ever. I know this isnt the option for everyone, and the reason I quit was because I injured my back, but to be honest, even before that our school really had a bad time with OFSTED and I wanted to quit.

Take a step backwards and try and figure what would happen if suddenly through illness you couldnt teach any more. I thought it was impossible to live without my wage as I was the biggest earner, but its worked out just fine as Ive built up other sources of income, and tax credits have helped enormously.

Heated Sun 18-Oct-09 13:52:28

I must admit that thought has occured to me, Alysonpeaches. I have wondered if after 15 years I am burning out a bit and whether taking a complete break would be beneficial or whether what I'm feeling is temporary. What do you do now Alysonpeaches now that you are not teaching?

janeite Sun 18-Oct-09 14:08:04

I have two and worked ft from when they were just a couple of months old. However, dp stayed at home and then went to work part time, so at least I didn't have to think about house work!

I am secondary, with a v markingheavy subject and on SLT, so I find that I bring a lot of work home. However my 'top tips' such as they are include:
- holidays and at least part of weekends are for family: I very, very rarely do holiday classes now and would never contemplate doing a Saturday class, however much pressure there may be to improve results;
- anything which reduces marking, eg assessment focus sheets that can be highlighted; stickers of targets etc are a good thing - also make sure that you share specific assessment criteria with pupils and then mark only those things, rather than trying to mark for everything;
- meal plan, meal plan, meal plan;
- buy clothes which need little or no ironing wherever possible;
- sort out clothes for a week on a Sunday evening;
- get your hair and make up prep down to a bare minimum so you can have an extra ten minutes in bed each morning;
- do one thing, every day, just for you - mine is a bubble bath with a book.

I agree that PT is probably more trouble than FT.

Feenie Sun 18-Oct-09 14:12:56

Send ironing out, that's my best tip!

charmander Sun 18-Oct-09 14:39:18

I have 3 boys (age 11,9,3) of my own and work full time in Y1 TLR role as maths subject leader.

agree with what is said above

Also - at the end of the day it is just a job - you can never do everything, you really can't do it all. I worked in a school with an amazing teacher who was fantastic with the children and got great results. However she tried to do too much and ended up leaving teaching which was a great loss.

Encourage indepenence in your class and in your own children.

I do try to follow some of the flylady advice - there is a control journal for teachers on her website that is good.

When your children are little you have to accept (well I have) that you will have very little social life. However I have joined a book group so I get out once every 6 weeks.
I swim when I can and walk to school sometimes in an attempt to keep fit.

Dumbledoresgirl Sun 18-Oct-09 14:51:05

I am so glad to have read this thread. I have 4 children and have been struggling for literally years to get back into teaching but every time I put a foot in the water, the reality proves too much for me. I have reached a very low ebb, so disappointed not to be following a career, hugely lacking in self-esteem, etc etc, but reading this has confirmed what I have long felt viz that teaching is not as compatible with having a family as many people think it must be.

I take my hats off to all of you who cope somehow, and I give myself the smallest of consolatory squeezes for not wanting to continue the struggle.

ja9 Sun 18-Oct-09 15:08:07

this is just a depressing thread... 'woe is us' lol!!!!

janeite Sun 18-Oct-09 16:15:07

Depressing? Really? I just thought it was practical.

charmander Sun 18-Oct-09 17:32:17

I am not at all depressed, I love my job and I love my family. I am not always very organised but I do my best, and am very thankful for what I have.

Other things I do that help are write the year's birthday cards in the summer holidays, address them and write date in corner where stamp goes, then mark in claendar as well. ( i am not a naturally organised person but this has saved me so much time, and takes a lot less time to do than you would think).

In the October half term I will write my Christmas cards.

I keep as much "paperwork" on the computer as possible rather than print it off as I tend to lose paper, I am sadly notorious for it,at home and school
EEvery day I try to do one non routine thing e.g. file co ordinator's stuff, book a trip.

I dn't watch TV, I listen to/ watch iplayer while ironing/cutting out displays etc.

Do not go on MN etc until the jobs are done.

Shop for everything online.

Be very nice to your TA's if you have any. Plan what they can do to help, I had a notebook last year that I jotted down things that needed doing so she could use it when she got a free minute.

Write lists for yourself and your family - I give the boys a list of things they need to do over the weekend somethimes rather than turning into a nag.

geogteach Sun 18-Oct-09 17:43:48

I quit when number 3 was born, he has just started school so I am just considering my return but I have to say this has just confirmed everything I remember! Especially saving cleaning for the holidays!

aWitchForLifeNotJustHalloween Sun 18-Oct-09 17:51:31

count me in - I've just returned to teaching now dd is in the same school as her brothers, in the nursery class. Hard work but worth it for the holidays, I keep telling myself grin

Can we possibly keep this up as a support thread - it sounds like a lovely crowd of people and I had no idea there were so many of us! Thanks for starting it, Jennifersofia, and good luck. I just do everything for the entire week on a sunday evening - and DH is "pack [-ed lunch] Man" for the midweek lunchboxes wink

ramonaquimby Sun 18-Oct-09 18:08:21

I hate working (actually quite like the job) at the moment, do 2 days in a sp sec sch
dh is away for 2 weeks but is huge help when here
have to get 3 kids ready in the morning, 2 off to school, one at childminders
3 pack lunches
and the kids I teach are all so terribly needy - a difficult mix of SLD/MLD/ASD in the class, so not your typical lesson plans. everything has to be so practical.

i have a cleaner
i use my tumble dryer (so don't iron much)
just organised a mother's helper for rest of the term on the days I don't work, hoping to get some school work done on the days she's here so that I'm not up crazy hours on the nights before I work.

a good moan.
does wonders grin

jennifersofia Sun 18-Oct-09 22:01:49

Oh ladies, (are you all ladies? Sorry if anyone is not!) this is simultaneously reassuring and disturbing at the same time! I often think it is simply that I am an inefficient worker, or being rather indulgent with the time I allow myself to dither over things, or am simply not good enough or whatever, and that is the reason why I feel overwhelmed. So it is reassuring to hear that actually, it is mainly in the job description! On the other hand, I think, do I want to operate at this level of stress all the time - is it fair to my dh, who is lovely and wonderfully helpful - is it fair to my girls, is it fair to me? Of course we all need to make compromises (I well remember having other jobs and disliking them because they weren't stimulating and all consuming), and other jobs would also have great drawbacks.
I think it is also tied into the problems I am having with discipline at the moment. I just am not on top of it, and don't feel like I have ever really achieved that in class (this is my 4th year teaching). I am spending 40% of my time trying to keep control, and 60% of my time teaching, which isn't the way it should be and it is getting me down. I am not complaining about the children, I know that essentially it is down to me, but I just can't seem to sort it. Luckily I have got supportive SLT, but I feel quite a failure for being a 'experienced' teacher and having to ask for help. I have asked for help, and I am being supportive, but there is only so much they can do.
I do feel that some people are born teachers, and although of course they have to work very hard at it, they are naturally great at the job, and others (like me) learn it. I just wonder, at what point should one do something different? Should I soldier on and just keep trying and doing a not horrible but not good job - should I try to diversify to something else? I like children, I like some aspects of the job, but sometimes I just think that I don't do a good enough job.

Hadn't meant this to turn into a personal sob story - I am grateful for all the tips.

piscesmoon Sun 18-Oct-09 22:17:21

It is overwhelming. I just opted out and do supply work. It isn't very fulfilling, but it saves my sanity. Every so often I do a part time job-if it comes my way. I admire anyone who manages to have a work/life balance with children and the classroom.

Heated Sun 18-Oct-09 22:26:10

Completely understand. Have you only ever taught in the school you're in? What do colleagues say you do well?

jennifersofia Sun 18-Oct-09 23:08:14

Yes, I have only taught in this school (apart from placements), out of curiosity, why do you ask? Not really sure what colleagues think about my teaching - I have friends in school, but we tend to talk generally, and not directly about technique. In observations in the past I have been praised for being quite reflective and they have been all satisfactory, sometimes with elements of good.

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