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back to work or not?

(11 Posts)
DitheringDiva Thu 10-Sep-15 10:22:00

I've started to feel like I should go back to work. Money isn't a problem, and my husband doesn't mind what I do, but I miss the camaraderie of working. I worked full time up until 2 years ago, but found I couldn't physically fit in the hours required for the job, and the hours I wanted to spend with my kids. But now my youngest has moved into year 1, so I've had a year of doing the school runs, going to all the stuff they put on at school (I missed everything with my older DD - husband went and filmed it, but it wasn't the same). The problem is, my older DD has struggled to make friends all through school (now in year 6), but over the last couple of years while I've been off, she's become part of a lovely circle of friends - I've been able to keep up contact with parents, and most importantly, she now walks to school with some of them, which she loves doing - this would have to go if I went back to work, because she'd have to go to childcare (all the other parents work to some degree or another, and stay with GPs or whatever, so not an option to go round to their house - they wouldn't want to do it full-time). There's also stuff on at the school about once a fortnight, which I'd have to miss, and I'd rather not. The only thing I can think is to do supply teaching, but keep it to day-to-day work, or perhaps even state that I am only available 2 days a week or something (eg. Monday, Tuesday). I've just signed up to some agencies, and since I teach a shortage subject, they are already pressurising me into taking long term, full-time contracts to cover sickness, maternity leave etc. At first I thought it would be OK, because after each long term stint, I could have a couple of months off, but the more I think about it the more I don't think this would work - I'd still be tied in, and would miss a ton of stuff at school. Part of me would love to get stuck in to one of these long term contracts, but then I know it would take over family life, so then I brain flip the other way, and think maybe I'm better off forgetting about going back to work for a while - I like my freedom too much. Or then I think maybe doing bits of supply would suit, just to give me a taster of work again. Or am I just being a wimp, and all of this indecision is just because I'm scared of going back to work after 2 years out? Am I just overly pandering to my older DD who wants to walk to and from school with her friends - should I just make her suck it up? - I would if I needed the money, but we don't so should I put the needs/wants of my children first? Aaargh!! What to do!?? Sorry, this post is far too long!

MrsUltracrepidarian Thu 10-Sep-15 11:36:47

I am a supply teacher and I do it when it suits me for similar reasons to yours - is the best of all worlds IMO if you don't need the money.
Yes the agencies try to pressure you into doing long term - for them it is a commercial no-brainer as they get a large lump of money for far less work than the effort of getting day to days stuff.
Resist the pressure and do the work when it suits you. You don't have to say you are definitely available specific days, just let them know a week ahead what days you are available for that week.

MrsUltracrepidarian Thu 10-Sep-15 11:40:47

And join the TES forum for supply teachers to avoid the tricks and pitfalls the agencies will try to play.
Insist on PAYE, not Umbrella Company pay - see TES for reasons to avoid that scam.
Avoid 'guaranteed work' schemes - if you are good you will get the work anyway and does not tie you into one agency.
They may tell you that a particular school will only pay cover supervisor rates. Politely decline that school. The likelihood is the school will pay them the full rate and they just pocket the difference...

noblegiraffe Thu 10-Sep-15 11:50:25

What about looking for a part time role?

DitheringDiva Thu 10-Sep-15 13:27:04

noblegiraffe - I keep my eye out for part-time work, but even though I teach a shortage subject, I have only ever seen one part-time role advertised locally in the whole time I've been a teacher (9 years or so). I'd have to get to know a school, either by doing supply, or by working full-time for a year, then asking to drop my hours - permanent part-time is possible in the long-term. I did 4 days for a year at my last school, but they spread it over 5 days, and basically shafted me really - I ended up taking a pay cut but didn't really do any less work, so that experience has put me off a bit. I know some people who work 2-3 days though and they do make it work - it's finding the right school.

MrsUltra - interesting! - the agency consultants all keep telling me I won't get day-to-day work, so thanks for the heads up on that. I think I need to ignore their sales patter.

MrsUltracrepidarian Thu 10-Sep-15 13:44:17

Yes - ignore the sales patter!
YOU are the valuable commodity here, so be confident.
Without you, they have no 'stock'; to sell grin
Some of them are very arrogant and treat supply teachers like serfs, but if you take what they say with a pinch of salt and not let them guilt-trip or sucker you into anything over and above your basic hours, it is a really fun way to enjoy all the positive about being in the classroom, but being able to walk away with a smile at the end of the day and having proper weekends and evenings to enjoy your own DC and get time with your DH.

MrsUltracrepidarian Thu 10-Sep-15 13:45:46

(I've chosen not to work today as it is sunny (had a call this morning but declined) and this afternoon am planting spring bulbs in my garden... Work lined up for a local school tomorrow, then it is the weekend grin)

DitheringDiva Thu 10-Sep-15 14:07:35

MrsUltra - it's interesting what you say about cover supervisor rates, because I've already had one consultant tell me that if I do day-to-day supply, it will only be paid at cover supervisor rates.

MrsUltracrepidarian Thu 10-Sep-15 16:07:59

Ha! Yes, follows the pattern - and is complete rubbish.
You won't get paid to scale, but you should get at least 130 a day in London ( don't know about outside) and more as you are a shortage subject. They will try to say that if you are covering another subject then you only get cover supervisor rate ( about 80 in London.)
No - hold your nerve.
I cover everything - I am qualified in a non-science subject but usually cover maths and science as well as everything else, and in schools where a proper lesson is left, they get a proper lesson.

fatowl Thu 10-Sep-15 16:12:33

I was out for 12 (!) years while my dc were growing up.
Youngest has just started Y9.

I have gone back 3 days per week (just started second year back)
Still loving it - find three days a good balance)

(note i am overseas though, not in UK state, which is my background. Not sure how I would manage the stress of UK teaching now)

mrsnewfie Thu 10-Sep-15 17:19:17

I just started at a new school on a 0.8 over five days contract. I can drop my boys to breakfast club and then finish in time to collect them at the end of the day. It's working really well so far. I even finish in time to make it over for special assemblies and such like.

The job was advertised as full time but like you, I am a shortage subject teacher so I just asked if they would consider part time. They were happy to offer this set up and I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

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