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I know we're always doing threads like this but how on earth do you cope with teaching full time and your own family?

(64 Posts)
parrotonmyshoulder Thu 05-Nov-15 06:20:05

Not to mention any relaxation time or time with your partner if you have one?

I cried for two hours last night (not a very productive use of time!) then went to bed at 9pm. It's only day 3 of the half term! I just cannot physically do the hours needed to do the job AND care for my small children. I just can't.

Childcare is fine - they're at school/ nursery with wrap around - but when I get them home at 5.30-6pm, it's just a round of tea, bath (when required), stories, bed, lots of which is ruined by me being so exhausted that I'm impatient, a bit shouty, cross and horrible.

I am never like that in school. I hate the fact that my children get the worst of me. And on top of this, there is stacks of work mounting up that I cannot find time to do. I work 8-5 in school and do not take breaks. I just can't bring more home and do it once the kids are in bed.

I get work emails up to midnight from SLT and other colleagues, so I know that they are working that late. Often on threads like this, people will say they cope fine with the workload - going on to add that they work 8-10pm or something after the kids are in bed. I CAN'T do this.

This is a nice school. With good people in it. I'm probably not being asked to do anything unreasonable! Plan, teach, assess, record, meetings, IEPs, parents, behaviour plans etc. All normal. But still too much.

I've been full time since Easter (current permanent job since June). Own DC are little - 3&6.

I feel better this morning after a reasonable night's sleep. The day to day job is great - very challenging (special needs school), with a good team. No chance to cut down days - and even if I could, the day 'off' would be spent working.

I don't want to become depressed. I don't want my own children to lose their childhood.

Singsongsungagain Thu 05-Nov-15 06:27:46

I do work in the evenings when my children are in bed to be honest but I balance that out by striving to leave a bit earlier at least a couple of days a week (days when there are no meetings etc).
I understand what you're saying about your own children getting the worst of you. I make the most of the drive home to calm down a bit and refocus and I always walk in with a smile on my face (even if I'm faking it!).
Term time I get my head down and assume that I'll have no time but I do all I can to take a good lot of time off in the holidays.
I do totally understand where you're coming from though. It's a really difficult balancing act.

rozepanther Thu 05-Nov-15 06:31:22

I'm not a teacher but saw your post and thought I'd comment because it's something I'm always in awe of teachers for. No matter how much we love our jobs and our own kids, you guys have similar (not same obvs) all the time. And I don't know how you do it!

On the not working evenings would it help to have one evening a week of something for you - like a sports class, yoga, oh anything really, but in the diary and dedicated to you. Another with your partner. Then if you have work to do on other evenings at least you'd know it wouldn't be every evening? Sounds almost like you're in a big mess of having things you want and need to do piling up and that's so stressful that nothing in either pile gets done, which makes it even more stressful!

I hope you find a solution and thanks for teaching our kids!

parrotonmyshoulder Thu 05-Nov-15 06:37:11


I seriously can't work at night. I must be really lazy or something. I always intend to, but I can't do it.

I do work both weekend days - usually 7-10am or something. I didn't do enough in half term this time - but then I was desperate to give my own children full attention and a lovely holiday!

wannabestressfree Thu 05-Nov-15 06:43:55

Parrot I rarely work at night either. I am a single parent to three teenagers and I work in school, holidays and the weekends but not evenings ...

soimpressed Thu 05-Nov-15 06:44:35

I work in a large primary school and, apart from the head, I am the only full-time teacher with school age children. The others all say they would never cope.

I always seems to have a long list of things to do and just scrape by getting them done at the last minute or sometimes not doing them at all. I think its very difficult with little ones because they can't understand that they have to wait for the holidays to spend time with their mum.

Could you cut down even by half day? Even if you spent that time working it would allow you one evening to spend time doing something else.

IguanaTail Thu 05-Nov-15 06:45:55

How old are the kids you teach?
If it's secondary, I have found a way to halve the marking time:

Get a pink highlighter and a green one. Highlight 3 good things in green and 3 errors in pink. Get them to work out in lesson time what the errors are and what was particularly good about the green bits. They can work in pairs. It's excellent for their reflection and is a serious timesaver. Far more effective than actually marking and correcting all the work (when they tend to ignore that, look at the grade and move on).

IguanaTail Thu 05-Nov-15 06:46:41

Sorry I'm not saying it's the answer to all your prayers or anything - it's incredibly difficult to balance it - just thought I'd pass on a nugget which is helping me.

parrotonmyshoulder Thu 05-Nov-15 06:50:45

Thanks for the marking tip. Sounds good but I'm in special school so marking is actually the one problem I don't have much of. There is a LOT more marking than when I was last in special school, but it's one thing my TAs can support with.

IguanaTail Thu 05-Nov-15 06:52:27

Oh goodness. Well you're going to work today with our thoughts and strength flowers nice glass of wine tonight?

parrotonmyshoulder Thu 05-Nov-15 06:54:50

No wine till Friday! But early home for rainy fireworks. Thanks x

DitheringDiva Thu 05-Nov-15 10:01:47

I had the exact same problem as you OP. Up at 6am, out of the house by 7.20 to get to work for 7.45. Full day at work (until about 5.30pm), picked the kids up at 6pm, home about 6.10pm Got them their tea - just microwaving, because my husband usually did a batch cook on Sundays, but even so it would be 7pm by the time tea was finished, then start the bath/bedtime routine (and my younger daughter could really have done with being in bed by 7pm). Husband works very long hours, so he left at the same time as me, and got home at about 7.30pm. I would then be back downstairs at 8pm ish, eat dinner with husband - the only quality time we got to catch up on each other's day, then 8.30-9pm we'd get the kitchen cleared, and I'd finally be able to sit down to do some work at 9pm, BUT because I was getting up at 6am, and I need 8 hours sleep, I had to be in bed by 9.30pm, so that I had time to wind down and drop off to sleep by 10pm!! So basically, there was just no time to do any work in the evening. The above routine is actually an easy routine as well - as my children got older, they started to do more and more things after school, which made the whole evening even tighter for time. TBH, it got to the stage where I begrudged working in the evenings, when I'd worked well over any kind of sensible hours during the day already anyway.

This is not what you want to hear, but in the end, I became a SAHM. I'm lucky that we have no mortgage and my husband earns a very good wage. It's such a shame, because I'm a good teacher, in a shortage subject, and I would actually love to go back to teaching, but unless I can find a school where it's feasible to work 8am-5pm with no work in the evenings, it's not going to happen. I don't really want to work part-time either, because at my last school there was constant pressure to come in on days/afternoons off, and even though I refused to go in, I don't want the kind of treatment I received there, just for standing up for myself. I've done a bit of supply work, but most of it is for long term covers, which would bring me back to square one if I took on one of those.

Goingbacktomyroots Thu 05-Nov-15 17:22:41

To answer your question, I didn't. I used to leave the house at 7.30 in the morning and get home at 6pm, later if there was a parents evening.

My exh resented me coming home late but I felt pressure from SLT and colleagues when I had to rush off or leave a meeting. I couldn't win. Nothing was enough at work or school.

I also found working in the evenings difficult as I just didn't have the concentration. I preferred to work at school than bring it home or work on weekends. Sometimes I had no choice if there was a deadline.

It became even more difficult when I became a single parent until I couldn't physically do it any more. The juggling childcare, pick-up and drop-offs from different schools, covering inset days, illness, appointments, it was impossible.

I had to give it up but I still miss it every day.

CiderLolly Thu 05-Nov-15 18:55:10

I feel your pain. I teach full time with two kids under 6 and what works for me is making sure I get everything done through the week. It is a bummer getting them to bed and then starting again but it means weekends are times to totally switch off from school and have quality family time. Obviously during report writing time etc I might have to do bits and bobs at the weekend but I only do it then. The to do list is never ending but you have to draw the line somewhere!

thatone Thu 05-Nov-15 19:07:29

I can totally relate to what you are all saying. This week, after half-term has been just exhausting. I spent the half-term avoiding work and doing the bare minimum, thinking that I don't get paid enough to be so stressed and overworked.

My school is also a nice school with lovely colleagues and a great atmosphere but the normal day to day stuff is just too much. I get in around 7.45 have a 15 min lunch and then stay till 5.00/5.30 with no other breaks.

I do another half hour or so at home in the evening.

When really stressed I try to get a sense of perspective - I'm not a doctor so however behind I get hopefully no-one's life will be at risk. And my class is happy, they are safe, and they are making progress. I tell myself this is good enough.

ravenAK Thu 05-Nov-15 19:14:24

I moved to an international school overseas. Kids are at the school.

I was just coping with FT teaching secondary English, 3dc & an h who worked away, but it was nightmarish.

Then my marriage broke down & I thought 'bollocks to it' & applied abroad.

I know not everyone can do this, but my work/life balance is so, so much better.

Purplehonesty Thu 05-Nov-15 19:24:40

I'm not a teacher. But I have DC the same age as yours and two jobs.
One I do during the day, pick kids up come home, do a bit of my other job, get them to bed and then finish the job.
It's exhausting and I feel the pressure like you.
What helps me is having a meal plan so I have quick and easy meals to make. Slow cooker helps too.
Dh baths the kids and puts them to bed every night he can
As soon as I finish second job I go to bed and if I don't have any work to do I go to bed even earlier.
I'm thinking about getting a cleaner to do the basics - bathrooms and floors just to take the pressure off. The washing fairly mounts up so I am getting a tumble drier to help too.

Don't know if that's any use to you but that's how I get by.

Phineyj Thu 05-Nov-15 19:44:40

I have to do a couple of hours in the evening three nights a week or I can't keep up. It is tough for sure. I don't like working in the evening but it has to be done. One night a week (if I can) I go to choir, which cheers me up. Can you prioritise one useful thing to do per night (for an hour say) and do it with a timer set?

Most of my colleagues don't send email out of work hours though - your SMT need to get a grip on that! My sixth form students do email at crazy times of night but they are teenagers. They know I will reply within 24 hrs.

I get DH to take DD to a dads and toddlers group one Sat a month so I can get a chunk of work done.

Iguana, I really like your marking idea!

teacher54321 Thu 05-Nov-15 20:10:54

I have one Ds who is 3 1/2 and work full time as HoD in a prep school. Ds attends the school in the nursery and will move up to reception there in September. Dh works shifts, and is currently on a week of nights.
i am only surviving because of the following things:
I teach music so don't do any marking.
I get in early every day and Ds watches octonauts on my computer whilst I set up the classroom for the day.
I don't have my work emails come to my phone. I figure that I'm there 5 days a week, that's enough.
We have a cleaner
I have bought in resources and schemes of work.
I do everything as far in advance as I possibly can.
Online tesco shopping.
Easy tea for all of us most of the time.

It is super hard. Hardest thing I've ever done.

MrsUltra Fri 06-Nov-15 18:04:59

The same way as other FT working parents. I am now a teacher, but when my DC were small, I dropped them off at breakfast club at 7.30, picked up at 6, bath, bed, DH often away and working long hours, not home till 8. I would have prep for presentations etc till 10 then bed.
No professional job is 9-5 - a two-professional-parent family issue, not just teaching.

parrotonmyshoulder Fri 06-Nov-15 18:57:33

Well, it is the staffroom, MrsUltra, so I was asking from a teaching perspective.

Thanks everyone.

MrsUltra Fri 06-Nov-15 19:01:47

Now a teacher, tougher before.

parrotonmyshoulder Fri 06-Nov-15 19:04:46

This certainly wasn't intended to be a 'who has the hardest job?' thread.

wannabestressfree Fri 06-Nov-15 19:12:33


Fiddlerontheroof Fri 06-Nov-15 19:14:06

I'm a single parent and I've just gone FT this week until Xmas to cover extra needed. This week has nearly finished me off, I've missed two important personal appointments, forgot to send kids snack money and letters back to school and my kids have done near melt down by Thursday when I left at 7.30am again. I'm wondering how I'm going to make it til Xmas, so I feel your pain....I couldn't sustain this long term. For me it's not the work commitment, it's the emotional pull of really not giving enough time to the children. At least I know that I'm going back to part time, which is manageable as I do all my work on my days off!!!

It is hard, to help I also have a cleaner, I do my online tesco shop Sunday Morning and it gets delivered Monday evening. I plan meals for the week so I don't have to think about what I'm feeding everyone, kids have school dinners so I don't have to do packed lunches. I have a great flexible childminder who doesn't bay an eyelid if I'm late and I shower her with chocolates and massive gratitude. I try and do all work in work, and not at home, though that is proving challenging! And yes, I teach music too, so no marking as I work in a variety of schools covering PPA...which does take the pressure off a bit. Through having to do all the extra curricular stuff, evening concerts etc. So swings and roundabouts really!

I don't know what the answer is, but I hear ya! X

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