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I can't teach!

(30 Posts)
CuckooCuckooClock Wed 25-Jan-17 10:32:41

I returned to teaching in September after 6 years off having babies and I just can't get my confidence back.

I'm 0.6 so I hardly have any ppa time and no time in the evenings or on days off to plan lessons really well. I feel like I'm just delivering crap lessons. I'm behind with marking and writing new schemes.

Because I'm part time I've missed inset days, when there's usually time to get your shit together. I miss all the dept meetings so I never know what's going on.

I want to cry after every lesson because I feel so bad about them.

Is this a blip? Will I get back into it or should I get out?

Anyone else struggle on returning after a break? How did you manage? I still really want to teach but I Don't want to be a shit teacher.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Awkward77 Wed 25-Jan-17 10:42:32

The fact that you're really stressing over this shows that you are not a bad teacher. I am 4 years into teaching 0.6 with a young child and I promise you it does get easier. I struggled with working in the evenings so started going into work on my work days really early (7am). This helps me get on top of things so I can enjoy guilt free evenings. I also feel like I can hit the ground running on my teaching days as everything is fresh in my mind. Can your OH sort the kids out on the mornings you work?

CuckooCuckooClock Wed 25-Jan-17 11:00:39

Thanks for your reply.
Unfortunately I can't get in early because I have to do drop off and breakfast club opens at 7:45 so I get to work about five minutes before morning briefing.
I do work until 5 ish but again, I have to leave then to get back before after school club closes.
It's just not enough time to do everything.

What did you struggle with at first that has got easier? I just can't see how I can improve when I have no time to do anything properly.

Skooba Wed 25-Jan-17 11:03:37

Can you up your childcare arrangements to give you more time. I went back to work to a job I wasn't confident about, the workplace stressed me, then when I got home it was constant family stuff/housework, always a phone call about something child centred on the drive home even). Never any down time to get my head round stuff (which is v difficult anyway when you are feeling stressed). I didn't stay but looking back can see why I failed. You probably need some calm time and some me time if that's possible.

CuckooCuckooClock Wed 25-Jan-17 11:18:25

Calm time and me time? I don't even know what that means!

There are no other childcare options so that is not going to change.

Dh does try to give me a couple of child-free hours at the weekends but the last couple of weeks that hasn't been possible. That's probably something that's contributed to me feeling more overwhelmed than usual.

PrincessPotsie Wed 25-Jan-17 11:47:01

Poor you OP. It's so hard to jump back into the chaos of teaching after a long break. Like you I had a 6 year 'break' (working harder for no pay!) at home with my DC and this time last year I taught 2 days a week for a term to cover a maternity cover. It was so bloody hard.

After being a Head of Department and then part time after DC1 I thought I'd love it and admittedly odd lessons were good. Planning and marking took over my life and I HATED working till late at night after a full day teaching. I was new to the school and was treated like a supply teacher by the students. It was very tough.

I think the hardest thing is not feeling good enough. With 3DC my life is already full and there was never enough time to sort resources, lesson plans and other stuff. I was constantly comparing myself to my pre DC self and knew that i could never be as good a teacher as then.

I'm sure it must get easier and wish you all the best. Don't be too hard on yourself. Your priorities have changed.

noblegiraffe Wed 25-Jan-17 14:17:34

Why don't you have any time in the evenings or on days off (if the kids are at school) to do work? I think if you are expecting to get everything done by the time you leave at 5 your expectations are unfortunately unrealistic.

I'm 0.6, I keep up by working for hours in the evening once the kids are in bed.

CuckooCuckooClock Wed 25-Jan-17 18:57:13

I have a 2yo who is with me on my days off. He also doesn't sleep so I don't usually get much of an evening. And my other one is 6 so not that independent yet.

How many extra hours do you do on top of your working days noble

Maybe I am being unrealistic and should give it up.

Bumbleclat Wed 25-Jan-17 19:20:40

This sounds so hard.. I'm on MLbat the moment and already dreading my return.almosy considering childminding from home instead.
Could you not do something different until your children are a bit older?

CuckooCuckooClock Wed 25-Jan-17 19:34:54

I don't think there's anything else I could do that would cover the cost of childcare so if I gave up teaching I'd be better of just returning to being a sahm.
But then I may never have the confidence to get a job again!

I was hoping for some more positive stories.

noblegiraffe Wed 25-Jan-17 19:37:47

Ah I thought both your children were in school. I'll be honest, it was an absolute bloody nightmare teaching with a toddler, even part time. DS didn't sleep well so I was woken in the night too and I felt like I was a zombie going through the motions. DH did a lot of the evening going up and down the stairs stuff while I worked.

I reckon I work about 40 hours a week. I'm a bit more than 0.6, more like 0.66, and I don't have days off, my timetable is bits and pieces here and there, so 25-30 hours of that is at school.

Tweedledee3Tweedledum Wed 25-Jan-17 19:39:02

Please don't feel you have to tackle this on your own. Speak to your manager. Seek advice from your colleagues. You will get there.

echt Wed 25-Jan-17 19:39:33

OP, if you miss meetings, notes of the meeting should be taken anyway and you need to ask for them.

noblegiraffe Wed 25-Jan-17 19:39:40

Some of those hours are lunchtime stuff I do when I'm in for lunchtime, after school revision and team meetings, so it's not all teaching or planning time.

Bobbybobbins Wed 25-Jan-17 19:41:52

It is really hard. I have just returned 0.6 after 2 of the last 3 years off on maternity leave. I find I have to be really disciplined in term time and work almost every night for an hour or two. But then I work less at the weekends than I did pre children and try to have the holidays almost off. My kids are younger which means I can't do anything on days off but they do go to bed early.

I've started putting my 2yo in nursery on my day off. It frustrates me no end that I feel I need to do this, but it means I get all (most!) of my work done that day, can grab a coffee and cake in peace and am not resentful of spending any 'free time' working over the weekend. I basically pay for the childcare in order to get my weekends back.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 25-Jan-17 19:42:56

Does your DH have no way of doing one of the school/nursery runs? I had a 5 year break, and went back full time, which I did feel would finish me off by the end of the first term. DH did the mornings and I did pick ups.

CuckooCuckooClock Thu 26-Jan-17 19:15:00

Thanks for the replies.
I do need to be more disciplined at lunchtimes and only take a few minutes to eat then I could do some marking then.
There's no way that either of us can do both school and nursery runs. I do school, dh does nursery.
I have to hope that ds starts sleeping so I get an hour in the evenings to work I guess.

raspberrycreams Thu 26-Jan-17 19:23:49

I feel your pain. I have returned twice after each DC and have had mixed experiences. My situation now is by far the best; I am currently supply PPA at my school, which means I don't have to do much planning/ marking but I am still part of the staff team and when I feel ready will think about being a class teacher again. It's hard to see other staff progress more quickly than me in their careers, and to have to take more of a 'back seat' role, but I'm endlessly thankful when I have entire weekends and holidays free.

MrsParmaViolet Thu 26-Jan-17 19:36:18

I returned a few years ago after 2 years off and it was really hard for about the first year and a half. It got better once I started afresh the next September, and I now work 8-10pm after the DCs are in bed.

noblegiraffe Thu 26-Jan-17 19:42:11

Can your DH step up in the evenings with DS so that you can just get on with working?

Scarydinosaurs Thu 26-Jan-17 19:46:00

Have you looked on Twitter for support? There is an amazing network of teachers for all subjects/stages there.

I must admit, I found it really hard returning to new specs! I had to relearn everything, teach myself brand new texts (English) and generally felt like I was starting again BUT all that work paid off and I definitely feel the benefit of it now.

Collaboration, adjusting the way I mark, and planning in 'give' time (e.g. Every Friday I do an activity across all KSs that is self marked and tweaked to suit all classes, so every Friday I don't have to worry about what I'm teaching etc).

It does get better!

roundtable Thu 26-Jan-17 19:58:12

With small babies-I changed to supply teaching and my work life balance is good.

I do some tutoring and I'm planning on marking exam papers if I get my backside into gear in completing the application form.

I've never met a permanent member of staff with small children whose family or classes didn't suffer. I didn't even try it out because of that.

Doesn't help you op, but might a be a feasible option.

MooPointCowsOpinion Thu 26-Jan-17 20:07:28

I'm teaching full time with a 2 year old and a 6 year old. I only have childcare from 8am
Until 5pm and I do drop off/pick ups for both children. I am knackered, but in a supportive school.

Priorities and boundaries OP. Relationships with students are more important than teaching them anything at the start. Build relationships and set out rules. Teach later. Progress/learning depends on effective teaching, not marking, so if you need to plan more and mark less, that's what the students need to do well.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 26-Jan-17 20:08:05

I work in Alternative Provision (former PRU) and have a great work life balance. Marking is very light (I teach fewer children in total than I did in one year 7 class in my last school). The payoff is of course the challenge in the classroom. But I would strongly recommend it to anyone who can deal with that.

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