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Teachers with young children.

(68 Posts)
Poetryinaction Sun 22-Sep-19 14:11:24

Hi. I am part time in secondary and my kids are aged 5, 3 and 1. I am really struggling to keep on top of everything this year, as I am working 0.64 across 7 days a fortnight. I have to run off at the end of the working day to get the kids, and they are very demanding until at least 8pm, often later. Then I am trying to cook, clean, life admin, keep fit?? I am finding all the extra demands (getting the classroom ready for Open Evening/ being a tutor etc etc) really hard to fit in. I have a pile of marking to do this weekend and no energy or enthusiasm. I feel like I'm failing, when actually I am doing my best every minute I'm at work.
Does anyone else feel the same? Can you only be a good, well prepared teacher if you don't have kids? That's not right is it?

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Sun 22-Sep-19 16:39:06

It’s shit, I remember it well. You are part time but spending your time off looking after young kids which is equally as tiring. Then you’re juggling the kids being in different places and coordinating different pick ups.

I found I was treading water those years until they were all in school. Then part time actually meant I had space to breathe, and they were both in the same place at the same time.

Poetryinaction Sun 22-Sep-19 17:03:50

Thank you. Yes, treading water is it. Glad to hear it gets better. I want to be part time for as long as possible!

OP’s posts: |
parrotonmyshoulder Sun 22-Sep-19 17:14:44

For the first time in 21 years, I’m seriously considering giving up. I’m full time. My children aren’t that little- 10 and 7 - but I can no longer tolerate the workload needed to do the job properly.

Poetryinaction Sun 22-Sep-19 17:32:34

Oh dear that's not encouraging! I can't actually imagine being full time any more. There is no breathing space, ever. It seems mad to me that so may teachers all over the UK are pushed to the limits week after week.

OP’s posts: |
parrotonmyshoulder Sun 22-Sep-19 17:43:48

I love every minute of my job. I’m a special school teacher. I just spend too long doing it, at the expense of my family and any personal time. And I’m very experienced, very efficient, don’t do anything unnecessary!

BeanBag7 Sun 22-Sep-19 17:47:28

I handed in my notice for this exact reason. I was working really hard and doing the best I could but still felt I was failing my students and also failing my child (who was only a toddler).

I'm taking a few years out and doing private tutoring. We are lucky that my husband has a decent job so any that I earn is just a nice extra. It wasn't worth the stress and missing my daughter growing up because I was having to work every free minute.

GrammarTeacher Sun 22-Sep-19 17:47:45

I love it. But the state of the house and my fitness have suffered. I've just returned to full time (earlier than planned as the hours came up) with a just turned 4 year old and a not quite 2 year old. The extended hours at nursery help.

SaintEyning Sun 22-Sep-19 17:56:39

I’m in my third year of full time teaching (inc PGCE year) as a single mum of a 9yo. I’m now looking for a (maybe part time) LSA role as i’m out of the house 7am-515pm and my son is definitely suffering despite loving having me about for the holidays.

I was a full time civil servant before retraining and although I absolutely love being in the classroom, I can see nothing but longer hours ahead - meaning less time in the evenings with DS, which feels more and more unfair on him. I used to take him to school and if WFH, collect him too. He deserves better - and if our lifestyle has to become more economical for a bit, it’s still a price worth paying.

Poetryinaction Sun 22-Sep-19 18:03:55

It's a shame so many of us feel the same. I expected people to come and tell me I just needed to manage my time better!

OP’s posts: |
parrotonmyshoulder Sun 22-Sep-19 18:05:11

I’ve been learning to manage my time for a very long time! The problem is that the job is unmanageable, and we are conditioned into feeling that it’s our fault if we can’t do it. It’s not our fault. We are trying to do the impossible.

BelindasGleeTeam Sun 22-Sep-19 18:08:14

I can manage work and kids but am so unfit. I am 0.8 and knackered already.

That said, I'm trying to do more live feedback, whole class feedback and marking codes to decrease my workload. So far it's working. Luckily my HT is supportive of this sort of approach.

I'd really like a gym membership but my issue is by the time I'm home and DH is, and kids are sorted it's 8pm and all I'm good for is PJ's. The thought of the gym is laughable.

SweepTheHalls Sun 22-Sep-19 18:20:38

I only live mark books in the classroom, never bring books home. Once a fortnight do an assessed piece of work that I get them to do on A5 paper, for which I create a matching marking sheet so marking it is reading and highlighting the relevant feedback. These then get stuck into books for them to do the improvement tasks . Be really rigorous about self and peer assessment of straightforward material.

I have an alarm on my fitbit for 4.45 which is the time I need to leave to collect children -( I have 3). On weekends I work when they are doing hwk ( the older 2). Share resources and planning with colleagues to lighten everyone's load. Don't feel guilty about using childcare. I do a. 6 as a lead teacher and run teacher training as well. It's tough, but getting back in at a good level is so hard if you leave. I run twice a week with a running group for my sanity! A supportive partner is essential. Mine OH is also a teacher so he gets it.

historygeek Sun 22-Sep-19 18:24:21

I am a full time HOD and have a 3yo DS. DH retrained as a primary teacher last year and also works FT. We have no family support as we live an hour away from both sets of parents. Mornings are a military operation in terms of timings to both get showered, walk the dog get DS dressed etc. We both do school work from 8pm after DS has gone to bed.
It works at the minute as DS is at pre-school at a private nursery so can be dropped off at 7.30am and doesn't need to be picked up until 6pm (although he is very rarely there until that late). At weekends we play "pass the child" as we each take turns to entertain DS whilst the other one works. I don't know what we are going to do when he goes into reception and we lose this wrap around care.
It's really hard work and we're all knackered but then we all have holidays off together and love our jobs.
I actually think it is sometimes easier to work more hours as you will get more PPA and can get the majority of school work done at work, rather than trying to do it whilst toddler wrangling.

historygeek Sun 22-Sep-19 18:26:01

Should also mention that I rarely exercise and the house is a tip!!

Mrskeats Sun 22-Sep-19 18:28:20

I have moved to work at an online school so I have no commute. I work the equivalent of full time but my kids have left home and my dh is good round the house.
I don’t honesty know how people do the job with small children.

comfysocks8516 Sun 22-Sep-19 18:48:19

I have two under 5 and just went back to full time. I actually find life easier now, as part time was a constant battle to fit everything in to 3 days. I don’t manage the gym anymore, and I’m generally exhausted during evenings and weekends. I got a cleaner once every other week just so I know the bathrooms and floors are washed properly which has been the best use of £50pcm ever! Only just now am I stopping making stupid mistakes every day just due to post pregnancy brain/ sleep exhaustion 3.5 years after birth!!! I finally feel like myself again, and that I am coping. It takes so much longer than I thought it would!! Hang in there!!! Xx

HappyHolidays75 Sun 22-Sep-19 19:35:27

I feel the same. Mine are now 9-15 so up even later in the evening but at least can entertain themselves, although need lots of taxi-ing to activities.
I actually found it easier when they were the age of yours (but demands on teachers have only increased since then). Now I often work until midnight, but at least they'll leave me in peace on a weekend morning to sleep.
If it helps, the following helped me.
Eat with kids so you only cook once, at least on your work days.
House chores immediately after dinner.
Bedtime stories at 7 so you're done by 8 - no chores after then. Use the October clock change to help if things are much later at the moment.
Fortnightly cleaner leaving just hoovering in between (unless someone visiting).
Extra half day childcare giving you daylight time to work solidly.

My 'best' colleagues are child-free. They do all the whizz extra stuff. Then one of our SLT joked how her sons yr 11 parents evening was the first one she attended. I'm (kind of) happy muddling along (shattered) in between.

Poetryinaction Sun 22-Sep-19 20:01:24

Thanks for the tips.
I can't get extra childcare- it's too expensive and I miss my kids too much as it is. And my dh won't agree to a cleaner. But we are starting to eat with the kids. It's just so busy all the time and I miss my children!

OP’s posts: |
HappyHolidays75 Sun 22-Sep-19 21:21:47

🙈 I never went for the extra childcare, but did put my foot down about the cleaner. My DH wouldn't agree either but also wouldn't pull his weight. Couldn't have it both ways.

Haggisfish Sun 22-Sep-19 21:25:06

If dh wont agree to a cleaner then he should do it. Twat.

Mammyloveswine Sun 22-Sep-19 21:25:20

I'm 0.7 and have two toddlers (my headteacher loved me when I told her I was going off again within a year of returning after ds1)

I have a good balance atm, can pick my 3 year old up from nursery school...

However I do have a lot of work to do and actually wouldn't be much worse off being full time given the extra ppa/non contact time I'd have...

So I'm planning on going full time within the next 2 years when the little one gets 30 hours!

OhioOhioOhio Sun 22-Sep-19 21:27:39

I am about to go part time. I hate work at the moment. I feel so incredibly inadequate.

Single mum with 3 young kids.

TwinkleMerrick Sun 22-Sep-19 21:33:42

I'm a single mum to a beautiful 18 month old and have just gone back full time confused I'm very lucky that my parents help out a lot, they have my little girl most days after nursery until 4pm so I can stay and do marking and planning. Could you try and organise an after school club a couple of days or a child minder? I'm also thinking about getting a cleaner because I spend all my weekend cleaning!! I feel so guilty because I want to spend my free time doing fun stuff with my DD, but I have so many jobs that need doing like food shopping, washing, all piles up. Also find coming home and cooking dinners exhausting, I'm running out of ideas for quick and healthy dinners....anyone got any ideas? It's tough but I think if we lower our standards and expectations of ourselves and ask for help when we need it we will Make it through. As for keeping fit.....that went out the window years ago blush

DippyAvocado Sun 22-Sep-19 21:50:52

I'm primary and my DC are 10 and 7. I was part-time for 10 years and have just gone full-time. I found the only manageable time was the couple of years I worked part-time after my DC started school. Then I had two days at home to catch up on schoolwork and do housework.

I went back to full-time because my SLT were treating part-timers poorly and I felt guilty being home two days when we were struggling a bit for money but I am finding the workload almost unmanageable. I have given up on doing housework and exercise. Luckily DH has stepped up with the housework. I feel like my class gets more from me than my own kids sad. I'm hoping it will get easier once I've settled in. I've switched year groups so can't rely on old planning.

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