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Teaching as a single parent(11 Posts)
Hi all - I have just received an offer to take up a PGCE place to teach secondary school social sciences. However I am a single parent of a 5 and 12 year old. I have read lots of bits on the internet about how its too hard to be a single parent teacher. Is anyone managing it? If so what are your tips for making it work?
It is tough. You need robust childcare arrangements and some one you can rely on to help out if your children are sick. You need to accept that sometimes your own children will play second fiddle. It gets easier after the first 5 years but up till that point, I found it a hard slog.
I coped by shifting to supply and then got a part time role in an independent school. I made up my week with supply and in later years took on PPA contracts in primary schools as well so I was here, there and everywhere. Really enjoyed that as it added a depth to my experience. I am out for good in 2 weeks time - been in for 10 years but I want to focus on other stuff now. I have a job to go to so very calculated!
Yay well done!! We’ve have an nqt at my school this year that’s a single parent, my schools been really understanding with her in regards to her being off if the kids are ill and stuff.
My advice is to do everything ahead of it need doing so that if anything happens last minute it doesn’t send you into a panic.
Thank you for the replies. My biggest concerns are the mornings. Child care does not open until 8 and most teachers seem to be in work before that. Its good to hear that some schools are supportive. I suppose it depends on where you end up teaching.
Do not compare yourselves to other teachers. I'm usually the last one in my department at 8.35 ( younger childless teachers are there from 7am onwards) and out on the bell to collect my primary daughter. Up until March her school bus went past my school so every day I was last in first out. I do all my work from home after school or during lunchtime. As long as everything gets done no one should care.
Is there anyway you can change childcare so you can drop off children before 8?
I had the same situation and school started at 8.40. There were no spaces left in the school car-park by the time I arrived meaning I had to park down the road and rush even more to get through the gate in enough time to sort my stuff and my head for teaching.
Once I found a childminder who was happy for me to drop kids off at 7.15, and a school where you didn't have to prove you were deserving of a car parking space, things became more manageable.
Parents evening can be tricky so worth checking when those are in advance and making childcare arrangements and the same for INSET days.
Its not easy. A lot depends on support you have from friends, family and childcare providers.
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As others have said, excellent childcare arrangements with a back up if possible. Look well ahead for inset days, parents evenings, options evenings, Christmas concerts etc. A lot depends on your immediate line manager and dept. I've been very lucky to work with colleagues who would quietly cover for me so I could see my child's nativity play or whatever but in some schools that would be a sackable offense.
In wider terms, teaching is an enormously varied career. You can get by perfectly well doing OK lessons, reliable, safe, not going to set anyone's world on fire but fine and manage your work life balance, or you can go way OTT making every resource from scratch, using 59 different types of tech or activities, sing and dance your way through every lesson and the outcomes for the students will be likely no better but you'll be broken. There a balance to be found and as a sp to small children that balance may be on the more pedestrian end for now, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't be doing a decent job.
As everyone else said, reliable childcare is necessary and you need to be mega organised. I was a single parent with no family or friends around where I was to help and childcare was from 7.30-6.30. I was ok, but it meant mornings were always a rush as I hit morning traffic and got there just in time for form, which meant I had to do all my printing and prep the night before, and then I had to leave by 5.30 at the very latest, because of tea-time traffic. If that landed on a day with after-school meetings or revision classes, it did not give me a lot of time after school to do much marking or planning, so I was bringing work home a lot of the time.
The big thing for me, which meant I had to move, was because I only had nursery and no spare funds for a babysitter, I had no care for parents' evenings, open evenings, residential trip meetings, twilight CPD, etc. So you need a definite plan for evening care too.
I chose childcare near my school rather than near home so I could drop dd at 8 then be at school for 5 past. Childminders are often more flexible than other providers. Dd's childminder has her till 9pm when I have e.g. Open evening. I couldn't do it without her!
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