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Living close to school(30 Posts)
Hello I’m an NQT and am relocating to the SE for a Year 2 teaching job. I was wondering what your own policy is on living close to the school ie walking distance. Both teachers in my family have warned me not to as you don’t want parents demanding full on meetings in Asda. However, I don’t drive and I’m wondering is the risk of bumping into parents worth the added stress of public transport? Curious to hear your thoughts! For those who live close to the school are you really a walking curiosity?? x
Personally I wouldn't! You will feel like you have no private life. I made this mistake once, and for the 5 years I was working at that school I was constantly being asked about my private life, both in and out of school. I even had one parent, of a child in another class (so I had no idea what the parent even looked like) report me to the head teacher for being in a pub with a man who wasn't my husband - he was my younger brother, but that's beside the point.
I was so shocked and upset by this. I felt that I couldn't go shopping or socialise in my own town, because I didn't know who was watching me. When I thought I was pregnant I travelled an hour away to buy the test! I became so paranoid. Then when I went to my gp for my first midwife appointment, a parent of a child in my class came in to take my bloods! I hadn't realised she was a nurse there. Even though I knew she was bound by confidentiality, I still worried about her knowing. It cast a shadow over the whole experience for me.
Since then I have never worked in the same town that I live in! The journey home actually helps me unwind and shake off any crap from the day, so when I get home I have a distance from the situation. And I can go for walks, shopping and to pubs without worrying about bumping into parents/ pupils!
I have and I know people who have and it's fine. You don't want to be dragging bags of marking home on public transport.
I live in my school catchment and my daughter attends our school. As do a few other staff.
Not had a problem as yet. I do see kids around the area they are usually quite polite and say Hello. A few seem really happy and smile.😂
I think this depends a lot on the type of place. Tiny village where everyone knows everyone, I wouldn't want to work there. However suburbia where people are more mixed you wouldn't be so 'obvious' to the students and vice versa.
(I also never lug books home even with a car! Mark in school or bring single sheets home)
I live 45 mins away by train or an hour by car. I can mark on the train, or snooze, and I make my working day start and end when I get on the train, as far as possible. I've lived in catchment too, and it was fine. Coming face to face with my gynaecologist at parents' evening and his puzzled "where do I know you from" was less fine.
I did my second placement at the school I live in catchment for and I became quite paranoid. 'Miss my cousin goes to your daughters nursery, is your daughters name xxx?' and then you spot one cycling past you house as you pull some weeds and realise they know where you live.
I guess it depends, I probably would reconsider when DD is older and I'm even more boring, but I did find it quite intrusive.
I live nearby and it has been fine. Large comp. it did worry me a bit at first but it has been fine. Even the naughtiest of students are polite when you bump into them outside of school - “hello miss!” 🤣
I don't live in catchment but do occasionally bump into students in the local shopping centres. I teach secondary and students all fall into one of 2 camps:
1. Really excited to see you, shout 'hi miss' across the shop, always polite and genuinely a nice experience.
2. Try to pretend they haven't seen you and studiously avoid looking at you. Will occasionally say in school 'miss, I saw you in...' but usually try to pretend this hasn't happened.
When I was training I sat opposite one of my students nearly every day on public transport on the way to school. She avoided looking at me so I followed her lead and didn't acknowledge her. It was a bit odd but not a problem.
I live in a different town to my school. It’s a blessing. I love being able to roll out of bed and go to the shops for milk without feeling like I’m going to see parents/kids - not that I don’t want to chat to them!
I have previously worked and lived close by and honestly I saw at least 1 family every time I left the house and it was a bit much.
It's not so much the bumping into in Asda that's the issue, because questions about maths sets or homework can be smilingly batted away with a rehearsed response. And that can happen even if you live a way away too.
Every teacher I know seems to have bumped into a child from school when away on holiday. I did so in the airport in Croatia; a colleague had one pop up on a cruise they were on.
But it is preferable to be reasonably confident that if you nip out to the corner shop in your scruffs, or you're off school ill but have to walk to the doctor's in the next road, you won't be seen.
Also depends how friendly and approachable you are.
I have lived rurally for years - there's usually a 20to 30 minute drive to my school. Nonetheless, as there is only one town nearby I can guarantee i'll always see at least two or threepupils or ex pupils every time I pop in. Or go swimming, or to one of the two supermarkets. I like it! You just have to get really good at politely saying "Can you get me at school about this? I really need my laptop / data in front of me to answer correctly".
Over 20 years now and I meet my ex pupils everywhere. One of them is our new NQT next year! I love hearing "Ou- Mrs Phleb!" It's a joy to see them out and about.
Everywhere you go within walking distance, a child you teach will pop up. You will never be able to cross the road on the red man again.
I'm torn on this one. I live in catchment for my school but it's in the area I grew up in - quite rough inner city. I like teaching kids with a similar background to me and it does go both ways. I also don't mind having informal parent meetings over the freezers in the local supermarket - saves me time making phone calls in school .
Not sure I'd feel the same way if it was an area that was new to me though.
I live 15 minutes by foot from my school because I cant drive. Never been an issue. Yes I bump in to pupils around town. But I've also bumped in to pupils in Rome, Greece and Dubai
Should add I've lived near school for 18 years.
There’s an Asda beside my school and every time when I go in for a bottle of wine I meet the same mother. Do I meet her when I go in for salad? Noooo.
I am 30 minutes’ walk away and it’s fine. I wouldn’t go inside the immediate catchment area.
It takes me 5 mins to get from my front door to my classroom. In the 12 years I've lived close to school I can count on one hand the number of times parents have approached me outside of school to ask something about their child. Lots of polite 'hellos' when at the shops and there are some parents I will happily chat with in the post office queue. The time it saves me commuting more than make it worthwhile for me.
When I lived in the catchment area of the school where I taught, I found myself having this conversation every Monday:
'I saw you in Sainsbury's / X cafe / on the zebra crossing (select as appropriate or substitute literally anywhere else you may have bumped into a pupil).
'Did you? Did I speak to you?'
'Yes, you did!'
But to answer your question.
I didn't mind, and mostly quite liked, living in the catchment area when I was a young teacher.
But circumstances meant that for most of my career I have travelled an hour or more each way, and I think I like the separation between work and home, añd the professional anonymity in each place.
I walk to school (3 miles) but it's further enough away that I very rarely bump into children from school. I wouldn't like to live closer than that though!
I've taught at schools within walking distance of my home and never minded bumping into pupils or parents when out and about. I've also bumped into pupils and parents down in Bournemouth and Cornwall which was more of a surprise but not a problem then either. We live close to the local hospital and I've crossed paths with school parents who work there too but once we've both realised, they swapped with a colleague (one occasion it was a midwife who would have been doing a sweep).
My own DC sometimes bump into their teachers locally and are fairly nonplussed by it, possibly because they've grown up with both their parents being spoken to by pupils, ex-pupils parents etc. when we're out. Pupils we know out of school i.e. because their parents are friends of ours, we attend the same church etc. call us by our first names outside school and our teacher names in school which is what our DCs do if any of their teachers happen to be family friends.
When I've taught locally, I've liked that I'm a part of the same local community as the children I teach.
I do - and my DC attend my school. The school community is very friendly and I really like the convenience of being so close - now. All our parents are really lovely and totally get the separation of school vs private life. We just get A LOT of visitors on Halloween etc.
Pre-dc, though, I was definitely glad not to live close to school and to keep my private life very separate.
Tricky one. In my first secondary school I lived around 5 miles away in a different suburb so if I did meet kids, it was in a town centre that we could both access easily. Then I relocated and lived 50 miles from work (I loved that hour drive - it got all the stress out!) but I still saw students in the city centre, close to my home. Then I worked within walking distance of home. I taught some of my neighbours but they were always lovely because they knew I'd tell their parents if they weren't. The parents knew us first as neighbours rather than me teaching their kid.
Then I worked a distance away again. We moved house so it's a 16 mile journey which takes 30 minutes by car. Then my DDs came to my school. All I did was say that in school they & their friends had to call me Mrs Malbecfan but outside school, mum/my first name is fine. The friends mostly still say Mrs and they have all left now.
I also do a couple of afternoons in a primary school 3 miles away. It's in our nearest town so I do see the children out and about. Mostly it's lovely and they run up to say hello. Parents smile but never ask specific questions, probably because I am not the class teacher. The dad who works in the Indian restaurant gives me extra poppadums for free. During lockdown, I was either out walking or gardening when some cycled past so they do know where I live, but being younger, they were with their parents and it wasn't a big deal. The only one who has been odd is a very anxious mum with 2 DDs. I was queueing outside Tesco very early on a Saturday when the younger DD saw me and ran up. She's 4. Mum was very unhappy even though I said it was nice to see them and she stomped off with them. The DDs looked really sad.
In the OP's case, depending on the area or catchment, if they can live in the next area but it is still walkable, that would be great. If not, why not rent somewhere in the short term in the catchment area and see how it goes? A 6 month rental will take you nearly to Easter. If it's unbearable, you then have a choice, but you will have saved money from commuting. Good luck - it's going to be an odd year for sure!
I once lived in the closest city to my school and so at the weekend I used to usually bump into kids. If we went out for lunch we sometimes bumped into parents and kids in the pubs. It was no big deal and I never had any issues, in fact more often than not the kids were embarrassed and I think they would have died of shame on the spot if their parents approached me.
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