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Coping as a HOD with kids

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by j_pink, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    Coping strategies please! How do you manage a work life balance?
     
  2. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I really don't know how it's possible. All I can offer is my commiserations.

    My coping mechanism is being male (Mrs C is part-time so can do some school runs etc), nearby grandparents and most importantly I'm supply and so under a lot less stress.

    This stress hasn't gone away, it's now attached itself to my current HoD who I suspect is heading towards a nervous breakdown trying to cope with a department with lots of supply in a bottom-end school.

    Not the answer you need, sorry.
     
  3. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    Well, my second child was born two days before I started my NQT year - so I didn't get any paternity leave! After that year, nothing has seemed hard, and now both are school age (5 and 8) it's even easier. It has helped that

    a) I'm male, and so am not judged so harshly by my peers and society at large if I need to arrive early/stay late
    b) My wife is amazing and I am grateful for her every day. Luckily, she felt that after 14 years as a senior journalist she's had her career and has been happy to be part-time.
    c) I have no social life. Weekends are pretty much devoted to entertaining the children/doing the rounds of birthday parties.
    d) I have no TV. Evenings are pretty much dedicated to marking/planning (and wasting time on TES).
    e) I'm at an all through school, 3 to 18, which the kids also attend and where my wife now works part-time. So that's the school run sorted!

    Good luck!
     
    Flanks and j_pink like this.
  4. Snorkers

    Snorkers New commenter

    I outsource cleaning; in fact, our family would fall apart without our cleaner. I reckon she does more in 2 hours than I would achieve in 5: definitely worthwhile.

    I chose childcare and school for my children based predominantly on what their after school provision was like. Two years ago, my mother in law moved nearby, and she now does quite a bit of the after school care - that's helped too, but I appreciate that living in the Samsung place as your in laws might not be desirable for everyone!

    We have a shared family calendar (using Google) that we can all see via our phones. It means my husband knows when I have after school/evening commitments, and it makes organising life far more straightforward.

    Oh, and we meal plan - husband generally cooks in term time and I cook in holidays.
     
    j_pink likes this.
  5. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    So helpful. I can echo so much of this ⬇⬇⬇ I don't want to go PT yet I also want a life and maybe one night off a week. Will consider some hacks and shortcuts.

     
  6. finchy

    finchy New commenter

    I work 4 days a week and Hod.(computing) I have 3 kids (6,4&4)
    I manage by marking as much as I can in school...
    Husband also teacher. We take turns with dropping children off( childminder walking distance) both work in local schools which help with parents evening
    Not going to lie I feel like I am constantly juggling and running from here to there.. One day a week I go into work early to catch up with planning.( or urgent task...
    Weekend we alternate who has to work as other takes kids out...
    Holidays I do as little work as possible and spend time with kids.
    Good luck
     
  7. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Apologies, @j_pink , I was hoping that you would get something more positive after my negative start in Post 2. All this thread has done is confirm my belief that HoDs get it even worse than the poor, bloody infantry (which I wouldn't have thought possible).
     
  8. simongonesurfing

    simongonesurfing New commenter

    @JohnJCazorla - interesting comment, it reminded me of when I was much younger and considering joining the Royal Marines after my degree as an officer. The final assessment to be a Marine is to be dumped on Dartmoor at 2am with all your kit, a map and a rendez-vous coordinate. Troops have to complete the exercise in 8 hours (not easy). Officers have to do it in 7. Same job, no dispensation for seniority, instead you have to prove you are better than the average soldier by essentially doing more in less time. Just realised that's the job description for any HoD.
     
  9. fairypenny

    fairypenny Occasional commenter

    I am an English HoD with a 3-year-old. My husband is a stay at home dad. I have one day at the weekend work free, and do the rest after my son is in bed.
     
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I could never work as a teacher HOD or not if I had young children at home.

    When I get home from teaching, I have to take a nap before dinner and couldn't imagine starting what is a second job when I got home after working flat out all day.
     
  11. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    I cope with being a HOD and a parent by being a pretty substandard version of both...:(

    When my kids want me to play at weekends and in evenings, I often have to regulate this by explaining that I have to mark work etc. They are only toddlers. They don't understand.

    So my preferred option is to be a substandard HOD.

    I play with my kids at the weekends, I spend time with them in the evenings, I hardly ever take marking home. In return I am almost always behind with my marking and planning. I use KS5 lessons when students are on computers doing research or independent activities to plan a few lessons for the rest of the week so I get ahead of myself. I find myself taking 2-3 weeks to mark large pieces of work rather than 1-2 weeks. I run a loose ship of letting teachers getting on with what they are teaching with brief check ins when I can, and quick department meetings. I don't do a lot of lesson obs, or book checks as I find this wastes time that could be 'better spent' on analysising the department data and supporting behaviour management for other teachers.

    My staff don't seem to mind. I get good results. I have stopped caring too much about things that don't matter too much and prioritise the things that do, even if it means I end up not doing some things. I get by.
     
  12. wassurfbabe

    wassurfbabe New commenter



    This is how I feel and I hate it. My son has challenges and although my husband is really the main carer and is amazing, I feel I am letting everyone down - now including myself. Reading this thread has made me even more upset as I can see that there is no way out. I am the breadwinner. I am all out of options. I don't feel I can go on like this but have no idea what to do. I thought as my son got older it would get better - but it doesn't.
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Don't be a perfectionist. Get a cleaner who irons. Never work on a Friday night and rarely on a Saturday. Catch up with the children in the holidays. Enjoy and value your income. Overpay into your pension if poss. Delegate at work.- there will be someone ambitious who will benefit from the experience.
     
    pepper5, j_pink and needabreak like this.
  14. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    I think it might get better as they get older to an extent. Mine are still very young and not at school yet. So I feel I miss out on seeing them at playgroups, and soft play and rhyme time, etc. When my oldest goes to school in September I am resenting the fact that I can't just book a few days off work as holiday to be there on the days she starts school. I would love to be there to take her in on her first day. Or pick her up when she finished. But her school is an hour's drive away. I would never make it in time.

    BUT I feel like as she gets a little older, I can decide once a week to run out the door at 3.15 if possible, and get home in time to pick her up from after school club. I could take her swimming or to the park whilst we wait for my husband to get home from work with our youngest who he will be picking up from nursery. So it might be better then for me.

    Also as they get older they will be able to play together without my constant supervision, so in the holidays or at weekends, I could get a bit of work done at home sometimes and catch up a bit when necessary. At the moment they are so young I can't leave them alone for more than two minutes without one of them belting the other one in the face! lol!
     
    pepper5, j_pink and wassurfbabe like this.
  15. blizzardboy

    blizzardboy New commenter

    we are both teachers. I have a 3 and 5 year old. My wife is supportive and has to do the school run in the morning (as i work too far away)

    I generally work every night during the week until 10. as stated i have Friday and Saturday off, then back to it on Sunday night.

    Honestly, part of me wants to drop back down as all the extra stuff that i used to enjoy gets swallowed up by the HoD stuff (don't have any keen people to dictate to in my department). but I also like the control of dictating the curriculum and getting paid for all the stuff that i was doing as part of my day to day job. because i do so much in the way of planning, at least now i get paid for it rather than people expecting me to do it and getting nothing for it.

    It's a V difficult balance.
     
    tb9605 and pepper5 like this.
  16. OneLooseCrank

    OneLooseCrank Occasional commenter

    Share work! Partner up with someone who has similar classes- you plan for one and they plan for the other, thus halving your planning. Only do cumulative assessments twice a term, the rest of the marking can be close activity that is peer assessed.
    Try teaching for 10 minutes, having students construct something based on your teaching for 20-30 minutes, talk through a peer assessment plan then use either show and tell / swap work in which students will mark according to the mark scheme you all agreed. You get 20-30 min to walk the room (or surreptitiously do some marking), and they haven't produced anything you then need to go and mark.
    If they come up with the mark scheme, they can each add something they think they did well in, or can do well in if you define the markscheme first, but either way, everyone has a chance to succeed in part of the activity. Next lesson, look at each other's work to 'swap' ideas for marks. It doesn't matter if they copied it or re-invented it, they are working their way into other skills. They can mark their own redraft developing their self evaluation skill. You don't mark it again (hoorah!).
     
    pepper5, j_pink and tb9605 like this.
  17. j_pink

    j_pink New commenter

    Thanks all.
    I have delegated this week. I have Fridays off and have also arranged a job share on my GCSE classes. This will allow me to mark. I have buddies teachers up and set up a lesson planning system so that everybody can share resources.

    Biscuits are obviously crucial!
    Most brownie points have arrived from the marking load management systems I have put in place using the school calendar, ensuring no teacher is marking weekends.
     
  18. pleasemiss__

    pleasemiss__ Occasional commenter

    I just started a part time teaching post (0.6) with a one year old and I’m losing my mind already. Hats off to everyone who’s got it together. I don’t think I’ll last the academic year.
     
    j_pink likes this.
  19. Snorkers

    Snorkers New commenter

    Outsource what you can, e.g. cleaning, ironing
    Make effective use of your 'free' time in school - make To Do lists of everything (it'll stop you missing things because your head is full of child-wrangling thoughts as well as school)
    Simplify your assessment/marking - I found whole-class feedback much more effective than writing the same comment on everyone's work
    Be prepared to be "good enough" not excellent every day

    Hang in there - it DOES get better.
     
    j_pink likes this.
  20. NIHistoryTeacher

    NIHistoryTeacher New commenter

    Work as hard as you can 8-4 / 8-5. Maximise free periods etc. Go home and enjoy your family.
     
    barca fc likes this.

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