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Job or family life

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by spacemonkey78, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. spacemonkey78

    spacemonkey78 New commenter

    Just a quick thought, looking for peoples opinions
    Can you be a good/outstanding teacher and have a good balanced family life?
    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    Can you have a balance at all and be a teacher?
    Teachallover likes this.
  3. Jellybean16

    Jellybean16 New commenter

    I have a four week old baby. I do my best to get home at a reasonable time to see my wife and take some of the pressure off her (so she can sleep), leaving me to spend some time with my daughter and try to get her off to sleep so I can continue working.

    Tonight I couldn't get her down until 11. I brought a class set of books home to mark as marking is starting to pile up and I don't want to spend my christmas holiday doing it, but haven't been able to touch it. I was going to be observed tomorrow but thankfully the class are leaving part way through for an off-site thing. I've been back 2 weeks, dropped in on on second day back and just had my marking scrutinised as well ('hasn't been marked since x' - well no ****, I have been away for two weeks).

    I'm led to believe it gets easier, but I don't feel supported at the moment and am wondering how the hell I am going to manage the next few weeks.

    More a rant than anything.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    dear Jellybean, just sending you lots of love and best wishes. No, it doesn't get easier, particularly when you are trying to explain to a disappointed 6 year old that you have to cancel yet another weekend family day out, or tell a 10 year old that you couldn't physically get off the school premises in time for her choir performance, or netball match. Or explain to a 15 year old,, that yes, you are an expert in that GCSE subject they are failing, and would love to help, but that finding a hour to sit with them 3 times a week is impossible because of your career.

    At the same time you will be feeling guilty because of all the work you are skimping on, or piling up onto childless colleagues, or getting chastised for not completing in enough detail, because you are neglecting teaching in the attempt to sit down for a meal with your child once a day, or twice a week, or even once or twice a month would be great......really.....

    no, teaching is NOT compatible with raising a family.

    prioritise your child every time!

    It WILL destroy your career, but the other way around is simply not worth it.
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    and congratulations !!!!
  6. sm3llyc4t

    sm3llyc4t New commenter

    Wow dunnocks, way to be supportive of the other two posters. Plenty of teachers manage perfectly well to balance work and family. Congratulations jellybean, it will get easier. Spacemonkey, yes you can, particularly if you work in a supportive school
  7. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    In what way am i being unsupportive jellycat? So you know "plenty of teachers who manage perfectly to balance work and family" ? that's great, I'm so happy for them. The ones I know are outnumbered more than 10 to 1 by the teachers on their knees, desperate, exhausted, even suicidal. Do you want me to pretend that's not the case? I was asked.
  8. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Possible? Yes. Sustainably... probably not, however much depends on your family and friends support network as well as whether you/your family can afford a cleaner, nanny or wrap around child care and frequent holidays away to save your sanity.

    Everyone is different and it depends if you have career development plans, are fit and well and unlikely to get ill during your career (although there are no guarantees on that one, we'd all hope to stay well), as well as whether you are working full or part time, or whether you are in secondary or primary and of course whether you are in the state or private sector as well as other obvious things like commute to work time.

    Take care and good luck.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
    purplecarrot and sabrinakat like this.
  9. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    The vast majority of parents I know who are in supportive schools manage just fine. It has its challenges but they're great teachers and don't let school dictate their weekends etc.

    Others I know in less supportive environments are just getting by with a handful having been signed off.
    sm3llyc4t and dodie102 like this.
  10. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    I think it would be very hard to do this. Teaching is a case of 'how long's a piece of string?' and there's always that 'extra mile' ahead of you if you care about what you do. It is very easy to feel torn between doing your job well at school and giving your family the time they need.
  11. dodie102

    dodie102 Occasional commenter

    Yes it can be done.

    I have two children and work full time in a core subject with lots of marking! I pretty much work through every break and lunchtime and usually get in to school just in time but stay a little late in the afternoon.
    I go through the calendar with military precision and keep my better half up to date as to when they are on pick up duty for our children. He does the mornings and I do the afternoons! He can be away for work so I have some lovely friends who help out on occasion. We have no family nearby so have to be very organised and indeed democratic if there's unexpected illness. We try and split this emergency care between us depending on our working days and who has something super important.

    I have two things massively in my favour a fabulous husband who is proud of my 'career' and an understanding school who will be flexible to a point and appreciate that I don't take the proverbial regarding appointments and often give as much as a I can to the students without sacrificing my family on the alter of 'vocation'.

    Keep weekends as much as you can for family - you won't get the chance again. Also if you think a demand from school is unreasonable - present SLT with a solution - they sometimes listen.

    Good luck!

    sabrinakat and sm3llyc4t like this.
  12. dodie102

    dodie102 Occasional commenter

    Correction 'altar' not alter!
  13. RichardAllenN

    RichardAllenN New commenter

    I think for men job is a more important thing. And for women must family more important
  14. -Sarah-

    -Sarah- New commenter

    May I ask why you think this?
  15. -Sarah-

    -Sarah- New commenter

    I think the very notion of what it means to be an outstanding teacher has been subverted to align with the neoliberal primacy of productivity over humanity: nowadays those who are selfless, go above and beyond their job descriptions and extend their working day into their private time are considered 'great' teachers. Those who just want to do their jobs and go home are considered lazy.

    I think this way of working is particularly prevalent in teaching and has just become the norm.
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    why on earth........?????
  17. Happyregardless

    Happyregardless Occasional commenter

    I think we all do our best with the hand we are dealt with in life? People who have all the 'norms' in life tend to assume everyone has had the same opportunities in life and perhaps be a little surprised of those who have not. Balance is a helpful tool in all things.
    Please show a little compassion for those not 'juggling everything' in society's eyes - maybe we wanted family - maybe not - maybe we are surviving horrendous things from life that have made us strong in the eyes of work role, but I can tell you - put yourselves and your family first - have balance - enjoyed all aspects of life - but remember nothing is as it seems on the surface for some peoples' lives and everyone is dealing with all kinds of aspects that you may know nothing about.
  18. -Sarah-

    -Sarah- New commenter

    Well said, happyregardless.

    The struggle teachers face to have a balanced life has become seen as normal: I would love to see schools & institutions challenging this taken-for-granted assumption and changing the notion of what it means to be a 'great' teacher. I don't think it's going to happen any time soon because that notion supports a results-driven agenda. Perhaps we can make small steps towards change though by taking happyregardless's advice and showing more compassion towards our fellow teachers.
    bevdex likes this.
  19. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    It's like trying to juggle. Sometimes balls get dropped. Sometimes they are intentionally put in a holding pen, still others are permanently binned. No-one ever gets it right all the time. When children are really tiny they need different attention to teenagers. You WILL get through it.

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