This morning before work/school drop off I had two conversations that really struck a chord with me. The first was with an amazing lady who has taught my children at the beautiful small school they attend here in sunny Brisbane, Australia. She’s a dynamo of a lady, fantastic teacher, and mother of a bunch […]
This morning before work/school drop off I had two conversations that really struck a chord with me. The first was with an amazing lady who has taught my children at the beautiful small school they attend here in sunny Brisbane, Australia. She’s a dynamo of a lady, fantastic teacher, and mother of a bunch of kids herself. She’s one of those people who is a ray of sunshine, and the kind of person that you feel kind of lucky to get to know let alone be the person to shape the minds of your kids.
I saw her whilst we were both grabbing a coffee at our local café before 7am. She had already dropped her kids to school and been to the gym and was off to school…at 7am.
We talked about teaching, how tricky it can be to squeeze in the curriculum, stay relevant, cater for individual needs, be innovative and also be inspiring for kids. She has years of experience under her belt, whilst my experience was limited to my ‘prac teaching’ experience a few years ago whilst studying a Graduate Diploma of Education.
I came away from our conversation thinking, wow, we are so lucky to have this wonderful lady as part of our school community and that I still think that teaching is a tough gig.
Once I arrived at school to drop my youngest daughter off at Before School Care, I had a brief but frustrating conversation with two other parents.
The conversation started with one of the parents commenting on seeing this wonderful teacher (who I had just spoken to) arriving at school in her gym gear, with a dress in her hand ready to get changed and prepare for the day.
The comment was something along the lines of ‘how nice it must be to have the time to exercise’ and how ‘easy it must be for this particular lady as she is a teacher and has teenagers’. I couldn’t help but feel a little incredulous and also defensive. I replied that I thought teaching was a tough gig, and that my brief stint highlighted to me how tough it can be, especially if you are also a parent. The response I got was underwhelming and came with a side-serve of eye roll, along with a comment about how nice it would be to have ‘all those holidays’.
I smiled, nodded and continued on my day, signing in my youngest daughter, dropping my sons to school and then heading to the hospital to spend the day juggling caring for my eldest daughter whilst also working remotely.
After giving the morning and those interactions some thought, here’s my take.
Working can be hard.
Working with children can be hard.
Working once you are a parent can be hard.
So it stands to reason surely, that working with children once you are a parent can also be hard.
It can be so easy to look across and form an opinion on how hard someone’s life/job/family/ situation is when you have not walked a mile in their shoes.
I will freely admit I am sometimes jealous of the amount of holidays teachers get each year. When you work full-time in most other professions, you only get four weeks annual leave a year. Once you have children this presents you with an impossible challenge – spread out your four weeks annual leave to care for your children during their 12-16 weeks of holidays. So unfair right?
Well, not quite when you look at the whole picture. My brief stint of teaching taught me this – teaching is hard, rewarding, gruelling (so much time on your feet! parents expectations! the assault on your senses!) and takes you away from your own kids…a lot.
I also came to the realisation that teachers need those holidays to plan, recover, relax and for some to spend time with their own children, connecting and having fun. How can I begrudge the great people who spend every day of the school term fostering the learning of my kids some time to recover, relax and plan for the next semester/year/subject/group of young minds they will be looking after?
On a related note, if you are there on the sidelines judging and thinking teaching is such a great deal…why not become a teacher? You know why a lot of people don’t? Most people don’t have the patience, resilience and passion to do that. Most people find out what teachers are paid, and think well that’s not enough for me. I know that I didn’t have the patience and right personality to become a teacher. Which makes me feel even more appreciative of the fantastic people who do.
It’s not just teachers, there are countless other professions who cop flak and yet these wonderful people still turn up day in and day out to work, helping others, contributing to society, supporting their families. They do this despite the criticism and judgment levelled at them.
I came away from my conversation with those parents thinking, I really hope that one day they can appreciate how hard teachers work and how life can be tricky for teachers too.
Until you’ve taught a class, worked a night shift, completed a swing as a FIFO (Fly-In-Fly-Out) worker, maybe save the judgement.
A little empathy can go a long way.
I just finished reading The Martian, in record time! It is a cracker of a read, and though heavy on the science and engineering (which I loved!), also tells a tale of resilience. Filled to the brim with humour and adversity, it made me think a lot about how reliant we can become on […]
Over a coffee with a lovely girlfriend this week, I started to think about the fab tips I have collected over 13 years of parenting. Each time I heard/saw/read a good tip over the years, I have trialled it and if it’s a winner I have added it to our morning routine. With four kids […]
- Bag drop stop - create a bag drop spot. Maybe it's near the front door, maybe it's a hat-rack, maybe it's a combo! Whatever you decide, make it the kids job to drop their bag off/pick it up from there. You can even add a lap-top charge station if you need to. Add a spot for hats and shoes and you are ready to roll. Here's some pics for ideas...
- Uniform shop - put all of the school uniforms in one spot. I wash then hang uniforms straight up on a coat hanger and onto a small cloths rack. We have a basket nearby for school socks. We also keep sports/dance/swim bags here too - packed and ready to go.
- Lunchbox production line - get the kids involved! Make it the kids job to place lunch boxes on the bench when they arrive home. In the morning, have snacks in one container, fruit in a bowl, and let the kids assemble their own lunch. This helps each child to take responsibility for what in their lunchbox and you can chat about healthy choices at the same time...winning! Here's some lunch-box inspiration.
- Ban technology/ TV - no tv/iPad/phone/internet/devices until everyone is dressed and ready to go. Stay firm on this one, let the kids know that technology is a no-go until there are dressed and ready. Lead by example - no Facebook/ phones for adults either until you are ready too!
- Breakfast all round. Make breakfast part of the morning routine, smoothies, toast, boiled eggs, cereal...whatever works with your crew! Just make it simple, quick and as healthy as you can. No breakfast equals grumpy kids (and grown-ups!).
It’s interesting how life can move along so quickly sometimes that we feel like everything is rushing by. You can find yourself wondering…when did that happen? I feel like this sense of life rushing by is magnified since I became a parent over a decade ago. Even writing the word ‘decade’ makes me wonder, where […]
Last week I got a fantastic piece of advice from a lecturer. It went like this… Most people, tend to put things off because they don’t think they can get the job done, or are worried that when they are done, what they have created will be poorly made/ crafted/ be a little bit rubbish. […]
Motivation is a tricky thing to nail down. How do you get yourself motivated to get up, get moving, make a change, get started, and well, get on with things? Some of the challenges we try to tackle seem insurmountable at first. Giant mountains of stuff to tackle, decisions to make, which options to choose, where to […]
As we grow older, it can get harder and harder to carve out time in the day to think. Reflect on life, how things are going, what went well, what went pear-shaped. All the healthy reflective thinking we are meant to do in order to grow as individuals, as humans. Sometimes, life can get in […]
I’ve carved out some time this week to sit and reflect on life. Taking the time to think about how everything is going using a fab list from the lovely Pip Lincolne at Meet Me at Mikes, here’s my list… Making : a super cool hoodie vest for my littlest poppet (because of […]
Wowsers! All of a sudden, it is April! Between moving house, finishing up at my day job, sewing + creating for my Etsy store, studying and the kids school/sport/swimming/stuff the year has flown by! So I thought it was a good time to follow the lead of the ever lovely and caressive Pip Lincolne and […]
- Remember...nobody is as interested in your kids as you are. You are the Mum (or Dad) so it's your role to believe that your kids are the coolest/funniest/most special people in the world. Put yourself in your co-workers shoes... Replace 'baby' with 'cycling', then imagine if you would regale a non-cycling enthusiast with all the details about your bike, the rides you've done, how the Tour is going. Falling asleep yet? Same applies to kids and babies. I know it's sounds a bit harsh, but it's true.
- Treat each role with respect. When you are at work, work. When you are at home or spending time with your kids, then be present. Simple right? Try and keep a clear line between the two. There will always be times when your worlds collide, however day-to-day show respect for both sides by focussing on where you are.
- Take the time when you are on maternity leave, no matter what the duration, to think about what you want when you return. Do you want to keep your skills current? Progress your career? Interact and socialise with adults? Earn money for your family/lifestyle/future? Whatever it is, own it. Being a little fuzzy about why you are back at work can make the whole situation a lot tougher. Be honest with yourself.
- Don't apologise for returning to work, or staying at home. Be proud of your decision either way. Women, men, society in general can be tough on women and men and the choices they make in having kids and raising them. There will be enough critical analysis of your actions without adding to it yourself.
- Find a way to carve out time to be you. Whether it's exercise, reading, getting creative, meditation, whatever takes your fancy! Find a way to be kind to yourself and do it daily. Don't feel guilty, know that it's critical to take the time to make sure you have the energy to put your heart into all parts of your life.
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