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NewMOMMY8192
 
 
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How do you teach and be a decent parent?
Old 12-17-2018, 01:17 PM
 
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Hello,

I just had my first baby and will be going back into my middle school classroom in the next couple of weeks. I have been teaching for 18+ years, but am not sure how to manage teaching and taking care of my baby. I teach ELA in a middle school and am not sure how I will correct papers, plan lessons, be present and focused on my child and have 5 minutes for myself. I have a 40 minute commute and have thought of finding a job closer to where I live, but with my amount of years of teaching getting hired could be tricky. Plus I would start at the bottom again. So how do you do it all? What do I let go of? Even though I have been teaching for many years there are more and more demands that are placed on us. Personally, I thinking of getting out of the profession to avoid the constant stress and grueling pace, although the vacation schedule is extremely helpful with daycare schedules. I am very interested in hearing people's thoughts and opinions on this. I have been out on maternity leave and taking care of the baby is hard work, but my stress level is so much lower not having to deal with all of the behavior plans, SLOS, goal setting, parent emails, new curriculum changes, "extra" theme activities, correcting papers, pointless meetings, etc. If you did leave teaching what career path did you take?


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Old 12-17-2018, 05:10 PM
 
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I teach middle school ELA and have an almost-one year old. It's definitely hard, but what makes it work for me:

- a hubby who's in 50/50. He's a teacher too, so our workloads and schedules are almost identical. Thus, everything childcare and household is equal, too.
- I've been in the same position for 5 years and knew we were hoping for a kid soon, so I purposefully spent time setting up my class in a way that required less prep for me. In my case, that meant flipping my classroom, but for you it may be something different. But finding a system where I set up work routines, got the kids trained, and then let things run have worked very well for me. Stations that repeat with the same tasks and new content, utilizing a website for 10 minutes of extra practice daily (MobyMax, WriteAbout, Grammarly, etc.). Just anything that doesn't have you making lesson plans from scratch daily. As long as the kids are still getting quality instruction, not being babysat by a screen, I'm all for it.
- Focusing on the core of what your kids need, doing a really good job of that, and letting other stuff go. My flipped lessons are working great. But honestly, this year I've slacked a lot on things like Greek and Latin roots, small group instruction, etc. BUT, my kids are still being taught the entire curriculum and being taught it well. That's way more important to me.
- I am very good at saying no. I have absolutely no guilt about quitting the extra activities I was involved with to spend time with my daughter. This is a season, and I'll pick some of those extras back up in a few years. I've also just straight up told people I can't make it to this or that pointless meeting, but I've built up a reputation as a good teacher and coworker AND have a supportive principal.
- I don't socialize much at school. I love my teammates, but I try to get 90% of my work done during my contract hours. I stay for a few minutes after school (literally a few... like 20 or less) and then the other 10% of my work gets done after my daughter's in bed.
- Meal planning and prep on the weekend, picking out clothes ahead of time, a nightly to-do list for making daycare bottles, packing lunches, etc.
- And a short commute. It helps a lot, but you'd definitely need to weigh the stress of a new position and admin against the shortening your drive.
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I like your response.
Old 12-17-2018, 07:06 PM
 
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I am in kind of the same boat as the OP. Can you tell me a little more about "flipping" your classroom. When I decide to go back to the classroom I want it to be more interactive. I taught at the Elementary level.
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Old 12-17-2018, 08:25 PM
 
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You've considered changing jobs. Have you considered moving closer to your job?
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:56 PM
 
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Well, for me it ended up going to half time. I am now in a job share and it is the best thing I ever did. I feel like I can give my all to my classroom when I am there, and I can still be a good mom and wife when I am home. Plus there is even a little time for myself. If it's financially feasible for you I'd suggest looking into the possibility. For us, the loss of income was nothing compared to what I gained personally and emotionally. I'd rather be happy and scraping by then financially comfortable and stressed and unhappy.


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Being a Mommy comes first
Old 12-18-2018, 10:27 AM
 
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When I had ds1 I was teaching 6th grade ELA and social studies. I quickly found out that babies don't care to watch mommy grade papers. So I stopped taking them home. I stopped trying to grade everything and had students grade some of their own papers. I lesson planned during my planning period and lunch. I stayed late one day a week to tie up loose ends.
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Old 12-18-2018, 10:32 AM
 
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Quote:
...and have 5 minutes for myself.
Sorry, I think this is an unrealistic expectation for the mother of a baby. They grow fast and you’ll eventually have a few minutes to yourself.
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Parenting and teaching
Old 12-18-2018, 01:23 PM
 
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A cleaning person was my number one priority. She came weekly. She cleaned, washed bedding and towels and remade the beds. She also did the kids’ laundry so all I had to do was mine and hubby’s laundry.

My husband started work very early in morning so I was on my own in the mornings. As soon as possible I trained them to do things for themselves. All clothing was out the night before and bags were packed the night before.

My husband picked the kids up from the grandparents no later than noon so he would start dinner and spend time with the kids. When I got home he went to bed. I bathed the children, played with them, read to them, and put them to bed. Then I cleaned up the kitchen and sat down for a few minutes of quiet time. Yes, there were days I cried while cleaning the kitchen by myself.

It was exhausting but we needed the insurance, the breaks were awesome, and our work schedules allowed us to only have about 4 hours a day where a grandparent was in charge. We let a lot of things go because they just were not important. For example we only did minimumal landscaping for a few years. Christmas decorations outside weren’t put up either.

Good luck in whatever decision you make. I have no regrets but I’m also the type of person who would have been a terrible stay at home mom. On the positive side my children had a wonderful relationship with their grandparents because they spent time with them weekly. They were also very independent at a young age because I didn’t have the time to do everything for them. My coworkers couldn’t believe I had them making sandwiches for lunches and helping clean the kitchen by the age of three.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:56 PM
 
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My son is eight, and it’s taken me about six of those years to try and prioritize. Notice I said “try” lol. It’s hard. It’s hard to feel like you’re giving your students what they need, what your child needs, admin what they expect, etc.

I finally started looking at it as a long range type deal. When my son is 12, is he going to remember me grading a pile of papers or remember me reading with him? Is he going to remember if I cut and laminate centers for hours or put together a puzzle with him?

I know it’s not as cut and dry as I’m making it sound, but it’s my general idea these days. If being a stay as home mom was an option, I’d jump on it!

Good luck!
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I remember that first year with a baby
Old 12-19-2018, 06:38 AM
 
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as one of the most difficult of my career. Great advice from above, so I'll just second:
  • Not everything has to be done at the house. "Extras" can be let go.
  • Pack bags, lunches the night before.
  • Take home only the essentials from work. Leave some of the "extras" out there, too. Read your curriculum closely; what "has to be" and what "would be nice?"
  • Prioritize your kid; Like another PP said, is your child going to remember stacks of papers or memories with you? Papers CAN be checked as practice and given practice grades; essays can be graded for a variety of things--If you're working on thesis, just grade the thesis and how well it worked with the rest of the essay. Don't red-pen everything that is wrong. Isolate particular skills and JUST grade on that.

    Also, make your kids responsible at school--they can certainly pick up, organize, buty ou can also do a lot of whole group response with whiteboards, clicker systems, etc. to gauge who "gets it" and who doesn't. Then, you just work with the ones who need it.

Good luck to you. I know it isn't easy! ((HUGS))


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It is very hard and I am not sure how people
Old 12-22-2018, 02:20 PM
 
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do it w/ babies.
I stayed home until mine were school age. If that is an option, I'd go without a lot of "extras" to do it. I did not have my own car and took the city bus w/ little kids often. We walked long distances too.
I gained weight after I went back to work. lol The exercise had been very good for me. Plus, I kept on a pretty strict budget back then.
All of the fun times w/ little ones don't have a price tag. They are memories and the foundation of your child's life. This worked for me.
I had very little choice when it came to going to work once they hit school age. Financially, I had to work for us to just make it.
1 thing I saw mentioned that did help me a lot was to hire a housekeeper. That was 1 less thing that will need to be done on the weekend. Get 1 who does everything from laundry to floors.
I made my social life pretty much (99.9%) w/a co teacher who had kids almost the same age for many yrs. We could collaborate while the kids played. This did wonders for both of us and we are like sisters still.
If you have a chance for a better less stressful job and want it, I think it is a good idea.
Teaching is getting to be really hard and time consuming. It was a decent career for me though w/ school aged kids. Summers and holidays off made the stress of daycare nonexistant.
Oh, I forgot to mention this: When I was a stay at home mom, every1 and their brother needed daycare at different times. I did not want to do it full time, but I picked up a lot of extra cash by watching fairly well off people's kids when they went out. ( I charged a lot...lol) Oh, if you don't already do this, having all of my bills on direct withdrawal saves me tons of time now too.
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thanks
Old 12-23-2018, 01:53 AM
 
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Thanks for all of the advice and encouragement. Unfortunately due to finances, I am unable to stay home full time or even work a part time job. My husband has two children from his first wife and pays a hefty amount of child support (he usually works two jobs to make ends meet). We also just bought a house 2 years ago that was in the middle for both of our commutes, so moving isn't really an option. I am going to go into the year, by saying that I will do the best I can. Maybe things will get easier or maybe I will make it through this year and get out of teaching.
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