Teacher Training whilst Parenting?
As a mum to two boys, the prospect of embarking on a teacher training programme came with a whole different set of anxieties. Will I be able to make schools runs and get to my own school on time? What about time for planning, marking, assignments – oh, and after school meetings? Here are some thoughts and tips to give you some respite from any worries you may have.
The SCITT is there to support you:
Most importantly, you’ve chosen a very unique route into teaching. The Leicestershire Secondary SCITT is especially suited to us parent-trainees in that we have an incredibly personalised support system. Seriously, it’s like a whole other family! With an impressive network of schools in the city and county, you can be assured you won’t be driving to a placement school in Coventry every morning. The team will make reasonable adjustments where possible to ensure you get the best out of your training.
Prior to induction, I was worried I wouldn’t fit in amongst lots of fresh university graduates. At the SCITT there will be other parent-trainees or career-changers who will understand your journey. You will find ways to support each other through the year, whether that’s through sharing resources, carsharing or even organising playdates.
Use the support system in schools:
Be transparent about your responsibilities, like yourself many teachers will have young families, they’ll understand if you need to rush off to pick up a poorly child. There are procedures in place to ensure your students are not left partying alone!
As for marking and planning, you’ll find there are enough hours on your trainee timetable to ensure you get through it all during the school day. Utilise the time wisely to ensure you’re not taking work home and if the going gets tough, speak to your mentor who is there to guide you.
Create a support system outside of training:
Whether you come from a small family of four, are a single parent or have an extended family on your doorstep, it’s important to keep them informed. Tell your children what to expect this year. I started my training the same year my son transitioned to year 7. There were going to be some major changes in our routines; I wouldn’t be home to see him back from school and he got his own front door key. A year on, he’s independent and proud of his newfound responsibilities.
You might need to adjust school runs on some evenings, where you can, have a go to contact for moments like these, it might be a grandparent, a friend or a neighbour. Breakfast and after school clubs are also worth asking about at your children’s schools.
You’ll need to keep a hold of your social life too, stay in touch with friends and family and remember to spend time with them.
Utilise those parenting skills:
Parenting comes with its own set of skills, juggling the laundry whilst working through homework and cooking dinner is second nature to us. You’ll find yourself multitasking a lot this year, create to-do lists or a timetable to help you prioritise effectively. I often find writing an important thought or reminder down as soon as it occurs ensures I’m keeping on top of those smaller tasks too. Like parenting, teaching will make you a more efficient in your time management.
Our patience is already refined – those long pauses in the classroom signalling to students ‘I’m waiting’, become moments of internalised micro-management – “See student X after the lesson, ask for books, defrost the lasagne.”
Teacher Training whilst Parenting?
You are resilient, you’ve been through enough toddler or teenage tantrums to keep your cool in the classroom. Coupled with that is your ability to empathise with students, as a parent you might find you quickly notice changes in student behaviours and are able to act or adjust accordingly. You will nurture your students and value their education the same way you would your own children.
Teaching will impact your parenting too; you may change the way you approach your children’s education which is only an added bonus! Much like parenting, teaching can be challenging but ultimately, it is immensely rewarding.
Keeping the family afloat:
Many parents, including myself, will have had the inevitable anxiety of finances when taking the decision to train. Whether you are a career changer or just starting out, you’ll find the benefits outweigh the risks, as a parent you may be eligible to extra learning allowances on top of your loan and bursary. Click here for more information on what financial help you get can whilst training.
Take some time out:
Wellbeing is huge on the agenda at the Leicestershire Secondary SCITT, we’ve had access to gym facilities, yoga sessions and even an afternoon of board games. As always, the team is always there to support you.
If you want to find out more about Teacher Training whilst Parenting, then get in touch and we can answer your questions.
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