Any advice for an aspiring teacher who is also a parent?

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

I am currently in school for Science Education. I eventually want to become a college professor and maybe do some field work with my minor science field. I have a 2 year old daughter as well and I believe teaching is a wonderful job for me so I can have a schedule closer to hers when she begins school (as well as loving teaching and science). Does anyone have any advice as to how teaching affects your time with your little ones? Or just any advice at all?

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Cara - posted on 07/12/2011

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it is hard, but it can be done. I have been teaching for 6 years and I have a 23 month old daughter. I have also gone back to school to get my masters in speical education. Its not easy, but its possable. Just hang in there and enjoy the ride.

Tamara - posted on 01/25/2010

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Time is the biggest issue. If you are planning on having more children, you may want to wait until you have a few years of teaching behind you. I just had a baby, I have a two year old, and I have been teaching for 12 years... time is precious. You will not want to be just starting as a teacher and have children under 5 because you will either not spend the necessary time for establishing your career or you will give up time with family. Others may be able to do it, but I am not superwoman. When I had no children, I was at school until 7 pm many nights plus I went in on Saturdays too. When you first start out, you do not know what time management needs you will have.

Amy - posted on 01/25/2010

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Many people believe teaching is an 8:00-4:00 job with lots of days off, plus summers. I've never been around an excellent teacher that only put in those hours. (I'm an elementary reading teacher and my sister is a high school science teacher.) It is true that the days off can often match your kids', if your kids are in the same school district you are. That's one of the best things about it. Be ready for evening and weekend paper checking and lesson planning (and perhaps duties), though. Plus, to stay on top of things you will need to continually take workshops and classes. You must love teaching to do it well. You will need good support from your husband, both physically at home and emotionally. Try to get a good schedule going. Doing school work after the kids are in bed is good. Something that helped me: have a little time between leaving school and getting home, so that my mind could slowly let go of school items rushing through it and begin to think about my own kids and home. Whenever I didn't have that time, I noticed I was much more on edge and not ready for what I needed to do at home. I guess I was on overload.

Kendra - posted on 01/23/2010

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I was a high school English teacher for ten years. When I started, I was a single mom to a 6 yr old. Over time I remarried, and I taught up until I gave birth to my daughter last year. I have not returned to the classroom since. The only way I will while my daughter is this young is for economic reasons. To be totally honest with you, I spent a LOT of time outside of school planning and grading. The entire school day was devoted to teaching, dealing with students and parents, and handling clerical tasks. I would end up spending at least 30-45 minutes after school cleaning up, tutoring, preparing for the next day. I did have weekends and holidays off, but during the school year some of that time was eaten up with what I couldn't get done during the week such as grading and planning/re-planning. The best part about being a teacher with a child was Winter and summer breaks. Although I would often do some in-service over the summer, I did have a much more flexible schedule. The reality is that at the end of the day you are often emotionally and physically drained. You usually have to bring work home. Most people think that teachers only work from bell to bell. There is so much more to it. Would I do it with my little one? Not if given a choice. However, teaching can also be a very rewarding job, and it was much easier to balance when my son was older, especially when he entered high school and came to work with me. You just have to be very realistic and understand that there will be demands on you no matter what job you might have. Also, consider that if you teach at the secondary level, your hours will vary from your daughter's until she is older.

Nikki - posted on 01/22/2010

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I started teaching in 2006 and became pregnant right after I started teaching. I spent HOURS at school my first year and HOURS at home. The first year is truly the most time consuming. My husband worked 2nd, so I wasn't neglecting anyone during that time. My 2nd year of teaching was still busy trying to get all of the school stuff done, and my husband would drop my daughter off at school on his way to work. She and I would stay for a while and get things done, or I would spend most time cleaning up after her. My 3rd year I became pregnant again. My husband would bring my daughter to school on 1 or 2 days a week so that our team could plan. Now in my 4th year, we have had major administrative changes, and I spend very little time after school and at home doing school related things. All of our planning is done during the day. This has been a God-send to our marriage. I LOVE teaching, but I don't want it to be my life. I'm very happy this year with the way things are.
Just know that it gets easier the longer you're at it!! It does help to have supportive administration and a close group of colleagues!

Jessica - posted on 01/22/2010

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Teaching is an exhausting job. And depending on the age of the kids you teach it can make you less likely to have the energy to help your own kids with school work. But it is a GREAT job. The hours are so good. You don't have to be the teacher that comes in earlier and stays late. Your priority is your baby. You can work your contract hours and still be a great teacher! I know I am : )

[deleted account]

I have some advice. Keep taking the classes and don't take time off once you start teaching. Keep your summers if you like, but otherwise stay busy with schooling or teaching. Yes, it is hard to juggle time, but as a mom who stayed home for six years, I can tell you employers looked at my resume like I had said I had the plague. That gap in my resume was a huge hurdle. I thought employers would be understanding since my son has a learning disability and I stayed home to take him to speech therapy and special preschools, but no. They made me feel like I had done something horrible even though I had taught for over six years, had exemplary reviews, and good references. I would tell you to find a good schedule that allows you to give time each evening to devote to your daughter but keep the eye on the ball. The work world is very unforgiving, especially for anyone wanting to teach college. You are looking at years to finish and they want to see a consistent work history. Had I known I would have at least taken a class of two. It took me over a year to get a job after my break. Good luck!

Debra - posted on 01/21/2010

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teaching at the college level may be easier than K-12...this is my 15th year teaching [i've taught primary, elementary, middle & continuation high school] & if u don't know already, the homework required of most teachers [lesson planning grading, meetings, etc.] will take a toll on ur homelife. u need to research this fact for urself and make sure u can juggle it all...i know there were times that it was hard on my girls. wb if u want more info from me; i'd love to help a newbie! ^_~

Eileen - posted on 01/20/2010

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I am a special educator with 2 year old twins. It is difficult however, I was able to complete my masters program while teaching with my twin girls. It was hard but if you want to teach, go for it!!!! It is the most rewarding job to have. You don't want to regret it later on. My husband and I developed a plan in which I can attend classes or if I needed to bring my work home, he would take the kids for a couple of hours. My goal this year is keep my work related things at WORK. Being organized is so important. Just remember you have holidays off and summer vacation with your little ones. I say follow what your heart wants to do and things will fall into place. You are not alone.

Alyson - posted on 01/20/2010

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I am a teacher and I love the schedule. I have three children and #4 on the way. I get to spend summers and holidays with my little ones and I know that I am creating life long memories. As two of y children are now in school it is wonderful to be on the same schedule. Teaching is a wonderful profession for mothers.

Amy - posted on 01/19/2010

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Became a mom and started teaching only 6 months later. Only in my second year of teaching. The first year was really rough in terms of time, but this second year is already much better and I am getting to spend a lot more free time at home in the evenings then I did my first year. Look for a job at a school with a really good support system that will help you get all your curriculum established and lesson plans down. Also, ask the school up front what kind of after school responsibilities core teachers are expected to have.

Jeannine - posted on 01/18/2010

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It's tricky to find a balance, but if you can it's the best job to have as a working parent. If you have to/want to work, you get the breaks, and earlier evenings. I am so glad that I have that. Teachers have unique challenges, that we face, that if you are not in the same system or school as your children it may be difficult to take off for field trips or classplays, scheduling doctor's appointments...but overall still the best. I've been teaching well before being a parent, the only things I've heard from teachers who were parents first was that it was more work outside of school than they expected. If you are prepared and organized you will do well. Again, it's a great job if you want to work as a parent. I love being both!

Andrea - posted on 01/18/2010

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I have been teaching for 14 years and have been a mom for 11 of those. It's worked out well for me to bring my kids to the school where I teach. You're right, it's nice to have the same breaks as your children :)

Katie - posted on 01/18/2010

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I have a 6mo and I've been teaching for 12 years (wow, that makes me feel old). BIG difference when the kids come. As a new teacher I spent HOURS after school getting ready. My best piece of advice is ORGANIZATION. Even if you change your organization 100x. Also, leave as much at school as you can. If it doesn't get done before I leave, than it waits till tomorrow. Of course there are exceptions and your first few years it may be difficult. Your students won't suffer if you don't get that stack of papers graded immediately.

Sabrina - posted on 01/18/2010

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It's hard work but it can be done. I was 18, right out of high school with a baby boy. I went straight to college, but I still had to work. I graduated from LSU Alexandria in Dec. 2004 with a Bachelor's in Elementary Education. I've been teaching first grade since Jan. 2005! Hang in there girl, you'll make it!!!

Jennifer - posted on 01/17/2010

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I don't have any advice but I am in the same boat as you and just wanted to let you know that you are not alone!!

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