Child Specific Paraprofessional, Student and Mother

[deleted account] ( 16 moms have responded )

Has anyone else worked at a school full time, while taking classes for their masters, while also putting in one hundred percent as a parent? I am only taking one class at a time right now, and am feeling like it will take forever to graduate! I am going for a masters in education with an additonal certification in intellectual and cognitive development for children diagnosed with autism and am feeling overwhelmed. My husband is great and will bring our son to the museum on the weekend so that I can do schoolwork- but then I feel as though I am not only missing my family while I am at work, I am also missing out on time with them on the weekend. Any comments or suggestions?

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User - posted on 12/22/2008

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Wow! You and I are living parallel lives right now! I am working full-time as a special ed. teacher, working on my masters, and have an 11 month old, plus doing some consulting here and there. I am feeling crazy too, trying to juggle about a million things. Don't know if I have any great advice, but I am managing to stay "afloat" by keeping a pretty strict evening schedule of either lesson planning or coursework after the baby goes to sleep. Luckily, have been able to take evening classes that start after she is down for the night, but then of course I'm exhausted the next day. I rarely do the readings for my class, just don't have the time (just skim it over). I took only one or two classes at a time too, and I am embarrassed to say that I have been in the program for 4 years. But I am graduating this spring and can only say that if you keep plugging away at the classes, eventually they will be over with. Good luck.

Lydia - posted on 12/21/2008

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It's nice to read the responses from those who have made it through this! I teach first grade full time, am taking my masters courses (on-line with a few on-campus days), and have three children (5, 6, and 8).



I agree with the person who said you have to be clear on your priorities... family, then work, then school. My children are all involved in after-school activities, so there are nights I don't get started on my own school work until almost midnight.



I am definitely looking forward to this ending. I have about a year left.

Tracey - posted on 12/16/2008

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It is difficult but doable! I was teaching full time, in the middle of my masters program when we got the call that we had been chosen to adopt a brand new baby. My husband was also taking night classes and working full time. I was able to take 4 weeks off from teaching (then had 2 weeks at Christmas break).

What I had to do was make sure that I took a nap in the evenings when the baby went to bed. I then stayed up after my husband went to bed. I was able to have some quiet to work on my masters work. My classes only met once a week so we were able to coordinate schedules to make it work.

I have since finished my program, continue to teach full time, tutor 3 hours a week, work with a homebound student 5+ hours a week, be a full time parent, and take additional classes. I have a wonderful husband (who has since finished his teaching degree) and a fantastic support system that help with babysitting, taking to dance, karate, etc. (my daughter is now 5). My body has learned to live on 5-6 hours of sleep at night.

Emma - posted on 12/13/2008

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If I didn't know any better I would say I'm reading my own story here! While I do only teach part time I am on a full time PGCE course as well which is at the same level as the masters degree and is the post graduate certificate in education. I also feel bad as my other half takes our son out at weekends so I can do my work and I really miss not being with them. One thing I do try to do is set some time aside every week and we have some family bonding time ( cheesy I know ) apart from that just be proud of yourself for doing what your doing and remember it isn't forever!

Lynn - posted on 12/13/2008

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I completed my masters when my first son was 1 & was pregnant with my second (I had him toward the end of my studies). I think that it is easier to get stuff done when they are younger because they aren't as aware of your absences, everyone still wants to help out & they take naps. Of course I only realize that it was easier in retrospect now that my kids are older & their academic & social needs take precedence (they are 5, 11 & 12). Also, remember that your priorities should be your own children, then your students and finally school. I see way too many teachers who "phone it in" at school because they are too busy doing assignments for their own studies.

Karla - posted on 12/13/2008

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Learn to be efficient! For you papers, don't hum and haw over every word. Just write it and be done. At school, work through lunch and breaks to get all your work done there so after your son is in bed, you can focus on your papers. Good luck! I'm going back to school myself in the new year, have a 18 month old and a 3 year old and teach special ed.

Kathy - posted on 12/12/2008

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Just imagine how amazing it will feel when you're finished. That kept me going over 3 years of courses and one year writing a thesis while working full-time. I started when my daughter was one...my poor husband really picked up the slack...but he's made me promise to wait at least a few more years before I go back for more :) I have to tell you, that feeling when I handed in my thesis for binding was pretty awesome--and now I feel like I have so much free time! Bravo to the rest of you for going for it--and hang in there. What an amazing role model for our children to see our own pursuit of lifelong learning.

Amy - posted on 12/12/2008

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Look into what your state offers for a fast track! I worked only part-time while pursuing my Master degree, but my husband was deployed for much of my schooling and my children were two and 5 at the time. You will get through it, but it will be frustrating and exhausting.

Mindy - posted on 12/11/2008

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I am taking classes for my Master's (I have one class left--I will finish in March), teaching full time, and just had my son, Daxton, in October. I guess I'm one of those people who works better under pressure. Melissa--I know how you feel--three "to-do" lists: school, work, and home. You'll get through it though...it's tough, but it can be done. :)

Robyn - posted on 12/10/2008

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I am teaching special ed full time, working on my masters in sped, and raising 3 kids, 19, 16, and 10. I am the parenting parent, my husband thinks he is just a taxi service, and that is it. Actually he is soon to be my ex. I can empathize with you. I love taking classes and am almost finished! I feel like a pro, plus i can do it on my time at home on the computer.

[deleted account]

Thanks Melissa- It is so nice to know that there are others who have done it and are still able to breathe!

Melissa - posted on 12/10/2008

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Oh Ladies...it's so hard. I finished a couple of years back when my son was a year old. I remember being up and working on report cards at midnight, worrying about a paper due in two days and hearing my boy wake up..I used to have 3 to do lists 1: home 2: work 3: school. I would compare the number one priority on each list and do that one first. It was hard but I had a wonderful supportive husband...just take a breathe and do it! ....ONE DAY AT A TIME! Good luck to you all!

[deleted account]

Thanks for your replies! Congratulations on finishing your last course- it must feel so good! I was a year into a masters in ed program with a concentration in ABA when I found out that I was pregnant and I stopped the program so I could focus on my family. Now that our son it two I want to finish grad school so that I can have my degree before having more children as well! My problem is also that I tend to be a perfectionist and an overachiever (I will do ten pages if a professor asks for 2). I need to work on this. One thing that I do so far Rebecca is that I focus all of my attention on my job and my family Monday-Friday and then I take an entire day over the weekend to do my schoolwork- which can often be from morning until night. I miss out on some fun activities but I feel like I at least get to spend quality time with my son after work and before he goes to bed. We come home, cook together, we all eat dinner together, we play music and read books etc... Then my husband and I clean after he goes to sleep. Getting rid of our television has helped too!

User - posted on 12/10/2008

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And we're planning number 2 now that I'm almost done school! Taking courses over summer vacation is a godsend too the classes tend to be easier, and shorter (in the long run).

User - posted on 12/10/2008

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I am just wrapping up my last course, and have a son that just turned two! It's do-able, it just feels like it's taking forever! It'll come, there's no rush! Your kids need you more than you need a masters anyway! You can totally manage this!

[deleted account]

I would definitely be interested in hearing any advice on this. I just went back to work full time as a teacher in September (my son will turn one next month) and I will resume my masters in the spring. I am totally overwhelmed right now without grad school, but I want to finish the masters before my husband and I have more children or a I know I won't get it finished.

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