Monday, August 29, 2016

Blogger Behind This Blog #7

Teacher Mummy

Bad mummy - son plays ipad while
waiting for takeaway dinner!
Today I thought I'd write about what it's like to be a Teacher Mummy or, depending on your perspective, a Mummy Teacher. Some days it definitely feels like the lines are blurred, particularly when I come home to readers and homework, or find myself comforting a student who has fallen over! As I drove home from work one night this week, I found myself puzzling over this situation and realised how much being a mummy changed the whole game of teaching.


My class used to be "my kids". I was with them all day at school and then they were in my thoughts all night. I worried over them constantly and spent my spare thoughts planning our learning experiences. As I spent all my spare time focussed on their learning, I thought they could be using their spare time to learn as well. I encouraged them to use online resources like Mathletics, SuperClubs, Spellodrome etc. When a student didn't get their homework done, or had a dodgy lunch, or even came to school when they were sick, I made a judgement - and more often than not, blamed the parents. At the same time, I blamed myself for my inability to fix all the problems the kids had with learning and behaviour. It took a while for me to realise that some things are just personality things that can only be guided, not fixed. 


My class are still my kids, but they are not my only kids. They get me during work hours, and still invade my thoughts, but when I am at home, the Mummy kicks in. It has to. There is so much to do, and so few hours. I don't have as much time to do all the extra bits. I still plan all the lessons and try to be creative and innovative, but it needs to be done with less time for pausing and pondering. I use the driving time to iron out the wrinkles. Haven't worked out the certificates for assembly yet? Think it through as I drive. Not sure how I'll play out the grammar lesson? Bounce some ideas on the way to work. Frustrated with how the Maths lesson went? Work out how to approach it next time as I sit and wait at the lights. Lunch is a quick breather, a bite to eat, and then an opportunity to get things done.


There are, however, some special benefits to being a Teacher Mummy, especially this year as I teach Year 1 and my son is in Kindergarten. My class benefits because I know more about the things that interest 6 year olds. I can talk to them about Minecraft and Pokemon Go. I understand about playing soccer on weekends or going to swimming lessons. I know what all the latest Lego sets are! I know what has worked to grab my son's interest in reading, and how to help him understand something mathematical - so can use this with my class. If I'm not sure how a lesson will go, I can test the lesson out on him first or run it by him and see what he thinks. 
Teacher Mummy - son plays a game
to learn about numbers!

The flip-side also has its benefits. I share with him the things that have worked with my class. His learning is stretched beyond what he gets in class. I'm usually able to weave learning into our time together without it feeling like learning. I'm able to prompt him as he reads or writes and feel confident that I'm not messing him up! When he needs to write a speech, I have an idea of what that should look like.

I understand now how parents feel when it comes to their kids. They love them, want the best for them and also have challenges when it comes to managing time. I get what it's like to try and get a kid out the door in the morning with everything he needs for the day. I get what it's like to deal with a bouncy kid in the afternoon when you just feel wrecked yourself. I get what it's like to have your heart break when your kid tells you that someone was being mean to him. There are times when I've forgotten to pack a fork and others when I have refused to buy another spare hat for the week in the hopes that the old one will show up. I've even stalled buying new shoes as it got close to the end of the year. It's nice to know how parents feel and to be able to relate to them with a different level of understanding.


I feel that the challenges for me relate mostly to my connections with my son's teacher and school. 
I find I'm always trying to evaluate whether he's in the best place - and that's even when he's at the same school. I rarely get to any of his excursions or special events (even when I was at the same school). I barely know his teacher and how he's REALLY doing at school.

Time is also a challenge. There are times where I feel a terrible parent, dropping my son at before school care as soon as the doors open and picking him up from after school care after a staff meeting. When I've been at the same school, it's been just as guilt-laden. I struggled to get work done in the afternoon once he was in the room, asking for afternoon tea and wanting to play with me. There are also times when I really want to be able to spend more time working on something school related and just can't fit it in once I'm home.

What are your thoughts on this? How do you balance your home life and work life? Please leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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