Maternity leave panic

Last day of work before maternity leave for me tomorrow. I think I should be excited but I am feeling really anxious.

I am more than happy to be off work and be a mum. I don’t feel worried about the birth or the feeding or the lack of sleep or any of the mum parts. The anxiety comes from staring into the unknown tunnel with no clear light at the end. This sounds morbid, I don’t mean it to. 

I am finishing work but I do not have a job to go back to and it has suddenly hit me.

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Another new job

If you have read previous posts you will see that they made me redundant, the massive meanies! In a desperate attempt to be employed and not live off of toast alone, I have taken a part time job as a teaching assistant up until nightshift baby decides to make his appearance. 

The plus sides are: it is in a school that I have previously worked in, that I loved working in and where I have some friends. It is 10 minutes up the road. It is close to all my midwife appointments. And it is relatively stress and responsibility free.

The down sides are: I have had to take a pay cut meaning I take home a third of what I was previously. So still toast for tea on some nights but not every night! No trips to Waitrose allowed. 

Difficult to go back into education with my tail between my legs after moaning about it so much and being openly a bit smug about leaving. However needs must and I have no shame so will happily hold my hands up and say “I don’t hate you education, I just hate the people who control you”

Happy new year

Here we are January 1st. December 31st was spent watching Harry Potter with Snoop Bobby Dog and NSH. Gurt lush!

An appalling end to last year involved redundancy and sadness for very close friends. I intend on doing my best to be a positive nightshift widow this year.

Other resolutions include:

I will steam the floors and bleach the sink once a week.

I will drink more water.

I will swim more.

I will evacuate tiny human from womb in some shape or form!

I will endeavour to be a good mum.

I will use my behavioural powers for good and not evil!

Merry new year!

Diary of a disillusioned teacher: the staffing, stress, sickness circular argument

In the field of applied behaviour analysis, we talk about the unhelpfulness of circular reasoning. Using ADHD as a means to explaining and excusing behaviour is a better known example. So here goes my explanation:

“why does your child behave that way?”

“because he has ADHD”

“how do you know he has ADHD?”

“because he behaves in that way”

This reasoning is so unhelpful, it solves no ones problem and ultimately tries to give an excuse for a behaviour that gives no explanation for why a behaviour is happening and what to do about it to change it.

Staffing within special needs schools, in my experience follows a circular reasoning loop, it is a problem, the problem needs to be addressed.

Staff are often off sick

this persistant poor staffing puts added stress on the remaining staff

The stress and exhaustion of working understaffed causes staff sickness

staff are off sick.

The solution is simple … Employ more staff, focus more on staff well being… Address the problem. There is no bank of SEN TAs.

I am no fool. I know there is no money, there is little press interest and there is no government interest whatsoever.

But the problem exists, it is circular, in the meantime the ultimate outcome, in my point of view, is that the pupils these staff work with do not receive the level of support, care and instruction that they deserve.

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a disillusioned teacher: jam sandwiches and the jam will heal me

An emotional week, the end is nigh. I end the term by handing in my resignation. This was not an easy decision, the responsibility I feel for my staff team and the small humans i work with is immense, but something’s gotta give.

After a term that included ‘black Wednesday’ the day that, for the first time in 12 years of employment I left work on the brink of a mental breakdown at 10 am. This is the term that I realised how strong a team I had helped build, but a team that looked to me as their leader, not a role I had intended on taking on. This is the term that I said no. This is the term that the rest of the school seemed to be errupting with unusual behavioural problems, whilst in my little behaviour classroom, the pupils got on with their work and followed instructions. This is the pivotal term in my career. This is the term that convinced me to leave the profession I began training for over 10 years ago. This is THE term.

handing in my notice sparked a blog that ended up published by the TES. I feel more valued now that I have committed to quit and this tugs on my emotional ties to my class. However it will take a lot more than kind words to change my mind.

So today my therapy is this: my dog and I are eating jam sandwiches and dancing around to the Jam and once again I am convinced that me and Mr Weller could be great pals if I were born in a different decade!

Diary of a disillusioned teacher – Christmas is over the staff have gotten fat

Back to work we go after two weeks of eating and drinking to excess, oh and moving house! Within moments of entering the top secret code into the key pad and stepping foot into the shiny façade the sound of “diet” “detox” and “dry January” dampen the air and with it my surprisingly up beat mood.

INSET day today, woohoo! Meetings  about curriculum, planning and behaviour, a day of being a teacher, without children…

Well that was the plan, but as always, people and paperwork get in the way. Teaching assistants in unexpectedly meant spending time meant for planning spent on time finding them things to do so their time wasn’t wasted (whilst inevitably wasting mine). My TAs are amazing and keep me sane throughout the daily trials, tribulations and terrible tensions of working in my particular school.

A morning meeting about behaviour frustrated me due to the heavy focus on the reactive rather than the proactive. I  bite down hard on my lip as many of the ideas spewed out to the teaching staff conflict with my very being. The teachers smile politely and nod, knowing full well they will completely disregard what they are being told, because, as much as they would like to, when, oh when are they supposed to find the time to even think about it. To think about what is making Billy sad and what happened in his early childhood, as he lamps Becky on the head over a severe disagreement about a green pencil sharpener. Sometime between breaking into the first bottle of wine since dry January began 4 days ago, and writing their moaning blog about all the work they should be doing but aren’t just this once! (Oh, just me then?)

But its okay I am used to this, and I have come to expect these meetings that are often irrelevant to my class. So off I take my self to the peace and quiet of the PPA room. and actually I get a bit done, and my mood is still, surprisingly up beat. Then the boss comes in. The boss is not the big boss but is a lower level boss in a system of many bosses some of whom are higher on the boss scale than others and some are equal bosses, so I assume can boss each other around or just equal each others bossiness out. I am unsure on the intricate details of the boss scale but I may continue to note down the many adventures of the bosses.

What happens next must happen to all teachers. The teaching part of the job goes out the window, planning out the window, assessment out the window, resourcing out the window. and instead other extra paperwork that has a higher priority because it gets sent to other agencies and reflects on the school and us.

The up beat mood is gone. I am aware that I will not finish the work I need to do to be prepared for this week because of the extra paperwork. I feel guilty for not spending more of the Christmas break working, I begin to dread the next day and I begin to resent the job itself.

One day back, I cried on the way home. I have done 2 hours work tonight and will be in work before 7:30 tomorrow.  I will spend the rest of my evening considering whether to find a new job or have a baby!!

Also … should I get a cat? Will that rekindle my love for teaching?