So in March 2017, after a sleep-deprived night with my 5-month-old baby, I got the phone call to ask me if I wanted to apply for teacher training. ‘Yes!’ Was the response, I was planning on going back to work for a year before applying, but thought let’s just go for it… surely my baby will sleep then and it’ll be easier? (spoiler alert- she still doesn’t sleep).
Now here we are, motherhood pressures and TWELVE weeks into our teacher training. Two very demanding and brand new job roles, to wrap my head around. Unsurprisingly what have I found the hardest? Balancing being a trainee and being a mum.
However, to all parents of youngsters thinking ‘can I actually do this? Is it even possible to be a new parent and a trainee? Everyone says teaching takes your entire life- what about my children?’ Well, it is doable. It’s hard! But it’s doable. Here are the ways I try and manage the circus act which is balancing the two:
Firstly, lists will save your life and sanity! I don’t mean a massive list of everything you could possibly do- a very wise lady (Emily!) said to me at my interview ‘you need to make sure you know when to stop. There is no end point with this job, always more to do or prepare’ and that stayed with me. So at the start of every week, I write a list of what needs to be done; then split it into smaller, manageable lists of jobs for each day. I also make a list of nice things I want to do at home (take my daughter swimming, bake, finish that Netflix series…) to make sure I get some quality time at home (with a toddler attached to my leg and without).
Secondly, being home for teatime is the best feeling (not the toddler throwing food around part). Leaving early to be home for some family time really helps set your day into perspective. It also helps me to not feel like I’ve worked all day when I get my laptop back out after bedtime!
Thirdly- it’s not really advice but a pleasant warning- you are going to love your fellow SCITT trainees. Going for core training on a Friday and seeing everybody supporting each other is just, beautiful. So go and offload, swap resources and if needs be have a cry; these people have got your back like nobody has before.
Finally- cut yourself some slack. Training is hard. Having a baby or toddler or child of any age is hard. So, survival strategies: drag the dry shampoo out for a few more days; go home early and play play play; always know who’s got chocolate in school; ask all the ‘stupid’ questions because you’ll feel a lot better ( thank you to Sarah, Sarah and Emily for answering all of mine… every week…).
Current and future trainee mamas and dadas- if I can manage it, you definitely can! Just think about how proud they’ll be of you someday. Take the plunge (and the caffeine) and go for it.