A recent post from a teacher on the Voice for Teachers Facebook page got our attention. The teacher was returning to work following maternity leave, worried and looking for tips to juggle her work-life balance so she asked the teacher community. And they responded in their droves!
Here are some of the tips shared by teachers:
“Batch cook, do activities at the weekend for you and baby.
Find a system for paperwork, planning, corrections and resources that works for you”!
“Try to get as much work done in school as possible, you won’t want to waste the time you have at home with baby. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, utilise all the resources you have. It gets easier, I promise”.
“Talk to the teacher who was covering for you to get all the information on what was taught, seating plans etc. If you get a detailed handover you won’t be so nervous going back and will make the rest of the year easier”.
“We spend 25 euro a week on a cleaner, every Friday. Best money you’ll ever spend”!
“Organising outfits at the weekend for the week can make mornings easier and batch cooking (or buy big lasagnas/Avoca dinners that will last few days or can be used for lunch) best of luck, it does get easier and you’ll enjoy being around grown up conversations”.
“Online shop or one of you go alone with a meal planner list. I plan dinners in advance and many are slow cooker jobs so they’re done when we get in”.
“On tough days I remind myself that I see a lot more of my kids than other working mams do, and even though I hate bringing work home it means I get to see them and do it when they are in bed, my friend brings work home twice a week, I think that’s a good balance”.
“Ask for help. Exchange resources you already have for resources you need. Worry less about presentation and more about engagement. Compile lists now of what you already have with close to zero planning (both resources and ideas) and save to your computer. Try not to reinvent the wheel. Depending on subject and level spend more time on success criteria, peer assessment tables, checklists etc and less on elaborate for-the-sake-of-it resources. Focus on student engagement above all else. Worry more about what they’re doing than what you’re doing.
For domestic stuff, pin weekly tasks on fridge. Unless you’re a single Mam, tick off jobs once done and get other parent to do likewise; make sure you’re not doing unequal share. Lower your standards.
Don’t do work too late at night as it will interfere with your sleep”.
“I went back when my baby was 8 and a half months and it was an emotional rollercoaster. That first term is a fog. My fella went to a childminder and little things like having his lunch/bag/drinks/bottles ready the night before was such a lifesaver in the morning. I batch cooked 7 different meals ×5 (roughly enough for 5 weeks) and had them in the freezer which he had for lunch. This saved thinking of lunch ideas with the child minder (I’m not one for making a ham wrap look like hedgehog at 7am). Be so, so kind to yourself. We got slapped with every viral infection and sleep regression and it is not easy but chocolate helped…and coffee! Lots of coffee! A year on and it is so much easier. Still can’t make any meals look like hedgehogs though! Treasure the weekends and holidays”.