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The “Teacher Mum”

This is such a new concept to me, like many first time school mums, it is a minefield. The expectations, the waiting at the school gates, the meeting of new parents and children, meeting the teacher and the reading and homework. It’s a whole new ball game. 

I’ve adjusted to life a school mum quite well, I only do it once a week as I work but I love drop off and collection, preparing his school lunches, reading and finding out about Jenson’s day. I love every part of it and treasure it. We had parents evening next week and I couldn’t wait to hear about his progress. He did amazing, I loved seeing his classroom work, the wall displays ans hear how he was getting on, superbly infact. I felt happy with his progress so far as we also have access to Tapestry, an online learning journey. This is amazing. I get live updates when they upload an observation and I can also upload things we do, it is so lovely to see what he has done. 

It was so bizarre being on the ‘other side’ of the table, I am so use to just talking about the child and filling the silence, making sure there isn’t any gaps and avoiding questions at all costs! As a rule that you learn, you always ask the parents perspective and feelings at the beginning, then you can run with the rest of the appointment on your terms and that way you avoid over running. Jenson’s teacher knew all of the tricks of the trade, something you learn with experience. 

The sharing of career, however, has meant we have an understanding. I know that it isn’t always possible to hear children read, that teachers are human and forget things and that his teachers works her arse off. Especially when she is adding tapestry observations at 9pm on a Friday or 3pm on a Sunday. I relate to that life. 

As a teacher mum, I also know the importance and value of supportive parents. I understand that he needs to read at home every night, know his sounds, count and recognise numbers and calculations. I’ve given him the best possible chance by teaching him how he should be taught, lower case letters, numbers, correct formation of letters and numbers, letter sounds etc. It has meant that he is off to to the best start and will therefore shine and thrive above his peers, not because he is a genius (which he obviously is), but because he has had lots of opportunities. I also find myself over excelling with his homework, I really enjoy the opportunities it gives us to be together, we have been on a nature walk, number hunt, shape searching and we are taking his bear on a trip. We have had good feedback so far! 

I also understand her pressures, the fact that there are 29 other children in the class, with a variety of needs, some more complex than others. I know that the parents are different, some more complicated and some so laid back they forget to dress their child. I get that she doesn’t have eyes in the back of her head and some things do go unnoticed but it is my child in her class, I want him to be the centre of her world. Her main focus. I want her to adore and love him, challenge and push him, which she does but I hate that I do not have that involvement. 

The hardest bit has been separating myself from him. Spending maternity leave and all summer with Jenson to then nothing, someone else seeing him more and teaching him things when thay was my job. The logistics are perfect for a teacher Mum, but it’s in my heart that I struggle to deal with someone else doing my job as both a Mummy and a teacher. I imagine it will just get harder.  

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My role is changing

This week, I put my teacher hat back on.

Since November 13th 2015, I have been ‘Mummy’. Exclusively. On December 21st, my role as Mummy expanded and I was promoted to Mummy of two.

For the last 8 months and 6 days, I have 100% devoted myself to my two little people. Albeit, not 100% all of the time but they have been the centre of my universe. All of this is thanks to Daddy Childs who has worked hard and worked overtime to make sure we had a lovely time during this time too with two holidays and lovely days out. In fact, the kids and I had three holidays! 

Monday was my last day of maternity leave. Technically, I returned to work. Being a teacher, I am returning to work just before the Summer holidays, so on Friday we broke up and I have a further 6 weeks off. I will obviously be moving classrooms and planning for starting in September but, yes, it was planned like that. It’s a teachers prerogative! 

It has flown by. I can’t quite believe Emeline is 7 months, yet, it feels like she has always been here and that I have been off forever. We do, however, need to make some huge adjustments to our life:

  • I need to make lunch for myself and eat it.
  • I need to be up and out the door by 7.45am.
  • I need to pump breastmilk! Both before to prepare Emeline and whilst at work. 
  • I need to be a grown up.
  • I need to have adult conversations. 
  • I have to wear proper clothes. 
  • I have to use my brain. 
  • I have to be professional!!! 

But most of all, Jenson and Emeline need to adjust to me not being around. Likewise, I had to adjust not being with them. We have always had huge family support with the children, so fortunately Scott and my parents will care for the children whilst I work but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be massive to leave them. I feel comfortable and confident leaving Jenson, but I think he will be the worst. I also expect Emeline will get bored of her new cup of milk and will become a rat bag by late afternoon. We have the best feeding cuddles. 
This week, Daddy is in control. The children’s Daddy. However, this morning he mixed coloured washing with dark washing, reminding me that I have been the boss of jobs like that and obviously now everything will go to pot! Never mind the fact that for the last four years, before I went on maternity leave, Scott was the ‘stay at home’ parent, have four days off whilst I worked. 

All these worries and fears are so focused around me. I could bet money on the fact that they’ll wave me off happily and I’ll drive off balling my eyes out!!
Luckily, they had an amazing week. Emeline was more unsettled and didn’t take well to the beaker or bottle of milk but we have the summer to work on that. Jenson enjoyed some time with Scott and even built the bottom of the garage with Grandad. 

I just about survived!!! 

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End of an era

I am sitting here tying to keep my shit together. I can’t. 

September 2014. Jenson’s first day.

It is Jenson’s last day at preschool today. He joined when he was 2 years and 7 months. He leaves at 4 years and 5 months. The journey he has been on since joining is incredible, he has learnt to count and recognise numbers, learn all his letter sounds, read cvc words and actually read a book amongst other things. I am beyond proud of his achievements and what he had accomplished, we have done a lot with him at home but the support he has received from the ‘Aunties’ is incredible. I know how teachers dedicate themselves to the children in their care and I love that he has received this love. 

Jenson loves his nursery, he has always been so happy there. He hasn’t always gone in well and has had his tears but he has made so much progress. His confidence alone has grown so much. He was amazing in his end of year show this week, he spoke loudly and confidently and my heart exploded. He wouldn’t even stand up and dance at the end of last year. 

The nursery go over and above for the children there, they put so much effort in. Jenson received a wonderful end of year report with a gift, poem and a pack for his learning over the summer. His poem was what sent me in to emotional turmoil earlier in the week. 

So, here we are, the end of an era. Jenson said to me this morning:

“Mummy, tomorrow I won’t have nursery anymore”

I am not sure either of us are prepared for today, emotionally or mentally. We have spent so long preparing for big school that actually I hadn’t really thought about leaving nursery. It was only this week that it has really crept up on me.

I am sitting here realising that he must be upset. The women that have been in his life for two years no longer will be. The women who cuddled him when he cried, wiped his tears, grazes and even his bottom. The ladies who laughed with him and even at him and who made him smile and feel safe. The Aunties who taught him so much and made him feel so special, like he could accomplish anything. The girls who sat with him to do activities for surprises at Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They’ve loved him, disciplined him and cared for him whilst I wasn’t there and I am will forever be grateful for the bond and relationship they have and that grew. 

They have no idea how highly thought of they are in this house and through his eyes. We talk about them constantly, we are excited when we bump in to them in town. They’ve given my boy the best possible start to his learning. I love how they know him so well. His report modelled that, identifying his his little personality and mentioned his favourite things and quirks. Especially how he is a chatter box. I know that he has been happy there and felt safe and it proved it. We made the right choice in sending him there.

15th July 2015. Jenson’s last day at Nursery

So, thank you Christchurch Nursery. You wonderful ladies who we adore. See you in a few years with Emeline, we will be back. (Depending on Emeline, I suppose that could be a threat!!)

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Going back to work

The end of my maternity leave is looming. I would love to be able to work less and stay at home more but I need to earn and when I am working, I love my job. I have lots of room for career progression and I really want to progress too but I am and always will be a Mummy first.

I am working part time when I return. Sharing my time between my role as class teacher and SENCo. There is no way I want to be out of the classroom as I do not wantwant to lose those ever important skills that I spent years studying for and years collecting through different experiences. Working part time as a teacher is hard. Sharing your classroom is like sharing your bedroom, whilst this is great to share with your partner, it does not always work as sucessfully when it is a stranger, although sometimes it isn’t great to share with your partner either!!! I take a lot of pride in my classroom and everyone has different ideas of how they want their room to look. I finally know where I will be next year and who I will be working with but that doesn’t make the transition any easier, full time teaching is hard to let go of.

I am moving from year 2 to year 5 which I am excited about. Nervous but excited. It’s a big curriculum move but I can’t wait to see what we can ‘do’ together. The children have had a poorly teacher this year so have had a lot of inconsistency so I was really honoured that my head put me there to get them up to speed. At least she has faith in me! I have my new curriculum plan and we have some very exciting topics, it is adjusting to the new learning that is a bit scary. My job share is lovely too, so enthusiastic and just a lovely person. We work well together and she is a hard worker, we believe a lot of the same things so that is exciting. I am looking forward to meeting with her for planning over tea, cake and lunch in the summer!

Some bedtime reading!

I am spending the last few weeks spoiling my children with my time. Jenson has a big few weeks up with school tasters and leaving preschool.  A lot of emotional instability here!! Emeline is finally drinking milk from a beaker, Scott had her whilst I did a KIT day and she has been playing me. She had her Daddy wrapped around her finger and her daily routine went flying out the window!!

I will be in for three days for the last week of term. Thankfully the last day is INSET too. Scott is off so will have the children and I am going to pump milk throughout the day for Emeline. I love that my Medela pump comes with both electric and battery powered sources so I can do that. I just need a little fridge to keep in my office to store my milk!! Don’t want that slipping in to someone’s tea by accident.

I also need to think about losing my Mummy identity which I am not ready for yet:

  • Lunch – my own lunch box and a reasonable portion to eat myself.
  • A proper bra!
  • My own handbag
  • Actually remembering my work stuff!
  • Nice clothes that are not covered in sick, food or snot.
  • Alarm – no lazy mornings here!
  • How to act around adults! (And children being a teacher!!)

Just two weeks left, but it is just a few days and then I have the summer off. It could always be worse! Please go slow!

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School Ready

On Tuesday, our local children centre had a school transition market. There were lots of our local schools and preschools there, including Jenson’s preschool which is where I heard about it initially. There was an email sent out by the Children’s Centre yesterday too. 

There wasn’t much to ‘know’ in all honesty, I’m not sure if that’s because I am prepared for that transition being a teacher myself and I know what to expect or whether it I just parent instinct. I feel really relaxed about the whole process. I am pleased that I am feeling like this as it is such a huge deal and I have spent the last 8 years of teaching realising that and reassuring parents, it’s only since having children that I really appreciate how much of a big deal it is.  

  

 

Monday will be a huge day when we find out what school he will be going to and after that, his first day will be massive. I am excited to go to his new school and find out about it with parents evenings but I know Jenson is ‘school ready’. Both Scott and I and his preschool have made sure of that. I am so proud of the progress Jenson has made at school, he is counting confidently, can recognise numbers and uses his Numicon well, he knows his letters and sounds and is starting to blend sounds to read, he recognises key words and has his own reading book. This is huge for my little cherub. Socially and emotionally, he is also ready. He is good at caring for himself, toileting and dressing and undressing himself. We have alsways worked hard at promoting his independence. 

Everything that was drummed in to my yesterday was support at home, how children can be supported at home and the impact of this on their learning. I know all of this. I listened and took the resources to help, who doesn’t love a freebie! There was lots on reading and play at home. Rhym was also really promoted, a child who knows 5 or more rhymes apparently finds writing and reading easier. 

Rhyme cards

 

More rhyme resources but this is a bath vinyl wall sticker

  
The event was good but outdated. There should be one in the Autumn term in preparation for school admission applications, parents visit schools but this gives families more time to be school-ready. The preschools will also have more of a purpose, Jenson is 8 weeks from leaving and Emeline is 2 years from joining. It was good they were there showing how they’re working together but if they were there earlier, the benefit would be substantial long term.  

The worst thing about your child expecting to be ‘school ready’ is the additional pressure, there is so much pressure on little people and schools and what is expected. So many boxes to tick and milestones to meet, there is so much to achieve to be ‘school ready’, can’t quite believe we are at this point though. It’s scary! I worry that from now, it’ll be constant targets and progress towards the next one and endless pressure. I hate how the school system is, I know he will flourish and will be fine but I always want his childhood to be filled with dirt, mud, play and endless fun and I want that promoted, I don’t want him as a focus or a figure in a pupil progress meeting! 

Come September it will all be a haze anyway, in the meantime, I’ll be making sure he is up to school ready standard!  

  

    

Phew, we can do this and more