Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Back 2 Skool

I’ve been back in the classroom for over a term and half now and was expecting to find teaching super-stressful after a 17 month hiatus, but actually a workload of three classes has been perfectly manageable. I guess I forgot I have 10 years of teaching experience, and that really helps when you have a minimal amount of time in which to do a stupid amount of things.

I was also expecting the transition to childcare to be really hard for both myself and my daughter, but she settled in pretty quickly, and she seems to really enjoy all the activities she gets to participate in, as well as the inside resources and outside playground she has access to. She even naps better there than she does at home these days! She’s in good hands.

And of course I was expecting to get very little sleep… that did happen for the first term, as my daughter was exposed to what seemed like every single little virus going around the toddler-world (she’s not one of those kids that sleeps well when sick…), but Term Two hasn’t been nearly so bad, now that we have hardened immune systems of steel. I have definitely been a zombie-teacher on occasions, but it’s much easier to zombie-teach two or three periods a day than it is four or five.

Anyway, this post is really meant to be about the pros and cons of being a part-time teacher, as I have experienced it so far.

The Pros:
  • I have 2 to 3 free periods a day in which I can plan and mark. This is SO much time compared to a full-time teacher! 
  • I hardly do any work at home. It’s almost impossible to get anything done with a toddler around, so I just try my best to be super-efficient during all those free periods I have during the week. This is in huge contrast to how my life used to be, which involved planning lessons at home in the late afternoon, plus 2-3 hours of schoolwork on Saturday morning and then another 2-3 hours again on Sunday morning…I don’t miss those days at all. 
  •  I only have to get out of the house super-early three times a fortnight because most of my classes are after interval. 
  •  I don’t have a form class. Form time is unpaid contact time for full-timers that takes a precious extra 15 minutes of your time every morning. 
  •  Only one half-hour duty slot per week. I get to sit down and eat my lunch in the staffroom on a regular basis. 
  •  I share an office with a much larger group of super-lovely teachers. There’s always someone to bounce ideas off/get advice from/grumble with. 
  •  It’s been very interesting returning to the lowly role of a part-time assistant teacher. Previously I was middle-management…and as one of my colleagues said, now I’m mingling with the “commoners”, hah. 
  •  I get paid extra to attend PD and occasionally do some relief teaching.

The Cons:
  • The money is rubbish. I get 46% of what was my full-time salary for what is essentially a 60% workload. That’s because part-timers are not remunerated for their non-contact hours like full-timers are. It’s something the PPTA is currently discussing, and hopefully something will be done about that soon, because it is appalling. But even with PD and relief pay, I’m not earning much at all. 
  •  My timetable is not part-time-teacher-friendly. We’re on a 10 day timetable (so you have Monday A and Monday B, etc) and as I said earlier I teach my classes later in the day which means that I pretty much never get to go home early. The one day a fortnight that I do finish at 12pm…well, my daughter goes down for her nap at that time, and we are big fans of routine, so I just stay at school and work. I’m at school 9am-3pm, every day. 
  •  I’m paying for childcare petty much full-time, 5 days a week. Almost half my pay goes on childcare. The quality of childcare is very high and is well worth the money I do pay, but that is a significant chunk of my meagre income, and that alarms me.
I’m lucky because I’m not the only earner in the household, and that has allowed me to go part-time this year. And I’m so glad I’ve been able to go back to work, because I really do enjoy my job!

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