Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Term 1, 2017 - The Tiring Term

Working full-time as a high school teacher and being a mum is really hard and just so exhausting. Add being pregnant to that and it seems like life is…just so wearying. Even though I know that pregnancy isn’t forever (although it feels like it when you are in the first and third trimester, and it even felt like that for at least half of the second one trimester too this time around), it’s just so hard to envisage anything in the near future when you have to teach and parent too.

This first term was a long one – 11 weeks – and it didn’t help that ERO came to my school too. ERO visits always put everyone in senior management into a mad flurry, which then gets passed down onto middle-management, and of course filters its way into the lives of lowly classroom teachers. Last time ERO came I was also pregnant (reeeeaaaally bad timing, ERO…) but I was Assistant HOD, and teaching 4 classes. I was teaching 5 classes this time round, blergh. 

The insanity of teaching 5 classes (which is an utterly ridiculous workload anyway) doesn’t get any better when you are increasing in mass every day, and progressively sleep-deprived, and CONSTANTLY sick because your immune system is at bare minimum to ensure that your body doesn’t reject the foetus inside, even though autumn and end of a large term would be a great time to increase its protective capabilities. Then there’s the matter of already being responsible for a small human being already (fortunately, I’m not doing it alone. But still, it’s hard work). And then there’s that stupid niceness in me that means I find it hard to say no when people in senior management ask me to do extra things, e.g. “Can you do this extra job? We’ll pay you one-quarter of a near-pittance to do it…” And then the next thing you know is you find yourself spending 2 hours in front of your laptop on a Saturday morning, formatting data files for 30+ teachers that you have to present to at 8:15am on a Monday morning, whilst your daughter creates a ‘Book of Spells’ alongside you (so much more glittery and fun than bloody Excel spreadsheets).

It’s all a bit masochistic really, I know; both teaching, and parenting. And teaching and parenting, together. And pregnancy too...I know some women enjoy it, but not me. It’s a means to an end - an end that exists somewhere in the future that I can barely envisage right now. And I’m not talking about when the baby comes out, because childbirth is horrendous, and newborns are crazy-making hard work, and I am super-apprehensive this time around about that first 6 months (OK, year) with a baby. I’m bigger and sorer than last time. And to add to it, I have a weird ongoing ailment of a constant sore throat that just hangs out at the back of my mouth. I’ve googled and googled and I can’t seem to find a particular condition. My own experience over the last couple of months has led me to conclude that the sore throat is linked to lack of sleep e.g. super-tiredness results in a sore throat that kinda spreads into my left ear, whereas just tiredness means a mild sore throat. I’ve always got at least a mild sore throat. And an achy right hip. And I keep sitting and bending over stupidly and hurting my back.

Anyway, to end this post on a positive; full credit needs to be given here to teenagers. I didn’t tell any of my classes until I was 26 weeks pregnant. I waited so long because I didn’t want to make them anxious about Term 2 (and also I’m a bit of coward) and NOT ONE of my students asked me if I was pregnant at all, or made a comment, or even stared at my tummy. They are so much politer than adults!! I know teenagers are quite wrapped up in their own lives and that’s just how their brains are working at that point in time, but it just made me appreciate them even more. And then when I told them I was going on leave they were all, “Oh no, we won’t have you as a teacher anymore!” Give those kids a medal for general awesomeness.

And now the term is over, and I’m 1 week into the school holidays, and I’m not going back next term...but I’m still totally knackered. I don’t even feel like I’ve started to recover from Term 1 yet. I’m not sure I will, now that I think about it… But it’s nice to know that that’s it for me for full-time work this year (well, the lack of pay will be a bit sad...and actually I will be working pretty hard out once the baby arrives, argh). And now my aims are:

-          Nap whenever possible
-          Read some books
-          Watch some stuff
-          Update this blog more often and hopefully revamp it to look less '2011'
-          Vaguely prepare for baby’s arrival

Edit: I forgot to mention the MANY MANY PILES OF MARKING I had to complete before the end of term, so I could 'hand over' to my replacements. I can't face going into the boring details, but needless to say, it was seemingly relentless at the time. All I can think now is, I was some kind of machine to get through it all.


  1. Susan! I do love your annual blog posts ;) think of all the time you will have for blogging now that you are done. If it is any solace, I have had the most miserable start to a new teaching job ever, and while not carrying a human it is has tested every moral fibre of my being. Look forward to a catch up soon! - Marshall

    1. I'm so crap at blogging I only just read your comment :P Thanks for posting though :-) I am gonna try and blog more regularly...I do often write blog posts but then chicken out of posting them because I think they are too personal... I do hope your year picks up and becomes less miserable! I take it you are studying at the same time as working..? Must be pretty hard going!


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