Prior to having Lara and becoming a mother, I had very little balance in my life. I spent so much time on school stuff and my blog! It probably wasn't healthy and definitely not sustainable! I was so used to just having an idea pop into my head and sitting down on my laptop whenever I felt like it and working away. That has been the biggest change for me. Time is just so valuable now! I have a strict no technology around Lara rule (except for when I am snapping photos of her )
Luckily I thrive on organisation. I did all my plans for the year while I was on maternity leave. Thank God I did because it would have been so difficult trying to do it as I go along. Being organised has really helped me maintain peace of mind when it comes to my teaching. I find that truly planning ahead reduces the stress that comes from preparing lessons the night before . Here are some of the organisational strategies I've put into place to keep myself sane!
- Plan themes instead of lessons. This saves a lot of time and is recommended for integrated learning.
- Use every minute of every day. I plan my day into segments and any free space at all I fill with school tasks- for example while the children are writing their tables in the morning, I use it as an opportunity to correct a couple of copies. Every little helps. When I am correcting copies at home I set a timer and try stick to that. It is amazing how efficient you can be when you have to be!
- Lara usually naps after school so while I am sitting in the car waiting for her to wake, I spend that 20 minutes updating the school blog, or replying to emails and DM'S on my own blog.
- I also get a good bit of school work done at the weekends when Tom is off which is a huge help. Very few outside the profession know just how much work we have to do at home with teaching. It is not like other jobs where you switch off at five o'clock and that's it until the next day. I wish!
- I hope to spend a couple of weeks of the summer getting everything organised for September to make the back to school transition as easy as possible.
- A very nice tutor at an NIPT class I attended once told us not to give the children excessive writing tasks because it leads to excessive corrections! She said teacher designed tasks and tests are only one out of several methodologies and that you can assess the other methodologies far easier than written tasks all the time. It always stuck with me and I think it is a very good point!
- If you have an SNA and the child they help with isn't in, then ask them to help with classroom jobs such as displays, laminating, cutting etc. Team work makes the dream work!
- Lots of teachers do peer correcting. I am not a fan of it myself I prefer to correct myself , but it is a huge time saver.
- Prioritise important tasks first and get them DONE- don't procrastinate (Like I am doing now by writing this post in the first place!)
- Make time for yourself. I honestly was getting annoyed at everyone telling me to make time for myself- WHERE does this time come from?! It is important though and I do enjoy sitting down for half an hour in the evening when Lara is in bed and working on my blog while watching TV. The tidying up can wait.
I really admire teachers who have more than one child! It’s a balancing act for sure to give everything equal time. Have you any tips on balancing school and motherhood? If so let me know!