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How to Juggle Parenting and Teaching

If you are a teacher and a parent, you know how challenging managing your work at school and your work at home can be. So often we feel like we are doing too much, and there isn’t enough of us to go around. TeacherVision Advisory Board Member and mom, Jessica, shares her tips for juggling parenting and teaching so you can set realistic expectations for yourself and find the joy in both.

Published: July 8, 2019

Illustration of a teacher with her daughter

You went to school to be a teacher, spending long hours studying, student teaching, and also juggling that college life.  But, in the back of your head, you knew you’d want to have a family one day.  You push that thought back in your mind, because after all, you're just in college and are excited to start your teaching career.

After graduating, you begin teaching, meet your husband or wife, and then you have a baby.  Everything is glorious and exciting, until maternity/paternity leave is over and you have to go back to work. You realize in that moment, you need to juggle two worlds and sometimes feel like you're failing at both. Juggling being a parent and teacher isn't easy, but you are capable of doing both well.

Let yourself feel all the emotions

When I went back to work after having our first son, he was 5 months old.  I lucked out having him in March, because I got the rest of the school year off plus summer.  I didn't realize just how hard going back to work would be.  My love for teaching was intense, but now I had this new little person who needed me as well.

So, I'd sometimes cry on my way to school after dropping him off and it actually made me feel better.  People told me it would get easier and they were right.  If you need to have a good cry now and again, then do it.

You're doing a great job

Say this after me... "I’m doing a great job!"  Yes, you're a good parent and yes. you're a good teacher.  It's more than possible to do a great job in both worlds.

Will you doubt yourself some days?  Of course you will.  Don't we all do that in many areas of life?  But, when parent guilt creeps up, don't dwell there.  Your child is in a safe place and is probably not thinking of you as much as you're thinking of them.

If you need to stay at school a little longer one day, don't beat yourself up about this either.  Some days things need to get done, and you know what?  You're showing your child that you have such a strong work ethic.  In all this though, don't forget to take care of yourself in the process as well. Ask for help when you need it; no one can do it all. 

"When parent guilt creeps up, don't dwell there. Your child is in a safe place and is probably not thinking of you as much as you're thinking of them."

Balance your time wisely

Staying organized and on top of your calendar is a huge help in balancing your time.  Write down everything, so when school or personal conflicts arise, you'll easily be able to look at your calendar, and adjust accordingly. 

Other effective ways to set yourself up for success are meal planning, laying out clothes the night before, and organizing everything you need Sunday

Of course you'll have days you need to stay at school late or go in early.  But, mark school events, field trips, staff meetings, and other school wide activities on your calendar ahead of time so you know what nights in the school year you'll need to stay late.  If you need to schedule a doctor's appointment, free up an afternoon to take them.

With a good classroom management system in place, your planning time can be used to actually plan lessons instead of planning your next day of trying to discipline students.

 

Being a parent will make you a better teacher

A lot of teachers say "my students are my kids" because as you invest your time in them day in and day out, these students you love so much become family.  But, I never realized that being a parent would make me a better teacher until I had my own child.  

Having a child helps you understand the parents emotions when it comes to their children.  You understand their worry, joy, and struggles.

Having a child makes you realize the same hopes and dreams you have for them is exactly what your students parents feel as well, so it's easier to put yourself in their shoes.

Give yourself grace

On those days you feel like you're failing in every area, not meeting anyone's expectations, and missing your kids a lot, give yourself grace.  You're not a superhero (although to your kids and students you are) and you can't be perfect at all the things.

Remember, you'll learn as you go, will grow as a person, and will balance motherhood and teaching better than you thought you could.

If you're too tired after school to play with your kids, give yourself grace.  When you order in dinner for the third night that week, give yourself grace.  If your weekly lesson plans didn't get finished, so you have to bring them home, give yourself grace.

"If you're too tired after school to play with your kids, give yourself grace. When you order in dinner for the third night that week, give yourself grace. If your weekly lesson plans didn't get finished, so you have to bring them home, give yourself grace."

You're doing exactly what you were meant to do and are doing a fantastic job.

How do you balance your parenting and teaching responsibilities? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Jessica Peresta is passionate about providing other music teachers, especially those right out of college or new to teaching elementary music, with the music education resources, lesson plans, teacher training, and community you've been looking for. She believes your domestic life outside of school should be spent soaking up time with family and friends and your music teacher life while at school should not leave you feeling defeated, but should be a joyful, exciting, and rewarding experience. To find out more about Jessica and her passion, head to www.thedomesticmusician.com.
 

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