It certainly has been a busy start to the year.
Since making the decision to go part time last year, I am so delighted that the governors at my school were so supportive and allowed me to drop to three days a week.
So, what has been achieved so far this term? Well, we had a very useful INSET to write the maths policy. I admit I was pretty cynical about it to start with, but it was one of the most useful (though tiring) INSET days I have had. Have been trying very hard to work on the maths teaching and group work; having a trainee teacher is fab as it gives a chance to focus on specific aspects of the job.Talking about trainees; have been really lucky again and am enjoying the experience.
Back to the job share side;I know that I have made the right decision. It's funny that not one person has tried to talk me out of it. (Other than my head who asked me to reconsider my decision.)
I love being a teacher; a job that I love even more now that I finally have some time during the week to do other things.
Non teachers sometimes just can't see what the problem is- after all, you get all those holidays. Yes, the holidays are great...but boy are they needed to give the children and teachers a chance to unwind, relax, catch up!
Teaching is one of those professions that it is almost impossible to switch off from. I could easily spend the two days I am not at work preparing resources, researching etc Still there would be more to do- there is no clear "end point". That's why the whole work/life balance game is such a difficult one to get right. http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2011/oct/03/work-life-balance
Juggling being a parent,the demands of the job, being a wife, seeing friends and family... as a full time teacher I was constantly juggling trying to be all things to all people. I got it right some of the time, but was a stress head for much of it.
The job is no less demanding. I care as passionately as always about the children in (our) class, but the relief that comes from knowing that I have that extra time are priceless. It's still a rush the night before work, and I still feel shattered at the end of my three days; but I do feel that I am actually doing the job better now than I have for a while.
Why? More time to reflect on my practice for a start and to share ideas with others. More time to chill out so I am far less of a stress head than I have been for as long as I can remember. More able to spend time with my gorgeous son and OH.
I am keen to make the job share work as well as possible; one of my PM targets is just that... I am meeting my JS partner later this week and am planning to chat about doing some observations of each other in order to help consistency. I certainly don't think we should be clones of each other; I think our differences are one of the greatest strengths, but I think it is vital for us to have time to observe each other, have some professional dialogue and follow up with another visit. Maybe even use video cameras!
With teaching and learning at the centre of our jobs, I am constantly disappointed by the lack of opportunity to peer observe. I am determined to rectify that! I have been looking into coaching models in teaching , for example:
The next half term, run up to Christmas and all that brings in Primary schools, I hope to be on the way to cementing a really effective working partnership with my JS partner, and to find out more about effective coaching. I have been on lots of mentoring courses in relation to trainee teachers, and have been on a few coaching courses incorporating NLP http://www.nlp-now.co.uk/nlp-what.htm and coaching in teaching, but have not really focussed on it; yet!