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As a teacher and a mom, I know firsthand the struggles that come with balancing a career and raising children. It’s a challenge that requires constant effort, juggling priorities, and making tough decisions. But in my experience, it’s also a rewarding journey.
In this post, I want to talk about three unexpected challenges that teacher moms face and how to overcome them. Specifically, when it comes to the summer break.
Whether you’re a seasoned educator-parent or a new mom, the tips and strategies we’ll discuss can help you thrive both in and out of the classroom.
Challenge #1: Transitioning to Summer
The end of the school year is always a flurry of activity and emotions. As a teacher, you’re wrapping up your lessons, grading exams, and trying to tie up loose ends. As a mom, you’re planning end-of-year parties, buying teacher gifts, and scheduling summer activities for your kids.
But as chaotic as this time can be, it’s only the beginning of a new challenge: transitioning to summer. Suddenly, the structured routine of the school year is gone, and you’re faced with weeks or months of unstructured time with your kids.
This can be overwhelming, but with some planning and preparation, you can make the most of your summer break.
Here are some tips that have worked for me:
Tip #1: Create a Schedule
One of the best ways to ease the transition to summer is by creating a schedule. It doesn’t have to be rigid or overly structured, but having a general routine for each day can provide a sense of security and predictability for both you and your kids.
One of the things that work best for me is using time blocking. I mentally divide the day into different activities or areas of focus.
For example, I might block out the morning for exercise and quiet work time, and the afternoons for outdoor activities or outings with my kids.
Tip #2: Use a Wall Calendar
To help older kids understand what activities we’ll be doing each day, I use a wall calendar. And as my kids have gotten older, they’ve gotten more involved with the scheduling process, too. We’ll sit down together each week to plan out our activities.
Tip #3: Keep it Flexible
It’s important to remember that summer break should be a time to relax and recharge, not to stick to a rigid schedule.
While having a general routine in place can help you stay on track, don’t be afraid to switch things up if something else comes up or if you just need a break.
Challenge #2: Professional Development and Childcare
Summer can also be a time for teachers to attend professional development (PD) and conferences. But this can be a challenge for teacher moms, particularly if they have young children and limited childcare options.
In my experience, here are some things that can help:
Tip #1: Evaluate the Importance of PD
Before committing to a PD opportunity, consider whether it’s essential or a “nice-to-have.” Does it align with your goals for yourself and your students? If it’s not a priority, you might want to skip it to focus on other things.
Tip #2: Explore Online PD Opportunities
Fortunately, there are plenty of online PD opportunities available that don’t require childcare. Look for webinars, virtual conferences, or other resources that you can access from home. This post has even more info about PD opportunities.
Challenge #3: Balancing Work and Family Time
Finally, one of the most significant challenges for teacher moms is finding a balance between work and family time.
It can be tempting to want to work all the time, especially when that may have been what your summer looked like pre-kiddos. But, it’s essential to make time for yourself and your family. Read more about maximizing your summer break here.
Here are some tips that can help:
Tip #1: Set Manageable Goals
Rather than trying to tackle a massive project or task all at once, break it down into smaller, manageable goals. This can help you keep track of progress and not feel overwhelmed by a monumental task.
Tip #2: Block Your Schedule to Avoid Working All Summer
Another way to avoid the feeling of having to work the entire summer is to use specific blocking for different activities during the day.
I’ll work for a set amount of time each day towards a realistic goal for the end of summer and set specific checkpoints to track progress. This allows me to be productive without feeling restricted or overwhelmed.
Being a teacher mom comes with its challenges, but with some planning, organization, and prioritization, it’s also rewarding.
Remember to keep your goals realistic, maintain a flexible routine, and find time for your family and yourself.
- Summer Planning: How to Create a Schedule That Maximizes Your Time Off
- Professional Development 2.0: Making the Most of Online Learning
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