Now I know lots of people have no sympathy for people in education as we get so many holidays and I get that, but I only get paid for 4 weeks annual holiday the same as most employees and I cannot take those 4 weeks when I choose but always in school holidays, the remaining weeks are unpaid! Plus, I give my all during term time. My set working hours are 37 hours and 41 minutes (?) but I work way more than that, both in school and at home. I always feel that the more I put into my job the more I get out of it. Not a complaint, just the way I roll.
So this week was filled with training days, prep days, parent meetings and finally the new children. It's always so exciting to meet these tiny people and start to get to know them. We spread our intake over a few weeks so that we can get to know each child well and help them settle into the nursery routine. There are assessments to do and art work to create but mostly it's a time of making friends and discovering what nursery has to offer. And it's busy, boy is it busy! Which means I am dog tired. I get home sometime after 5pm having been at work and on my feet since 7.30am and I just want to sleep. But there's dinner to make and chores to do and more school stuff to sort. And already after one week I am feeling wound up and unable to relax. What is the answer? Where is the work/home life balance?
My second daughter moved out on Friday, she's in her final year at Uni and felt it was time to spread her wings. I wasn't there to help her, I was at work, with other peoples children while my own child flew the nest. She hasn't gone far and can pop home anytime she needs to but I wasn't there and it breaks my heart. I love my job, really I do, but it consumes my life, I can't switch off. Even in the holidays I'm thinking "oh we could do that at school" or I see something in the shops that would be perfect for ... I need to find a way to be present at home as much as I am at work. What the answer is to getting the balance right is uncertain. Education in the UK is becoming so stressful, we asked to jump through hoops and when we are just about there they raise them higher. We as educators are never good enough, there is always something more we should/could be doing, no matter how hard we work there is always something else we should be doing. And in all of this I ask "What about the children?"
It's time to rethink my life.