Any other single moms/teachers out there?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by mrs_u, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. mrs_u

    mrs_u Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2008

    I am a fourth/fifth grade teacher having the worst year of my teaching career. I am also a single mother of 3 daughters ages 2, 6, and 11. I am one millisecond away from quitting the career i love because of the awful year I am having. :eek: My students drain me - I barely have enough energy to help my daughters with homework, and feel like i am missing out on SO MUCH. I know I am not the only single mom/teacher out there, so I am asking for your advice.

    How do you juggle everything from lesson plans, to correcting papers, to helping w/ homework, cooking, cleaning, hanging with the kids, etc.

    Please help, I need some words of wisdom to get me through at least xmas break...(im seriously SERIOUSLY considering not returning after the new year) :(
     
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  3. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2008

    I have been where you are at. It feels like you aren't doing anything well, and that is a horrible feeling. Here is what I had to do to get a grip on things.

    1) Not every paper has to be graded. Decide on what has to be graded and limit yourself to 5-6 each week. The others still give feedback of the +, check, - system.

    2) Have the kids help with the chores. You are spending time with them and getting things done.

    3) It is ok for your house not to be perfectly clean.

    The hardest part is realizing that you will miss things, but you and the kids will be ok. It helped when we started a family movie night (we have also had it be a game night) because it gave everyone something to look forward to during the week.

    Anytime you need to just vent, please feel free to PM me. It is hard to be a single mom because you have to be everything all the time.
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 7, 2008

    Right now, I have a great situation going, so none of this applies anymore, but I did the single mom w/o help thing for a long time.
    (My uncle lost his job and moved in, and now he's my "manny"..he cooks and cleans and takes care of the kids while I work and support us all...he costs less than day care and a housekeeper, so I think I'll keep him). Before he moved in, however, I took a few shortcuts.

    1) cereal makes a perfectly wonderful dinner from time to time.
    2) mess? what mess? I don't see a mess...OH...that pile of stuff over there, well, I'll get to it on the next three day weekend.
    3) the dishwasher is a perfectly acceptable place for clean dishes..up until you can no longer see the top of the sink, then it's time to empty out what you haven't already used and re-load it.
    4) What's a dresser for???? I'm not sure, it's been a while since clean clothes have been anywhere but laundry baskets (sometimes folded, sometimes not).
    5) As somebody else mentioned, take a good hard look at what you're doing in the classroom. Not every single piece of paper needs to be graded. A LOT can be checked for completion and given back (or filed). Even that is something you can do in a couple of minutes between classes or while the kids are at specials (or whenever you have two minutes...it depends on what grade you teach).
    6) Make use of the time you have. You'd be suprised the "moments" you have doing things like driving or waiting for doctor's appts.
    7) Don't stress. The "good old days" weren't what they're made out to be. Mothers rarely had time with their kids, as the amount of work required to upkeep a home with no electricity, no running water, fields to work, horses to tend to, ect pretty much renedered mom's time non-existant. Grandma or older siblings took care of little ones, and if they could walk, they had chores.
    8) Speaking of chores, your kids should have them. Make games out of them. Do the big stuff together. My boys LOVE folding sheets and towels. I toss the baskets their way and in a few minutes they're folded AND put away. My youngest loves to cook. He does most of the prep work and all of the assistant work for any meal. Everything they do is one less thing you have to do.

    Good luck :)
     
  5. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    Dec 7, 2008

    I am also some what where you are at. I don't have a "manny" like mmswm, but I do have a nana. My mom lives with me and my two teenagers. She helps with laundry, cooks almost all of the meals and drives the kids where they need to be. Since my kids are teen agers they also help me grade papers. I agree with what the others said about not grading everything. It helps.

    Also, My mom was a single parent and a nurse. We never had a perfectly spotless house. My brother and I helped with house work, yard work and started dinner. So I know things will turn out ok. Remember it is ok for laundry, dishes, etc. to wait.

    Good Luck
     
  6. ahsila

    ahsila Companion

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    Dec 8, 2008

    I am right there with you mrs_u! Two kids - 11 and 3, full time teacher, graduate school... I'm sure when my life finally straightens out, I'll go crazy from not having enough to do. One of the best things I did was give up trying to be superwoman and decide that it really didn't matter if everything in life wasn't picture perfect - instead of working all day to come home and make dinner every night, I started planning meals that can be cooked with "extras" - instead of cooking ground beef for tacos one night, cooking more the next night for spaghetti, cooking more a third night for something else, cook it all at once and freeze the extra in bags so that you can pull it out of the freezer and only need to heat it up. Baggie freezing also works great with sausage and scrambled eggs for quick breakfast burritos.
    For homework, I like to tell my older child I'll help him with his homework and then he can help me with mine - he is a great little grading assistant. I also found alternative ways to keep track of student progress - use yes/no cards to check student understanding, or even a multiple choice answering system - just keep track of the number of right answers each student gets and mark it in your gradebook as an oral response assignment.
    For lesson plans, never underestimate the power of games - you can search online for a dozen or so generic games (academic baseball/football, jeopardy, etc.) and alternate these games to review instead of doing worksheets - students have more fun, and no papers to grade.
    Most importantly though, make sure to take time for yourself. One of the best things I did was force myself to take 20 minutes a night to exercise - and then I realized I needed to keep a notepad next to my treadmill because I ended up getting all sorts of ideas for lessons while I was exercising.
    I hope this helps!
     
  7. mrs_u

    mrs_u Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2008

    thank you so very much ladies! i knew i can count on this board for help...your advice has helped out so much and will get me through these next two weeks. despite that, i have come to the realization that the school im at now is not where i need to be (for my physical AND mental health) yesterday I was breaking up the third fight of the day when little me (im very petite) was pushed up against the wall and i hit my head. :dizzy: i sent the kids to the office and they were sent back up WITH NO CONSEQUENCES! that was the straw that broke the camel's back! i have decided to sub after xmas break. i have given my two weeks notice...:unsure:
     
  8. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Dec 10, 2008

    Wow! The kids hurt you while you were breaking up a fight and they didn't have any consequences! I am shocked, and that would not be the place for me either. By our contract, students who physically hurt a teacher have a mandatory 3 day suspension.

    Sometimes things just feel better by making a decision, any decision. I personally hate being on the fence about things, and it always makes everything else irritate me more easily. I also start to feel ovewhelmed because I can't seem to get off the stinking fence! Good for you for deciding what works for you! I hope you are feeling better about things.
     

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