Thursday 23:45

It’s nearly midnight and I’m about to go to bed. Have I been up partying or chatting? No, it was parents evening number 12. My daughter (4) was super tired when I picked her up at 19:00 but didn’t want to go to bed. After a bit of relax time, I settled her and got on with my prep for the next day. Tomorrow it will start all over again at 6:00.

Welcome to life as a single Parent and full-time teacher.

So here’s how a standard day as a teacher and a parent to a 4-year-old can go:-

  • Get up (reluctantly) with the alarm; check on daughter, have a shower, run bath for daughter, boil water for coffee, get clothes out, wake up (a reluctant) daughter, get daughter into bath after complaints of

I’m cold/ tired/ I don’t want to go to school.”

  • Make sure daughter washes, and cleans teeth.
  • Get daughter out of bath and to her bedroom, start competition for who can get dressed first, I have to say she is generally quicker except for if there is a clothing “issue” eg “These tights are lumpy!” 

On non-uniform day it could be all sorts “I don’t like the label on my leggings”

“Everyone hates my Peppa Pig leggings I’m not wearing them!”

“I’m not wearing a jumper”

“I hate ….”

Prepare clothes night before do I hear you say? We do but it makes no difference. Unforeseen issue (including a growth spurt) can make this prep pointless.

  • last things to do: tie up her hair, gulp coffee, accept I don’t have time for breakfast. Maybe at school….

The school run:

If there has been a drama of some sort I am now running late. I get stressed, daughter gets stressed, we get later. Argh!

Drive to daughter’s school

After running down the five long path to breakfast club for my daughter which starts at 7:30, I decide which route to take (pot luck as google maps do not help). Drive to school trying not to feel stressed I will get there after intended arrival time;  at least form hasn’t started…

My working day hadn’t even begun yet. How I envy those who can get in in their own time. I wonder if I weren’t a single parent if it would be easier. Maybe I could get ready in peace and my partner could deal with the morning dramas?

The school day:

My form come in, I settle them down, register them read out notices, get a helpful child to get photocopies (as today didn’t make it with the extra time to spare), load presentations for periods one and two.

Teach lessons, take in homework (carefully considering when I’m able to mark the hundred plus pieces of work I could get in a day) check emails, teach, answer emails if I don’t need to go to the toilet and get a coffee at break, teach two more periods. Load up final lesson, convince self, sometimes successfully, that I deserve to have lunch and a twenty minutes chat in the cantine or staffroom. Eat lunch, set up form activities and lessons for period five.

Three days a week I also have ‘free time’, but this is to answer the emails I didn’t manage before, mark and plan (never enough time), get copies in and do admin eg chase documents for trip I am organising.

After school, plan, or meet assistant or do intervention. Go and pick up daughter at 5 and try and spend half an hour with her before cooking dinner, marking and planning for the next day.

Then it starts again.

A plea for understanding:

To all those parents who want me to set aside extra time for their child at break or after school, I really would love to and sometimes do, but please encourage them to come to the dedicated after school / lunch sessions and to work hard in my lessons too.

Also, could you please understand I would sometimes like to spend time with my daughter appreciating her company and helping her learn to read?