At the work Christmas Party in 2013, after reflecting on the year that was (over some mineral water with fresh lime) I remember a number of colleagues talking about how my life would change with a baby, about how I wouldn’t want to return as Curriculum Coordinator and how I wouldn’t want to work full time. I have blogged a little about this in the past so I wont cover that topic again, only to say that 2014 flew by in what now seems like the blink of an eye (though settling a newborn to sleep at 3am, in the middle of Winter, didn’t seem to fly by at all) and at the start of the 2015 school year, I find myself at a new school, in a new role (English Coordinator) and of course, my most treasured role as a mother to a healthy, happy baby.
2015 has begun really well. The new school is going really well in so many ways. The staff are professional and friendly. The students are generally interested in their learning. My baby is settling in quite well to daycare and I have a supportive husband, so the transition to returning to work has been made a lot easier. I’m not at all certain that I have the work – life balance right just yet, but I am certainly not letting the small stuff get in the way of quality afternoons with my baby.
I believe that 2015 will provide me with a whole new world of experiences and challenges. Already some of the challenges I’ve faced in the workplace are a considerable number of students who just hate reading. Students who wont pick up a book and read. They wont pick up anything and read. I have a number of reluctant learners and one of my projects is to get to understand them better so that they can become engaged in their own learning. I am researching a number of ways that I can do this, because it seems that some of my strategies that have worked in the past, don’t seem to be working as well this time. The saddest part is that they are only in year 8 and are already so disengaged. I suspect it comes down to their self perception as learners. I think a number of them have ‘got by’ and a number of them have very low self-esteem and self confidence. I don’t know that I can address all of it, but I’m certainly going to do my best to help engage them, so they can value themselves as individuals, as learners.
I’ve also joined a department at the time of the implementation of the new English Syllabus in NSW. This is indeed a very exciting time and I find myself thinking of ways to engage with the new syllabus. I am going to do some work on programming, assessment and unpacking the syllabus with my staff. All the things I absolutely loved doing when I used to be an English Coordinator. All the things I rarely had an opportunity to do when I was a Curriculum Coordinator.
I have reflected on what it was like to come home after work, before having a baby. I would get home around 6:45pm every night. I would go to the gym, have dinner and then work for 3 hours. I would spend hour after hour each weekend, planning, preparing and just researching and reflecting. I guess my work life balance before baby wasn’t particularly great either. Coming home after a day’s work in 2015 means taking my baby to the park to play on the swings and other play equipment with other children and then meeting all of his needs before a story and bedtime. It also means prepping everything for the next day, so that the morning runs as smooth as possible, I still spend some time working in the evening and at weekends, but I must admit, I use my time much more efficiently at work. I have also found that by having five lessons of one hour each, per day, rather than six lessons of 53 minutes a day, has really made a huge difference. It means there are one or two days where I may have an hour of non face-to-face teaching time, but other days where I have two hours of non face-to-face teaching time and in these hour blocks, I get a lot of work done. I always used to wonder how the mothers managed to do everything on time and fit it all in to their busy schedules. Time management and working efficiently – something I thought I was good at, but this is a whole new world.