Teaching Part-Time: Maxine’s Story
“WHY” are you navigating the part-time jungle and “HOW” did you find your part-time job and “HOW” have you made your job fit your juggle?
Maxine is a married mom of three kiddos who teaches kindergarten part-time at the elementary school where my husband is the principal. I met Maxine and her family at the Welcome Back BBQ that my husband hosted this fall for his staff and their families. Although I don’t know Maxine well, I feel like we are kindred spirits in so many ways with our work and family life journeys and the emotional ups and downs that have happened along the way.
Maxine is a mom who is navigating the part-time jungle and I am so appreciative that she is willing to share her story!
In her own words, here is Maxine’s “WHY” and “HOW”:
What is Your “Why”?
Why do you teach part-time and why do you work at the job that you have?
The answer to “why” is to accomplish a balance by doing what I love inside and outside of our home. I am a teacher and work part-time because that is the juggle that is successful….usually, hehe!….for all of us. There are 5 of us to consider – myself, my hubby, and our three kids – so there has to be give and take in what we do to keep work, school, activities, and life in general all on the same page! I work at an amazing school with supportive colleagues, an understanding boss, and a community that feels like a second home. It is my first year teaching Kindergarten and I love it!
I have been home for 10 years (with the odd part-time gig here and there) raising our 8, 10, and now 12-year-old children. Working part-time in a consistent role with consistent expectations has proved to be the magic combination for us this year. The plan my husband and I had when we married and started a family was for me to stay home with the kids if I could make that work. We were very fortunate that my husband had a fulfilling and successful career that allowed me to do this. When our middle child was diagnosed with a severe speech delay, being at home was even more important for us. Now that our children are older, trying to get back a little bit of my teaching career was a new focus.
I loved being home and am so thankful for my full-time job raising our babies. I also never lost that spark for teaching and was hoping to get my foot back in that door when the time was right. A couple of years ago, I worked a part-time teaching position that was a 45 minute drive from home, on a good day!, and it turned out to be too much of a juggle, for several different reasons. I then tried subbing, but the inconsistent and unknown aspects of the substitute teaching life created more stress than it was worth for the family-life juggle. The support network, welcoming environment, and stimulating work that I am privileged to enjoy right now was worth the wait and ups and downs over the past decade…..my husband said the perfect fit would come along if I was patient, and darnnit, he was right again!
Starting each day in work clothes and ending each day in my comfy clothes and cuddles on the couch is a pretty sweet balance indeed…..well, except for Report Card Season…..the only thing I am cuddling then is my laptop! Ha!
What is Your “How”?
How did you find your part-time teaching job? How have you made teaching part-time fit with your juggle?
The answer to “how” was to be patient! Ha! Something I do not excel in! Once the children were all in school, I volunteered more and more, implemented a traffic program at their school, and eventually realized I was almost working full-time hours on a volunteer salary! Hehe. So, jumping into the substitute teaching life was the next step for me. Taking that leap back into my old life, but now as a mom, was a courageous, terrifying leap at that! But, funny how you slip right back into knowing what to do and loving it all over again.
I subbed and went on interviews for part-time teaching positions when they came up. I had several interviews and most of them said I was a perfect fit for the job…..if only I could commit to full-time. This was a disappointing and crushing rollercoaster of emotions, since my husband and I knew that full-time work would not fit with our work-life balance, but I was ready to work outside the home again. I also felt that once they knew I had a full plate with 3 children, that a hint of doubt came into the equation if I would have the time, energy, or commitment for the position.
The Principal where I work now was the first person to look at my family life as an asset, to give me a chance to prove myself, take a risk on me, and allow the work-life balance to exist. I strive every day to pour energy and passion into my teaching – that is truly rewarding and so much fun! – and still pace myself for my full-time job at home too.
It is true what they say that the older the kids get, the more they need you! They don’t need you 24-7 or for basic needs like they did as babies, but they need you to be alert, present, and there when they are ready to talk or ask for help. I have to be intentional in how I spend my time….sometimes I feel like every hour of the day is allocated in a spreadsheet, hehe!….and ensure that the work, home, and ‘me’ time all adds up to a win.
It only takes a small hiccup to throw the balance into the air…such as the stomach flu to hit the house, ugh! With an amazingly supportive husband, three flexible kiddos, and a part-time job (opposed to full-time, to help reduce the catch-up stress), we eventually all get back in our groove again. A little trick that I am trying to keep myself on track is to stay late at work only 2-3 of the days each week. The other days I try hard to get my errands done, so that the after school to bedtime dash is open for me to cook, clean, chat, and tuck my monkeys in! Oh, and I try to throw in a few date nights and friend nights when I can, hehe!
Feeling like I am making a difference by working at something I love – I often tell my kids how lucky I am to work when it doesn’t even feel like work most of the time! -, and having my family support the juggle, is something I feel most thankful for indeed. It also helped that our younger two kids LOVE the childcare we registered them in – also a new thing for us this year! Without family in town, this has been an enormous part of the equation that is making this year a win.
I hope that I can keep this juggle going and that I can continue this wonderful balance, but time will only tell. If I have learned anything, it is that the 13 years that have passed since I was pregnant with our first child to the big kid household we now all run together today, is that I am scared to blink and find myself another decade ahead! Taking time to be where you want, love what you do, and still have time to breathe at the end of the day…perhaps with a glass of chilled white wine!…..is not something I take for granted.
Thanks for sharing your story about teaching part-time Maxine! 🙂
Please share your story! I would love to hear your “Why” and “How”. It’s easier to navigate the part-time jungle when you know you’re not alone.
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