Those of you who have been long time readers will know that I grappled for a long time with my decision to go part time after the Lion was a born.
Teaching is a huge part of my identity. I am a mum and a partner first, but most definitely I am a teacher before I am anything else. Giving up part of that identity felt like losing a part of my soul.
But for us as a family it was the right decision.
In the last four years we have spent more time at the hospital than I have spent in the entire thirteen years of parenting my eldest. The Lion needed me and everything else had to come second.
He has battled (and continues to battle) reflux, gone from an ARFID diagnosis to being a fairly typical (albeit still very picky) eater, and received a diagnosis of Autism and probable Selective Mutism.
But that only tells part of the story. The Lion is a whirlwind that everyone falls in love with. He has a smile that melts heart and a sense of delight in the smallest of things. He gives incredible compliments and loves more fully than anyone I have ever met. And as for bravery? Well you already know, he has that in spades!
The extra time with him has been a gift I am grateful for.
But this September he heads to school. New challenges await him – and his teachers. The last few months have been good for him, his anxiety levels are low, we have had lots of time to focus on social skills – and for the first time yesterday he told me he is excited to go to school.
So this September, I also get to begin a new challenge.
A new full time role, at a new school. And if I’m honest I’m not sure I have ever been as excited. My classroom never really leaves my mind and after four years of sharing, I could not be happier to have a space that I can design around my class…. well Covid regulations permitting of course. From a mini sensory area, to a bookshelf filled with my favourites it’s a room that will enable me to be the best teacher I can be – and a room I hope that will help my pupils learn as well as they can.
You see, we will be a team.
Because having your own class is about more than a classroom, it’s about building relationships and seeing them grow. It’s about knowing what happened in the afternoon, so you can make the next morning as effective as possible. It’s about making links throughout the day so learning is retained rather than forgotten. It’s a million tiny things – many of which aren’t impossible when you are part time – but which are more difficult.
I am lucky.
I have worked with some incredible teachers in my teaching career. Teachers who have taught me that there are many ways to be an effective teacher. I am grateful that I have a career that allowed me to step back so that I could be there for my family – enabling me to be the best mummy and best teacher I could be.
But most of all, I am lucky that this September the Lion and I get to begin our new adventure together.
And I for one can’t wait to get back in the classroom.