When teaching professionals become mothers

Isn’t it a shame mothers don’t have a better pathway back to work after several years out having children. If more part time work were available – more work would be done by more mums, who have had a few years out to bring up children.

Time and time again I register skilled teachers at the agency, women who wanted to give their children their full attention for 4/5 years and then find themselves feeling that returning to full time teaching immediately is still:

a) Not possible.

b) Too big a step given their slight “rustiness”.

They join a supply teaching agency in the hope that we will be able to find part time supply teaching work in the London area.

I see the returning to work thing from 2 angles. Firstly from the husband angle and secondly from my work as a recruiter of supply teachers.

We have many candidates who come to us seeking part time supply teaching work, many of whom are mothers and many of whom are very good teachers. If only we could put two of them together to work a full teaching timetable!

My wife needs a part time job role in the profession she qualified in (in her case as a lawyer, which took years and cost a small fortune)….but employers do not want part time (lawyers)  or job sharing lawyers – only your 12 hour day mum (with nanny since the age of 3 months is welcome) it seems!

The same applies to teaching. The teachers who register with our agency and want part time work suffer a similar lack of success, because although:

a)      They are often really excellent teachers and
b)      They teach in-need secondary subjects in an environment of teacher shortage, schools are reluctant to take them on part time job share basis because of expense and because it is viewed as a risk.

I will explain what schools said about job shares further down this article.

The fact  is for most families life is simply too expensive to have one adult family member earning (and one not earning). Also part time work is a more attractive method of getting back into work than waiting until children are much older and then going back full time after a decade of being out of work.

Inevitably it will put women in a really difficult situation. To get a job of any kind they must avoid taking any significant time off work OR they must have fewer (or no) children!

It can be enormously frustrating for us, as a recruiter of effective teachers, when we see schools make poor recruitment choices because they do not want to hire part time job sharing teachers.

The government is clearly keen on getting women back to work – it is heavily in their interests! But realistically whilst it suits some women to go back after 3 months of recovery and bonding time, there are always going to be many who want to stay out of the workforce for several years.

We need to make a pathway that encourages reintroduction gradually and sensitively to a group who have inevitably become “rusty”, but often have very valuable knowledge and indemand skills and too much potential to be permanently put out to “career pasture”.

We hope that the coming post recessionary cycle – during which schools traditionally become desperate to recruit teachers– will help those teachers seeking job-share work a chance to gradually re-enter the school environment.

Next week – what schools say about job share arrangements.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

Supply teacher travel planningOne of the joys of supply teaching is the flexibility it offers.

Supply teachers often find contracts end slightly before the end of term, by mutual agreement with the school.

As a result supply teachers can benefit from significant travel savings.

Now is the ideal time to start planning your summer getaways. So to help you on your way, we have compiled 10 top tips to help you save money on your travel plans:

1.  Book off peak

Some supply teachers are free of the commitment to be at school until the very last day of term. Some schools terminate positions at May half term. So book early and take advantage of huge off peak savings.

2.  Travel at the cheapest times

Supply teaching also means that you are not tied to a Monday to Friday week. So don’t travel at the weekend. Save money and travel midweek.

3. Plane, train or automobile

You can often make considerable savings if you investigate a wide range of travel options.

4. Book yours ticket now

Make the most out of early booking discounts. The closer to the holiday season, the more expensive tickets will get.

5. Use public transport to get to the airport

Don’t leave it until the last minute to leave for the airport. Use public transport and enjoy the savings you will make.

6. Avoid airport currency exchanges like the plague

Know you will get a much better deal if you buy your currency at your post office in advance – or buy a cash card specifically for foreign exchange. The more you change the better the rate at the post office. Know that bank rates are dire and include many hidden fees.

7. Book an apartment as opposed to a hotel

Great apartments can be found at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. We suggest Air B and B – or a private room in a hostel.

8. Camp

Why not make the most out of the glorious summer sun? As with hostels the extras on a campsite or in a hostel are so much less expensive than the extras in a hotel.

9. Beat baggage charges

Pack as light as you can. Challenge yourself to pack hand luggage only. At the same time avoid arrival baggage handling queues.

10. BYO food

Airline food, apart from being unappetising, is notoriously expensive. So plan ahead and take your own and don’t forget a water container to refill!

The days are getting lighter. Summer will soon be upon us. So start planning your summer holidays now. You know it makes financial sense.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.