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Sleep and Supply Teaching

Miranda is a Primary Supply Teacher working in schools through Protocol Education in Manchester. Miranda shares an insight to her life as a supply teacher and that supply can be a saving grace when it comes to having children and needing sleep. 

I’m not saying that I have a private income. I’m just saying that if I’m on my knees, I would rather knock on the doors in the nuddie, selling Kentucky Fried chicken bones from a paper party hat, than teach equivalent fractions or discuss the features of nocturnal animals.

Sleep is a big deal to me. I’ve got an 18 month old baby, my first. I am 41. And I have chosen to live in a semi-rural area, which means that I have further to travel to most of the jobs I go to than I did before. I am very tired, but I’m now used to being very tired – like many, many, many other teachers with families. Supply work gives me flexibility however, unlike teachers who are in a longer-term full-time position.

My son might keep me up all night with fever or teething or one of those indefinable illnesses that works me up into such a state as to forget what it’s like to sit in A and E for five hours - the magazines really haven’t changed since I was there on Christmas day with a peanut stuck up my nose (circa 1976). But one phone call can ensure that I’m not giving a solo performance of Night of the Living Dead to mixed Year 5/6 on a Monday morning.

Teaching is hard, teaching when tired is almost impossible. I taught supply almost to the end (I nearly said bitter end when, of course, I mean lovely cute end) of my pregnancy,  so I should know. People give you chairs and TAs make you cups of sugary tea and bring a little biscuit with it, when you’re about to have a baby. If you’ve already had one, then no one knows why you look like you’re rough as a bear’s backside. They may even assume your fatigue was begotten in ways that were fun for you…Imagine!

What I’m saying is that supply can work well for mothers of small children. It is flexible. If your child is ill, another filler inner will fill in your fill in. If you are exhausted, you can – with a little give and take and as much notice as possible – let the agency know you are unavailable. You don’t have to explain yourself or do that thing, which I have never done in all my life, where your call your boss while lying with your head hanging upside down over the bottom of the bed, thus distorting the voice to a strangulated near-death rattle.

Teaching is hard, teaching when tired is almost impossible. I taught supply almost to the end (I nearly said bitter end when, of course, I mean lovely cute end) of my pregnancy,  so I should know.

Enough of this, it’s 9pm on a school night. I’m off for my milky drink and a bit of Boardwalk Empire.

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Tags: Miranda, Manchester, supply, sleep, children, balance, pregnancy, life, flexibility

Category: Australian Teachers

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