10 Signs You’re a Parent Who Teaches

This post first appeared on http://www.meetothermums.com and I love it so I’m putting it here too. Is that ok to say you love your own blog post? Sod it. 

  1. This is how you accessorise for work



Packed lunch. Bag of marking. Bag of tat you don’t use but somewhere in there is your staff ID…


2) You get all your current affairs knowledge from the 16 minutes of the Today programme you catch on your commute.



Evan Davies and the sunrise keeping me company


3) You spend morning briefing picking Weetabix off your shoulder

4) You laugh wanly when other working parents say they ‘come to work for a rest’ because they get to wee or drink tea whenever they like. #careergoals

5) Your sofa/office looks like this:


Supper, discarded clothes Duplo and year nine report writing: I can have it all!

6) You welcome an entire class worth of 16 year olds with ‘Morning, puddle ducks!’

7) You keep your phone in your top drawer and pray it doesn’t ring with The Dreaded Call from nursery or school ‘William has just projectile vomited across the playground’ Well TOUGH, I’ve got double year 11 and we need to finish Macbeth.

8)  This is how you find out your child has hurt themselves:


Helicopter parenting…via stickers

9) You go to your kid’s parents evening knowing you’ll be able to decipher the jargon: ‘Oh my child’s lively and enthusiastic is he…?’

10) This is about as powerful as you’ll ever feel:


The pen is mightier than the lunchtime detention.

Are there any I have left out? Leave your tell-tale signs of being a parent/teacher below and feel free to share on social media. In fact, please do so I can get a book deal and retire from teaching and hopefully find my sofa again.




Family Finances and Working for Pleasure

According to my extensive research/what I see on social media, there are two groups of parents: those that stay at home and those that have to work. I do not fit in to either and there must be others like me, right? *hollers in to cyberspace*
My income isn’t relied on to keep our family ticking along and yet I still send my children to nursery and after school club so I can schlep through parents’ evening and I have to reschedule doctor appointments so I can teach y9 drama and I’ve been known to add an extra day’s nursery so I can spend the day at home marking.

But I can’t justify it by a reliance on the income: I’m bloody lucky, but it makes me recoil in guilt.

In more glorious moments, I tell myself that my family’s loss is the gain for the 150 kids I teach but I think that marginally over-reaches my chalk ‘n’ talk abilities.

In less glorious moments, I think I am throwing my family under the bus so I can put on a pencil skirt and not get snotted on for a few hours*

Mostly, I just think my kids are happy and I love my job and it’s a privilege to work with young people who are, on the most part, cracking company. I also start to eat myself during school holidays so think there are mental well-being issues to factor in.

So thanks to the husband who does the AM school runs and thank you to my school for allowing me flexibility when it’s needed and thanks to my mum for covering when I need her and thanks to my gorgeous job share and, mostly, thank you to my friggin lovely children who wave me off at 7.30 and wish me a good day at work.

I think I’ve thought of the third category:

  • Parents who stay at home
  • Parents who have to work
  • Parents who need to work and reconcile that how they can

May we all understand and support each other’s decisions, which ever one we make.

It’s my identity, innit?
*I teach secondary: big up the primaries who do get snotted on at home and work. Shudder.

The Dreaded Phonecall

I got ‘the phone call’ today. I was in full swing teaching year 9 when I see William’s school’s phoning me. Uh oh.

Yup. William’s vommed across the playground.

In quick succession, I had the following thoughts:

Fuck I wish my parents lived nearby.

What the hell can I set for cover?

Oh god He’s going to have to be off school for the next TWO DAYS

And then I thought of him all soppy and sad and sitting in school reception waiting for me and in a flurry of photocopying and begging gorgeous friends to cover my lessons for me, I made a dash for it.

”If I’m not going to school tomorrow how am I going to give them back their sick bowl?’ He genuinely asked between bouts of puking.




My wonderful clever excellent friend and I job share as Secondary English Teachers and assistant head of year seven. Mostly we spend our time swearing at the photocopier and sorting out scraps in the bus queues. 

These are the things I have had said to me this week at work:

“Miss, what IS going on with your fringe?”

“Are you a feminist, Mrs Oliver? Only I wrote the word in my book and you drew a heart round it.”

“What do you mean girls can orgasm? How does that even work?”

And I get paid for this! And these aren’t even the best bits of my week- that was the ESPO delivery. Hello, Pritt Sticks.