February 05, 2006

On Being a Child-free Teacher part two

So, if I think kids are so great and I do find things I like a lot about teaching them, why don't I have any of my own you might be wondering? (or not!)

Basically, because that way at the end of the school day, the kids go home and I don't have to be responsible for them until the next school day. I find it hard being "responsible" for 28 plus little people all day! Oops so and so fell over! Quick! Get ice! Write it in the book! Don't forget to tell mum cos if it swells you'll really get in trouble!

Hmm, that person who wants to take home little Johnny, I don't recognise at all. I'd better call mum and make sure it's OK for that man to collect him. And so on and so on! I just love getting home and not having to think about such things!

And I love getting a good night's sleep without a baby crying or screaming and waking me up!

I work at least an extra hour a day than some of my colleagues with kids. Plus most of the less qualified and thus less paid staff have families, I worked it out it's about 90%! And the more qualified ones in better paid positions mostly do not! About 60 or 70%.

I also get to have a break from kids. I often say to people would you relish constantly taking work home with you? Would you think of that as fun? Would you say to customers, sure call me at home, any time? So why would I want to work with kids and also spend my evenings, weekends and holidays with them? I know people who do - many people - who do work with kids and have them, sometimes lots of them and they absolutely love it. But I am one of these people who needs a lot of "me" time, of down time. I go home to a child-free house and I absolutely love that! And I also know teachers who feel the same!

Plus I love little kids but - as I said before - I don't love teenagers! I just read recently about two different murders in two different countries committed by teenagers! So I get to be with kids at my favourite stage! And I don't have to have them for life! I don't think I'll actually be a teacher for much longer and it'd be nice to just work with adults in the future.

But for now it's nice in a way I have the best of both worlds! I get to have time with kids -- and the laugher and surprises there -- and I also get to have the extra time, money, energy and so on of my child-free life!


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

AM -- You do have the best of both worlds. You get to play with Other People's Children (O.P.C. and the subject of an article I am working on) and you get to have your own private life and lots of down time, couple time, and disposable income, etc.

Your observation about the relationship between the amount of time you put in on the job, as a childfree employee compared to those who are raising their own kids, is most interesting. I wonder if any unions or other educational institutions track the number of educators who are childfree and the impact on their career advancement! In an interview it would be illegal to ask the question, but an anonymous survey would be a different story.

Do the childfree work longer hours in other fields than education? Do they contribute in ways those with who have children cannot? Do they enjoy more career success? Do they get discriminated against? Easy to ask, harder to answer, so I found your estimates interesting!

Anonymous said...

In my experience and from observation, people who are child free often get put upon in the workplace, the general feeling seeming to be that if you don't have children, you don't have a life, at least not one that justifies time off in the way that people with children seem to automatically be able to take. Child free workers often stay later to take on the work that their parent colleagues don't/can't do because they have to leave early to pick up the children, or go to child centred activities, or vacations, which have to be taken around the children's school calendar, etc, etc. Personally I don't mind taking my vac outside "peak" time, although I don't get to get March break. It's cheaper to go away in the off season - and best of all, there are no, or very few, children!! I also don't mind covering for colleagues whatever their disposition. I believe that if your child is poorly you have to stay home with it that's just the way it is. It would just be nice to have our contribution it recognized for once, instead of it either being taken for granted or simply not counted. We also have lives.

Anonymous said...

Anon -- well said. It's the classic cup half full or half empty scenario. I was taught to look for the silver lining. A simple thank you from a parent/co-worker or the boss would be nice though wouldn't it?

This topic also makes me wonder if more entrepreneurs tend to be Purple (i.e. childfree).

BTW, there is a book on the subject of the "put upon" childfree of the world as it relates to the workplace. It's on my list.

This one looks good too: Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict, and What To Do About It. Joan Williams

Anonymous said...

I just found the name of that other book I mentioned above:

The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless, Elinor Burkett (2000)

You can expect a book review on this one! I have several in this category on order,

Anonymous said...

I have the "Baby Boon", which I read about a year ago. it's among my several books on being childfree. It's a pretty good book.

ChrisR said...

"In my experience and from observation, people who are child free often get put upon in the workplace"

In the corporate world the assumption seems to be that they can slave-drive you in your 20s, because you'll turn around and 'cash in' in your 30s by having kids, since the only perks on offer are of the family-friendly variety.

Besides, anything going on in your private life couldn't possibly be as important as children! Well, I shouldn't have to justify what else I want to be doing, that's why it's called 'private'.

Anonymous said...

Hi -
I am grateful to have found this blog! I am a first year purple woman teacher. If anyone can offer any advice for surviving the educational system as a purple woman, I would greatly appreciate it. For example, has anyone else experienced the constant prying from other teachers such as "Are you married and Do you have kids?" I find that the minute I say I have no children, all bets are off and I am somehow less than. I love kids and have been working with them since I was in my early twenties. Am I somehow less qualified to teach because I am childless? Thanks for reading!