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Help me figure this out please (school, working, kids)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

We have 2 kids- an 8 year old boy and a 2 month old boy. 8 year old is in school full time. I SAH with the 2 month old currently (I am a sub for the school district but haven't accepted any jobs since baby was born). I graduated with my associates in spring 2011 and took some time off school. But now is the time to decide what I'm going to do. My original plan was to become a special ed teacher. Recently I started contemplating nursing. DH is supportive of whatever I want to do.

 

My problem with nursing is what to do with the kids during school vacations? DH's work is somewhat flexible and he can work from home during short vacations (random days off, spring break, etc) but summer break is a concern. The 8 year old has autism so cannot be left with most babysitters/daycares/summer camps (currently the school calls me 1-3 times a week to come deal with his behavior- I would get fired if that happened all summer long!). My FIL can help out, but he's not healthy enough for all day 5 days a week. Working opposite shifts as dh is an option, but we would all be miserable with that.

 

Is there something I'm missing? What do other parents do?

 

I think teaching is probably the best for our family situation (I wouldn't go to full time until the youngest is in school full time), but I don't know if I'll be good at it. I have no doubts about the students or the actual teaching- it's dealing with the higher-ups and the politics I don't agree with.

 

How do I make this decision?

post #2 of 11

Well in regards to working opposite shifts of your dh you may be almost guaranteed of that with nursing, especially if you plan on working in a hospital setting. My BFF has been working in a hospital NICU for 3 years and is still trying to get off the night shift.

Teaching does afford the summer off but you still will need to consider after school hours before you're off. How is your son in regards to a sitter or after school care for a couple of hours? My son attends my dh's school and so he goes to dh's classroom, however dh will attest to the challenges of that situation too. That may or may not be an option where you are but in our school district you can "choice in" to any school. I also would not suggest going into teaching unless you have a passion for it. It is not well paid and it's a lot of work outside of work hours, in addition to the stress of dealing with parents. My dh loves it and feels it's his calling and so is committed, but still stressful. Have you spent time in a classroom setting before? I think subbing might get you in the classroom, but having your own classroom would be quite different than being a sub (so I wouldn't take too much from the experience). Sounds like you have a little time to think things over with the little one so young.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply! My older ds will be in middle school by the time I start working. Here the elementary schools (where I would work) get out at 2:30. Middle schools get out at 4:00 so there shouldn't be too much of an issue with getting older ds from school. On days that I have to stay later than 4:00 my dh would be able to get off work early and pick up ds1.

I really would be happy teaching smile.gif My biggest problem, like I said, is the politics. For example- ds had an awesome special ed teacher last year (and he had her the year before as well). Ds was having a really hard time and his teacher asked if she could try taking him to her room a little more than she had been. I agreed and states the process to get a meeting to get it changed in his iep. In the meantime, she started taking him more and his behavior improved immensely! Higher ups didn't agree with her though, and said she should have waited until the iep was changed (which would have been the end of the school year, making the last month of school terrible for ds). The teacher ended up getting fired. Unreal, to me, that someone trying to do what was best for the child would get fired for that. That is what i'm afraid of, because I could never sit back and let a child fail if there was something I could do to help.
post #4 of 11

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Edited by tink79 - 1/16/12 at 9:12pm
post #5 of 11

One thing to consider is that many nurses work a 3- 12 hour shifts per week instead of the tradition 5- 8 hour shifts per week. There are many different types of schedules available including PRN. Tryin to figure out your nursing shifts for 5 years down the road is a moot point. Many things can happen. Your dh may even change jobs himself. Teaching or Nursing?  You should do what you think you will find most fulfilling. The rest will work itself out.  

post #6 of 11

I think nursing would be the way to go because there is always going to be a need and you can get weekend or swing shifts as a nurse.  Teaching is very unpredictable..  Where I live even special education teachers are being laid off and the situation doesn't look like it will turn around soon.  New teachers also really do have to just take what they can get and you may only be able to get into a middle school classroom, which means you will still have issues with your son's schedule and there will be no turning back. 

 

Teachers are often required to stay for a certain amount of time before the kids get there and after the kids get leave each day, in our district it is a half hour at each end.  Many stay much longer because of the workload.  There are also back to school nights, conference nights, school sponsored event nights, etc...  You may stay later than your shift or have to do extra work as a nurse, but if your hours are at night or on the weekends you will have your backup plan already in place. 

post #7 of 11

Steph, what's the job market like in your area (or areas you are willing to move/travel to) for both fields?  The stronger the demand, the more flexibility you can get.  Nursing can be wonderfully flexible, but it often means finding child care in off hours, as you have seen.  Ask around, though - many child care centers and home daycares cater to those hours.

 

Teaching is typically more structured, and since your kids will be school age or close by the time you're done, may make more sense for you if you would rather have a day job with standard hours (which opens up the possibility of using daycares, etc., which will be more limited if you end up doing the 12AM-12PM shift every other weekend).

 

Again, see where the job market is, though.

 

As far as child care for your son with autism, I would reach out online or IRL to other parents with children with that diagnosis, and see what they do.  You could also try your pediatrician, etc.


There are always trade offs...good luck!!

post #8 of 11

I agree that with the economy it is tough in some places to find a teaching position. But in regards to taking what you can get, the same could be argued for nursing. New nurses don't typically have many options and usually get the worst schedules, it's tough to get a regular 12 hr daytime shift and even consistent shifts at a hospital.

 

Teachers do typically stay longer than contracted hours during the day. So you may be able to pick up your son but I wouldn't count on that scenario. Dh leaves much earlier than he used to because ds is famished and exhausted by 4:15. But dh also goes in once a week at 9 pm - who knows when (1 am? to catch up on work). I've told him I don't mind him gone in the evening one night but he's a night owl and doesn't want to miss out on family time at home. 

 

I think a pp said it well. If both careers interest you than go for what you have a passion or stronger interest in. You'll have to have work something out either way in regards to childcare. So make sure you're doing something you enjoy.

post #9 of 11

I used to work in nursing, and now sub as a teaching assistant for the school board.  I have three kids, one is on the spectrum like the OP's.

 

The plusses of working in nursing were less shifts per week, so I was really able to enjoy those extra days off.  There were a lot of times that my schedule and my husband's didn't coincide, so I actually didn't need childcare often.  We had a neighbour with a child development degree who had a home daycare, and whose husband was a psychiatric nurse.  They were both excellent with my oldest (the one with ASD) and were willing to care for the kids at odd hours, so I really lucked out.

 

Where it went downhill for me was dealing with the varying and odd schedule as the kids got older.  My husband went back to school and became a nurse, himself, so both of us had weird hours.  If the kids wanted to be in an activity, go to a friend's party, or if we needed time for the many medical appointments and therapies, it was really hard to schedule them.  Also, after moving, we never found anyone else like our neighbour.

 

I like having similar hours to my kids and a more predictable schedule.  I am considering going back to school for a complete job switch, but it has nothing to do with work/life balance.  School hours really are simpler for me with three school age kids (they are 11, 10 and 7).

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

I just wanted to come back and thank everyone for the thoughts! I decided to switch gears and go into nursing. I talked to my adviser this morning and she worked out a path for me. Thankfully, 7 of the classes I need for the nursing degree are classes I've already taken and will transfer over. There's 5 other classes that I can take right now, before I start the nursing program so that once U start in the nursing program (I will apply to start fall 2013) I will only have the nursing classes left to take. So I start taking classes this summer!

 

Someone mentioned being prepared to take the "crappy" shifts (nights/weekends) but those are the shifts I would want to take anyway (at least until all our kids are in school) so it works well for me! We just found out that dh's work is going to be building an on-site childcare as well thumb.gif

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post

I just wanted to come back and thank everyone for the thoughts! I decided to switch gears and go into nursing. I talked to my adviser this morning and she worked out a path for me. Thankfully, 7 of the classes I need for the nursing degree are classes I've already taken and will transfer over. There's 5 other classes that I can take right now, before I start the nursing program so that once U start in the nursing program (I will apply to start fall 2013) I will only have the nursing classes left to take. So I start taking classes this summer!

 

Someone mentioned being prepared to take the "crappy" shifts (nights/weekends) but those are the shifts I would want to take anyway (at least until all our kids are in school) so it works well for me! We just found out that dh's work is going to be building an on-site childcare as well thumb.gif


Congrats Steph! I know any path you take you will find a way to make work. Wishing you all the best today and down the road.

 

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