(Today’s Author is Jenny, who is writing her last blog post for us this week 😥 as she leaves to continue her teaching career)
As many of you know, this Wednesday saw me teach my last Music with Mummy and Jolly Babies groups in Babbacombe and, as of Saturday, I no longer own the Music with Mummy Torquay franchise. It is with a complete mixture of sadness and excitement that I bid farewell to one career and I return to teaching after a three and a half year ‘break’.
For me, being a teacher is a real vocation and I have never wanted to do anything else for as long as I can remember. As a little girl I had books filled with imaginary names that were my registers. I took maths lessons using my bedroom mirror as my whiteboard and organised my bookshelf into a mini library. Sad. I know!
Then in 2004, after four years of training, I began by first year of teaching and can still remember that buzz of excitement when taking my first class into assembly and realising that for the whole year they were entrusted to my care. I enjoyed my job and worked hard, progressing through the ‘junior ranks’ relatively unscathed. However, teaching is exactly like everyone says and, although I enjoyed some amazing highs, the pressure and workload were often overwhelming. As the years progressed, and the government demanded increasingly more whilst simultaneously cutting funding, I realised that I had no life outside of school. I stayed late every night of the week marking and preparing for the following day. It dominated what I could do at the weekends as I was always exhausted by Friday night and had to start planning for the following week on Sundays.
When I left my job in October 2012 I was eight months pregnant and massive. I also couldn’t remember feeling so calm and relaxed and actually it was quite sad to hear my husband tell me that it was like living with a completely different person. I resigned from my job in Hampshire and for the first time in my adult life was unemployed! So, as I obviously love to live on the edge, we relocated back to Torquay 2 days before Isabelle was due and (fortunately) she arrived two weeks later.
I had been a mum for approximately five minutes before I decided that for me, there was no way I could work like I had been before and look after my girl. I tried supply teaching for a while but hated it as I never built up relationships with the children – or adults- in the schools. Then one day Carol posted on Facebook about a vacancy in Torquay running Music with Mummy sessions. My mum thought I was mad but something about it just felt right to me.
So that was it. I built up my little business from three to six groups across two mornings. I developed lovely relationships with some fantastic families and best of all I got to see amazing little people grow and develop week after week. We’ve laughed, we’ve sung, we’ve played and I hope I’ve always been open and honest about my own parenting journey. I’ve felt connected to a group of like minded people and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Then last summer a good friend messaged me with the job advert at Warberry Academy for a part time teacher and I felt that familiar pull. As part of my interview I had to put on my big girl pants and teach a maths lesson to some Year Five children. Afterwards they asked me why I wanted the job. I told them that when I stand in a classroom and lead the learning I feel completely at home. I feel like it’s exactly where I’m meant to be and it’s the truth. It’s always been the truth.
So, here I am, working again on Sunday nights. It’s been a very steep and challenging learning curve to get back into school and I’d be lying if I said I loved every day. However, it’s been the right decision at the right time and I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge!
I’d like to end by thanking everyone who has ever come to my sessions. It’s a tricky business building something from the ground up and I’ve so appreciated your loyalty and all your kind words of support. I will really miss hearing all your ‘news’ of the week. I’d also like to single out the wonderful Carol Holbrow, who runs the Paignton sessions. Quite simply, you’re the reason I’ve kept going and I’m so lucky to have you as a friend.
So that’s it from me for now. However, at school recently I’ve seen quite a few Music with Mummy parents look around. So, who knows, maybe it’s not a case of ‘goodbye’ but rather ‘until we meet again’.
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.
Jenny x x