A shout out for advice….

A shout out for advice….

My name is Kelly.

I have three daughters under six and am ‘going back to university’ to do my PGCE in Primary teaching! Absolutely everyone says I’m either ‘mad’, or ‘crazy’ or ‘irresponsible’, ‘it’s so much work’, ‘it’s such a full on year’, ‘how will you manage with three small children?!’, yet ultra sensible, have-never-failed-at-a-thing me, thinks its the best idea ever. It is both, the most selfish thing I have ever done, and the most unselfish at the same time, its for me and for our girls.

…and here is why I’m doing it. I haven’t actually written this down yet so even if this is never published, its very cathartic.

I have what ‘most’ Mums probably want. I take my eldest to and from school each day and spend the rest of the days working from home and taking care of the other two girls. I have a successful digital marketing career and manage the online needs of three companies from the comfort of my lounge, joggers and messy bun, whilst the girls play and fight and fight, occasionally cuddling my leg. But I’m 29, (and like a scene from the itchy footed/finned Little Mermaid), I want more!

So, my five year old told her teacher that I play on my computer for my work, then I went into her class to ‘make a fruit salad morning – parent and child and BOOM, like that, the spark, the teaching dream that I had repressed the day I fell pregnant with her was re-ignited. Who knew that squishing bits of sloppy banana onto blunt kebab skewers could be so life changing. But those kids’ faces, so engaged, so proud, so eager to write about (and eat!) what they had achieved with their parents at their sides.

Rewind six years, aged twenty three, I had just graduated with a 1:1 Honours Degree in English Studies and Marketing Management, we had just bought our first little flat and I had an interview with the University of Suffolk for my PGCE. Then that blue line appeared; I had a little baby on the way, albeit the size of a lentil. We all know when pregnant with the first, your sacrifices go further than giving up the booze, and so without hesitation cancelled my teacher training interview and was onto the next chapter of my life.

Over the next few years, despite having another, and then another little girl, I set up my marketing business, leading a double life of library sing and rhyme, tumble tots and Les Petites Zouszous’; with webinars, websites, email campaigns and instagram. Even though I had children, I could still have a clean house, food in the fridge, friends over and juggle work. Work for me was money and flexible hours, and for the girls it has meant all those little extras that I know they were lucky to have.

With ferocious ambition, since January this year, I have had another (pretty much full time job), of university applications, voluntary teaching days, professional skills test revision, loan applications, reading lists… and in terms of getting the girls an action plan for September, there’s been tens of nursery visits and childminder chats.

You get the picture, I want this. With every tuff spot I google, every Julia Donaldson and David Walliams character I read in a different creative funny voice, I want my Qualified Teacher Status more and more.

Here is the blow… key change…

On stepping into the house after our newly budget (and frankly amazing!) family caravan holiday, a letter from the student loan company informs me that I will not be entitled to any childcare help, any adult learning allowances, or maintenance grants, because of my husband’s earnings. Apparently (a figure a bit less than £35K) is too much to qualify for additional help and here with lies my frustration. I am giving up my job, our lifestyle, giving up being THAT mum who works from home and gets leg cuddles all day, have a FIRST class degree, they are crying out for teachers, I am totally dedicated to my course which requires me to work full time as a teacher for the year for FREE, and yet I will not be getting any financial help with childcare.

As I said, I am not used to failing, yet this blow to my master plan will make my PGCE impossible. (Note I am paying £9,250 tuition fees for the university teaching too).

What can I do? … totally rhetorical… but how utterly frustrating to be such a driven, qualified applicant, prepared to give up so much, but be jilted at the alter because I can’t afford the childcare and to live at the same time if I was to do the course.

So I’m asking anyone that has an option, has been there, knows someone who has been there to comment and/or get in touch. I’m so not ready to let go of my dream.

A Guest Blog from Kelly Hudson

About Kelly

Kelly is Mum to three little girls and is ready to give her all to a career in teaching. You can follow her on Instagram or email her at kellyrhudson@gmail.com

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6 Comments

  1. Lucy
    June 13, 2017 / 8:15 am

    Hi Kelly
    Thank you for your blog. Total respect to you! I’m a teacher myself and love my job so much I am about to head back to work full time after baby number one. It just makes me so angry and sad that you aren’t eligible for childcare funding! Have you thought about speaking to your university? They have bursaries and financial help just for this kind of thing. I’d also share this article with your MP as this should be brought up in Parliament! We have a serious teacher shortage and need people just like you!

  2. Sophie
    June 13, 2017 / 9:02 am

    Hi Kelly,

    I am a teacher myself and I did my PGCE when my baby boy was 18 months. It is hard work but definitely manageable as long as you’re organised and good with your time management.

    Where are you studying your PGCE? If you are studying in cheltenham then they give a full £9000 bursary to those who acquired a first class honours degree. I believe you can choose to either pay it straight towards tuition fees or keep it yourself. It is worth enquiring.

    I hope that helps and I hope you get to follow your dream!

  3. Jenny
    June 13, 2017 / 9:11 am

    Hi Kelly, have you looked into Teach First or Schools Direct? Sorry for brief reply – just about to teach but these were options for trainees when I taught in London. Are there any schemes around here?

    Wishing you all the best with this. It’s an intense first few years but nothing you can’t handle with support and the perseverance you quote clearly have. After that, then it can open up all sorts of avenues to fit in with family life. X

  4. Jenny
    June 13, 2017 / 9:13 am

    *quite

    Apologies for typo!

  5. Cassie
    June 13, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    Hi Kelly,

    You can do it! It’s hard going the first two years but possible. I’m an English teacher (secondary) and mum and did my training on the old GTP programme which is now schools direct and I think there are some paid places but you’d need to get in there early if applying to the uni. I’d also suggest looking at Teach First but also writing directly to schools that you’d like to work at- they often are open to funding you (albeit a lower salary) as an UQT and complete the schools direct route to QTS. Sometimes we don’t advertise roles but often take people on training placements through word of mouth or ppl who have written to us. All depends on the school.

    Ironically, I’m looking for a job just like yours currently so any tips on how to get into the digital marketing world, I’d love to hear from you!

    Give me a shout if you’d like any advice.
    Cassie

  6. Rachel Hardy
    September 1, 2017 / 9:21 pm

    Hi Kelly, I can’t help but Iam in the same position. Just graduated this year, with a degree in English Language and Literature and I have two children. I worked so damn hard for my degree, even ended up completing my third year within months of having my beautiful Daughter. I have got on the P. G. C. E but have been informed we don’t qualify as my husband. Who is also a teacher earns too much! It is so frustrating. I am going to ask if I can possibly go part time, thus cutting childcare costs on Monday, the whole thing is giving me a headache thinking about it, and trying to work it out but we cannot possibly afford £1,150 childcare costs a month! It is disheartening when you have worked so hard, are committed but have obstacles put in the way that seem impossible to overcome. Good luck to you! Here is hoping we don’t have to wait until our youngest starts school to pursue our dream job!

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