End of an era
When I was pregnant with Boy Lacer and facing the prospect of being a stay at home mum for quite some time (not that there is absolutely anything wrong with that, even now, even with pretty much full time hours with the main part time job, I still consider myself, in a way to be a SAHM because I work from home during my child free hours), I needed some money, so I joined a couple of agencies and started working as a freelance private tutor and I’ve effectively been doing that ever since. Some years were good, lots of clients and good money considering I was only working when Mr. Lacer was around to look after the kids, so I didn’t have childcare costs to worry about. Other years were pretty bad with virtually no clients sometimes. The academic year of 2010-11 was particularly good however and for the first time in a long time I was actually earning enough money to be able to splash out on a few things, no more trying to eek out a wardrobe which consisted largely of clothes I bought before I fell pregnant with Girl Lacer. And although it wasn’t loads of money, again no childcare costs, so it felt like more. However I, now I’m tempted to write the word hated here, but that’d be too strong, did not like doing it, at all. Not so much the actual tuition sessions but the large amount of preparation for each lesson (as of course each student was studying a different syllabus) and the fact that after a day of doing x, y and z of stay-at-home-mummy stuff (particularly when both kids were smaller and still home for most of the day), it was exhausting at the end of the day to have to go and grab my bag, head out in the dark, wet, cold and traipse somewhere in south west London to see the client. It didn’t help not being able to drive, so I was dependent on buses and that meant that unless I left for work ridiculously early, I was guaranteed to be late, as I could never, ever depend on the buses turning up on time. And of course sometimes the buses did turn up on time, so I’d get to the client’s address way too early but unfortunately being a private tutor is not one of those jobs where if you’re early for work you can just head into the office and make a cup of tea, I had to be at the client’s front door not a minute late and not a minute early either. So that meant when I was early I was reduced to having to prowl around the neighbourhood of the client’s house desperately trying not to look like a burglar casing out possible jobs, as there was never anywhere to go and wait (except for one client, the year I was pregnant, who lived happily close to a Krispy Kreme). So of all the jobs I’ve done in my working life; private tutor was fairly low down on the list of jobs I liked doing. So at the start of the 2010-11 academic year, when amongst the large amount of clients I picked up, I picked up M, a client who I unusually committed to for 2 years, instead of the normal 1, I vowed or should I say hoped, that by the time those two years were up, I wouldn’t have to pick anymore clients up because I’d be doing something else.
And, as I’ve mentioned quite a few times on this blog, I managed to get a ‘proper’ (as in actually being an employee with actual job advancement prospects and everything) job last July, a year earlier than I had hoped for. So when academic year 2011-12 started, I didn’t pick up anymore tuition clients but I still had M, well M’s exams start in a few days, he doesn’t need me anymore, so good luck M and yay me, as of tonight, no more traipsing out in the cold, wet and dark (please no one remind me I still have to do that for ballet lessons, I’m living in dreamland right now), no more of the dreaded prepping and just one job, one’s enough*.
So, I am of course grateful that due to earlier career decisions that at the time didn’t seem to work out to well, they enabled me as I became a mother to be in a position to do this work for the last 6 years, as it enabled me to continue to be a stay at home mum, something that for me personally was important and for the family practically, specially when Boy Lacer was younger, was vitally important (as I still can not see how I could have juggled an ASD preschooler with a normal job and childcare). But I sincerely hope that I never have to do that type of work again, as I love my main, now only, part time job and can see a long term career in it. But if necessary the tuition will still be there to fall back on.
So although no more traipsing out in the cold and dark (I know, I keep mentioning that part, bet you can’t guess which part I really hated the most), I am still working evenings, as it’s the nature of the job I do now (and early mornings) but I count my lucky stars that I’m still working a job where I can still fit in work and be there for all the childcare, at least during the week days anyway.
So, what to do with all ‘this’ time (she laughs), actually with only one client this academic year, the main part time job has taken the vast lion’s share of my time for some time, so not much difference (and the shift pattern for my job is already altering so I can work a longer shift on Thursday nights, the night I used to see my client). But no more prepping or marking will be a big change, although I won’t miss it, I will miss my last link with my past science career (up until my current job, all my jobs as an adult have been science related). But no prepping time does mean that if I want to find the time to sit down and write it won’t have to be about ionic equations or soy sauce manufacture, so maybe writing of other forms may come back, no pressure.
*you know my Etsy shop may just start having a bit more stock in it …. eventually.
PS Above picture is my May embroidery journal piece (my own design, it did look better when I initially drew it on my iPad, but I use the Paper app, that makes everything look good). I thought it appropriate for someone finally quitting^ teaching (hopefully) for good.
^ There will be a good chance, *ahem* that I’ll be teaching a series of embroidery classes in June, so ummm, not really quitting.