Is teaching a family friendly career choice?
In many ways, I would answer that questions with yes. It's great to have a schedule with plenty of breaks, a daily schedule that matches your children's schedule, and work that matches your parenting goals and expectations too.
Yet, I think schools can become even more family friendly in the following ways.
Blended Professional Learning Opportunities
School organizations can work with working parents to figure out the best ways to support professional learning. I believe that this would include blended learning options with flexible timelines so that parents could match their at-home schedules with their professional learning needs and obligations.
On Site Day Care
I think that schools would profit from the inclusion of on-site day care centers for parents with young children. Many high schools have this, but not as many elementary schools. I'm not exactly sure how a system would include this, but I think it would make the job more advantageous to mothers and fathers of young children.
There should be good spaces for young mothers to pump or nurse their babies.
Children Attend Your School
In our system, teachers' children are allowed to attend our schools. This is a wonderful benefit that increases educators' investment and time in the system since they are dedicated both as educational professionals and parents.
I noticed in the new yesterday that some systems are considering affordable housing for teachers. I think that this is a good consideration for systems since housing in some areas is prohibitive on a teacher's salary. This idea would differ from system to system and related to the circumstances of individual teachers, but it could be a good benefit for educators.
Time on Task for Professional Learning, Planning, and Preparation
Some educators in some roles have substantial time on task for professional work, but others, who are working with children most of the day, have little time for this. I believe that schools will do a better job if they re-look at the time each teacher has for professional learning and efforts that support student learning. Time is a critical factor with regard to student service and success, and how school organizations use that time is a very important consideration with regard to the good work possible as well as family friendly policies. Many parents of young children have very little time after work hours to complete optimal professional planning and preparation due to the intense care and time that young children require.
As in any organization, a family friendly position is a position that pays a fair salary. In some cases, teachers receive a fair salary, and in other cases, that's not true. This is a situation that differs from system to system and state to state.
I believe that all work places should reach for greater family friendly policies, a more reasonable work week, and benefits that support young families. This would result in happier families which would be a win-win for our schools, businesses, and communities.