What is it like to be a Suffolk Babies Teacher?

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“I became interested in working with Suffolk babies a few years ago as I found the support and community invaluable as a mum when I attended classes with my children. I used to leave the classes with a big smile and felt like I was shining bright with positivity. I then trained to become a teacher and love the fact that I can put a smile on peoples face, give them the empowerment to feel they are achieving and support them where necessary.
I currently teach antenatal classes for Suffolk babies and I feel I can make a real difference to how a woman / couples feel about their birth and becoming new parents. With the knowledge and information I share they feel that they can have a positive impact on those important days, weeks and months.”

Claire Bigg

We’re looking for new teachers!

Becoming a Suffolk Babies teacher is not like any other job. For a start you get to work with us!

All our teachers are self-employed with their own geographical area, but meet regularly and have loads of support from HQ.

We need new teachers that are enthusiastic, energetic, and knowledgeable – we can train you in the knowledge part, but the energy and enthusiasm has to come from you. In return, you can become part of an exciting, respected, and growing organisation, committed to providing the very best antenatal and postnatal education for all parents in Suffolk.

You will be running your own business, so you need to be self-motivated and up for a challenge!

What is it really like to be a Suffolk Babies Teacher?

Lots of you will know Gemma and will have read the articles she has written for the newsletter, but I thought you might be interested in reading what a week in the life of a Suffolk Babies teacher is like. Gemma is one of our busier teachers as she covers two areas, Felixstowe and Stowmarket.

Here is Gemma’s “Week in the Life”:

My name is Gemma and I live in Felixstowe and teach Suffolk Babies baby and toddler classes and antenatal workshops in Stowmarket and Felixstowe. I am a mum of two boys of 10 years and 18 months.

With my younger son I attended Suffolk Babies classes from around 5 weeks and loved it, but also found the support and reassurance invaluable. It was being able to do this for other families along with the flexibility and ability to be my own boss that led to be applying to be a teacher for myself. 

When I was asked to write this I felt really torn, on the one hand it’s a compliment; I know I was asked because I am doing well as a teacher, but on the other how do I convey how incredibly hard I have to work and have worked to get to this point? 

The best way I could think of was to write out an average week for me, so here goes:

On Mondays I attend a class with my son at the centre in Kesgrave; we both love doing this and look forward to it each week. It’s a really great opportunity for me to remind myself what matters to the mums attending the classes I teach, and watching how much my son gets out of it reminds me how fantastic they are. On Monday afternoons I plan my classes for the week, I usually have a rough plan for whole term and I sit down each week and finalise them. I have the time to do this now my son has a good nap in the afternoon, when he was little it was much harder and I had to do a lot of work in the evenings. I also load my car ready for the week’s teaching (it’s only a Fiesta, so this is a challenge). Two Monday evenings a month I teach the Essential Preparation for Birth workshop at Felixstowe Children’s Centre, I leave home around 6.15pm to set up and I’m usually home by 9.30pm. When I get home on the second week I send the follow up email to the attendees. 

On Tuesdays I teach in Stowmarket; I drop my son at nursery at 8.30am then drive over. It’s quite a long drive, but I typically have time to set up and have a cup of tea before I start teaching. By the time I’ve finished all four classes and got back to Felixstowe it’s usually around 2.30pm, sometimes later, as I often drop off leaflets or posters around the area on the way home. On Tuesday evenings I typically email the Munchkin mums from my classes that day, but I’m only human and some weeks I do this on Wednesday afternoon when my son sleeps. I email the Munchkin mums every week and the other class parents on weeks 1 and 6 unless something extra comes up. 

On Wednesdays I often attend a toddler group in Felixstowe with my son; he loves it and the group allow me to display leaflets for advertising. I often bump into mums from my classes here so I can have a chat with them, as well as make connections with new families. The afternoons are for admin; accounts and invoicing, emailing about marketing, creating social media posts, sorting insurance and reading to keep on top of the theory. Two Wednesday evenings a month I teach the Essential Preparation for Birth workshop at Stowmarket Community Centre, I leave home around 5.45pm to set up and I’m usually home by 10pm. When I get home on the second week I send the follow up email to the attendees. 

On Thursdays I teach my classes at Felixstowe Library; this is a shorter day for me as I teach 5 minutes from my house. Thursday evenings I email the parents from my classes, often with a glass of wine in my hand as this is my Friday night! 

On Fridays if I’m not seeing friends I take my son to the singing group at Felixstowe library. He enjoys this, but it also helps with my marketing; I have built a good relationship with Felixstowe Library and I know the staff promote my classes. 

I don’t typically teach over the weekends, but some of the other teachers run their antenatal sessions so I might do the odd cover workshop. Even though I’m not teaching, I try to use every opportunity for promotion, when I’m out and about I carry leaflets and posters, and I also look out for ideas for social media posts. Often I’ll have an email or private message from someone in my classes over a weekend too and I like to reply to these quickly. 

The weeks off between terms I use to wash my kit, this is quite a big task, and order new equipment. I also stay on top of marketing and will often still use childcare the odd day so I can get round quickly to doctors surgeries or other venues that allow me to promote. 

How does the training work?

First of all, you need to register your interest on our website and I’ll send you a brochure of all the information about the classes you would be training to teach, the investment involved and the timeline of events.

If you are keen to apply having read the brochure, we have an application form for you to fill out. It’s vital that you come and see us and observe some classes, so we will arrange a date for this.

Until you have paid a deposit for the training there is no obligation at all, so please do use this time to ask us questions and come and see us.

Why do I have to pay for the training?

Because we will invest a huge amount of time in your training and all the follow up support for years to come. There is loads to learn, as you will be training in teaching both antenatal classes and baby classes, which require different skills and knowledge sets. We will also give you training in marketing and setting up your own business. Our package is one of the lowest cost baby class options around, and because you are joining a respected and successful organisation, you will be making your training costs back quickly.

Please, please, don’t underestimate the time commitment you have to make when setting up your own business. If you have a baby or child below school age, do consider your childcare options, as despite being a very family friendly career, you cannot teach classes with a baby in tow. As you have read in Gemma’s “Week in the Life” above, she spends a considerable amount of time doing marketing. You cannot expect to put up one poster and have full classes. It takes time to build up a business, even with a tried and tested formula.

Having said all that, the joy of being self-employed is you can arrange your own timetable to fit around you. Besides venue hire, there are few other costs, and apart from a small licence fee, all the money you earn from your classes is your own. Plus, you get to make a real, lasting difference to families’ lives, from your first antenatal class with them, to when their baby is crawling, walking or even starting school – you will be supporting them on their journey. Few other careers will give you job satisfaction like this, giving you a real sense of purpose.

Important Dates

So, do you think you are up for it? Or have you got a friend who you think would be perfect for this?

Here are the dates you need to know:

6th February, 7pm: OPEN EVENING AT SUFFOLK BABIES

This is your chance to come along, meet the team, and find out all about the ins and outs of becoming a Suffolk Babies teacher. Have a chat with us and find out the nitty gritty of what is involved. We have a Facebook event here where you can register your interest in attending.

8th – 12th April: TEACHER TRAINING WEEK

This week will be devoted to the in-house training, run at the Suffolk Babies Centre. During this week you will learn how to your own business, and teach the Essential Preparation for Birth Workshop, Munchkins and Explorers classes.

23rd April onwards – Shadowing and teaching classes

You will need to shadow a term’s classes before running your own trial term, so you can start this from the beginning of the next term after the training. Once you have completed both a term of shadowing classes and a practice term with your own clients satisfactorily we will present you with your licence and you will become a fully fledged teacher!

‘Working as a Suffolk Babies teacher has provided me with the challenge I was seeking when I decided to return to work.  It’s also given me an opportunity to contribute to something I think is worthwhile and am passionate about, I.e; supporting new and expectant families.  Plus getting to sing my heart out to cute babies and their fantastic parents on a weekly basis means we’re the perfect fit!’

Amanda Houchen

“Deciding to work with Suffolk Babies is the best decision I’ve made since having my own babies! It really has been a game-changer for me. I was searching for a job I could do with confidence, on my own terms, and that would deliver real value in the community. I’ve now found that, and would recommend it to anyone with bags of energy and self- motivation”

Jenny Lord

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