Teen Parent Schools in New Zealand


Tiffany Campbell


Coming Back to School

By Tiffany Campbell

“Have you ever thought about going back to school?”

Sandra’s words kept coming back to me. I’d never thought about going back to school before, it was a scary thought. There was a lot to think about before I made a decision. Every night it would run through my head, I’d say to myself, “How would I fit it in with work and spending time with the girls and family? How would the girls fit in? Would they like it?” I wasn’t so keen on leaving my girls with people they didn’t know. I felt like I was dumping them. For what? To have my head in a book all day? I thought some more. All the good points were coming up; if I went back to school my girls might have a future instead of having no start in the world, no hope of a future – just because I did nothing.

I talked to Mike about it.

“What about my job? You said you’d always look after Tyler when I had him. I’ll have to quit my job.”

I didn’t know what to think. Did he not want me to do right by me and our daughters? I was so down that he didn’t agree that it would be the best future for our girls. The way he made me feel made me question myself. Was this the best thing? Was I making the wrong decision? I kept putting off coming back to school. I was scared.

Months passed. I kept myself busy working, looking after the girls and keeping the house tidy, but the question kept coming back – should I go back to school? When I was clearing tables at work I wondered whether going back to school would give me a better job. When I was cooking dinner I wondered if there wasn’t more to life than Bolognese. When I was changing nappies I wondered what I’d be doing once the girls were at school.

School. I had had such a horrible experience there. Teachers didn’t want to put the effort into helping me because of my family history. I was kinda horrified to even think about teachers and students (girl students to be exact). If I did go back to school, I could only imagine it. I know how girls are – the bickering and back stabbing. It’s not something a new kid would like to go through. I didn’t know if I would handle it. I knew I needed to do something with my life… But school? Really?

Two more weeks passed and thoughts would run through my head; school, school, school. I needed to make a decision. I sat down and thought about it. It was for the girls, this was the right thing. I wanted my girls to have a future. I was not going to let anyone tell me different.

I had known my decision from the start. I just didn’t want to admit it. I needed school more than I thought. Now, I just had to build the courage to ring the school and make an appointment, to have a tour and see what Paige thought of the childcare.

The phone rang – someone answered. It was Lynne, the head of the school. We discussed starting dates and a time for me to view where the girls would be cared for.

A week after the phone call, I went into the school; it was very tidy. It wasn’t like a normal school. It was relaxing. Lynne introduced me to most of the girls; they seemed nice. I was still very nervous… I didn’t say much; no one really talked to me either. There was another new girl who had started a day before me. I was so glad I wasn’t the only new person.

N, the other new girl, looked familiar – like I knew her from somewhere. We started talking. She seemed really kind and friendly. She offered to stay in child-care with me for the first day; she had a wee boy in there so it wasn’t too bad for Paige.

N and I became good friends that day; it was cool. I finally met someone my age that wanted to be mates with me. The next day I went through to the classroom – I was basically pooping myself. I sat next to N; everyone else kinda just ignored the fact I was there.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Now that I have been here a month I have started talking to the other girls; some of them have even invited me out in the weekends. I haven’t been yet but sometime soon I might. I think it could be fun and a great opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy myself.

To this day, I’m still worried about not fitting in, but I figured just being myself is what is best; I’m not going to change who I am just to fit in. And Mike? Well he finally understands why I did this for me and our girls; he understands that an education is important. I’m glad that I made the decision to come back to school – it’s one of the best things I have ever done. The girls are doing really well; Paige has made lots of friends and Emilee is really settled. If I hadn’t come back to school I’d probably be sitting on my bottom or working a job that doesn’t earn enough money to support me and my family.

I have done right by me and my children. My girls will have the start in life some children will never have the opportunity to have. And I am proud.