6 Ways Being a Mom Made Me a Better Teacher
1. I trust kids less. Turns out, kids are liars. Like, all of them. Mine lies all the time. When I first started teaching, here’s how a typical conversation would go.
“Mary, I’m going to have to let your mom know that you were cheating on this test.”
“Miss, no! She’ll be really mad at me! You don’t know my mom; she’ll go completely crazy!”
“Well, but if this ever happens again, I absolutely have to call home…”
Most of the time, it wouldn’t happen again, and I’d never have to call home, so I’d feel like I had made the right call. Now, though…if my kid gets in trouble at school, I want to know about it, no matter what kind of torture he tells his teachers I’ll inflict on him. After being a mom to my own boy, I’m more likely to give parents the benefit of the doubt, rather than believing everything their kids say.
2. I’m way more prepared. When parents bring baby brothers and sisters to a conference, there are always half a dozen Matchbox cars in my purse for them to play with. And I never send kids to the clinic anymore, because I can usually offer my seventh graders their choice of Paw Patrol or Star Wars bandaids. Need crayons? Would you prefer sparkly or scented? All conveniently located in the Giant Red Pocketbook of Wonders!
3. I ask more from parents in some ways… Frequently, the homework for my class is to ask a parent or adult who lives in the house their opinion about a social issue. Or ask a parent about the first time they fell in love. Or get advice from a parent or adult about which of several topics our class should study next term.
My son is four, and it’s already like pulling teeth to find out anything about his day, even though I know all the right questions to ask. Parents want to know what their kid is doing in school. They want to have conversations with their kids, especially their teenagers, but it’s difficult for parents to force those conversations. As a teacher, I CAN force it, so I do! Not all parents are available to come to school or volunteer their time, but that doesn’t mean they should be completely out of the loop.
4. And I ask a lot less in other ways. I remember six years ago, when I was but a wee young thing teaching sixth graders. It was not uncommon, on a Wednesday, to hear me say, “Okay, guys, we’re starting a project today, and I need you to have a poster board by Friday to finish it up.” No big deal, right? Two days to pick up a poster board; that should be no problem. Then I had a kid. And I realized that even one small child makes any kind of spontaneity on a weeknight—including a trip to Rite Aid—at the very least unpleasant.
For me, it involved moving nap times or dinner and buckling and unbuckling carseats and whining and diaper changes, etc. And, unlike most of the parents at my school, I have a car and a driver’s license. Many of them also have three or four tiny kids around the house, so picking up a poster board might require a week’s notice, which I’m now careful to give.
To read this article and find ways 5 and 6, click here!
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