For teachers who are also parents (m)

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
For teachers who are also parents (m)
4
Tue, 09-07-2004 - 1:53pm
Some discussion below really got me to thinking, and I decided to bring this up to a new post, because I really would like it to be an open philosophical question, and not a debate toward any specific person or post.

Am I wondering how those of you who have taught pre and post your own children feel your teaching has changed as a result of being a parent.

If I am honest with myself - I have changed, and some of it is probably positive and some of it is negative.

Positives -

More empathy for kid emotions than I used to have. (We moved this summer and dd was starting a new school this fall. You can bet I noticed those scared expressions on new kids at my school way more than normal this year, in fact, I almost got teary eyed bringing one to her room!

Higher standards - I have seen how easily my daughter learned things, and expect to see it at school.

More realization of how school requirements effect homelife/family time.

Negatives -

Willing to spend way less time on career. Don't get me wrong, I still try to do my very best job while there, and my principal and colleages would say I do a good job, I am sure. But little things - like being at every outside of school time event, spending hours searching for the perfect example to illustate a concept instead of settling for an ok example or the lesson in the book, or willingness to stay after school for extra curricular events instead of going home to pick up my own child - - definitely I am more selfish with my time now.

Some history on me so it makes sense where I am coming from. I taught 10 years, then was a sahm during her preschool years, and did not go back to teaching full time until she was in 1st grade. She is now in 3rd grade, and I still feel like I struggle greatly with balance. When I am being a great teacher, I am being a bad mom. When I take to time to be the best mom I want to be, I have to settle for good enough teacher sometimes. And then I feel guilty about that.

I always thought teaching was a good career to balance with momhood. And in some ways, it is. Having similar hours, summers, etc. is a good match. But the lack of flexibility (no days off when I want them to go to her school for a program, or conference, or when she is going to be presented with an award, or to be a mom at the school party. Lots of other jobs allow you to take an hour off and go back, go in later, stay earlier, etc. But in teaching, it's half day sub and use a very limited personal day)

And the amount of work you have to do to get READY to go to work!!!

My husband makes nearly double what I do and almost never comes home with work for evenings or weekends. He works at work, and has home time at home.

I've come to the conclusion that the demands of the job really are unreasonable. I wonder if only those who are childless, or with grown children can really devote the time that should be devoted. And, even for those people, it is not a fair expectation either. They should have a life seperate from career too. Or, am I just teaching in an overly demanding school district, perhaps?

Am I the only one who struggles with trying to balance teaching with motherhood.

Would love to hear from other moms and how they handle the balance without guilt on either side. One of those hard to discuss in real life kinds of things - don't really want to admit at school that I don't always think I am doing the very best job I could, kwim?

Thanks in advance. And to anyone that the topic bothers, please feel free to ignore.

Sara

(Who is home with too much time to be philosophical and think today after going to the doctor this morning and being put on steroids for a huge allergic reaction today. Wondering about how the poor substitute is doing today with kids that *I* have only seen 1 hour so far this year, and was not even done with teaching routines etc. Definitely NOT a good time to be out.)


Edited 9/7/2004 6:33 pm ET ET by merimom96

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2004
Tue, 09-07-2004 - 10:22pm
HI Sara

I can relate. My dd is 5. I teach middle school. I used to come in early, work late, work SATURDAYS!!!!!!!!! I have now set boundries. I still feel guilty. My school is on the hit list for the NCLB ACT, and time is tight. LOTS of stress at work.

I really ahve had enough of single, childless educators complain about how busy they are. My perspective changed once I became a mommy. You are not alone. PS(Your students will be just fine.)

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2000
Wed, 09-08-2004 - 7:33am
I know I've changed, too. Priorities change for sure.

I know use the "will it be important in 10 years rule?" a good bit. Will it matter in 10 years to the kids I teach that I was there on April 10 or will it matter to my 1st grader that I went with his class on a field trip?

I think I "know" less now than I did before I had kids. You know what they say about perfect parents being only the ones who don't have kids. I know that there are no perfect kids out there - not even mine.

I have watched both of my kids struggle with ADHD and the related issues, and I think I have more empathy there with the forgetful or unorganized child. Although I really do struggle to understand parents who won't medicate or in any way treat the ADHD. I've seen the godsend that medication was for my kids.

I was never able to stay home with my kids, and I really struggled with the "not doing either job well" when they were toddlers. It has gotten better, though. One thing that I think has made a huge difference was that my job was assigned a teacher assistant about the time Alex was born. This has cut way down on the time required to do paperwork chores outside of school.

It also gives me some flexibility to attend awards programs or class plays, etc, without having to take off a whole day.

I do resent evening things that I'm required to attend - open house, PTC meetings, etc. Especially if I have something else planned that night (Cub Scout meeting, etc) and especially if I have to pay for a babysitter. I think I appreciate my kids' teachers more in that regard. Some outside of school stuff is unavoidable, but it should be the exception, rather than the rule.

I am way more emotional at kids programs now. The chorus or band performance sometimes has me teary eyed. Don't ask me why. Hormones maybe?

It's morning...gotta run. But I might post more if my coffee kicks in and my thoughts become more organized.

Karen

 


PJPIIadoration.jpg picture by Kimberly_sahm

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Wed, 09-08-2004 - 6:36pm
Thanks for your reply - -

But I definitely don't want to throw stones at single or childless educators either.

They are probably too busy with work life than they should have to be too.

A hazard of the profession regardless of family status, I think.

Sara

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Sat, 09-11-2004 - 4:09pm
Your comments are appreciated and respected. However, I would agree with Sara, please don't throw stones at us "childless, singles" because the temptation is very strong for me to throw them back but I won't. So let me say this:

I RESPECT ALL TEACHER/MOMS WHO STRUGGLE EVERYDAY WITH THE DELICATE BALANCE OF BEING A WORKING MOM. YOUR LIFE IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN MINE, BUT MY LIFE AS A SINGLE IS NO WALK IN THE PARK. YOU ALL ARE VERY WONDERFUL. I LOVE AND ADMIRE ALL WORKING MOMS. MY MOM WAS A WORKING MOM AND SOME DAYS SHE COULD BARELY MAKE IT, SO I DO HAVE SOME IDEA OF WHAT YOU GO THROUGH. GOD BLESS YOU.

GT33