After many years of staying home with my children, I just started my second year back to teaching. While returning to teaching, the question, “Is having children a benefit or drawback to teaching?” has crossed my mind. As always, everyone is different along with life style, priorities and circumstances which dictate this answer.
I spent many years in college receiving a formal education on best practices to teach both early childhood and special needs. Then, I had several years of teaching before I had my own children. I remember at a conference, a parent jokingly said, “You will understand when you have kids.” I remember being slightly offended by this. I spent 6-7 hours a day with their child and that’s more than most parents can say they see their children each day. I also spent all my free time, planning, preparing and researching for their child. My priority was my class.
Last year, my daughter had a kindergarten teacher who does not have children. I immediately thought of that parent and was impressed by her teacher in many ways. She was kind, patient and calm. None of these things you need to have children to be. In fact, none of those things you need an education for either. Her personality and dedication impressed me the most. My daughter thrived educationally and socially. We both loved having her. She doesn’t have children but I knew she was going the extra mile in her free time and I appreciated her because of that.
This year she has a teacher with 5 children. My first thoughts were, “She obviously loves children but who gets the short end of the stick? My child or her children?” It has to happen at some point, right? We now love her for the teacher she is and all that she does. It doesn’t matter to me if her teacher has 0 or 50 kids at home. I’m concerned about what she is doing with my 1 child while she is teaching her those 6 hours each day. God bless her patience to teach all day and go home to many more children. On the other hand, she gets lots of joy at work and lots of joy at home so she’s a lucky woman. Children are such a blessing and the more the merrier!
As for me…….
I am now a preschool teacher with a preschooler. I teach part time and get a chance to be a full-time mom still. My preschooler is not in my class but our classes run at the same time so I only work while my children are in school. I can honestly say, everyone gets the best of me. Here’s why:
I loved and taught preschool before I had children and some of the things I worried about as a teacher I don’t worry about as a mom. I now alter my plans with that balance in mind.
I was a stay at home mom during the hardest years a mom faces. There is no better training of children than having two small ones, a husband that travels and chronic migraine. To say I know how to balance, delegate, plan ahead, and multitask is an understatement. I’ve learned how to entertain my babies while being in excruciating pain. I’ve sacrificed my body, mind and gave up my occupation that I love all for my babies and family. I put myself on the backburner and was happy to do it, but it was really, really hard. I turned into a super hero and did a job that not every mom can or wants to do. Work/life balance did not exist. My work was my life and there was no day off. They were long days and fast years that I feel beyond grateful for.
Now that I’m back to teaching, my students and families are getting the best and healthiest version of me. I feel like I can give 100% to my children, students and my health. Working part time really motivates me. I LOVE my job and arrive each day happy to be there. On my days off, I am often migraine sick but no one would know (see letdown migraine). Part time allows me to be sick and take time for self-care. For those of us who have chronic disease, scheduling in sick time is the norm and necessary
Overall, I understand teaching both with and without children. I understand the fundamentals through education, the students point of view through not having children (and only seeing my students as students) and the behind the scenes (aka school) of what parents and children go through at home (nap schedule, eating issues, sleep issues, lack of structure, bathroom concerns and more!).
After all these years, I feel that I’m the best teacher and mom because of these experiences. With these experiences, I know that not all teachers and moms are dealt the same hand. There is no answer that fits all. Not every mom, teacher, home or classroom are the same.
Thank you to those teachers teaching my babies
Thank you to those parents allowing me to teach their babies
May we all grow and learn endless lessons both inside and out of the classroom this year!