I was 22 years old when I started teaching. I had no responsibilities, could work all day and relax and play all night (after planning that was).
For 10 years I watched children come to school at 8am and at 3 o’clock I sent them home again. Except for parent teacher interviews I had little thought about what went on at home.
At 32 I became a parent and found out so many things I never knew before. And now I am a working mum of Dusty who is lovingly cared for by many young teachers at Day Care.
Here is what I now know, that I never really understood before having a child:
Parents are tired.
I am lucky. Dusty slept through the night from 6 months. But she is an early riser and some days she is up at 4am ready for cereal “Because it is Day time now”. But my friend Kellie has 3 kids aged 9 down to 2 and has not slept through the night for 9 whole years.
As a young teacher I never understood how hard it is to be a great mom on very little sleep. Now I have some empathy.
It took effort to get here.
As a young teacher I would get up, have breakie, get ready and head to school. As a parent I also have to get a little person ready. That is the easy part. Getting to day care takes hard work. In between ‘bottom burps’, projectile vomits, missing shoes and screaming I also had to combat peak hour traffic.
Bad mornings take on a whole new meaning with kids.
I now realise that while education is important, life is what really matters. If a parent lets me know of a family problem, change in schedule or even a late night I understand.
Parents really are asking for help.
At the moment my husband and I are having issues getting Dusty to sleep at night. I went into Day Care last week and asked for some ideas. One beautiful teacher just looked at me as if I was crazy. And I have given the same look before to my parents. I am sure she was thinking “You are the parent and a teacher and I am only 22. How would I know anything more than you?”
One young male teacher I know is so surprised when parents come in and ask him for advice on parenting their pre-teen daughters. He is shocked because he is closer in age to the child then the parents.
I now know how hard it is to ask for help. And the teacher, no matter what their age, is one of the best people to ask.
Improved parent teachers connections are easier to achieve through awareness. I do not believe I became a better teacher just because I became a parent. But I do believe a became a better communicator.