May 7, 2010

Teacher Moms

Filed under: about me,education,musing,teaching — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:11 am

Teachers have a skewed view of motherhood. Teacher-moms know when their kids have homework, read the comments on the report cards (even memorize what the comment letters stand for), and remove red pens from their own kids’ school supply pack  so the kids won’t disguise the markings on their papers. With their first kid,  a teacher-mom even looks over EVERY sheet of paper that erupts from her child’s backpack. A teacher-mom sets aside time unloading backpacks on the evening of the first day of school to fill out all the forms, cards, and permissions to go back to school the NEXT day. Mind you, that was her first day with students, too, but she finds the time — perhaps wine in hand.

A teacher-mom dies of embarrassment and avoids the faculty room when her son is the one who at 16 organizes the speed races  in front of the high school or the drafts a team of twenty to cleverly decorate the HS front lawn with plastic forks, spelling out an inappropriate message.

As professionals, we know how important parent involvement is for our students, but we need to know that what we do is skewed from what most moms do. We need to stop and ask: What is it that we bring to our children’s lives (both good and bad) that the other moms do not? This is not to pat ourselves on the back, but to help us realize where our students are not coming from. It is not to make a list of “must-dos” for our student’s moms. It is simply to build an awareness of how their lives may differ from what we see at home each night.


  • Live and breathe school. We have talked about it every day of our child’s life. School is an exaggerated slice of the life-pie for our own kids.
  • Overtly value education. ‘Nuf said.
  • Talk about school taxes, budget priorities, and the importance of the kids. By the time a child is two, he/she has overheard it repeatedly from the grocery cart seat or the swimming pool deck.
  • Use words for everything.
  • See life in ten month blocks.
  • Think New Year’s Day is the same as Labor Day.
  • Plan ahead — for this week, next summer, next child, college…
  • Change the channel when the show makes a teacher look stupid.

My list could continue, but I know there are many bright, busy teacher-moms who may have something to add. So I salute all of us this Mother’s Day weekend and ask you to add your thoughts. Maybe even ask your kids. It could make for an interesting conversation over burnt pancakes or a lovely dinner.

Happy Teacher-Mom’s Day to us.

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