how did you change as a teacher after having children

Discussion in 'General Education' started by eireannashley, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. eireannashley

    eireannashley Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2011

    My principal made a comment to me during my most recent evaluation. She told me - "Not that I am telling you to have a baby, but you become a different kind of teacher after you have children." This had to due with her thinking that I struggle with parents of children who have behavior problems.

    So I am curious, how do you think you changed one you had a child. Did you change?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I think it was inappropriate for your p to say that.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I find that a little inappropriate, to be honest. I was "encouraged strongly" to have children by my university supervisor. He didn't fully "trust" a teacher without children. What. The. Heck?!

    But, to your question...I don't have children, but I imagine once you have children you better keep in mind families' tight schedules. You understand better how life happens, meaning math homework or what have you doesn't. I feel I do that already just based on my childhood responsibilities with several siblings, and just common sense.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I also think that's highly inappopriate. I had a professor in college who was sort of in charge of all of our special ed stuff (so I had her several times) who was in her 50's and had never married or had children. She talked about having to deal with people making comments that she couldn't possibly know everything about kids because she didn't have any, and mentioned that we'd probably face the same kind of thing. I could see maybe understanding the demands of parenting better if you have your own child, but I don't see how it would help you with kids with specific behavior and/or academic problems, unless your child had those exact same problems.
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I do think my experiences as a parent helps me understand how to deal with parents better. I don't necessarily need my child to have the same issues.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I also think that it was an inappropriate comment. However, I agree with cutNglue--as a parent I think that I am able to look at my students (and their parents) through a different lens.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Granted, it should never have been said.

    As to me, I've become a far, far, better teacher.

    I'm more empathetic than I was. I was sympathetic before; there's a world of difference.

    I know know, deep inside my gut, that every single kid I teach is someone's whole world. That somewhere on Long Island, there's a mom and dad glancing at a watch and knowing their son or daughter is in my class, begining a math quiz, and hoping it will go well. That boy or girl is their whole life, and they would willingly give their lives for that sometimes surly adolescent. They know his sense of humor, his ambitions, all those things that make him the light of their lives.

    I knew all that stuff before. But being a mom internalized it for me.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    As for how long... It is a continuous growing thing. My thoughts and perspectives when I had babies vs toddlers vs school age kids vs teenagers is constantly changing. Babies vs school age was a big jump for me. Plug in a special needs child and that further changes my perspective.

    Having said that, I do know some amazing teachers without kids and teachers with kids that didn't seem to get it. Overall I know it does enhance my understanding.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    That was a highly inappropriate comment. I would complain to his superiors if you weren't in such a tenuous position.
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I think he's right - you do become a different teacher once you've had children.

    And doctors become different doctors.

    And artists become different artists.

    Every decent parent changed when they had children.

    With some careers that change impacts their job more than others.

    I do think I am a better teacher because I have children the age of my students. Not better than someone else, just a better version of myself.
     
  12. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I think that was very inappropriate as well. I did change as a teacher after I had kids, but that was probably not the most profound change. There a are two things that really affected me - when I realized that 99.9% of parents are really doing the best they can with the skills and knowledge and upbringing they have, I stopped judging as much. Oh, I definitely think there are parents who could do better and I don't agree with all of their decisions, but I do think they have their kids interests at heart and are trying. The other thing is when I stopped making every kids behavior as a personal challenge and let it go with more natural consequences, that it really made my days so different. I don't engage in power struggles with kids and I know that their behavior is just as likely to do with the late night or no breakfast as it is to do with me, but how I handle it can dictate how the rest of our day will be - for both of us!
     
  13. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    I often, not always, find that teachers with children have better classroom management. They know that being firm with children and having high expectations won't hurt them. I see many childless teachers, again, NOT ALL, who are afraid to discipline students and instead "reason" and negotiate with them.
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I wasn't a teacher before I had kids so I can't talk about the change but I can tell you that one thing that really helps me on the job is the understanding that parenting is not as easy as it may seem. In fact, many ideals I held years ago are still present, but some have changed. My parenting today does not look the same as what I imagined in my early 20's. We have had a lot of changes and situations along the way and it is far bumpier than I ever imagined. I try not to judge parents too harshly and realize they need support too. I also realize we are all products of our upbringing and our experiences in this world. Furthermore, I also had a profound understanding when I had multiple children. The same parent can raise a house full of kids and they all react differently. I think that's why I object so much when teachers assume things about parenting based on general behaviors they see in the classroom. I also realize that there are a lot of reasons why kids do what they do. I also realize that while my education as a teacher does have influence at home, the two are separate. I find it easier, quite frankly, to manage a classroom than I do to parent. Parenting comes with more emotional investments and often far less stability. Classrooms environments can largely be created to reflect the same procedures and routines everyday. Life is much messier. Most parents really are doing the best with what they have.

    At the moment, I am a full time stay-at-home mom. I love it. I am happy to have the opportunity right now. My family needed me. As much as I love my job, I love my family more. Having said that, I recognize there are different challenges between the classroom and home.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    If I ever become a dad, I wonder if I'll have less patience as a teacher. I mean, after getting kids ready for school, doing homework with them, making sure they're fed and well-taken care of, will I have less tolerance as a teacher (because I'm worn out from tending to my own children)?

    What do you guys think?
     
  16. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    My parents were both teachers. They were the opposite of what you describe- sometimes seemed to worn out from dealing with kids all day at school. I don't really remember my dad saying anything, but if my mom had a particularly bad day with her students, she'd come home and say something like, "you better be good tonight because I've dealt with kids acting up all day!"
     
  17. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I agree with Alice when she says that parenting helps me appreciate each student as the center of the universe for his or her parents.

    And I agree about classroom management to some extent. Two things have contributed to my classroom management: being a waitress and being a parent. I learned, as a waitress, how to say to someone, "Do it now, and do it this way exactly." I was quite a good teacher before my son and I think being a waitress helped me know how to take charge in an unequivocal way. Not all the time, of course, but sometimes.

    Once I had my son, I appreciated how much kids want and need some sense of what to do. For them, the world can be very confusing. A map (cognitively speaking) helps make it comprehensible. I see that in my son, so I provide it when it looks like my students need it.

    However. Your P was out of line. Child-free people make great teachers. Or they don't. It's about the person, not about their status in the parenting world.
     
  18. Blkjacq

    Blkjacq Companion

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    Dec 4, 2011

    I changed in two ways when I had kids (I have three - 6, 3 and 10 weeks). I learned to budget my time better and not grade absolutely every assignment.

    I also think I expect a lot more of the kids. If they tell me they had not time to read due to football, cheer, etc, I tell them that I had 2 kids in soccer practice or whatever I did that night and still got reading done. Usually it comes out that they watched TV or played video games and I have no sympathy. LOL Life does happen and I'll happily accept a note or email from parents explaining, but normally the parents have no idea the kid skipped work. Haha..

    Sorry, I got kind of off topic. Teachers can be great with or without kids, but I do agree that it gives you a different perspective. Then again, I spent WAY more time and energy on my lessons before kids.
     
  19. eireannashley

    eireannashley Rookie

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    My principal is a woman so know she was talking from her own experience. I just don't understand why she would say that. It is not something that is going to happen soon so unless she was going to tell me how she changed (which she didn't) I don't see why it was relevant.

    Before I found a teaching job ( I had to leave Chicago) I was a nanny for over a year and was basically a parent to two kids. I have awesome classroom management too. I am very proud of it. I just think it was a weird comment and I am glad to see I am not the only one!

    Thank you everyone!
     
  20. Pacificpastime

    Pacificpastime Companion

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    At the most basic level, parenting simply gives you more practice in dealing with kids. Your kids are always there and while your kid is totally unique, kids are still kids. They still try the same stunts and think similarly.
    Having kids definitely helped me prioritize my time better. One, because there was so much more to do. And two, becaues there were specific things I wanted to do for or with them that forced me to forgo other things.
     
  21. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

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    I'll let you know in about 6 months! We're due in May! :)
     

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