Thursday, February 11, 2010

Teachers V's Parents

Almost seven years ago I quit teaching.  Yep, resigned.  Didn't take leave, didn't have kids, just walked out.  Why? Lots of reasons but mainly I'd just had enough and couldn't do it anymore and never wanted to go back.  I still loved the kids, I loved being in the classroom, but all the other stuff got to me badly.  Luckily I can sew and began dressmaking from home for a couple of years, before my two little angels came along and then I happily turned into a stay-at-home-mum.  That was my goal all along, really.  It's my dream job. I don't want to do anything else. But it's going to be hard to justify staying home when they are both at school, even though I would love to!  So I'm preparing myself for going back teaching sometime during the next couple of years.

But this post isn't really about that.

I taught for 13 years.  For all of that time I was a teacher, not a parent.  And, as ridiculous as it sounds, for a long time I didn't like parents very much.  Parent's made me incredibly nervous!  I have always been a shy person, I have never liked speaking to a group of adults (kids I have absolutely no problem talking to...give me a room full of them...I love it!), and I've never been very good at 'standing up for myself'.

(Oh my God, I have sweaty palms typing this!)

With 13 years of teaching comes hundreds and hundreds of parents and most of them, actually just about ALL of them were wonderful.  Model parents, dreams parents even.  But it only took a handful to make me shake in my (teacher) boots.  My confidence grew as I matured and I did get better at calmly talking to an aggrieved parent.  I am a very non-confrontational person.  I only want to get on with everyone and keep everyone happy.  But of course, that is never possible, and to a not very confident, inexperienced little teacher, parents became my enemy.  It was a terrible attitude, but that's how I felt. 

Now I am a parent, with a child at school.  However, I still feel like a teacher in the school grounds, more than I feel like a parent.  I'm still surprised when kids call me 'Thea' instead of 'Mrs Smith'.  I have friends with kids at the same school talking to me like I'm a parent (because I am) and putting down the school and the teachers.  I don't like it.  I feel very confused about this new world I'm in.  I guess it's just because it's all still very new.  I have to learn what it's like to be a parent in a teacher's world and a teacher in a parent's world. And believe me, they are different worlds!  That doesn't mean though, that we are natural enemies.  I don't believe that at all anymore...thank God!!  Differences happen, they just need to be dealt with respectfully, by both sides.There are plenty of teachers who are parents and parents who are teachers, so I'll find the balance eventually.

I'm a little surprised at myself, but being at the school every day does make me miss being a teacher. 


  1. I'm sure you'll work it out.
    I try and give my kids' teachers lots of positive feedback. They do an awesome job.
    I helped out yesterday doing some reading with the grade 1's and I was so scared of them!

  2. Seriously, I'm going to find people to needle you on various topics every hour until you bust out so many blogs the internet actually collapses under the weight.
    You rule. My Mum was a teacher, I'll ask her about this next time I see her!

  3. Interesting post for me as I've just gone back to uni to become a teacher. From what I hear the parent part of teaching can be the worst of all.

    Will be interesting to see how I like it.

  4. I have the utmost respect and admiration for teachers because I just could not do it. I couldn't deal with the kids OR the parents on a daily basis!

  5. I was a teacher too. After all that study, I lasted just 3 months in the classroom - I absolutely HATED it. Have never regretted leaving!!!! I take my hat off to teachers because I know firsthand what a huge job it is. To be a teacher is a very special gift. It's just not one of mine!

  6. I couldn't be a teacher now, might have managed when I was young but I'd just yell now lol. So I admire anyone who is one or has been one. I've dealt with a few teachers during my daughter's school years and I've not found many things to complain about, only one teacher I really thought was a problem and one that needed to stop and think about some of the things she said. There's stories attached to both so one day you'll read about them :)

    It would be really weird coming at things from the other side but you're right, you will find your balance :)

  7. I am so with you on this....after being off for just over a year I am not missing teaching anywhere near what I thought I would (or should!). Being a stay at home mum isn't trendy but I love it (most of the time).

    I too miss the kids and the fun and and all the good stuff that goes with teaching but i sure don't miss the "extras", Parent info nights, reports, staff meetings etc, etc, etc.

    I am sure that you wouldn't be one of "those" parents anyway. You know what they are like and I'm sure you are the total opposite and are a much loved parent!

  8. Sounds like you must have had a few "bad" confrontations!

    But it's great to hear that you do actually miss teaching. Sometimes a break from things is really all we need to realise how much we love it.

  9. When my kids first started school I was quite intimidated by the teachers (I don't have a high level of education). It wasn't until I worked at a school as a teachers aide and mingled in the staff room and realised a lot of them were useless lol, a different perspective I guess.

  10. I think Thea that from what I know of you, you are both a brilliant teacher and a brilliant mother. I think that this very idea is a bridge I will cross at some point. I think becoming a midwife, one day when I have my own children I will cross that line too, going from the professional to the amateur. It will be different, but I await that adventure as I await the every energy I can muster.

  11. I bet you would have been a great teacher, Thea and now you have kids of your own, it takes teaching to a different level.

    Well, that's just my $0.02!


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