4 Parenting Lessons I Learned from Being a Teacher

4 Parenting Lessons I Learned from Being a Teacher | Houston Moms BlogWhen I first started teaching, I would always get parents who would ask me, “But do you have kids?” I really wanted to answer, “Yes—I have 27 of them!” But I didn’t. Just a simple no was always my response and it made me feel empty. Like the work that I did or didn’t do, wasn’t enough because I hadn’t given birth. Of course, now I understand that although teaching is hard work, it is different from parenting in many ways. However, there are many similarities that have helped propel me into my 14th year of teaching. Below are 4 parenting lessons I’ve learned from also being a teacher.

There’s always room in your heart to love

When I was little, I remember my brother coming home for the first time. I was big mad! I mean I had been the youngest for 5 years, and the cutest, and the one that got away with everything! I convinced myself that there was no way my parents could love me, but they did {and still do}. I understand how my parents would be confused now; of course they could love me.
As a teacher, I would get so sad at the end of the year. Like, I just remembered all of your names and now you have to leave? I wasn’t sure I could remember a whole class of kids’ names, let alone love them and teach them the same as the last group of kids. But of course, just like my parents, I can love every student that walks in my classroom. The ones with no supplies, the ones who struggled to get to school on time, and the ones who seem like they have it all together. They all need me, just like all of my siblings needed parents.

Consistency and routine are important—but also super hard

The first week of school is filled with lots of glitz and glamour—not really. Any veteran teacher will tell you that this is the time to build your expectations for your students. Through these expectations your students will know you and you will know them. And just as you seem to have everything together—BOOM, it’s June and you have to prepare to do it all over again. Kind of like parenting, right? As soon as you have them potty trained, it’s time to teach them to ride their bike or read a book, and then its puberty and driving and college. It all happens so fast, but through every stage in their life you flow and create the expectations that are just right for your family.

 Try again, and again and again

In the classroom, nothing goes as planned. Just as you finished your circle time, attendance bell rings, then a surprise observation, and a kid vomits and then a fire drill! Some days you cry in your car or manage to make it to happy hour with your friends. Some days you have it together and everything you wrote in your Erin Condren planner gets done so well that you have time to go to the bathroom on your planning period. There are just as many ups as there are downs and you rely on the ups to keep you going. That was the best advice that I got as a new teacher:: Don’t give up, remember that you were succeeding when you fail, and remember the failures when you succeed. Same with parenting- we don’t often have it all together. I mean some days you forget to give your kid their lunch and have to haul it through the lovely Houston traffic to make sure that Lunchable is in their hands by noon. But remember that you were entrusted with this job because you can handle it and don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back when their lunch is so Pinterest worthy that you don’t even believe you made it.

Your goals are just as important as the children’s

My 6th year teaching, I decided to move to Chicago and work on my Masters. I’m a Midwesterner at heart, so I felt like I was going home. However, moving, working full time, getting a masters—and eventually being pregnant were not a recipe for smooth transition. Many times I wanted to give up, but I told my students every day that when things get hard, you work harder. I teach them that we set goals to challenge ourselves and to improve who we are. So if I was standing in front of a bunch of kids on the Westside of Chicago preaching that—then I damn sure better walk the talk.

Isn’t that true as a parent? It’s easy to say- “Do as I say!” but how many times have you seen that work? Kids watch us and copy, so if you want your kid to be a better reader—read with them! If you want them to learn an instrument, you learn a new skill as well. It is important for us to remember that we are never too old or too young to set goals—that’s what makes this life worth living.

For the teachers that don’t have kids of their own don’t believe that you are any less of an educator. For those that transition into parenting, remember that all of the lessons you have learned can be used to help you raise a wonderful child.

Happy New School year!

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