…is also the one that I never got asked before I had kids. For that matter, I never got it before my kids started school. But here goes:
“You’re a parent. What would you do if you were me?”
Granted, I’ve been able to call on being a parent in so many ways as a teacher. It’s helped me to see that there’s only one child in the room: yours. Parenthood has helped me realize just how hard, how incredibly hard it is, to support our kids. I know that lots of teaching advice doesn’t work in real life. I understand how tricky it is to help kids navigate school, navigate life. Because I’m a parent, just like you.
What would I do in situations as a parent? You’re asking me for advice-as a parent? That’s when I get nervous. See, I’m a parent, just like you.
My kids are an extension of me, just like yours.
I correct their table manners, remind them to say please and thank you, and fight with them to take showers.
I worry about giving my children a balance between freedom and safety.
I check on them at night while they’re sleeping.
I cart them all over creation in my mama-mobile.
I worry that I don’t do enough for them, that I don’t spend enough time with them, that I don’t support their schooling as much as I wish I could.
I sneak kisses whenever I can.
I laugh at their terribly disgusting humor, all while hoping they don’t talk like that at school.
I worry about being “that parent”– a pushy, aggressive, helicopter mom.
I worry that in trying not to be “that parent,” I’m not a strong enough advocate for my child.
I worry that the decisions I make for them are the wrong ones.
Yep, I said it. I make decisions for my own kids all the time, thinking they’re the right ones. But who knows? I imagine my kids will be in therapy at some point in their lives; I just can’t predict what for.
I’ve been in this business for longer than any of my students have been alive. And yes, I joke that my students are “my kids,” and I am incredibly protective of them, much as a parent would be. I still keep in contact with kids who are out of college by now.
But I’m not their parent.
Listen, folks, I can give you as much advice as you want — as a teacher. As a parent, I can identify with many of your challenges, successes and hopes and speak of them firsthand. But advice? I’m as new to much of parenting thing as anybody out there.
The best I can do is to share with you what I know about your kid, what I know about teaching and learning, and work with you to help your child flourish.
I do the best I can do with what I have and what I know.
Just like you.