- Teacher Confession: The Student I’ll Never Forget - May 18, 2019
- Teaching Abroad: The Pros and Cons - May 5, 2019
- Your Children Are Not Your Students - May 1, 2019
- But You’re Such A Strong Teacher - April 23, 2019
- Is Your Teaching Experience an Abusive Relationship? - April 15, 2019
Your Children Are Not Your Students
Parent guilt is a beast all by itself. Whenever it can show up, it does. When I want some “me time” after I’ve raised my voice, or when I’ve given them something I know they shouldn’t have, it’s right there waiting.
But for me, it’s been showing up more often after I get home from work. After giving my all to my students at school, I feel like my tank is empty when I unlock the door and see my two kids standing there, waiting to just be seen and held by me. That’s when the guilt sets in. At that moment, I just want to go and rest and release all my burdens from my day, but my children need me to hold them. My throat is dry and I want to save what little voice I have left for the next day, but my children need to hear me acknowledge them. I want to just take a few minutes for myself, but my children haven’t seen me all day and want to tell me about what they learned throughout their day.
My twins are only two, but they have so much to say. They’re my shadows when I get home, at the front door, to the bedroom, and to the bathroom. There’s no shaking them. As much as I love it, I know that I need a few moments to regain my strength to start my second job, mommyhood.
I try my best to release my school business before I enter the door, but it can be so hard. Sometimes, the majority of my day is spent putting out fires, trying to get students to value what I’m teaching, and to simply stop talking at the same time I’m talking. That is 80% of my job. The other 20% is content. So, I’m raising my voice. I’m addressing student behavior and trying to redirect. I’m doing my best to remain patient and centered so that I don’t say something that would cause a disinterested student to become a discouraged student. My patience is gone at the end of the day. What compassion I’ve had is diminished. My ability to let the little things go has been all used up…
… and now I have to go home and face my toddlers, who need every ounce of my compassion, patience, and unconditional love. Unfortunately, they don’t always get it as much as they should.
The little things become huge, annoying things that I have to address each time. Whatever used to be addressed in a calm, patient voice, is now addressed in a tone that’s dismissive and angry. Spilling a cup of water causes me to snap at my children. When they’re not moving fast enough, I get irritated and begin to shout.
Had I become this monster that has no mercy and no patience to deal with my own children?
But what started to happen caused me to put myself in check and take the time to take a moment or two in the car to reset myself before coming home to my own children.
My toddlers started to see my frustration with them. Instead of storming off or distancing themselves from me, they come in closer. Whenever I started getting frustrated, out of the blue they would say, “I love you Mommy.” Whenever I started to shout, they would start to say “Mommy” very softly and come closer to me. As soon as I locked my car, and the alarm would chirp, I could hear their excitement before I got to the door and open it.
My toddlers were helping to regenerate my compassion, and I didn’t even know it. They were showing me why they needed Mommy to be at least at 50% before coming home. They still need to be embraced, loved, given compassion, shown patience, and not treated as if they are always in the wrong.
My girls were showing me, “Mommy, we are not your students. We are your children.”
It hurt to admit it, but I was treating my children as my students. It was period 9, 10, and 11 in my home. My girls were still breaking rules. They weren’t meeting expectations I set. They weren’t listening.
These were triggering Mrs. Allyson from school and not Mommy.
It’s not an easy place to be. It’s not easy to admit. But since I’ve faced it, admitted it, and accepted it as my truth, I have begun making the necessary adjustments. I spend a few minutes in the car before going into the house. I’ll make a stop or two before getting home so I can separate myself from school. My new habit is to leave school at EXACTLY 2:00 PM. I call and complain to my husband before I get home to let out any frustrations I have.
Then, I take time to listen to the excitement I hear on the other side of the door waiting for me to simply walk in the door and be Mommy. At that moment, I make the effort to take off the “Mrs. Allyson” cap and put on my Mommy cape.
Our children still need us. Our children still need our love. They still need our compassion. Their first teacher is YOU, not as their teacher, but as their parent.
Your children are not your students.