Summer vacation has officially begun, and I am done teaching my class. However, I am never truly done teaching. Over the summer (and all school year long), I am a mother, and therefore a teacher, to the three most important children in my life – my sons. My sons are 2, 5 and 9, and they truly make me a better teacher.
Here are some of the ways that my sons make me a better teacher:
1.) Research & Development – Any teacher with children will tell you that they might (and often do) try out lessons and resources with their personal children. When I was developing word family games for my class a few years ago, my children played them many times before my students did. My older son loved learning about Africa and creating glogs when I was preparing my Africa Unit for my students this year. Not only does this help me make better resources for my students, but my personal children are much more honest about what they do and don’t like!
2.) Keeping Me Up to Date – Thanks to my kids, I know what toys, t.v. shows, characters, and games are “cool” right now. Without my sons, I certainly wouldn’t know about Ben Ten, Ninja Go or Super Why! This helps me know what rewards might work best for my students (especially the boys – anyone want to lend me a girl?). It also helps me build connections for my students that I wouldn’t be able to build otherwise. For example, when we were doing persuasive writing, I helped one student write a persuasive essay on who was a better alien – Four Arms or Shockwave (from Ben 10).
3.) Double Dip Previews - I get to watch those “educational” videos in advance too. For example, since my two year old is currently obsessed with anything “Bus” (Magic School Bus) or “Sid” (Sid the Science Kid) at the moment, I have memorized pretty much all of the videos. This means when it is time to teach any of these science concepts, I know exactly which video best illustrates it and I don’t need to spend extra time “previewing” it. The same goes for kids’ books that I read at bedtime and activities, museums, and parks that often become the best field trips.
4.) Patience – Spending time with my own children has taught me patience. It has also taught me that the most important thing for a child is a positive relationship and quality time. I know that not all of the students I will get to teach get that patience, positive relationship and quality time at home, so I try hard to provide it for my students at school.
5.) Keeping Me Balanced – Without my children, I could easily spend ALL of my time on teaching and creating resources for teaching. However, my kids need me to be a mommy. They need me to get out of the house and take them to the park, they need me to snuggle them, read them stories, play games with them etc. I tend to be a very tunnel visioned person, especially when it comes to work. My children’s needs prevent me from being too tunnel visioned and this time away from my work helps me to stay balanced.
Are you a mom and a teacher? How does being a mom help you to be a better teacher?