There's a strong bond that us teachers' kids have, and it's because we've all known what it was like to have parents who thrive to educate. While it might be Teacher Appreciation Week, we pretty much celebrate this (pretty important) occasion on a year-round basis. While I avoided all situations where my parents and I were in the same school — despite one awkward year where I took two classes at our high school as an 8th grader every morning — I was able to see both of them in action at some point in my life, which made me desperately wish I actually had the passion to join the profession myself. Seeing them enjoy their classrooms was just kind of an incredible experience, especially as I got older, and I wasn't just dragged along for an awkward "Take Your Daughter To Work Day."
Unfortunately, really excellent teachers typically don't have mass anxiety over presentations, and know how to control the classroom without getting overwhelmed, which are two qualities I sadly lack. They're also super passionate about the subject they're teaching, and their enthusiasm helps kids care, for once, about history or chemistry. For example, my mom knew she wanted to be a first grade teacher when she was in second grade, and held onto that dream throughout her entire young life — and actually accomplished it. If I followed the same thought path as my mom, I would have been a veterinarian right now. (Note: I am not a veterinarian. At the time, I thought the job description was just "hang out with cats.")
Of course, there are moments growing up where kids like me don't appreciate the fact that their parents are in the school district. For example, for the normal kid, school is a place to get away from home life, and the only time the two seemingly intertwine is on report card day and the dreaded parent-teacher conference night (which was yet another anxiety trigger, even though it meant that I could totally eat pizza that night instead of the typical dinner fare).
Here are a few other struggles teachers' kids will relate to.
1. The "every teacher is great" mindset your parents instilled in you at an early age
Even if my math teacher made totally racist jokes in class, I knew my parents weren't a good outlet for my frustration. "He just has a different style of teaching," they told me. The method was kind of annoying at the time, but 100 percent appropriate from my folks. Surely they had opinions, but they'd never even think to share them with their kid. They knew teaching was hard work, and would rather me quietly pass the class and move on, than try to judge and blame their fellow educator.
2. No test is a secret
While my sister and I were generally good kids, I knew that in our case, bad behavior wouldn't just be saved for discussion during a parent-teacher conference. If behavior was bad enough, my dad would probably hear about it directly.
He did, once. My art teacher once accused me of lying about something, and my dad heard about it that same day. I stand by my innocence (it was seriously a miscommunication), but still had to apologize for it during the next class I had with him. Because, point #1.
3. Going to college isn't a choice
Having parents who work in education means that taking a one-year "discovering yourself" break is not really an option. Granted, I thought the idea of college was great, and wanted to go. But not going? Not an option.
4. You think every bad choice in school might reflect badly on your parents
At least, this is what I thought throughout school. It explains why I was bawling in the principal's office after getting detention for the first time in 8th grade. I didn't really care about having to stay after school — in fact, maybe it'd give my young personality a little edge. I worried about my parents being seen poorly, since their youngest daughter couldn't shut her mouth in the lunch room.
Obviously nobody who worked with my parents knew, or cared. Even my parents were pretty chill with the news. But again, you always think up the worst scenarios when you're somehow involved with their workplace.
5. Teachers treat you differently depending on how they view your parents
I am so happy that my parents were generally liked, yet I definitely feel as if the first impression my teachers got from me were never based on anything I had actually done myself. I think that all younger siblings can also agree on this point — if your sister or brother was a problem child, chances are people view anyone within the same family name in a similar fashion. Imagine being a younger sibling, as well as the child of someone who used to be their authority figure. Teachers are adults, and should be respected, but they hold grudges just like everyone else.
6. There was a time and a place for homework
For me, it was immediately after dinner. And even worse, it had to be done in our strangely-lit dining room on an uncomfortable chair. No homework was to be done in front of the television, and no distractions were welcome (so I'm sorry Julie, but I'll have to call you back when I'm done with these massively impossible division problems). While my parents were willing to help, sometimes they seemed a little too eager. They were good at helping, being teachers and everything, but sometimes they extended it into more of a tutoring session. I just spent all day learning! Let me suffer through my stupid homework alone!
7. Parties at your house were the best parties... until you got to high school
Being around kids all day, my parents knew how to entertain. My mom, especially, was big on games and songs and group activities.
While I didn't appreciate it as much during my transition into a moody teen, my friends all seemed to have a great time when we were younger — and looking back, I realized that a lot of parents didn't put half as much energy into these types of events. I mean, we made homemade hair barrettes one year. Homemade! And they actually worked! Best party favor ever.
Then high school hit, and party games and favors were so middle school. Your birthday wish on your 17th birthday was simply to be left alone for once.
8. You always had to adhere to the dress code
I was traumatized when my parents tried to buy me jean shorts one year, because they were meant for a boy. However, they took the dress code seriously, and my knees would be covered regardless of what the trend was. My main focus was trying not to be made fun of for wearing women's clothing as a 12-year-old, and it was tough to reach any kind of compromise.
9. Your parents were local celebrities
Seriously, you can't go out for a light dinner with them without having them run into someone they know, whether it be another teacher, a school janitor, or some kid who they taught a decade ago. If they had a good relationship with them, that person probably knows a lot about you already. "Oh, Karen! You went to college out in Pennsylvania, right?" You've learned to nod, smile, and be polite — and then promptly forget their name, because this happens all of the time.
10. Issues from school are apparently still issues
I got pretty decent grades, and I was in a few extracurricular activities as well. I was perfect "state school material" by the time college came around. An all-around B-average student.
One extracurricular I wasn't in? National Honor Society. The NHS kids got special ropes to go along with their robes, and a special spot in the yearbook. And probably some other stuff that I don't know about, because I was never asked to join. Not being inducted literally had zero impact on my own life, but my dad still occasionally brings it up.
He's also bitter that I didn't attend the awards ceremony at the end of the year, because the whole event sounded positively horrifying to teenage me. Sitting on stage, unsure when you'd get called up? Nightmare. What if I had to go to the bathroom when my award was called? What if I got an embarrassing award? Instead, I chose to pick up a shift at my retail job, and my dad is still really ashamed of this choice nearly 15 years later. If only I knew that sitting out on one weird ceremony would scar my family forever. Teacher parents, am I right?
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