Does being a teacher make you a better parent? Or vice versa? Is there an inherent conflict in this role switching?
1. Your parenting feeds off your dedication and vice versa: The best teachers show a great dedication to their schoolchildren and that practice goes home with you. The willingness to start a project and finish it becomes a key factor.
2. Being a parent feeds off your patience: As parents we might tend to “lose it” as we get emotionally involved and allow ourselves certain outbursts. However a good teacher learns to control oneself, and with intense practice, the parent/teacher feels it is unfair to treat other people’s children quietly while treating one’s own emotionally.
3. It’s also about treating each child individually: Howard Gardner educates teachers about the uniqueness of each child with his theory of multiple intelligences. A good teacher tends to take that home, and the differentiation is applied; mom says one child likes to study quietly and independently and the other does not. One needs more time and the other barely studies, yet excels. The mother/teacher understands why these things happen and tries to cater for both with a lot of understanding and insight.
4. It helps to lend a listening ear to your children: A good teacher is also a good counsellor, and as you listen to your students, you realise their happiness and sorrows and you wonder: am I listening to my own children? Am I giving them enough time to express their emotions and how they feel about certain events in their lives?
5. Being a teacher hones your organisational skills: Taking care of many children makes it easier to watch over your own at home, keep them safe, educate them, and above all ensure that the daily process is a happy one.
6. It helps establish daily rules at home: In a good classroom environment, rules are set whereby both students and teachers know what to expect from each other. This skill is an amazing practice when brought home. Children universally work best with established routines and this practice minimises parents’ negative energy that feels overwhelmed when their children are unruly or not well managed.
7. It adds variety and spice to life: As a good teacher, you vary your methods of teaching to entertain your students: class trips, visitors, adventures, projects, etc… That carries over to home, brighter ideas to entertain the family, to keep life interesting and minimise daily hassles with a variety of activities.
8. It helps in the upbringing of children: “Mom! Please tell me what to do… not what I should not do!” A good teacher would tell students what to do in certain situations as the training in pedagogy is dominant in classrooms and consequently, also at home.
9. It accentuates the teaching practices for our own children: Parent/teachers can design specific methods for teaching their own children as they bring home ideas and tools for better learning from the classroom.
10. Parenting never ends: One thing a parent/teacher will know is that unlike being a teacher in a classroom, parenting never ends. It knows no deadline. As teachers, we abide by a set curriculum and a set of objectives and deadlines. But parenting, like diamonds, is forever. Our children are part of our life and not our job.
— Dr Grace Chami-Sather is a senior educational consultant based in Dubai.