My son’s teacher is getting married.
Care factor for you? I know, it’s zero. But imagine if it was your child’s teacher. What’s your reaction then?
I’m relatively new to this school thing and I tell you, I’m stunned when I heard the reaction of many of the other mothers. I’m going to string it out a bit before I tell you because it really was such a shock to me. But it isn’t the first thing that has shocked me about parents and teachers.
It’s an odd relationship, isn’t it? You entrust the care of your little one to a grown-up you hardly know for a third of your day. The very being you birthed and nurtured and cocooned is suddenly given to someone else to shape. You trust this person. You have to.
So why do so many of us look down on them?
I want to pre-empt my big reveal by letting you know my thoughts on my son’s teacher. I think you need to know this before we go on.
I think I am a little bit in love with her.
I will tell you why. My son’s in Year One at his local public school and week two this year she approached me in the playground on a Monday morning.
“Shauna” she called. “I was thinking about Jasper on the weekend…”
(You were WHAT?)
(You were THINKING ABOUT MY SON ON THE WEEKEND?)
She THINKS about MY SON in her spare time.
She was concerned about his writing and thought that a pencil grip might assist him, so she had sourced some. ON THE WEEKEND. For my son.
I was dumbfounded. It blew me away. These teachers and their dedication. Their interest. The absorption in their job.
At that moment: I think I fell a little bit in awe.
I can’t imagine being a teacher, being surrounded by five, six, seven-year-olds and their outbursts and lack of control and their snot and their dirty nails. And being such an important factor in their future. The level of responsibility would floor me I think.
That’s why I was so shocked at some parents’ reaction to her impending wedding.
“Do you think she spends all day planning the wedding?” said one.
“God, how much time do you suppose she will take off for the honeymoon?” was another reaction.
“Not a wedding, that’s terrific.” was a sarcastic reply. “There goes the school work.”
Seriously, people. Get a grip. Do you really think a late-20s, professional woman can’t compartmentalise her personal life and her work?
How critical are we women of each other (and younger women)? Do we really think once they get a man they lose interest in their jobs?
I want to stand up at school assembly and berate these Mums.
Is it a Generation X/Generation Y issue? Are we so unsupportive of our younger sisters that we look down upon their choices?
Or is it the fact she is a teacher, with its preconceived reputation of being a 9am-3pm “easy job”. When, in fact, most teachers I know work longer hours than the average office worker.
I recounted this story to another teacher I know quite well, who told me that on her first day of teaching at a different school to mine the principal told her, “Good luck, but remember whatever you do, the parents will still look down on you and think they are better than you.”
Depressing revelation, huh?
Whatever the reasons for the reaction to my son’s teacher’s wedding, they were sad and a little bit shameful. I hope that this woman whom I admire and am in such awe of doesn’t find out, as I truly believe that she and all the other young teachers I know are doing one of the hardest jobs in the country.
How do you feel about your children’s teachers?
This post originally appeared on iVillage and has been republished here with full permission.