'They never forget anything': 5 ways being a teacher gets you ready for becoming a parent.

Having been a member of both the profession of teaching and the unpaid profession of parenting, as it turns out, they aren’t all that different.

In fact, I would say that being a teacher provides a person with a lot of the same skills, lessons and knowledge that you require as a parent.

So if teaching didn’t scare you off kids entirely, here are some of the ways it prepares you for parenting:

Teachers translated… this is what they really mean when they say “sense of sportsmanship,” and other phrases:

Video by MMC

1. Kids are EXHAUSTING.

Whether you are teaching four-year-olds or 14-year-olds, kids are bundles of endless energy – physically, emotionally and mentally. They rarely tire and are willing to challenge you every step of the way. A simple cut and paste activity can turn into an election style debate on the art of cutting and the worst part is, you never know it is going to happen.

Parenting is almost the same – where a request to please put on shoes for school turns into a deep and meaningful pondering and questioning of why shoes are required at school and why it is unfair that they can’t wear their strappy, sparkly, party shoes with a heel that Grandma bought them for their birthday because they are much cooler (thanks Grandma).



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2. Discipline, rules and structure are not always fun but are definitely important.

Yep, BORING but totally necessary.

Without guidelines, rules and structure, a lesson with twenty something kids would be…well hell really. Having a plan means usually staying on track, teaching what you are meant to so kids learn and it means productivity. The latter usually avoids boredom which is definitely key, because we all know what boredom means… chaos.


Parenting is the same, without any rules or structure it would sooner or later be like Lord of the Flies and nobody… nobody wants that.

3. Kids all learn differently – different styles, paces and at different times.

From my time teaching, understanding that all kids learnt differently, often in polar opposite ways was essential. It was also challenging. Adapting the way you teach to suit 25 students takes time, preparation, a lot of thought and consideration and often thinking way outside the box.

There are the visual learners, the kinaesthetic learners, the linguistic learners the aural learners, the eager learners and the not so eager learners. Each student is completely different which is what makes them special but also makes teaching such hard work at times.

Your own children, despite often coming from the biology of the same two individuals and growing up in the same exact environment, doesn’t guarantee two carbon copies. I can definitely vouch for that. Approaching your children in the same way often won’t work so sometimes getting a kid to pack up their toys is a game, other times it is just a request (okay who am I kidding? Sometimes it is bribery).


4. Kids are an observant, switched on bunch.

Nothing gets past the eagle eyes of kids – they see everything, they hear everything and apparently they also have the memory of one million elephants – never forgetting a thing. I learnt this the hard way when I forgot a reward for my class after one particular stand out lesson. Never did I forget again.

“You promised we could….” Is a highly used phrase in my house by both my children. A promise is a promise and I will now always be held accountable, otherwise I will most definitely hear about it.


5. Kids are lovingly cheeky, sneaky and whether you like it or not, they always have control.

Yep, I said it, as adults we pretend to have control, we say we have control, some may even partly believe they have control but in reality we don’t.

In a classroom there are often over twenty children who share the same childish spark of cheekiness and sneakiness. They do not always execute their power but every once in a while they will join forces so they can play a game instead of the allocated task. Another thing they do is deceive us with their cuteness and seemingly innocent smiles to try and get something they want or to deny doing something they shouldn’t have.

Luckily, the majority of parents don’t have twenty something of their own children so we have the advantage of numbers. Yet the disadvantage that they are our own and our love can blind us temporarily while they sneakily apply makeup all over their face, nappy cream on the carpet or texta on the wall.

Are you a teacher? Are you also a parent? How have you found them similar? Tell us in the comments section below. 

Shona Hendley is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education. She is an animal lover and advocate, with a morbid fascination for true crime and horror movies. Shona is usually busy writing and raising her children: three goats, two cats and two humans. You can follow her on Instagram @shonamarion.