This article was written by Ali Solomon - a NYC public middle school art teacher for the past 15 years. She' written for The Huffington Post, McSweeney's, and Scary Mommy, among others. Find more of her work at her blog, Facebook page, or Twitter.
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When you became a teacher, you figured it would be the perfect job for a working parent: send the little ones off in the mornings, pick them up after school and help with homework, never miss a bedtime, summers off.
Not so fast.
Okay, so the "summers off" thing is a dream. But the realities of being a teacher-parent come with some unexpected challenges.
1. Your school schedules are exactly the same.
Here's a math word problem straight from the textbook:
Q: You have to be at work by 8 am. Your daughter's school also starts at 8 am. If it takes you 15 minutes to get her to school, and 45 minutes to get to your job, what time do you need to leave in the morning?
A: The numbers are impossible (even using Common Core math).
Be prepared to hire morning help and fork over major moolah for an after-school program.
2. Your school events are at the same times.
As a teacher, there are several events you absolutely must attend: back-to-school night, parent-teacher conferences, and the first and last day of school.
Your child's school will probably hold their events on the exact same days. Which means you'll have to forfeit meeting her new teacher on the first day of school, conference via email, and send a proxy (grandma) to her end-of-school dance performance.
3. It's hard to leave school when emergencies come up.
It would be fantastic to drop everything and race to your kid's school for every headache, runny nose, or forgotten lunch box. But you can't abandon a classroom of thirty-three kids; it takes Rube Goldberg-esque machinations to make a getaway. We're talking hours. So unless your kid is puking up her Pizza Friday, or has a fever safely in the triple digits, they have to occasionally ride it out.
4. You know what all the teacher lingo really means.
Having interacted with parents for years, you know the secret slang teachers use when sugarcoating a child's behaviors. "He's really active" means "Your child thinks the science lab is a gymnasium." "She's very friendly" is "She treats my class like a sorority mixer." "He's a hard worker" translates to "Your son is the nicest kid ever and I thoroughly enjoy having him in my class. Also, he's failing."
Now, when these lines are used back on you, you know the score.
5. You overcompensate with the holiday gifts.
Knowing what a difficult and draining job teaching is, and how easily we can feel under-appreciated, you go above and beyond to show your children's teachers gratitude. And nothing says "thank you for helping my child love learning" like an Amazon gift card.
6. You can't take the teacher out of the classroom...
From explaining the water cycle every time it rains, to delving into color theory while they're finger-painting, to introducing step-by-step instructions for playing tag, every life event has become a "teachable moment." Maybe you should stop putting an "aim" up on their bedroom wall each morning.
7. You see firsthand what dramas are coming down the pike.
Sure, your daughter is only in kindergarten. For now. Pretty soon she'll be dealing with friend conflicts, peer pressure, and cliques. And that's just 1st grade! Knowing what's coming doesn't make it any easier to deal with it. But hopefully, by that time, Snapchat will no longer be a thing.
8. Your offspring will never own a fidget spinner.
Sorry, but your child's teachers will thank you.