Thursday, June 2, 2011

This I believe--The 3rd set of parents are teachers

I enjoyed teaching, and I think I was pretty good at it.  Naive, perhaps, as a young childless person who studied children and parenting from a nice objective distance.

At the time, I believed that I could make a difference in the life of a child and hopefully many children.  I believed that I had talents to share.  I believed that my strengths in organization and writing would be an asset to me in the field.  I believed that my need to have a routine with some organized chaos about it would also be a good fit for teaching.  I believed that teachers did a heck of a lot of work and thoroughly deserved higher pay and longer breaks from school.

And I still believe all this stuff, and even more now that I have the insight of being a parent with a child who will be a 2nd grader in August and a soon-to-be preschooler in September.

I believe that a parent is a child's first and potentially best teacher if he/she is consistent, kind, willing to sacrifice and encouraging of learning in all its incarnations.  A parent teaches a child to share, to deal with disappointment, to be responsible, to be polite, to not burn bridges and many other challenging life lessons.

I believe that grandparents are a child's second teacher....the ones who teach them absolute fun and unconditional love.  The kind of love that showers them with attention and adoration.  The kind of love that parents would like to give but can't because they have to teach their children to be decent.  Grandparents can get away with indulging the yard-ape-behavior and sugar-addictions.

I believe that teachers are a child's 3rd parent---the ones who teach them it is ok for mom and dad to be away because the child will still be safe and cared for; the ones who teach them to be a little wary about how they behave since not everyone adores you like a grandma or would die for you like a mom; the ones who can somehow manage to get the child to do his/her best work without argument (which mom is simply unable to do no matter how hard she tries.)

Even though I am nearing 40 years of age, I remain in contact with my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. S.  She was in my wedding.  She has been a voice of constant reassurance and guidance and encouragement to me for years.  She is among the first people to get a little note and pics of my children when I pick them up from the portrait studio.

She is a large part of the reason I became a teacher.

Teaching and love of learning are in my soul.  They are the reason I immerse my kids in things they love.  They are the reason I take an active role in their education.  They are the reason I opted to stay at home with my kids----devoting my life for a time to the early childhood development of my own.  

My parents taught me to respect my teachers.  I knew my teachers were the boss of me at school, and my parents were the boss of me at home.  And I knew that if I got in trouble with my teachers I would catch holy heck for it as soon as my butt hit the back door.  I knew that my parents had my best interests at heart but would also always listen to the authority of my teachers and their experience/education before believing any old random explanation I gave them.

On this last day of school, after having realized I forgot this entire school year to get a picture of her with her 1st grade teacher, I ran up with both boys in tow to snap a quick pic of N and Mrs. B.

To her and all my friends who taught me or taught my child or teach my child or will soon teach my other child or who teach any child----

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My 8th grade teacher, Mrs. S, and the kids.  

Ms. M, N and Ms. S (N's 3-year-old preschool teacher)

Ms. J and N (her 4-year-old preschool teacher)

Mrs. A and N (Kindergarten teacher)

Mrs. C and N (Kindergarten teacher assistant)
Mrs. B and N (1st grade teacher)


Mrs. B. said...

I love this post. You are such an insightful person, Carrie. Norah is soooo lucky to have a mommy like you!! Erin and I both believe you were an amazing teacher when you taught, and you are simply amazing at being a mother!

Keri said...

Well-said, and great pictures!