If you were hoping to keep your private life, well, private, then I hate to break it to you, but you picked the wrong profession. Because teacher privacy is an oxymoron. Those kids are going to know everything about you, from your shoe size to what you smell like up close. There’s something to be said for sharing about yourself and making connections, but it sure would be nice if at least some “private” things actually stayed private! Like …
Young children in particular have no sense of social boundaries. I mean, you can’t expect someone who doesn’t think poop talk is taboo not to ask you your age. They are obsessed with ages. (“I’m 5. And after I’m done being 5, I’m going to be 6!”) I guess you don’t have to tell them, but if you leave it to a guess, they’re probably going to go on thinking you are going on 100.
Your Relationship Status
If you’re a woman, students will try and draw conclusions from your prefix. Failing that, they’ll ask. I was unattached for most of my teaching career, and “Miss Read, why don’t you have a boyfriend?” was an everyday refrain. And if you have a last name change (even from one year to the next), your divorce just became common knowledge.
When you’re a teacher, you eat when you can. Your students are going to see what you do and don’t consume. (You don’t have to tell them you went on Whole 30… they know because you didn’t eat a birthday cupcake as usual). We ate in our classrooms, so I usually had lunch with the kids. And let me tell you: They. Are. Nosy. Nosy and opinionated. Sorry not sorry my curry looks gross to you.
Your Personal Life
If you have a paper planner, you might want to write in code because kids will be all up in there. I once had a student ask me why I had circled the day in red (you’re going to have to wait for Human Growth and Development Day, buddy). On another occasion, a kiddo grilled me on who Sam was and why I was having dinner with him.
Sure, you can try to hide it. I know some teachers can. But I also remember my classmates snooping through my junior high science teacher’s desk drawers and finding a pack of cigarettes. And if you drink at all and live in your community, there’s a 100% chance you will run into a student at the grocery store with a cart full of cabernet bottles.
How Much You Make
Teacher salaries are public information, so older, Internet-savvy students can easily find out what you’re bringing in. They might not know where you fall on the schedule, unless you put your diploma up in your classroom (oops) or mentioned how long you’d been teaching in your Back to School letter (double oops).
Good luck hiding this one from little people who clue into every tiny change. You can’t even trim your bangs without them noticing. Maybe you can keep it under wraps if you’re not a puker, but I threw up so often the kids dubbed the small reading group table “the splash zone.”
Hello, teaching degree … goodbye, bodily autonomy. At least for elementary teachers, you will be touched. I had kids crawl into my lap, hold my hand, and play with my hair. I used to have them sit on the floor during read aloud, and one time I caught a fourth grader stroking my stockinged leg.
What other parts of your life aren’t private when it comes to your students? Come share in our Facebook group, WeAreTeachers HELPLINE!