I’ve been a teacher’s kid all my life. My mom has taught for 37 years and was even my first grade teacher (we won’t talk about how long ago that was). She’s retiring this year and while she is looking forward to the “next chapter,” I know she will miss it terribly. During these years, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to cultivate this list. If you were a TK (teacher’s kid), chances are you can relate, too.
1. You were held at a higher standard.
All your teachers knew you—the good and bad—before the first bell rang. You were expected to behave, get good grades, be social (but not too social) and set an example for other kids. It was exhausting.
2. Getting in trouble at school was kind of a big deal.
In the rare occurrence when you acted out, your parent knew immediately. Or in my case, for a year of my life, mom had tabs on me every second of the day. And trust me, the “teacher voice” wasn’t just reserved for the classroom.
3. Everything in your house was organized, clean and sanitized.
Just like her classroom. That you helped organize. And clean. And sanitize.
4. Your home seemed to have an endless supply of red pens.
My mom was always grading papers. Often I got asked to grade papers, too. I learned to decipher first grade penmanship like a pro. But if you needed a blue pen…you were outta luck.
5. You were the first to know about snow days, delays or exciting news at school.
Your parent didn’t even wake you up on snow days ‘cuz she had known since 4 AM. When a teacher is pregnant, there’s a new student, or a kid was expelled, you knew the gossip before the rest of the school.
6. Your parent held local celeb status.
Everywhere you went: the grocery store, library or a restaurant some kid would yell, “Hi Mrs. P!” And she would address every student by his or her first and last names, even if it had been 25 years since they were in her class. (And yet, she sometimes calls you by your siblings’ names…even though all your siblings are boys).
7. Your parent was always good with kids, much to your simultaneous delight and disappointment.
My friends always liked coming to our house. Not necessarily for me either. My mom just “got” kids, was nurturing and fun, and cooked great meals on top of every other hat she wore.
8. You were regulars at every teacher supply store within a 50-mile radius.
Summer was “planning time” which meant heading to every teacher store in the area for new ideas and supplies. I still get a pang of nostalgia every time I enter The Learning Shop.
9. In August, you spent at least two weeks helping your parent get their classroom ready.
You got really good with the laminator and copy machine, and could set up a bulletin board in your sleep. You knew all of the students’ names, in alphabetical order.
10. You dreamed of being a teacher.
Whenever we played “school” I always asked to be the teacher. Every time someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “teacher.” Adults would always say, “You’d make a great teacher someday.” So why am I not a teacher? Good question. (Might have something to do with #2…)
Extra Credit: As an adult, your admiration for your parent reaches a new height.
If you were lucky enough to have been raised by a teacher, you understand the selfless sacrifices and countless hours. You’ve seen their accomplishments, the appreciation of their students and the inspiring in the day-to-day. You know that if teaching meant they could just teach and play with kids all day (forget the other “stuff”), they’d do it for another 37 years.
You know they didn’t choose their career for the money, but because they truly want to make a difference in a child’s life. And you couldn’t be prouder.