The Difference Between Teaching And Parenting

The Difference Between Teaching And Parenting

One of my oldest friends once told me that the children in our classrooms have learnt by the end of the year how to push our buttons. By the end of the year, she said, we are ready to get our new class and start afresh. Our children, on the other hand she philosophised have a lifetime to learn how to drive us crazy.

It’s just one of the many reasons that I will never be as good a mum as I am a teacher.

As a teacher I have infinite patience, am unfailingly consistent and even manage what resembles – to the outside world at least – organisation. As a mum, I fail at all three of those things on a pretty much daily basis!

It’s not that I care about parenting less than I care about teaching. And I certainly don’t love my children any less than I care about my students.

The fact is, that I am just human.

As a teacher I live in a perfect world. A world for which I can plan. A world in which the cooking and cleaning are done by others, a secretary takes phone calls and parents experience the sleepless nights (well most of them anyway).

As a parent we have to juggle all those things. We are rarely ‘just’ a mummy. We are cooks, cleaners, secretaries and night nurses. We have multiple priorities that we forced to juggle with each day.

And as much as I would love to be the kind of mum that I am teacher, I have to recognise that I probably never will be.

I love my children more than life itself.

But I will probably always yell a little too much, give in a little too easily, and use the TV as a babysitter a little more often than I would like.

I used to feel guilty. And wonder why I couldn’t keep it up at home.

And then I realised something.

My daughter has a wonderful teacher. One day, the Lion will have too.

They don’t need me to be their teacher, they ‘just’ need me to be their mum.

It is from me that they will learn about juggling multiple priorities. It is from me they will learn, that sometimes it’s ok to take a break. And hopefully it’s from me that they will also learn, that sometimes when you love someone the rules go out of the window.

One day, when they are parents too, they will need all those skills and more.

Then they will understand that it’s ok to be imperfect. It’s ok to be human.

Because we are all just doing the best we can.


19 thoughts on “The Difference Between Teaching And Parenting

  1. Totally get this. I am a teacher also and find that I get in a rut if disciplining as I would at school… and for what? I end up being bad cop all too often. Thank you fir reminding me we can’t be everything to all.

  2. All great, so worth reminding teachers that the parents are coping with a very different kind of job, and that the child the teachers see in class may act the same as they do at home for parents…

  3. This is a really unique perspective on this topic. My bf is a teacher and I’m sure he will be able to relate to this. Although we don’t have any children yet, I’m sure he will agree with you in how he is as an uncle to his little nephew.

  4. I struggle at times with the no shouting bit but we are all human and every day is a learning curve. I also haven’t thought about it like this, I must also show it to my mum who is a teacher and who most likely relate so much to this x

  5. What an interesting and enlightening read. I have a lot of friends that are teachers and parents and they say similar. I am a workshop leader, so it will be interesting to compare when I am a parent too…everyday is certainly a school day hey?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x

  6. This is so true. We often think of teachers and child minders as being similar to parents because, for part of the day, they step into the parental role for us. But being a parent is so much more than what these individuals do – as the parent, you care for your children when they are sick, you keep track of their p.e. kit and homework, you book dentist appointments for them and cook their meals, etc. Teachers may step in and take physical responsibility for our kids for a few hours, but they are not their parents. There are some skills which are transferable but, at the end of the day, one is a job and one is an all-encompassing lifestyle.

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

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