Back To School Week: I Loved Being A Teacher’s Daughter

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When it came to being the daughter of a teacher, most people complained about having their parents in the hallways, all the other teachers keeping an eye on you. It made it easy to get caught when other kids slid under the radar. It made for higher expectations from teachers, assistants and administrators.

I attended elementary school where my mother taught. I came in early with her every day and bummed around her classroom during morning meetings and plan time. I stayed late every day and had to help clean up her room, or any other room that might be untidy in our small school. I did a lot of reading in my mom’s classroom before and after school. I did a lot of stretching for dance class that night. I played a lot of Oregon Trail on old Mac computers.

Let me tell you, I loved every single minute of it.

I think going to the school my mom taught at actually began my life-long enjoyment of sharing my opinion with people. It worked out well for me, career-wise. After school, teachers would come to me to test out projects or lessons. I’d run through the work and they’d ask me if I enjoyed it, if it was difficult. I became an instant critic, which is really the first step to sharing your opinions on blogs all day long.

It got to the point that in fifth grade, I had a standing meeting with the principal of my mother’s school. We would sit down and talk about my thoughts on everything from extra curriculars to special performances. I was involved in enough activities to keep me out of the classroom almost every day for a little while. Touring drama troupe, multiple choirs, band, ballet and peer mediation all ensured me breaks from normal classroom activities. And made me feel all the more qualified to discuss the direction of the school with grown adults who at least pretended to be interested in my opinions.

Having that access and extra time before and after school made me feel uniquely involved in my education. It made me interested in the ways schools work as a whole, not just as a student looking to bend the rules, which I did plenty, but as a concerned citizen who happened to be a bit younger. I actually continued to volunteer in classrooms helping younger students all through my high school and college education. I plan on taking an active role in my daughter’s classroom now that she’s headed to school.

My husband attended school at the small Catholic school where his mother taught. He was never particularly fond of those extra hours after school, or the extra eyes on him all the time. I reveled in it. And now, I have to admit that I’m curious to find out just how involved my daughter will want me to be in her education. I wonder if she’ll love that I stop by the classroom and sit on the PTA board, or if she’ll be ready for me to scurry out of the room and stop drawing attention to her.

Being the teacher’s kid gave me what I thought of at the time as a sense of authority. Looking back I realize how laughable that sounds, but hey, I was young. And it fostered an interest that I’ll have for the rest of my life. While I didn’t follow in my mom’s footsteps, I find education to be extremely interesting. It’s something I’ll always follow closely and find important.

As my daughter heads to school this year, I can’t help but think back to my time running the halls of my mom’s school, especially after everyone was gone. I think about getting away with everything because the Assistant Principal thought I was just the sweetest little girl. But I think about the confidence it gave me in my opinions and perspective. It’s something I don’t know that I would’ve found in another school, without the microphone my mother’s position gave me. And it’s something that I couldn’t imagine living without today.

(Photo: Gorilla/Shutterstock)