Monday, March 13, 2017

how being a kindergarten teacher will make you a better parent

Let me preface this post by saying I don't have kids. Just a 4 year old goddaughter I'm very close to and a 1 year old dog. Mostly, this post is supposed to comical and light-hearted so please call of the dogs and have fun.


I spend my days with other people's children. All day long.
And over that time, I have gathered more than a few pieces of advice I'd like to give myself when it comes to my own children. This is not a parent bashing post. I know being a parent is the hardest, toughest, most underappreciated job next to teaching ;). I also know kids will be kids sometimes despite a parent's best efforts. But, for fun...here are some ways that I think being a kindergarten teacher will make you a better parent.

1. You will know essential skills to teach your preschooler...because you've seen kids who don't have them.
Guys, I'm not even talking ABCs and 123's...I'm talking BASIC. When I started teaching kindergarten, I remember having to sit my kids down everyday and show them our center tubs. They were atrocious. Things were tossed in there, not in the right baggies or boxes and pieces of different games were strewn about. After having 5 come to Jesus meetings in a week about this - I took a step back and realized...I was lecturing them but it wasn't working. These kids didn't know what I meant by neat and tidy. The next week, I literally dumped all the games out and one by one showed them exactly how to put a game away when you're done. I showed them how I put the games into baggies with all the pieces and put it away nicely. We role-played scenarios in which you're playing with a friend and it's time to clean up - what do you do? They practiced. Guys, we spend a whole morning on this.
The next week, we only needed one come to Jesus meeting.
This is one example. I'm talking flush when you use the toilet; how to use a tissue to actually blow your nose instead of wiping snot around; how to put a marker lid on and wait for the popping sound.
Best believe my preschoolers are going to practice these skills in my house. Their kindergarten teacher is going to use them as the good example!

2. You will never ever ever EVER buy your 5 year old shoes with laces....unless they legitimately, every time, ON THEIR OWN know how to tie them.
Just, trust me. Velcro all the way. You will never subject another teacher to the torture. We will all be better off for it.

3. You will never ever buy a romper for your kindergartener.
This goes hand in hand with 2. Trust me, I know they're cute. But unless you're willing to come up every time your kid needs to use the bathroom, leave it in the store.

4. You will know what is normal development...and when to seek help. Plus, where you can get it.
I have seen kids who I know need help because they're struggling beyond the normal disequilibrium. They are very behind...but their parents don't see it.
Maybe they are the only kid in the house or the oldest and the parents don't have anything or anyone to compare them to. They don't want to believe anything is wrong. Have you ever had a conference in which you pull out another student's work (anonymously) to show a parent in comparison to their child and see a face of shock? Then, comes the helplessness. The cool thing about our job is we can identify needs and refer parents to help (or give them tips for home!). The cooler thing is if you have your own child with a struggle, you'll identify it, know that the "stigma" is sometimes less important than the help the child needs and can get.

5. You will teach your kids to respect their teachers....even if you don't like the teacher.
Your kids might seriously hate you for this but in the long run it will make them better people. Let's face it - we live in a world where someone is always going to be in charge of you. You go from having a parent to a teacher to a boss and it's important to know how to respect them. And don't ever think a [good] teacher's kid is ever going to get away with being disrespectful. Even if the parent has to close the door and rant, they are going to make their kid apologize for any behavior and they won't bash you in front of their kid. Mostly because teachers have a tight community and understanding. Everybody dumps on us and we definitely don't need any more.

6. You will never name your kid Skyline (or Kaylsea, Killian, Phiroshus...).
Enough said.

7. Your kids will never be able to use an excuse or emotional appeal.
You've heard EVERY excuse in the book. You've also heard every appeal for trying to get out of something. Like, how badly can an elbow hurt? And you know how to diffuse a tantrum in 0.8 seconds. This is another one your kids might hate you for but society (and even they) will eventually love you.

8. You love kids and you understand them really really well.
I mean, why else are we doing it? I run into people all the time who say they don't like kids. I totally don't get that - I mean, I barely like adults! But it is true that kids think in their own way and they even communicate in their own way.
You'll be the parent who can always decipher their kids early spelling or analyze their scribbling. You'll be able to comprehend chopped up sentences or whole conversations given through half chewed cracker crumbs. Plus, you'll have amazing patience with your kids because 9/10 they're not nearly as bad as some kids you deal with in your classroom. OR, you'll have patience because you feel oh so lucky to have them and to be in the great situation you're in because you know kids who aren't so lucky...
After all, kids are kids and you love kids.

I think teacher's kids are pretty lucky (coming from one...my mom was my PK teacher!).
And I think teacher parents are even luckier.

So, what do you think should be added to the list of reasons being a kindergarten [or any age] teacher makes you a better parent?

Thanks for reading! Happy teaching!

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