It seems clear that there are a few commonalities between motherhood and teaching. And it is worth it to highlight them since excellent mothering and teaching are or at least should be positively correlated.
1. Routine. Every parenting book or blog out there drills parents on the necessity of a consistent routine. Consistency breeds a calm and happy child and thus calm and happy parents. It supports the healthy development of the child and it builds trust between parent and child. In the classroom, routine builds a classroom whose participants work well together and progress smoothly from one learning activity to the next. Students trust the teacher‘s instruction, and thus relax into being well-behaved and eager students.
2. Patience. Ever wince at a parent telling a child to “shut the f#$% up”? What is probably more shocking than a parent acting this way in public is what is said (or done) in the home. Parenting requires patience every step of the way for simple reasons such as teaching a child how to ride a bike to complicated ones such as allowing a child to learn from his or her mistakes. As a teacher, particularly of young children, it goes without saying that kids will be kids. Shouting at a class will only breed resentment. But firmly redirecting and – a student (sometimes the same student over and over again) does wonders for obtaining a desired behavior.
3. Time. Parents complain that they don’t have time for themselves. They are tied to their young ones 24/7. Especially when a child is young, there is very little time to take care of one’s personal, household, and work needs. To get it all done, parents need to set priorities, create schedules, and rely on the help of caretakers, friends, and family members. When the child is able, he or she can also be involved in the process by completing chores. Teachers must mirror the same set of principles and have students take part in the grunt work. For example, since the most time-consuming element of teaching is grading, students can get involved by creating rubrics to score each other’s work. Technology has also lent a hand to teachers by way of document sharing and online grading which can allow a teacher to use precious time more effectively.
4. Organization. Parents have to keep track of their things and their child’s things. These things vary from diapers to school supplies to asthma pumps. To be unprepared for a child’s need is an unwelcome feeling to a parent. Parents need to keep appointments for the doctor, the daycare, and the little league basketball game. Parents need to keep the fridge stocked and the laundry laundered. A home without organization lacks something vital, but is certainly rich in stress. Teachers must also keep track of their responsibilities to support their careers. They must keep an orderly classroom and teach students how to take part in maintaining this order. From lesson plans to photocopies, a place for everything and everything in its place.
5. Fulfillment. This goes without saying. The sheer joy of parenting, of looking at a set of eyes looking back at you, can not be beat. Teachers also share the same satisfaction throughout the year as students achieve milestones in their education and personal development.
What other things does parenting and teaching have in common?