Have you ever had “teachers’ kids” in your classroom? “Teachers’ kids” are the children of your colleagues. They can be your co-workers’ kids or the kids of a teacher at another school in your district. During my 9th year of teaching, I was blessed to have several teachers’ kids in my class. I had always heard that you didn’t want to teach those kids because it’s hard to work with someone and teach their kids. Before the school year started I was given many words of wisdom from other teachers who encouraged me to treat teachers’ kids like any other child in my class. I kept that in mind and learned a few more things along the way about teaching teachers’ kids.
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Let me preface this post by thanking all of my colleagues for allowing me to teach their children. I had a great first-time experience having teachers’ kids in my classroom. You all are the inspiration for this post.
Be truthful to your co-workers about their children
When you have a teacher’s kid in your classroom, their parent, who is also your co-worker or perhaps a teacher at another school, will often want to know how things are going. Be truthful no matter what the circumstances. Sometimes I had to tell my co-workers that their children weren’t doing well in class and needed help. Sometimes I had to tell my co-workers that their children had a behavioral incident that day. When you are speaking to your colleagues about their children, it is a parent-to-teacher conversation and not a colleague-to-colleague conversation. Don’t be intimidated because they work with you. It’s best to be honest with them at all times. Don’t sugarcoat how their child behaves or performs academically for fear of angering them. If it is in the best interest of the student for their parent to know something, then it should be told.
Your co-workers picked you for a reason
At my school, teachers are allowed to choose their child’s teacher. I know that this might not be the case at your school. However, if this is the case, then you should feel proud that your colleagues picked you to teach their children. I had trouble with this at the beginning of the school year because I didn’t want the other teachers in my grade to think that I was the greatest thing in the world. All of the teachers in my grade level were awesome, so I tried to remain as humble as possible. I think that was the right approach, but I began to recognize that just as great as they were…I was great too. It’s okay to pop your collar every now and then.
Treat teachers’ kids like any other students
This is by far one of the most important things that I learned from teaching teachers’ kids. It is not fair to the other students in your class to show favoritism towards teachers’ kids. I looked out for my teachers’ kids as much as I did for all of my students. If one of my teachers’ kids got hurt or was having a rough day, I took the extra step of dropping by my co-workers’ classrooms to let them know; however, I made sure that all of my students received the same attention, opportunities, consequences, rewards, tests, pencils…you get the point.
Your co-workers are as busy as you are
Your co-workers are not the police trying to catch a bad guy. Or at least I hope they aren’t. I had such guilt when I had to send graded papers home on Wednesday a few times instead of the promised day of Tuesday. I felt guilty when I forgot to send the notes home that the office put in my mailbox at the last second of the school day. Shade.
When I fell short at times, I always thought, “Man, I know my co-worker has it together in their classroom. My co-worker will think that they put their child in a wild zoo of a classroom.”
Then my co-workers, whose children were in my classroom, would tell me how they had a hectic day and forgot to pass out the reminders for picture day or how they had to handle two meltdowns in class and didn’t get through all of the lessons that they planned that day.
Your co-workers understand the stress that you are under because they are experiencing it too. If they are examining you under a microscope to catch your every misstep then that’s on them, but from my experience, they will be extra understanding because they are running late to school and surviving on coffee just like you.
That doesn’t mean that you have a pass to be a lax teacher. Besides teaching the teacher’s kids, you still have the other students in your class. Remember that your co-workers chose you to teach their children for a reason. Allow yourself to make mistakes without feeling like your co-worker is waiting to report any mistake to the principal and pull their child out of your class.
Your co-workers will call you, text you, and visit your classroom
Be prepared for your co-workers to catch you in the hallway, the restroom, and recess duty to ask about their child. They’re not trying to be annoying, they are just concerned parents. You are in such close proximity to your co-workers, so it’s easier for them to just drop by the classroom when you are getting ready to leave for the day than to schedule a conference…lol (I love y’all…Corinne, Whitney, Brandi, Christine, Sarah, and Roz).
If this worries you, bothers you, or becomes a problem, then you may need to set boundaries with your co-workers. If you give out your personal number to parents, be sure to clearly state the times that you will accept phone calls and texts. If you use Remind to communicate with parents, you can set office hours. If a parent messages you before or after your office hours, Remind sends them a message that says that they are communicating outside of your office hours and that you may not respond until a later time.
Again, I was blessed because my co-teachers were respectful regarding the time that they texted or called. Remember, they are busy just like you. They have families and after-school activities too. They understand that you have a family and personal life outside of school. Furthermore, they have to communicate with their students’ parents as well. They will “get it” if you can’t immediately reply to a text or email.
You will forever be able to watch teachers’ kids grow
The greatest thing about teaching teachers’ kids is that I get to keep watching them grow. Sometimes we never get to see what happens to our students after they go to the next grade, leave our schools, or graduate. I’m friends with most of my colleagues on social media and I still have several of their numbers. I can’t wait to see pictures of them going to prom, gearing up for graduation, and saying yes to their wedding dress.
One last note that’s worth mentioning is that there may be incidences that you don’t feel comfortable dealing with when it comes to teaching teacher’s kids. There’s a myriad of situations that may involve your co-worker and their child that you just might not want to get in between. You can always inform your administrator and ask them to address the concern to your co-worker instead of having you do it. There’s nothing wrong with being sensitive about a situation that concerns you, your student, and your co-worker.
Have you ever taught teacher’s kids? What was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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