There’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately. And I can’t stop thinking about it.
As you may know (and as I’ve mentioned many times before), I used to be a primary school teacher.
When I started teaching in Lagos, the school was very new – it had only been open a year, and everyone was still finding their feet. Over the years the infrastructure improved, there was more guidance and there were more ‘rules and regulations’. I was not happy about this at first (I’m not good with change), but soon realised that these changes didn’t benefit only the children, but they were crucial to my own personal and professional development.
I always taught Year 1 (5-6 year olds) or Year 2 (6-7 year olds). I loved teaching. I loved the kids in my classes (most of the time) and I think I got on well with most of my colleagues. I’ve met some of my closest friends through teaching.
However, what I didn’t like (and I’ve made no secret of this either) was the paperwork and politics. AND, apart from that, dealing with some of the parents. The parents pay a lot of money to send their children to a private international school and expect a lot from the teachers; which is fair. But there were some parents that became “overly involved” in everything that goes on in their child’s classroom. Sometimes I feel they have every right to do this. Within reason.
As a member of staff, of course it was necessary to always be polite and professional and deal with issues as they arose.
I always thought I was a good teacher. I took the time to talk to my children, to listen to what they had to say and to deal with their ongoing friendship problems (amongst many other things). Any teacher would do that. That’s what good teachers do, right?
But something’s changed now.
I’m a parent.
I’m a parent and I can’t help but wonder if my interaction with parents of children in any of my classes would have been different if I’d *known* what it was like to be a parent before.
Does that make any sense?
I wonder if I would have been as quick to placate a mum who had concerns about her child’s behaviour or progress (when there was no need to be concerned).
I wonder if I would have been that little bit more sympathetic to the child that was upset because he didn’t like what was in his snack box.
I wonder if I would have been a little more patient with the five year old that was still crying every day when he arrived in school three months later.
All my ‘wonders’ are like this, and it’s made me question whether I did the best I could.