A few weeks ago, my school hosted our Curriculum Night. Because I am job sharing this year, there were two teachers in our class on this particular evening.
We both greeted families at the door.
We both invited them to sign up for volunteering and class parties.
We both shared our education, experience, and thoughts about providing a safe, enriching environments where children could learn and grow.
We both answered questions that parents had about their own children.
It was one of my favorite Curriculum Nights of my career. There is something wonderful about working side by side with a trusted colleague for a shared goal of helping kids.
I wished that every teacher could job share. I believe that it helps you grow professionally and that students get the benefits of two brains instead of one overworked brain.
After the presentation was over, a parent asked why I had chosen to work one day a week.
The question wasn’t paired with attitude or disappointment, just curiosity.
It threw me a bit. I should have expected it, but I didn’t.
I shared with that parent that in addition to teaching in class on Fridays, that I was homeschooling my own child the rest of the week. Before that parent could respond, a nearby parent asked if there was something that they should know when a classroom teacher decides to home school.
She said it nicely and she too, didn’t mean any harm in her response.
I thought momentarily and then explained that all children are different and unique and that for mine, at this moment in time, homeschooling is best.
I didn’t elaborate. I didn’t feel that I needed to since that answer could have meant lots of reasons that were personal.
As I drove home, I thought about this exchange and realized that it must be surprising to the parent of a “typical” child to know that their classroom teacher has chosen homeschooling. After doing a bit of my own informal research, I found that it isn’t that unusual.
When I spoke with those parents at Curriculum Night, I didn’t want to appear defensive. After all, it was our first experience meeting each other; however, maybe I should have said more. I could have explained the sensory issues of a large school, the boredom, the importance of having the perfect connection with a teacher, or the social issues that arise when a kid like mine is bored and seeking attention in other ways. I could have said those things.
I think more about what I said and I realize that I spoke our truth for this moment.
This is not the first time that I have been asked about being a classroom teacher and a homeschooling parent. I’m sure that it won’t be the last.
The bottom line is that parents do what they believe, and hope, will be best for their children. Knowing this, has not only helped me evolve into a better teacher, but a more understanding person.