Back-to-School Educator Parents
In the hustle and bustle of back-to-school time it’s sometimes easy to forget educators are real people with real lives, especially when it comes to young educator parents with young children of their own. There’s more than the normal anxiety of beginning a new school year, with all of the necessary preparation. Added to that is the stress of how your own children will react to teacher moms or dads vanishing after a few summertime weeks of constant hugs, which seem to last all day long. There will be tears for all—children and parents—and not just a day’s worth.
No matter how you slice it, educators do not get paid their true worth—and that’s even truer for the youngest and newest members of the profession. New teaching families squeeze small household budgets for every cent—and in most cases beyond. The cost of day care, along with the apprehension of leaving babies with strangers, no matter how wonderful the caretakers are, just adds to the lopsided equation. And those young educator parents lucky enough to have grandparents close-by who might act as built-in sitters may still feel uncomfortable asking for that help. While all young working parents have similar experiences, for an educator parent, knowing that you’re leaving your own children each day to wholeheartedly become an important part of 20 to 30 new families is pressure above and beyond.
While young educators may seem better equipped, stamina-wise, to deal with many things at once, a reminder to veteran staff and administrators that there’s more going on than what’s visible is a good thing. An administrator or colleague asking for something “tomorrow”, needs to understand that daily classroom planning, new projects and technology, professional development, and more may have important and unpredictable competition at home. Young educators with families, just like all educators with families, must remember to keep that family/work balance healthy. Those around them can help, too—with just a little understanding. If you’re not there now, remember when you were.