Probably they were inspired by those weekends you spent buried under a pile of papers to correct. Or maybe is there a teaching gene buried in your DNA? The reason will never be clear, but we often see that teaching runs in the family. And even on days when the pressures make us question our career choices, teacher moms can’t help but feel a twinge of pride when our daughters take on the challenges and joys of becoming a teacher. This Mother’s Day, we wanted to give a shout out to all those mother-daughter teaching combinations out there.
Not only are Shantelle and Sonja both Spanish teachers, but they teach in the same school, their rooms only a few doors apart. For some, this may be difficult. But Shantelle loves teaching right by her mom. Her mother has always been an inspiration to her; whenever she became discouraged by the hard work and financial cost of pursuing her career, she would think about the challenges her mother faced. “She went through undergrad and her Masters as a single mother with three kids and working a full time job,” says Shantelle. “Watching that, I knew I could get through anything. She is my rock and my mentor.”
The next pair of teachers come from a line of educators. Mary Ellen and Laura don’t work side by side at the same school, but they are both teaching second grade. A new teacher this year, Laura has always known her mom is an amazing teacher. “She is constantly putting her students first and making sure they are happy, healthy, and safe before anything else,” Laura says. “She never once pushed me in the direction of education, but guided me there by showing how important it is to care for others.” I’d say that’s the most valuable lesson of all.
And then, there’s me. I have not one, but two daughters who have made education their gig. My daughter, Olivia, is a speech-language therapist and has already opened my eyes to the power of that job. Through her, I have learned so much about the role speech plays in literacy growth. “Growing up with a mom that is a teacher not only instilled in me a love for reading and writing, but more importantly a love for learning, a sense of curiosity and a drive to give back to the school community,” she says. We continue to learn from each other.
My youngest, Isabelle, is currently doing her student teaching in the midst of the pandemic. Difficult circumstances, to be sure, but she is doing her best to bring her instruction to life through virtual resources. She had the following to say: “When you grow up with your mom as a teacher, you see a completely different side of teaching. You see the weekends grading papers with careful attention, you see the cards and gifts given to seniors, and you see the excitement when a student succeeds. Perhaps most importantly, when your mom is a teacher, you see her a lot. If I know anything about myself, it’s that I want to be a mom someday too. And when I am, I want to be at every soccer game, every band concert, and every family dinner... because my mom was always there for me. Although all of my mom’s students were lucky to have my mom as a teacher, I think I made out the best. Because even with all the love and care she gave to her job, she still always had more than enough for me. I hope someday that my kids will not only see the other side of teaching, but they will reap the benefits of a mother always being there too, which is really the most important thing a mother can do.”
I’m not crying. You’re crying.
And so to all those Teacher Moms out there, best wishes for a happy Mother’s Day. Know that your efforts and your empathy are appreciated. And to all of our daughters out there, following in our footsteps…keep up the good fight. The children need you. And that is worth fighting for….
“…I retreat into my fictional world where everything makes sense—but even there I can’t even control what people do…”