I had a conversation with my daughter recently who is having her second baby in July. A boy! We talked about how things are going to get more complicated – her trying to navigate her career now with two young children. But then we talked about how – for teachers – what we do inside and outside of the classroom is so connected, one part almost supports the other. In fact, we agreed that we almost need both parts to make the whole that is our life.
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That conversation got us thinking about the ways our school life and home life are connected. Below is our list. Maybe you will see that some of these parallel your own life.
1. BOOKS: Especially for those of us who are literacy smacked, books find their way from home to school, back home, and then back again. We find we read many of the same titles with our children and our students. We often pass on titles from our own children to students who may have interest. When Skyler, Darla’s son, finishes the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid, she passes it on to Anthony, a student at school. When Jen’s daughter FINALLY gives up Tea Party Rules, Jen reads it with her library students. That is until her daughter realizes it’s gone and then …
2. BOOKS: (That is not a typo). What can we say, books are such an interconnected part of our school and home lives, they have to be on this list twice, at least. Not only do we bring them back and forth from home to school, but we share our love of reading with our students and our children, often reading old favorites from our own childhood to both groups. Darla shared her vintage copy of Morris Goes To School to first graders this year, and Jen shared her worn copy of Perfect the Pig and Hot Air Henry. We love being able to tell our students, “Oh, you have to read this. My son loved it!” or coming home to our own kids and saying, “My first graders laughed so hard when we read this, let’s read it right now.” The connection goes beyond titles and pages to the experience that is shared. From bedside to classroom, we try to recreate the magic of our first encounter with a book for our students and our own children.
3. IDEAS: How many of us have had lightbulb moments watching our children playing or working at home? What have we learned by watching the nightly struggle with homework, or excitement over a self-selected project? Many of us are in the unique situation of having a test lab right in our house. As Jen was thinking about some new digital tools to add to her makerspace, she was fortunate enough to be able to experiment with her own eight and ten year old. The flow of ideas between our home and the classroom is a natural extension of our multiple roles.
4. KIDS: The obvious way our school and home lives are connected is the special children in our lives: our own kids, grandchildren, or nieces or nephews. We know the teacher we want for them, and we take that into the classroom. And for our students, we easily slide into the role of surrogate mom, dad, aunt, or grand-mom for the hours we spend together. Our roles intertwine, making us better at each.
Our lives inside and outside of school are connected. They make up the whole that is our life. We can’t imagine that they would be separate.
What common threads are woven through your life?
We’d love to hear.
Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see today’s Slice of Life stories.
~Darla and Jen