This is bound to make some people angry, but here goes anyway: does becoming parents ourselves make us better teachers?
Of course, the first follow-up question is, “what does ‘better’ mean?” I don’t even know if I have an answer to this, but I started thinking about this because in the last three years I’ve been a school psychologist/case manager, one question I’ve been asked many times by (usually angry) parents is, “Does Mr./Mrs. So-and-so have children?” The implication, of course, is that a teacher’s behavior or decision-making process would be different (further implied: more favorable to this parent’s child) if he or she was a parent.
This is not to say that my child-free colleagues are not or cannot be excellent teachers, so maybe the initial question is misleading. Perhaps a better question is: how has having children of your own influenced your professional practice? This doesn’t just apply to classroom teachers, but educators of all capacities. For my child-free readers, how do you respond to inquiries, from parents or colleagues, such as the one I described above?
Having become a parent during my fifth year of teaching (and again during my eighth), I can speak only to my own experience, but I want to keep schtum on that until I hear from some of you, at which point I’ll weigh in in the comments. Teacher and new mom Tracy Rosen has blogged her thoughts here, so feel free to respond to either or both of us.