Growing Up With Teacher Parents & the Amazing Impact It Had On My Life

We often hear about the effects teachers have on their classroom kids, but what about their real-life kids? As the child of a teacher, my memories are full of early mornings in the classroom and evenings on the softball field. With both mom and dad as teachers, you may be surprised just how much my parents’ profession impacted my upbringing. This status as a teacher’s kid affected more than just my daily life when I was younger; it absolutely molded me into the person I am today–one whose characteristics include a love of children and an odd obsession with office supplies.

You’re Mr. Denson’s daughter, aren’t you?

The cashier ringing up my gas and green tea looked at me twice before asking the question.

I am.” I smiled. 

It was a question I’d been asked hundreds of times over the years.

He was my all-time favorite math teacher. How is he doing now?

He’s great. Still teaching!

Just like that, I’m reminded of a student-turned-adult that a teacher impacted; and not just any teacher, but MY parent. You see, I got a double dose of this teacher’s kid thing. For every one former student that asked about my dad, there was another reminiscing on their good times in my mom’s classroom.

These days, it’s the quick reminders from strangers that remind me of my parents’ profession, but as a child, my life revolved around it at times. At nine, it was a pretty sweet gig; my mom taught at my school and she was always there if I forgot my snack money. At fifteen, this kid-of-a-teacher status was a feeling of anxiety that eyes were always watching me; it was rolling eyes and annoyance. Today? It’s a thankfulness for the positive role modeling in a world where many kids didn’t get the same.

We often dissect and discuss the science behind how teachers affect their classroom kids…but what about their real-life kids? Speaking from experience, it’s one of my upbringing’s defining characteristics.

Being a teacher’s kid is knowing early mornings in a quiet classroom and late evenings at a loud basketball game. It’s doing homework at the kitchen table while your mom grades a stack of essays beside you. It’s being the “manager” of your dad’s softball team, running out to grab bats between plays and tallying up batting averages on the bus ride home.

It’s a Saturday morning at the school on a work day, where you’re surrounded by volunteers cutting trees and sprucing up the shrubs. It’s a strained smile when you ask to have friends over on the weekend because your parents have already entertained one kid too many this week.

It’s an early August trip to Dollar Tree for the new school year essentials. It’s this feeling of thinking you’re always supposed to be one of the top readers in the class. It’s this expectation that you’re the “smart kid”. It’s, at times, a love/hate relationship.

Being a teacher’s kid is also having your parents’ undivided attention on summer vacation. It’s stability. It’s middle class. It’s living frugally but having so much more than just what you need.

It’s a mom that knows your friend’s names/identities/background information/likes/dislikes/behavior/everything. It’s a dad that never lets you use a calculator because “you can add it up yourself”.

It’s a mom who understands the importance of having the blue backpack and the cool pencils. It’s a dad that has pictures of your achievements all over his classroom.

Once you’re a teacher’s kid, there’s no turning back. You’ll always think “the beginning of the year” refers to August, not January. You’ll always have this odd love of fresh office supplies and papers that are freshly stapled.

You’ll have all of these fond memories that revolve around your parents just loving people; and before too long, you’ll be knee-deep in volunteer work at the school and in the community. You’ll find yourself giving rides home from school to a kid in need. You may even secretly love the fulfillment that this work brings.

You’ll forever have this desire to help people because it’s the only life you’ve known. You’ve been taught to have a giver’s heart and it’s just something you can’t outgrow.

Then, one day, if you have a classroom of your own, you’ll have even more respect for those teachers and parents who raised you. You’ll wonder exactly how they had the capacity after teaching all day to still come home and make you feel so special.

If parents are God’s hands in the home, then teachers are His feet in the rooms and hallways of the school; and if I know one thing for sure, it’s that I owe my empathy, passion, and love of children to my teacher parents.

Growing up with teacher parents & the Amazing Impact It Had On My Life

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Whitney Ballard is a writer and teacher from small town Alabama. She owns the Trains and Tantrums blog, Whitney went from becoming a mom at sixteen to holding a Master’s degree in Education; she writes about her journey, along with daily life, through a Christian lens on her blog. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the backyard with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.

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