Thursday, May 28, 2015

Good Teacher, Bad Mom

Sometimes being a teacher makes you feel like a really bad mom.  At 4:15 this morning, I put my daughter on a bus to Toronto.  She is going on an overnight field trip with her 6th grade class.  Many of the moms I know from dance, soccer, church and baseball were there with clipboards ready to chaperone the trip.

My daughter was super excited about the trip and I'm excited for her to have this experience.  When we arrived at her school, I signed my daughter in, found her chaperone, snapped a picture of her and her friends and kissed her goodbye.  On my way out the door one of the moms who knows me said, "Kimberly, aren't you glad you don't have to do another field trip? Teachers probably dread field trips."  I said nothing.  Isn't that what you are supposed to do when you don't have anything nice to say?  I cried on the way home and sat in the dark on my front porch thinking about the truth.

The truth is that I have never been on a field trip for either of my own children.  Since I'm a teacher, I've taken hundreds of other children on field trips over the past 17 years.  I have only been able to go to 2 class parties for my own children.  As teacher, I've hosted several class parties each year for the students and families in my class.  My own kids don't ask me anymore if I can come on a field trip or to a special event that is hosted during the day, because I'm a teacher and they know I can't.

Since I am working as an instructional coach this year, I could have gone on this trip.  I have more leave days than I'll ever need to use.  My boss would certainly let me go since I am not directly responsible for students.  So, I volunteered when the chaperone forms came home.   I didn't get chosen.  The moms who held the clipboards this morning are the same moms who have been the volunteers on my daughter's field trips since Kindergarten.

Sometimes the chaperones send me pictures of my own kids on their field trips.  They almost always say something like, "Wish you were here"  or "Thought you might like this since you can never come".  While I'm grateful for the pictures that I can't take myself, it is still a reminder that being a good teacher sometimes makes me feel like a really bad mom.

My daughter won't know that I was upset on the way home today.  When my son wakes up I won't share it with him either.  I'll pretend I wasn't crying for an hour on the front porch and I will wait for my pictures.  I'll silently be the teacher mom who does not dread field trips with her students (for the record), but that wishes somehow I could enjoy all of these things with my own children too.


  1. So powerful. And exactly how I feel, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.I hope you had a good day!

  2. My heart breaks for you Kimberly. I just want to cry reading this. I have been in your shoes more times than I care to count. Thanks for this touching and honest post.
    Creative Lesson Cafe

  3. I know exactly how you feel. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Touching post. Thank you for sharing. My daughter just turned one and I am already dreading the fact that I won't be able to take her to her first day of kindergarten... because I will be at my own first day, welcoming the 20 students who will become my kiddos for the year. It's hard, but I guess it's the sacrifice for having a job we love that touches so many other children. We just have to make the most of the time outside of school. Take care!

  5. What a great, honest post! My daughter is 4 and is not even in school yet, but I started having those same feelings and worries this year when she started preschool. I could only make it to one of her class parties because my first graders were luckily at a special at the same time. Luckily her preschool is less than 5 minutes away from my school and my principal was nice enough to find someone to cover my class for about 15 minutes while I could go. I know not all of us are that lucky. I definitely think this will be something that I struggle with as she gets older and field trips and parties come around.

  6. Your post makes me realize how fortunate I've been as a teacher. When I taught resource and my students were all in their own parties I was given permission to slip out to go read and do a craft with my daughter's pre-k class. When my daughter had her kindergarten play at school office staff was sent to my room to cover so I could watch it. They actually held the play up for a few minutes to find out why I wasn't in the audience before realizing I didn't have coverage. Our administration has always encouraged us to cover classes so that we can be parents too. If your administration is supportive you might try talking to them. There may be options even if it isn't for a whole day.
    Grade School Giggles

  7. I feel for you. I often have friends or family tell me how lucky I am to be at school with my own children all day. They tell me how wonderful it is that I never miss any of their events. Ha! I wish! I don't see or get to attend any of my children's parties or performances because I have 24 little first graders to tend to. It is rare that I get to sneak off and stay for 5 minutes at an event, but when I do I love to see my kids face light up when they see that I have arrived. People don't get that. Prayers for you!