Every year without fail, by the second week of school I’m referring to my students as “my kids” to my friends and family. It almost happens without my realizing it, because to me it’s totally natural. I never really gave much thought to it, then I started seeing memes/e-cards about teachers calling their students their kids (thanks pinterest), and it got me thinking about it, a little under the radar/subconsciously, but I was thinking about it nonetheless. Then over the summer when I was going back and forth about starting a blog and mentally drafting posts, I kept this in the back of my head for a potential post. Well, here it is.
A teacher friend of mine (whom I look up to immensely both as a fellow teacher and military spouse) once told me that I will never forget my student teaching classes (so so so so so sooooooo true!!!!–I can even remember who sat where in each class period from my student teaching semester) and that I will always refer to my students as my kids, even when I was only 5 years older than some of them, and certainly when I reached the point where I was old enough to be their parent (and unfortunately in my most recent district I had more than 1 pregnant sophomore and more than a few students whose parents were my age or younger than me (and I was 30-32 at the time!).
Anyway, here are 7 reasons why I think of my students as my kids (both before and after having my own daughter):
1. it’s a measure of how much I truly enjoy teaching…yes, even when I have *that* student, I still couldn’t see myself doing anything else…if I didn’t enjoy being a teacher so much I wouldn’t feel so connected to my students
2. “students” typically sounds too impersonal to me…it’s always going to be a long year, no matter what, and we’re in it together so we might as well build a positive/supportive rapport from the beginning
3. I might subconsciously become even more invested in their success and failures than I already am if they’re “my kids” (yes, failure will happen, and I can help them get through it and improve)
4. they ARE still kids, as much as they don’t feel like it at time, they ARE, and anyone can be a student at any age
5. I absolutely take partial responsibility for the types of adults they turn into
6. I do take on the role of mom to some students and treat them like my kids (helping them through social situations, giving advice, giving them a safe place to spend their time before and after school, bringing in food and toiletries for my homeless students, etc)
7. we become a family in my classroom…what more reasons could I need to think of my students as “my kids”