Take a moment to think of your favorite elementary school teacher. You probably have an image in your head of your fourth grade teacher who wore jeans on Fridays or your first grade teacher who had a pet in her classroom. If you’re fortunate, more than one teacher comes to mind. For me, the answer isn't a teacher I ever had in the classroom, because my mom is a teacher.
My mom started teaching before I was born and my whole life I have been a teacher’s kid. When I was a baby she would dress me up in matching Halloween costumes with her (I'm the lion in the cover photo!) and let me come in to meet her kids during their parties. I loved being in the classrooms with all of the kids and books, some people thought that was a stage I would grow out of, but I think that being a teacher’s kid is so ingrained into me that even after my mom retires I will still fondly recount those times.
There are, of course, perks to being a teacher’s kid. You get to go in the teacher’s lounge when everyone else only knows it as an elusive and exclusive parlor (it’s really not that exciting, but it is for a seven year old). You and the other teachers’ kids get to play on the playground afterschool when there are only three or four of you around. There are tons of books and in the summer when you go into school the library is your own little kingdom, with all of the books you could dream about reading. If you forget your lunch money your mom is right down the hallway to write a check.
But, some of the best parts of being a teacher’s kid don’t happen at school.
Even now that my siblings and I are all out of elementary school, our mother stays there. She brings home charts for us to fill out about our New Year’s resolutions with cartoon owls in the top corner. When I came into her classroom for her winter party she was in her element, introducing me to her new bunch of children and entertaining them while still maintaining control of the class. The balance is a fine one that I truly believe can’t be taught by a degree, but through years of being a teacher who cares.
One of my mom’s students came up to me to ask exactly who I was. The question made me smile a little bit and sit up straighter. “I’m Mrs. Holden’s kid,” I told the girl.
“I am too,” she said, nodding and glancing at my mother who was helping another student with their holiday craft.
She didn’t seem to distinguish a difference between us, so I didn’t push one. In fifteen years when someone asked her about their favorite teacher she might have to comb back through her memory to think of Mrs. Holden (or, if she had bad taste she might not pick Mrs. Holden). But my answer for favorite teacher is always ready.