Two jobs, one life
How KHS staff members balance teaching and parenting
The mother hears her crying baby in the crib, knowing that she needs to be fed.
The teacher hears her students wait impatiently for their assignments to be graded.
Toys and clothes are stacked around the nursery.
On the desk, piles of essays and homework assignments cover the desk.
The baby’s mother rubs her tired eyes, ready to care for her child in the middle of the night.
The teacher enters her classroom, exhausted from the night before.
Teachers swapping their parent and teacher role on and off on a daily basis is the reality for some teachers.
Having young children and teaching high school students seems like a daunting task. Teachers not only have to care for their children, but they also have to take care of all the homework waiting to be graded and prepare lessons weeks in advance. Sometimes the responsibilities of being a teacher are trumped by the tasks of caring for their children.
“I tell stories about what’s going on at home and explain the realities of home life. I do think the students are empathetic and understanding because I’m a working dad, so I try and reciprocate that and understand that they’re busy as well,” English teacher Dominic Bruno said.
When assignments are given, Bruno gives an estimated time on when he expects grading to be done to his students and wastes no time getting stuff done. He uses his prep period, lunch hour, the study hall and STEP he supervises to grade school work; he sometimes doesn’t eat until eighth period.
Fellow English teacher Christina Staker does the same.
“There’s no wasting time when I’m at school. During my STEP and my prep, I’m working continuously,” Staker said. “I make sure that my copies are done and Google Classroom is updated and the agenda is posted on the board for the next day before I can go home.”
For math teacher Jennifer French, her schedule at home is devoted entirely to her children. It’s not until after her kids go to bed when she starts to get school work done.
“I tell myself when we’re home between the time I bring my kids home after school til the time they go to bed, that it’s family time. We try to spend time outside, doing puzzles and eating dinner together. After they go to bed, then I get to my school work, but that’s usually after nine o’clock,” French said.
For French, her kids attend the daycare inside the school, so if her kids are ever sick, she’s able to take care of them right away. However, since her kids do attend the daycare, it sometimes feels like she doesn’t have a mental break between teaching and parenting.
“A lot of people use their time on the way to work or on the way home from work as their winding down time or as their mental break, and because I have all the kids in the car with me, sometimes I don’t feel like I don’t get that mental break,” French said.
Like French, English teacher Rebecca Prebble prioritizes her children over assignments and lesson planning when it comes to her home life and taking care of her children.
“I essentially have two jobs instead of just having one. Before having kids, if I needed to stay up late to grade papers, I could do that. Now I’ve got to put the kids to bed, so it’s later when I can start grading them. The priorities are different, I can’t just devote an entire day to get these papers done,” Prebble said.
Having kids and taking care of them and teaching at the same time might seem like an impossible task to some. However, for teachers at Kaneland, they seem to be able to juggle the responsibilities of being a teacher and a parent every day and still enjoy both aspects of their lives.