The Child Of Teachers – A Different Life?
The Child Of Teachers – A Different Life?
A bit unconventional from the usual articles on the internet, isn’t it? I mean, we are all used to reading ‘Growing up in a Middle-Class household’, or ‘Growing up as a Lone Child’, but there aren’t many articles that talk about the life of a teacher’s children. Especially if that teacher actually takes your classes!
How does one navigate through this sea? And let me tell you, from experience that it isn’t simple. Not tough, mind you, just not simple either. You have to understand and adapt to a life like that and imprint it in your brain that it will never change: for better or for worse.
So, the first thing that comes with you as the children of a teacher or two teachers is that people automatically assume that you are a good student. You might be interested in sports, you might be a violin maestro, but people will only be interested in how you are as a student. Do you get straight A’s? Are you the class captain? Are you a good orator? A good researcher? No one would really ask you what you are good at. They will ask you if you are good at ‘this’. You might as well get used to that.
Next comes discipline. Being the child of teachers, I can attest to the fact that curfew means curfew. I can’t begin to discuss how many parties, sleepovers, and secret cult meetings (discussions about Han Solo over a cup of coffee) I have missed, because my dad told me to never set foot out of the house after 8 pm. Not just like a kid mind you, but even when I was a high-schooler.
While this gets pretty jarring to you and you might fight with them over and over again, it does instill a sense of discipline and punctuality. And trust me when I say this, it has helped me a lot over the years.
But it isn’t all bad, you know? Sometimes, you might get off on trivial misdemeanors because your mom is friends with the Biology teacher. Or your Physics teacher might give you a hamper on your birthday simply because your dad was the best man at his wedding. You might also find your teachers being a bit more affectionate towards you, but you would also find them being harder taskmasters on you. So you can see that it is a double-edged sword.
I remember that, in my seventh grade, I didn’t do particularly well in one of my exams. My teacher called me over to his room where I found my dad and him sitting and chatting over their college days. But when I sat down, the teacher persona had returned and they proceeded to lecture me. Well, I might be exaggerating a wee bit, but they did scold me as a united front. And that is scary! But what is even weirder is seeing your teachers lounge around your house and remembering that they are not simply your teachers, but also your parents’ friends.
Sometimes, when I walk down the street, I meet my dad’s old students. They come up to me, do some talking about how my dad grilled them, some telling me about fun moments with him. But what actually touched me was that my dad impacted the lives of several students. He might have not built them from scratch, but he actually affected them in such a way, that even after a decade, they still fondly reminisced about him. He had set them on a path, guided them through their initial obstacles, but ultimately, set the bird free from the cage, realizing that they had learned that they could.
Some things are plain weird. Like waking up in the morning, alone in the house, and seeing a packed breakfast before you, as you ready yourself up for the day. Sometimes, you might walk in on your parents grading papers which they quickly hid from you. On many occasions, I have actually woken up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water and seen my mother doze off on her books, dead tired throughout the day and yet striving to know more, to be wiser, in order to deal with her students the next day. And honestly, these things shape you. Remember Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid? He didn’t seem to be teaching Ralph Macchio in the beginning, but that’s what he did exactly.
Similarly, seeing my parents toil, read, write and even learn as the days went by, did fill me with a sense of curiosity. I wanted to know more, to read more, to get more and more vivid information that would help me through my life. I probably wasn’t cut out to be a teacher, but I realized that you really don’t have to be a teacher to teach someone.
Knowledge and wisdom come from every source around you. In the house, my parents weren’t teachers, but they still taught me. Lessons of morality, character, tenacity, resilience- things I couldn’t read in books. Maybe my parents never wanted to be teachers or maybe they did, but what they really wanted to be and still strive to be is better human beings.
Not a day goes by when I don’t find my mother with her nose in a book, reading more, gulping down more information, only so that she could satisfy the curiosity of one student in her class. In her words, ‘If I can successfully answer even one question, that would make the students truly understand what I am saying, all I have worked for would be finally fruitful.’
My life, being the son of teachers has never been stressful, never been toxic. It has always been one where we encouraged each other to grow, to learn more and more each day. My parents encouraged me to question everything, to form my own conclusions on everything, and never to stop learning. For wisdom will always be found in the smallest things of life.
My parents probably aren’t any special than the millions of teachers throughout the world. But to me, they are, not because they gave birth to me, but they actually taught me how to look at the world without rose-tinted glasses.