You only see them from 9am to 3pm. After that, you don’t have to see them again until the following morning, bar an awkward bumping into each other moment in the supermarket. What if they follow you home? What if your teacher is a member of your family?
Now imagine there’s two of them. My Dad is a primary school teacher, and my mother teaches in my local secondary school. I never had my Dad standing in front of my classroom, but my mother was my teacher for three years. When you have to call Mam ‘Miss’, there are several strange occurrences.
Calling them Mam/Dad
We’ve all been there. In the early stages of our dabble with the education system, at some stage of our lives we’ve called our teacher ‘Mammy’ or ‘Daddy’. If you’re really clever, you could do what I did and call your Senior Infants teacher ‘Nanny’. The only saving grace was that the gender was correct. When you did call your teacher Mam/Dad, the reaction was always the same:
You were like this
While the rest of the class were like this
It is supposed to stop when we leave primary school. If stops being done, it doesn’t stop being funny on the rare occasion that it rears its ugly head. Sitting in my mother’s Third Year honours maths class, it happened.
“Mam, how did you get that?”
The shame. The holy mortifying shame. Everyone was going to. . . wait, no one’s laughing. No one has even noticed that I called a teacher ‘Mam’. It was as if the class collectively looked around for the offender, desperate to identify where to direct the laughter. When it turned out that the student involved was actually entitled to call this woman her mother, it lost all humour.
Each school in the country has at least one perpetually pregnant teacher. No sooner has her maternity leave ended and a slight bump can be seen protruding from her lower abdomen. If you’re unsure whether or not she is actually with child, ask your inside source. You also get to hear when teachers are planning on retiring, as well as sometimes overhearing quips about your classmates.
What you do with this information will prove what kind of person you are.
This also means that before you even sit your first class in the school, you know most of the teachers in there. By their first name. Sometimes this gets confusing, especially when sitting in a classroom looking at someone knowing more information about them than many of your classmates do. Just try, like above, not to use the wrong greeting in school.
Teachers aren’t like ‘normal’ parents
It took me far too long to realise that everyone else’s parents didn’t have three months holidays in the summer. No other parents had the luxury of days with their children every June to August.
But then you couldn’t go anywhere because they were always correcting tests or making lesson plans for the next year’s class. It never stopped.
Teacher Parents are also more clued in about the exams than any other parent. Naturally. Fine, your doctor Dad can help you with some of the Biology stuff, and if your Mam is an accountant you have a live-in grinds teacher, but when it came to how much study for the dreaded LC should be done, there was only one expert opinion around.
And no, my parents didn’t do my homework for me.
Remember when you went up the country and someone recognised you as “Breeda McCarthy’s eldest”? Now imagine it as “are you Mrs Bennett’s child?”
Prepare yourself for the shower of compliments/abuse that is to follow. Poor Mam.