August 16, 2019
I’m so torn up about this, I can barely express myself.
Whether a parent yourself–or not–I think every educator can benefit from these thoughts.
Next week, our 21-month-old son goes to child care for the first time.
Without mommy, daddy, or grandparents by his side.
My feelings for this range from NO!!! to very-very-very-not-okay.
I can’t begin to tell you how absolutely horribly I feel as a human being, let alone a parent, not to mention an educator-parent.
I’m not enough. I’m totally pathetic. I fell short.
The good Lord cut me out to be an educator. I’m decent at it. And yet the teaching salary’s not the kind that allows my wife to be a stay-at-home-mom, like the way I grew up. My wife would love nothing more than to be a stay-at-home-mom, because she’s an amazing mother, wife, educator, and person. I lay down my life before her (and our son).
But that’s not our reality. And it’s my fault that I can’t provide more for our family to allow her more choices and opportunities–as her partner in life–to be a stay-at-home-mom–if she so desired. Or vice versa–ish.
Why wasn’t I gifted with talents to be a lawyer, a doctor, or a computer mind?
Blogger’s Disclaimer: Yes, I realize that there’s privileged perspective from which I’m speaking. History, culture, and society don’t permit all parents to have these kinds of choices. I’m simply swimming in the American-white-straight-male waters. I acknowledge this. Really, I can’t imagine–all the more–the emotions felt by non-privileged parents. Literally, I can’t possibly know what that’s like.
We’re going to do a practice-run with the whole child care thing. Yep, we’re going to drop him off for 2-3 hours while we seemingly watch through one of those Law-and-Order, one-way glass walls, to see how well our son can adapt and survive without us.
Maybe this is when Nemo‘s dad parts ways? Ugh…
It’s at this point that I’ll be inspecting any breathing organisms within the child care facility with a magnifying glass and several other scientific instruments.
Some couples can’t conceive and sustain the natural incubation period. My wife and I understand. Through it all, we’ve been blessed with one, healthy baby–so far.
Oh… How the child care providers don’t know and understand the extent to which I’d do anything to guarantee the well-being of our one-and-only-begotten-son, so far.
- Will he be safe?
- Will we miss his first full sentence?
- Did we do enough to prepare him to be away from us?
- Could I have done better to strengthen him along the way?
- Have other parents prepared their kids better than us, and will we see that?
- What can I do next year so that my wife can stay home? How can I make more money? Why didn’t I plan and think-thru this more specifically 10-20 years ago?
I’m somewhat helpless.
As a veteran educator, STEM enthusiast, leader-wannabe, and lifelong learning lover of all things, I get asked this all the time:
“Describe the best possible learning experience–What would that look like?”
As a parent, now, I really don’t care about the BEST possible learning experience, the latest technologies, or even the take-home materials. Like, really, those things have never crossed my mind until I typed them out right now.
What do I really want from my child’s teacher?
- I want my child to be safe. (I could literally stop right here).
- I want my child to be happy, and to love learning.
- I want my child to grow, and to learn something new.
You may be thinking–Just Wait… till… you’re right.
I’m aware that I don’t know what I don’t know.
But can we just hit that pause button for a moment?
I literally can’t know what it’s like to drop off your kid at kindergarten… or college… Yet.
But if it’s anything like this, I’m gonna need A LOT of help.
Good Morning, #satchat. As a parent now, I just realized that I really don't care as much about "the ultimate classroom" as much as I care that there's a teacher in that space who loves teaching/learning and knows/cares about my kid. That's it for now. https://t.co/QeAb3WYNqv
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) January 19, 2019