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When Being a Mom and a Teacher Collide

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Pretty soon after my oldest daughter was born, I started to realize that becoming a mom made me a better teacher and being a teacher made me an even better mom. I had even more compassion for my students as I knew that behind every child was someone who entrusted their son or daughter with me. And as a teacher I understand way more about my daughter's learning style, especially when to help and when to just let her learn about life on her own. But soon something strange started happening.

The older my daughter got, the more I found myself using phrases and parenting practices with my students that I used with my daughter. The reason why it was so peculiar was that I teach adolescents, more specifically, middle school kids ranging in age from 11 to 14. I had a threenager at home, and at school tweens and teenagers were my consumers. They're like the same alien, really.

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Here are some of the common phrases I found myself both saying at home and at work:

1. One....Two....Three.

Yep. I count to three for my middle school kids too. And for those visual learners, counting on my hand is helpful too boot. I think my students were so shocked at this tactic that they responded well to it. They must know they've gone overboard if I have to count to get them to stop chatting. My daughter screams back at me sometimes that I don't need to count. Well then.

2. There will be consequences.

A detention is the same thing as a time out, right?

3. Ewwww!

My daughter gets this one when she digs up her nose for gold. My students, well, when I catch them k-i-s-s-i-n-g in a tree. Gross! Both are embarrassed when they are caught. My work here is done.

4. Please don't crack your head open.

I say this as a student teeters on two of the four legs of his or her chair. At home I say this as my daughter precariously moves furniture to climb to where she shouldn't be. And as baby sister has begun climbing, this phrase is on repeat. If only my students and children would listen to me. Le Sigh.

5. Are you kidding me?

Wish my daughter internalized the meaning of this phrase as my students have.

Only my preschool daughter sarcastically says that one back to me. My students, well, they know they've done something wrong when I utter this to them. Wish my daughter internalized the meaning of this phrase as my students have.

6. Really?

No response needed. Both my students and preschooler know that they've made a poor choice. Sometimes "Are you kidding me," precedes "Really?" for a double header.

7. Was that a kind thing to do?

I'm often having to remind my students to be kind to their classmates. We don't have to all get along, but we've got to be kind. And big sister has to be reminded to be kind to her little sister. And her parents.

8. Keep your hands to yourself.

It goes without saying that a preschooler needs this constant reminder. But man, it would be nice to not have to remind adolescents.

9. Make good choices.

As I see my daughter about to do something she shouldn't, I utter this phrase and sometimes it impedes her from continuing. For my students, I also see that look on their face when they are about to do or saying something they shouldn't, and I say this to them as well. And then there was last Friday, Halloween, when I reminded all of my students to make good choices that evening.

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10. Dude?!?!

Not sure when the word "dude" became a regular part of my vernacular. But nonetheless, I say it a lot. It kind of goes along with "Are you kidding me" and "Really?" Both my female students and my daughter remind me that they aren't dudes. Touche.

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