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2/17/10

some stuff on mom jobs, the kids i don't have, and teaching.

Sometimes, I get a little frustrated when people make assumptions about teaching. Some of them are offensive:

"Those who can't do, teach."

(Because teaching itself isn't a skill-set, just a back-up plan when grander life goals fail.)

Some of them are simply, and blissfully, ignorant:

"It must be so NICE to only work until 3:00 and still get paid for a full day!"

(I get to work at 7:00. 7:00-3:00 is just as much as "full day" as 9:00-5:00.)


But the most disturbing (at least to me) assumptions occur when someone questions my motives for teaching. While I know they don't mean any harm, the comment I've heard most when I mention I'm a teacher goes something like this-


"Oh that's wonderful! What a great mom job!"

Newsflash: I didn't go into teaching because it is a "great mom job."


I went into teaching because I am passionate about education. I am passionate about history. I am passionate about literature. I went into teaching because it is the best job for me.

Because, really, all jobs can be great "mom jobs." Just like all jobs can be great "dad jobs." (But no one tells men that, anyway.) I think being a great Mom has very little to do with what job title you hold, and very much to do with what type of person you are. There are great Moms who are lawyers, neurosurgeons, and CEO's. There are lousy moms who are teachers, nurses, and home-business owners (just to name a few of the more prominent and socially acceptable "mom jobs.")

Are the hours for teaching conducive to having school-age kids? Sure. But in a world where there are so many options for both Mom and Dad's work schedule and child-care, it's hard to use a schedule as the only qualifier for a "Mom job."

I also hear a lot of "Oh being a teacher will help you teach your kids! That's why I majored in ___________, so that I can be a better mom."

Yes. Being a teacher will give help me teach my kids. But why have so many people decided that only certain types of information can be valuable to our children? Wouldn't being a doctor help me teach my kids too? Or a businesswoman? Or a politician?

All types of education and experiences are valuable to teaching children. Not just the education you get from your FCS major. (Although that IS great, too!)

Lastly, I hear the "It's always great to have that teaching degree. Just in case."


I didn't get a degree "just in case" my husband dies, or is handicapped, or heaven-forbid, leaves me for some trollop.

I chose to gain an education to serve others, including God. Whether or not I work or stay at home,* my education isn't the intellectual equivalent of food storage, to be used only in case of an emergency.

But I also worked hard for my degree, for myself. For my own edification. The doctrine of my church teaches that if I am diligent and faithful in my learning that"There should be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things." (D&C88:67)

No darkness in me.

My body...comprehendeth all things.


My education, both spiritual and temporal, is for me.


Because assumptions about teaching aren't always right.


Because if I can't do, how can I teach?


That's how it works, right? That's how it should work. **




DISCLAIMERS.


*In my discussion about great "Mom jobs" I chose to discuss more formal careers. But that shouldn't indicate a disrespect for great Stay-At-Home Moms.


**Wrong! Wrong! Child Bride! That's NOT how it works! You'll change your mind once you had kids! In fact, why are you even writing this!? Your opinions will change (miraculously, they will change to be just like mine) once you have your own children! Just you wait!

Dear commenters, please feel free to copy and paste the above statement as your comment if you find my thoughts offensive. It seems whenever I discuss my own, personal, opinions on motherhood/femininity/or children, I am inevitably given some variation of this comment. So I've made it simple. Copy. Paste.


It's not that I don't appreciate discourse, I do! I don't appreciate being told I cannot have valid thoughts until I'm older, a mother, a mother of three, a mother of older children, etc.






Lastly,

Some judging space, just in case.

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39 comments:

Genavee said...

I'm not a Mom (so of course my opinion can't count) but don't parents want their kids to grow up to be happy, full, people, full of light? (love that imagery, love that scripture) So why do so many feel like as an adult you can only do a small number of acceptable things, regardless of who you are? I want to be a person, and use all my awesomeness to be the best Mom I can. I don't think I would do anyone, including my hypothetical children, any favors if I tried to squeeze myself into being something I'm not.

Way to do something that you love. (Especially something as awesome as teaching. I would have been a horrid teacher, and I'm in awe of those who can be great at it. Go you.)

April said...

I have a master's degree in speech pathology. When I had my first child; my husband and I decided that I would stay home and raise our children. Toward the end of my pregnancy I sat down with my boss to let her know I wouldn't be coming back and she actually said, "Why would you go to all the trouble to get a master's degree if you weren't planning on using it."

I think that many people today see education only as a tool to get a job and make money. Attending a liberal arts college for 6 years enriched my life in so many ways. I love my profession and hope to go back someday, but my reasons for getting my education were many.

Dustin and Whit said...

First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

Second of all, I can't even tell you how many people have asked me what I am going to do with my Art History degree, to which I usually say "im just going to enjoy it because I love learning about art," and then i get an awkward response like "well good for you!" My favorite conversation ever was when a girl i worked with asked me if i ever wanted to work in that field, and I told her that I would love to be a docent for a Museum someday, and then she said "a tour guide? they don't even get paid." I about punched her in the face. But she is a dental hygienist which is the perfect mom job so i guess she knows what she is talking about ;)

Third of all, I would absolutely LOVE to be an Art History teacher someday, i think that would pretty much be the coolest.

Ru said...

This reminds me of a time I ran into a really tragic law student (who did NOT go to my law school, fyi) who, in the course of patting herself on the back like 50 times in under ten minutes, informed me she was planing on transferring from her law school in order to be a law professor someday. "Because what really matters is where you got your degree, and that you have the intellectual chops to master your subject. They can teach you how to teach once you become a professor."

Um ... no.

No no no no no.

I say this as someone who has had far too many crappy teachers. I really believe you cannot learn to be a good teacher if you didn't have a passion for it to begin with. Which is why I 100% agree with your assessment on the "can't teach, do" nonsense. Of course, there ARE people who teach because they cannot do ... but tragically, those ones tend not to be good at teaching, either.

MamaBear said...

i wanna be a teacher because i like to 'splain things to other people, and i like bossing kids around, and i love science, and and and...

your reasons are more thought-out than mine and really more soul-searched. mine are along the lines of SUMMERS OFF! home when kids are! plus i love science and 'splainin' things.

WTG getting your degree. WTG knowing what you want from life. the folks who don't are ALL JEALOUS. i don't care how cliched that is, if you're gonna be a cookie-cutter TAMN wife, you're gonna get slapped with the jealous label.

love you MCB. just the way you are. because that's important mom stuff and teacher stuff, too. my only gripe?

why justify yourself to narrow-minded idiots anyway?

Alyssa said...

I've never commented before, but you've hit on a subject I'm all too familiar with. See, I'm a teacher. And a mom. Well, ok, I'm not actually teaching, since I now stay home with my daughter, but I'll always be a teacher, regardless of whether or not I'm active in my field. I know exactly what you mean about people looking down their noses at teachers, but just like you I CHOSE to be a teacher because I am PASSIONATE about history (why else would I spend years teaching world history to the least interested 14 year olds in the history of the world??) and I am PASSIONATE about doing as much service for the next generation as I possibly can. I am also PASSIONATE about continuing my own education, which this profession not only allows, but demands. As for the comments about it being a a great mom job... well it sort of is. BUT. Just like you said, so are about a billion other jobs. If nothing else, I've learned to just let these assumptions roll off my back, because some people just think you're pathetic if you're not doing exactly what they are doing, for exactly the same reasons they are. As for me, I answer to myself, and that's all that matters...

Sorry for the really long post, but I just really feel ya on this one!

Lauren said...

I agree 100% with all of the above. During my four years of teaching, I have realized over and over again that those who do not teach do not (& will not) "get" what we do as teachers. Sure, they have experience as students interacting with teachers but will never understand what it truly means to teach.
Kudos to you for being so candidly honest about this subject and making it known that teaching is not just a mom job.
Love your posts!

NIKOL said...

"Those who can't do, teach" is one of the most offensive things I've ever heard.

And I wholly agree with what April said: too many people view an education as simply a tool to get a job and make money. Learning for learning's own sake is beautiful, admirable, and (in my humble opinion) essential.

I really wish that there was an option to make a living as a student. Just to be paid to be society's scholar. That would be my ideal job. Just learning all kinds of cool things, all the time. Well, unless it involved math. I don't do math.

The Boob Nazi said...

Please send me an email telling me what lead to this rant.

I use the "just in case" argument with people who don't want education at all, but for people who want education, why would you say it? I don't understand.

But of course, I'm a selfish lesbian bitch haha. (That's official my favorite insult for myself now.)

Jessica said...

Don't forget about all the time you spend at home correcting papers and planning. I don't think I know any teachers who actually only work until 3:00. That would be impossible.

People must have given up on me ever having children, because I never get any comments about "mom jobs" :)

gurrbonzo said...

Wrong! Wrong! Child Bride! That's NOT how it works! You'll change your mind once you had kids! In fact, why are you even writing this!? Your opinions will change (miraculously, they will change to be just like mine) once you have your own children! Just you wait!

Lena said...

Oh my. That is one of my biggest pet peeves. Being told that I won't understand til I have kids. That I couldn't possibly have had little brothers, nieces or nephews, friends with kids, or anything that might give me child experience. Nor would my life experience or common sense qualify me to make valid child/life related decisions. Thank you MCB, for voicing the thoughts of so many of the "childless".

Xan said...

Dear Child Bride, I love what you had to say, and how you said it! :D The former Dean of Graduate Studies at BYU always laughed when people tried to imply that her being a professor made her a "part-time" mom when compared to "full-time" moms that stay-at-home with their kids. She replied, "I am a full-time mom. I also work full-time. Just because part of the day I'm on campus, doesn't mean I get to stop being a mom for those hours."

I think there's a shift happening (even in the Church -- shocker!) for women to be more educated and have jobs. It's getting harder to live on single incomes. And besides that, some women aren't content with stay-at-home lifestyles. (Feminine Mystique anyone?) I have a deep respect for woman that choose that course, it's not for me.

My educations is, also, not a "fall back plan" it's for me. It was what God asked me to do and it's made me happy. Every day. I LOVED that scripture. Loved it.

Thanks for being so awesome and posting what I have felt for so long!!

Tammy said...

When people give back handed compliments it is because they are insecure with their own lives so they must try to make you question yours as well. I eliminated one of those people from my life and I am a much happier person.
Some people are just idiots as well.

Jen said...

Teachers are underpaid and underappreciated. Is that okay for me to say to my teacher friends?

I am with you on the education thing. I got an English degree, worked at TJ Maxx and a Lumber Yard, and now I stay home with my babies. I learned much about being assertive and running a business from the lumber yard that makes me happy to know for when I join the job market again, and while it's helpful to my kids, I'm mostly grateful for what it did for ME.

I love the word trollop a LOT.

Kristine and Ryan said...

Hehehe... trollop. That's one I haven't heard in a while. I liked this post- mostly because I come from generations of teachers and hope become one some day.

kari said...

Thanks for the great post MCB. I am forwarding this to my two daughters, ages 19 and 20.

Brooke said...

The word trollup made my day. And it's been the kind of day where I needed that, so thanks!!

And AMEN SISTER! I've been upset recently by a post by some bloggers who shall remain nameless because as Boob Nazi says, "I refuse to give them any more attention." But this helped. Kudos on tackling one of the hardest jobs in America ... and not "just in case" or as plan B. Education is AMAZING. I have a hard time believing that any of the teachers who really made a difference in my life did it just because it was a "mom job."

MJ said...

Ok, seriously? I think you're pretty down to earth, and your views WON'T change once you have kids. Anyone who thinks you're wrong has an archaic view of "motherhood".

I get LOOKS all the time when I tell someone that my 2 yr old's bedtime is midnight. He gets his 10-11 hours of sleep, but I work evenings and my husband goes to school evenings, and we LIKE TO SLEEP IN. It works for us, so they can bite it.

If you teach anything like you blog, you're a FANTASTIC teacher, I only wish there were more teachers like you out there.

dalene said...

i love that you left space for judging. ha!

great post. my husband teaches third grade, so in many ways i feel your pain. i especially hate the "those who can do, those who can't teach." and my husband spends way more than 40 hours a week at school and does not have three months off during the summer.

and as dang hard as i found being a stay-at-home mom to be, i will admit the few days i got a sitter and subbed for my husband were exhausting! it's hard work. and you have to deal with some really obnoxious parents on top of some really tough kids.

i say kudos to you and anyone else brave and strong enough to go into the field of education. i appreciate that it is a field of service (you certainly don't get paid equivalent to the good that you do and the amount of your heart and soul you pour into your job).

MandoRama said...

So well said, MCB. Congrats on the job, by the way!

I'd like to add that there are also lousy stay-at-home moms. (In fact, I think I ran into some of them at library story-time today!)

I wish people would realize that just because a mom (or dad) is physically present for their kids seven days a week doesn't mean that their minds aren't a million miles away while their kids are acting like attention-starved assholes.

Lynn said...

Keep on believing in yourself. Believe in what you do. Don't confuse humility(good thing)with humiliation/(feelings of inferiority)(bad thing). Don't allow people who don't get it, to bother you. Don't take offense. Be happy. Love everyone.

Melinda said...

Amen. That is all.

Angry Carp said...

Teaching is not a great career for parents (mom or pop) because...
1. Who ever stops work at 3? The ones who never grade anything, that's who. The rest of us are up til midnight slogging through pure studential shite.
2. At the end of the day who wants to answer more questions? Who feels at all kindly toward the teaching moments? Not me.
3. Sniffles, snot, coughing, small pox and tuberculosis, and other diseases come home to infect your children.
4. Being in charge of a horde of miniature mongols makes you bossy, bitter, dictatorial, and did I mention bitter?
5. Your desire to help out with school work when your little darlings gather round the table of an evening is LESS THAN ZERO.
6. Because you work with other teachers, you know first hand what incompetent a-holes they can be and that attitude does seep out and gets soaked up into your kiddies' brains, so they lose all or most respect they ever had for their own teachers.
7. You spend all year wishing you could spend more time with the kiddies, and all summer wishing you could get away from them. That's messed up.

I could go one, but I think you get my point, don't you?

Jessica said...

The "Once you have kids, you'll feel differently" perspective drives me nuts. I think you should pursue your interests, career options, and anything else according to what stimulates you, not according to your plans for kids.
If you wanna be a neurosurgeon, be a neurosurgeon. Of course there are easier paths to take, but it is possible! If you really want to make something happen, you will do it with or without children.

JRO said...

You might be a really great English/History teacher, but that may not help you when it comes to helping your children with their math homework.

Seriously, it hasn't helped me any. And I was always pretty good at math, but they teach some pretty funky methods these days.

And you might just be too busy with your own homework to help your kids.

So, I agree. Teaching is not necessarily a job that makes for great mom status.

Amy said...

Here, here.

Mrs. Clark said...

Everyone should choose the course of study/career that ignites passion in him or her. Not his parents, her spouse, or her guidance counselor--him or her alone. Good for you for doing that.

That said, I have a friend who majored in becoming an opera singer at an expensive school. She now tends bar and does clerical work for a temp agency.

Then you have a gentleman I know, who studied electrical engineering instead of his passion, which is museum studies. He makes a great living, but hates his job.

Frankly, I changed my own mind big time when I had my first child--there was no way I'd have left that baby with someone else.

Julie said...

Oh, oh, oh!!! Yes! You are SO right. I bristle with absolute anger whenever I get the judgemental "oh-really?-you've-been-married-3-years-and-still-don't-have-children-AND-you're-in-law-school??" look. Usually this look is followed by a few less-than-cordial comments about how I'm not keeping the comandments because I have made an independent decision between myself, my husband and God not to have children at this time. I resent the implication that becuase I don't have children, that I'm somehow not following the teachings of Christ, or that I'm somehow not living my religion to the best of my ability. It really irks me.

I also liked what you said about all kinds of education being useful for mothers to teach their children. Knowlege is power. Its a gift that no one can take from you... whether its in science, law, teaching, dance or whatever field of study available, knowlege in any respect is a powerful tool that can be used as a force for good in the world. I full expect to use my degree to teach my children about the founding fathers, our country, the rule of law, and the importance using our freedoms and liberties to participate in our political process to be promote good in our world. But in the same breath... getting an education simply to teach my children was NEVER my only intention. I'm recieving an education because I fully intend to use it. To be my OWN force of good in the world. Our calling as women and mothers is not limited to the home. Its an important sphere, to be sure, but it is NOT by any means our only calling in the life.

I could go on... I feel very passionate about this topic, but I'll stop now. Thanks S! You make my day with your blog... ( :

Stephanie said...

You may find that people express a lot of these ideas because they are taught them at church. I can't even count the number of time I heard people tell young women that education is good insurance in case something happens to your husband. I'm sure I even heard that in YSA. I was one of those women who into a teaching program after undergrad because it would be a good "mom job". Of course, I soon found out that teaching is a ton of work and that I hated it. But I did notice that the teacher I worked with as a student teacher who had been teaching for 20 years was able to get to school 10 minutes before the bell, and leave right after school almost all the time. And she barely took anything home with her! So once you are established, if you teach the same subjects all the time, it does get to be a pretty nice "mom job". But that doesn't work out so well if you don't like teaching. Anyway, I had to leave the church before I could allow myself to do what I really wanted. I'm in law school now and I love it. I couldn't have done it while still in the church, because I would have felt guilty about pursuing a career that wasn't "family friendly" due to all these ideas you've expressed in this entry. I know it's not like I would have been excommunicated for going to law school as a married woman, but you know people would totally judge! These attitudes are not just from the members, they come from the general authorities.

The Queen Bee said...

It's your blog write what you want!! Way to go teaching! I admire very much the people who can teach my children every day, because I know I couldn't. (they behave better for others!)

Aunt Spicy said...

Brilliant post.

: ) Paula said...

I've got a teaching degree that I can't use right now. That's because I have a 2 year-old. Teaching is NOT a great mom job. I have a friend who is a pharmacy tech. She can be home with her small children all day and still earn money picking up night and weekend shifts. I can't teach at night or on weekends when her husband can be home with the kids--as far as I'm concerned, teaching is a cruddy mom job.

: ) Paula said...

I just read dalene's comment. Love it! When my DH taught high school math and I was home with a newborn, he'd occasionally take sick days to stay home and hang out with our son and I'd be his substitute teacher. I loved the change of pace and he loved that his wife was the sub so his students couldn't get away with slacking and saying "but the sub said!"

Amy & Scott said...

Stephanie,

I actually have been reading your blog for quite some time now and thoroughly enjoy it. I appreciate your honest views on life, because lets be frank, not a lot of people will come out and say what they really want to (including myself at times, but I'm working on it :)).

I really just wanted to say, "I completely agree with your sentiments," you couldn't have said it better!!!

-Fellow Olympus High Student
Amy Strong Asay

P.S. I think you are in my dad's ward, Bishop Greg Strong? If so, I hope you like the area. . . and my dad;) he's crazy

Maree said...

Amen! Thanks for saying what many of us have felt. I also find that quote, "Those who can't...." Shut up! Spend a year in a teacher's shoes, getting paid pennies, investing your whole soul in "your kids" and see if it's all that easy!

And thanks for being passionate about teaching. Too many teachers aren't. When you lose your passion, it's time for a new gig.

Again, thanks.

ashoo said...

I wrote like a HUGE comment and stupid STUPID internet didnt post it. GAH. I just have to say. YOU ROCK. and I LOVE THE WAY YOU WRITE. your bloody talented (I just had to use the word bloody to emphasize my point) and also.. I'm hooked to your blog. thank you thank you thank you. You make my day complete at the end of a long, rigorous day at work.. TEACHING might I add. Yeah.. I'm a young A'Level art Teacher. haha I feel like retyping my entire comment out again but im tooo sleepy. i will. promise. (you probably dont care lol.) but thank you :)

obravenewworld said...

Re: the lack of the phrase "dad-jobs": I always say that I won't marry a lawyer or a doctor, because I don't want to have to deal with an absentee-husband/father. Same concept, they're terrible dad-jobs.

I do however, have a deep and abiding desire to marry a dentist. They have the most amazing hours, like, 9-2 and no Fridays.

Now that I think of it, why does no one endorse dentistry as a good mom-job?

Bryan and Sarah said...

I really love your ways and thoughts. Rock on.