When Your Child Wants to Enter the Teaching Profession
As a teacher yourself, if one of your own children has come to you and said they would like to follow in your footsteps, you probably feel a mix of pride and worry. There’s pride because it seems like you must have been a great role model, but there’s the worry as well because every profession has its drawbacks, and you know those in your own field intimately. Depending on how you feel about your own career trajectory, there is the danger that you may discourage them or that you may push them too hard into the profession. What should you say? What kind of advice should you give? How supportive do you need to be? Keep reading for tips on how to move forward.
Whatever your personal feelings are, the first thing that you need to do is step back. It can be tempting to immediately explain to them all the reasons they should or shouldn’t be a teacher, but you have to back off and let them find their own way. Part of parenting in a modern world is adopting modern approaches and allowing space for autonomy is certainly one of them. If you have something really important that you feel you need to tell them about it, tell them once and then let it go unless they come back asking for advice.
Remember that becoming a teacher can mean many different things, and their experience might be very different from yours. Above all, don’t denigrate their choice based on what you think you know about them. You might wonder how, for example, your very impatient child will have the patience to be a teacher. But remember that not only is your child likely to change a lot in the years ahead but in a professional capacity, they may be very different from what you are accustomed to as their parent.
Give Them a Hand Financially
A big way that can help them is with their student loans. Help them go over the financial aid paperwork and make a budget for the school. You can also ease the financial stress by taking out a low-rate Private Parent Loan. This can help cover some of their costs along with other financial resources, including federal aid and scholarships.
What You Can Say
It’s hard for a parent to not offer any input at all, and there is one thing you can focus on even if they don’t ask. However, you feel about this choice, you can encourage them to be great teachers and to aim to be an inspiration to their students. You can talk to them about some of your own challenges and ideals. Remember that if they stay on this path, you will have the pleasure of having a colleague in your own family.
If They Ask for Advice
If they do ask you for advice, a great way to handle that is by encouraging them to still do most of the talking, whether it’s asking questions or talking about their own concerns. When you do share your knowledge or opinions, you should still emphasize that this represents your own experience, and theirs may differ. Make it more of a conversation than advice dispensing session. Allow the conversation to branch out from strictly teaching as well, perhaps your child does not realize that there are careers you can pursue with an education degree that are not specifically teaching. This might help you, and them, understand that following their passion will not limit them.