I step onto the platform of my teaching career at the age of 35, a mother of two young children with more demands on my time and energy than ever before. Many times, I have regretted not beginning my teaching career earlier. Rarely, I have stopped to reflect on how being a mother - that most visceral of experiences - frames my approach to teaching. Today, I did that.
So many of the skills I have developed through being with my children are directly transferable to the classroom; patience, empathy, compassion and an understanding of what is and what is not developmentally appropriate behaviour. Today, in a Year 1 classroom, a child was crying underneath a desk. I understood that she was scared and instinctively lay under the table to console her. Within minutes, she emerged and rejoined the group, knowing that she mattered to me. When I spoke to her mother about the incident, I was sure to do so with empathy and love. Being a mother adds a certain layer of relatability when communicating with parents; I understand the complexities of raising children and the primal consideration for their happiness so when I approach parents it is with this shared understanding at the forefront of my mind.
Rather than pine for the years I 'lost' by entering the teaching force a decade later than planned, I shall wear as my badge of honour, all the skills and love that I bring to the classroom, having being taught them from my biggest teachers; my own children.