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assumptions about childless teachers (esp in Early Years Settings)

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Happyregardless, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Happyregardless

    Happyregardless Occasional commenter

    Sorry but a few unthinking comments at work recently have really 'got my goat'.[​IMG]
    and I would like other childless, childfree, alternate lifestyle ( whatever) professionals to share their personal experiences at work so I just get an inkling it's not just me going loopy here.
    While (presumably) most colleagues are aware we shouldn't discriminate against one another on several basis it seems that the childless professionals are somehow 'fair game'?
    Apologies in advance if much of this sounds 'ranty' or cross, but hey the whole world gets to have a pop at us every day and day in and day out and how often do the childless EVER kick back?
    Okay so let's put some of these false assumptions finally to rest shall we?:
    False assumption/comment No: 1
    "She's never had children so she obviously didn't want them/she has no maternal instinct."
    Yes, because just because YOUR life has flown along so swimmingly then obviously everyone else's also has and just because they wanted kids it should have happened just like yours shouldn't it?
    GROW UP -- heaven knows how you would survive if you went through an OUNCE of what some of us have!
    False assumption/comment No: 2
    "Well she's never had her own kids so how would she know?"
    Yes, because I've never BEEN a kid myself have I, or dedicated my whole life to looking after children perhaps even before YOU were out of nappies yourself have I?
    False assumption/comment No 3:
    "Yes because being a parent 'grounds' you - how could you possibly know if you aren't one?!"
    I'm sure it does. But many other trials and tribulations in life 'ground' people including the final acceptance of life NOT turning out as you had imagined it and dealing with the prejudices and projections of a world that EXPECTS women to be mothers.
    False assumption/comment No 3:
    "Your dog is your baby."
    ermm no - while I may and others may have jokingly said similar things to get you to BACK OFF with your presumptions in the past I DO actually know the difference between a baby and a dog thanks!
    False assumption No 4:
    You know better than me at work because you have baby x, y and or Z at home and others often comment " and he/she has a ______ year old son/daughter..."
    colleagues with families are talked to and conversed with - childless colleagues are not expected to share and when they do it is tinge with irony because of the inevitable comparisons
     
  2. Happyregardless

    Happyregardless Occasional commenter

    Sorry but a few unthinking comments at work recently have really 'got my goat'.[​IMG]
    and I would like other childless, childfree, alternate lifestyle ( whatever) professionals to share their personal experiences at work so I just get an inkling it's not just me going loopy here.
    While (presumably) most colleagues are aware we shouldn't discriminate against one another on several basis it seems that the childless professionals are somehow 'fair game'?
    Apologies in advance if much of this sounds 'ranty' or cross, but hey the whole world gets to have a pop at us every day and day in and day out and how often do the childless EVER kick back?
    Okay so let's put some of these false assumptions finally to rest shall we?:
    False assumption/comment No: 1
    "She's never had children so she obviously didn't want them/she has no maternal instinct."
    Yes, because just because YOUR life has flown along so swimmingly then obviously everyone else's also has and just because they wanted kids it should have happened just like yours shouldn't it?
    GROW UP -- heaven knows how you would survive if you went through an OUNCE of what some of us have!
    False assumption/comment No: 2
    "Well she's never had her own kids so how would she know?"
    Yes, because I've never BEEN a kid myself have I, or dedicated my whole life to looking after children perhaps even before YOU were out of nappies yourself have I?
    False assumption/comment No 3:
    "Yes because being a parent 'grounds' you - how could you possibly know if you aren't one?!"
    I'm sure it does. But many other trials and tribulations in life 'ground' people including the final acceptance of life NOT turning out as you had imagined it and dealing with the prejudices and projections of a world that EXPECTS women to be mothers.
    False assumption/comment No 3:
    "Your dog is your baby."
    ermm no - while I may and others may have jokingly said similar things to get you to BACK OFF with your presumptions in the past I DO actually know the difference between a baby and a dog thanks!
    False assumption No 4:
    You know better than me at work because you have baby x, y and or Z at home and others often comment " and he/she has a ______ year old son/daughter..."
    colleagues with families are talked to and conversed with - childless colleagues are not expected to share and when they do it is tinge with irony because of the inevitable comparisons
     
  3. I've had this before. Would love kids but have never met the right man! Still would love one, but only with the right man. I think I'd make a great mum, but stiull waiting for the ship to come into port. Ahem!
    Had it off a parent once who said "Don't suppose you have any children of your own?". To which I said "No, I don't". To which she said "Well, really you shouldn't be teaching kids as you don't know anything about them!". Her daughter ws always spoilt and always telling tales and getting her mum up.
    A neighbour also got very worked up once when I told her that it was not the teacher's fault for the way kids turn out and she snorted "What would you know - you've never had any of your own!".
    I shut the door on her and was extremely hurt. Had spent a lot of time listening to her offloading and helped her through depressive times and really, she cannot stand it when folks have their own opinions. She wrote me a note. I forgave her, but I'm afraid that really was the end of our friendship.
    People can be cruel. Yes, I was a child myself and have nephews and have worked with children for 18 years. I think I'd make a smashing parent as have loads of love to give. Maybe one day...Need to fall in love first.
     
  4. I'm not childless myself but I can guarantee you that having a child does not make you an expert on how children are. Working with a wide range of different children in schools over a period of time gives you a much better experience.I try very hard not to make assumptions about people in any situation. Some people will always make assumptions about lots of things but I have never come across more nonsensical and illogical ones than those made about people with no children.I know it's not the same thing as you are describing but that scene in Bridget Jones' Diary where she has dinner with the smug marrieds has sprung into my mind and I always feel that Bridget should have just slapped them in the face.I don't know why this happens - it's a society thing but it does need to change. Hope you feel better for letting off steam.
     
  5. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    I'm lucky not to have experienced this. However, as a childless individual I find helping children get changed extremely difficult!! I cannot put socks on children's feet and jammed zips never undo for me but regularly do for colleagues with children! I'm convinced getting children in/out of clothes is something you must be taught as a new parent :p
     
  6. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Ah, we should all be a bit kinder to each other.
    How any times do childless colleagues moan about time taken off when children are ill?
    Both sets of moaners let the side down.


     
  7. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    Being a parent makes you an expert (to a certain extent) on your own child/children. But it's experience of working with children that gives you a good understanding of different children's needs, personalities, abilities etc.
    I taught in Reception and Year 1 for 10 years before having my daughter, and for another 10 years since. I'm probably a better teacher now - but that's because I've had another 10 years of experience.
    The only difference being a mum has made is that I'm a bit more understanding of parents' anxieties; there are some things that I no longer do for children that I used to (eg putting tights on after PE lessons) as Cariadlet could do them way before starting school; and there are a couple of other things that used to surprise me that I am now more sympathetic over (eg children still not being able to wipe their bum really effectively when they start school - I still get them to do it for themselves, but I understand now how tricky it is).
    Well said.
     
  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    When it comes to expertise, it's the grandmothers that matter.
     
  9. seza-lou

    seza-lou New commenter

    ugh completly agree.

    A couple of collegues of mine stated that it was "not good that nobody in the reception year level was a mother and that it should be changed"

    Was not impressed as although I don't have children yet, this is my 6th year teaching and all my fellow teachers are around the same amount of experience, we do have loads of experience which they just dismissed because we don't have children and was different to their own..
     
  10. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter


    I honestly don't think I've ever heard anyone make that kind of comment in my school.
     
  11. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Me neither. I'd be furious if I did.

     
  12. How terrible that you are made to feel this way in your professional life as a result of your personal circumstances. If it were me in this situation (as one poster made the comparison of the smug marrieds in bridget jones), I'd feel like telling them to bog off and mind their own business.
    The reality of being a mother does NOT make you an expert in children any more than owning a car makes you an expert in mechanics or cooking a meal every night makes you a chef.
    The truth of the situation is that you are a trained professional in child development and education. You went to university and studied damn hard to get where you are now. You went through a stringent interview process and are subject to yearly performance reviews as well as regular teaching observations. Your abilities are not in question.
    Sadly, many people are extremely judgemental. I get the judging comments because I am a mother yet choose to work full time. Thank goodness I don't go through the same monitoring processes at home that I have as a teacher. I'd definitely be "requires improvement" in many aspects.
    As Bart Simpson once said "you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't"
    Try not to let it get to you. xxx (only 1 week left)
     
  13. upsadaisy

    upsadaisy New commenter

    I don't think you have to be a parent to be a good teacher. But I do think that being a parent does give you a different perspective on certain things and some first hand experience that you may not get without being a parent. I do feel that being an educator and a parent combines to make me a better teacher.
     
  14. Yes but this is not universally true.
     
  15. I don't think being a parent automatically makes you a better teacher. Since becomming a mum I find that for some types of kids I have less patience for and will no longer tolerate the majority of the classes learning being disrupted by a minority . But there is a teacher at my school who you would not think has any kids as she seems to lack so much empathybut she has 3!
     
  16. Yep. Whilst having a conversation about children at work earlier this week, someone said to me...'YOU don't have children! If you don't have children what is the point of living!!' ........
     
  17. I can't believe the attitude of some people! Why is it considered acceptable to make these kind of comments to a particular group of people? It's prejudice! The fact that society expects that all women should be mothers and your'e made to feel an outsider if not has always really annoyed me: that attitude really shouldn't be taken into the workplace too but, unfortunately, seems even more prevalent in education.
    Do you really think people are unjustified in complaining about this?!!!!
     
  18. Advantages and disadvantages in both camps. I'm heading towards the 'autumn' years in teaching. I am the same age as several of the grandparents of the kids in my class. And for those parents who respect their parents' views I have a chance to , perhaps, offer advice. For others I feel like a crabby old bag who appears to be criticising.

    I met a paediatrician recently who said how today's parents are so confused with how to raise a child as they are bombarded from all angles with the 'right' thing to do. In many cases the advice contradicted itself. Who knows what the answer is? But it seems that everybody is struggling to understand , with or without kids.

    As teachers , we have a mandated responsibility to engage in early assessment and intervention should norms not be being met. As parents, we hate to hear that our child has any type of deficit. Nobody wins if we conflict. We all need to be able to meet in the middle in order to make school a positive experience for a child. It doesn't always work like that if either party feels they are doing more than the other. But ..in the end aren't we all trying to do our best for the children, not ourselves?
     

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