“Oh, you’ll be such great parents! You’re both teachers!”
My wife and I heard this many times when we were expecting our first. I told everyone I really didn’t think so, that parenting was its own thing, but I secretly hoped I would have an advantage.
In my classroom, on a good day, I’m a technician running a clinic. I work with clearly defined objectives for academic progress and expectations for civil behavior. I put carefully targeted work into getting students to achieve the standard. When things don’t go right, I practice a kind of academic or social forensics, picking over the corpse of a lesson to determine the cause of death.
At home, forget it. I’m not so much a technician as a rodeo clown, using tricks and gags to lure two toros into homework, chores, and tooth brushing. When things don’t go well, I’m not an analyst. I’m a marshmallow.
A student who approaches me with, “I can’t find my book!” will often hear, “I can’t find it either, sorry.” It might sound cruel, but the expectation is that a third grader will problem-solve by performing his/her own search. I’ll assist with strategy as far as that goes, but I won’t look for it myself.
At home, my daughter needs only to make a certain face, The Saddest Face Known to Mankind, and I’ll probably go look for her lost treasure. I freely admit that I’m a pushover that way, and also that I’m a complete sucker for the expression of sheer joy she makes when I find the thing.
When I report to parents that their child is a model student in class, sometimes they respond with disbelief: “I wish I could get him to do that at home!”
I know how they feel.