The ‘From the Teacher’s Family’ issue is up over on the iTDi blog with posts from Rose Bard, Matt Shannon, and Ayat Tawel. Each post is a story of what being a teacher does and means to our families. They are posts filled with the joy that comes when our families know our jobs change lives. They are also stories of the insecurity that comes with yearly contracts, the loneliness of waiting for a weekend when a partner doesn’t have to work, and the pain of sometimes feeling forgotten.
Each of the iTDi bloggers was given a list of 11 possible questions to use (or not use) during their interviews. I thought I would simply share those questions here, in case any other writers might be interested in doing a similar post and were stuck for ideas. But the other night, before going to sleep, my wife Mamico asked me if I would interview her. I prepared two glasses with ice and took down the bottle of Japanese style whisky we sometimes sip when chatting late at night. I must have pulled a strange face, because she said, “Don’t worry. I don’t have much negative to say about you being a teacher. I want you to know how I feel.” So here are the 11 questions and Mamico’s answers, as well as the gratitude that comes from people I love and respect sharing their lives and thoughts with me. Thank you Rose, Matt, Ayat and Mamico.
1) What are three good things about having a mother/sister/wife/daughter who is a teacher?
You’re always thinking about how to teach children. So the way you interact with our daughter never changes No matter what she asks you, you always try to give her a thoughtful and serious answer. And if I ever have a question about English it’s really easy to ask you and I know I’ll get a good answer. You also always have interesting stories to tell about your day at school.
2) Were there ever a moments in your life when you wished I wasn’t a teacher?
Well, for example, when Luca doesn’t understand something you sometimes try to explain it too well, in too much detail. It’s kind of the opposite of the good part of you being a teacher. You take about two steps too many and I’m sometimes thinking, ‘That’s enough, that’s enough, that’s enough.’
3) Was there ever a moment when you were very proud of something I did as a teacher?
Well, recently, we met one of your students at a music festival. I remember you talking about that student last year and what a hard time he was having at school. And during the music festival, while we were sitting together, he was such a kind, and thoughtful, and decent boy. I thought that you must have had a very good influence on him.
4) How do you think me being a teacher has made life more complicated for you?
When something hard or bad is happening at work, and you are under a lot of stress, I’m thinking about what I can do for you. A lot of times I realise there actually isn’t anything I can do. I can just think, “Poor, poor, Kevin.” It’s not really a problem for me. But I sometimes feel uncomfortable because there’s not much I can do for you.
5) Do you think I am well suited to be a teacher?
Oh yeah! You are a natural born teacher. You like teaching. You like studying. And you believe that people can change. Even when your students are not ‘good’, you believe in them.
6) What other jobs do you think I could have done or should have done aside from teaching?
Aside from social worker? Wait, let me think. You are a very caring person, so you could probably be a nurse. But you’re a little too forgetful to be a nurse, really.
7) Why do you think I became a teacher?
I think you became a teacher because you wanted to be in an environment where you could always be studying. I think you wanted to have a job where continual studying would be useful to the work you were doing.
8) Why do you think I continue to be a teacher now?
Because you like your students and you really want them to grow.
9) How would our lives change is I stopped being a teacher tomorrow?
You would be depressed. And we would be very poor. But really, I think it would be so boring, for you and for me.
10) Do you have any message for teachers around the world who might read this post?
Thank you for the job you do. Thank you for teaching and caring for the children and the adults who still believe in trying to improve and learn new things. Oh, and thank you for being very kind to my husband. I think he loves teaching because he knows he has the support of so many other teachers.
11) Do you have any message for other family members of teachers around the world?
Please listen to the stories of your family member’s students. The more stories you hear of real students’ lives, the more you will want to support and cheer on the person who you love who is a teacher. Actually, the more stories you hear of students, the more you will want to support all teachers.