Living with a teacher is not easy—the frequent trips to Target, the need for more pens (even though we already have 100 of the same pen), and inevitably finding crayons, erasers, or other teaching supplies rattling around in the washing machine. You may love your cohabitating teacher, but can you live with them?
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It's time to embrace the negatives and positives of living with a teacher that you've become so accustomed to. Here are 10 tips and truths to keep in mind.
1. We Need Our Space
After a long day of teaching a large group of energetic, witty, and smart students, we sometimes just need our space. It's normal for us to come home and be stressed. Don't tell us what we forgot to do the night before or immediately launch into the tale of your own workday woes. Give us a moment of silence to unwind, relax, and reflect on our day.
2. You're on the Volunteer Roster
Every teacher loves to involuntarily recruit help from their friends, siblings, children, or spouses. Whether it's cutting out lamination or putting up a bulletin board, teachers can always use extra help. When they pull you into the ranks, try not to whine or complain. Look at it this way: The faster our to-do list is finished, the more time we can spend with you!
3. Random Teaching Materials End Up Everywhere
It's very common to find random objects in the wash or throughout the house. When students think it's a good idea to play with crayons, paperclips, or see how far they can stick a Kleenex up their nose (true story), the most accessible spot to place the confiscated objects is often our pockets. And checking our pockets at the end of the day isn't always our first thought after all that teaching.
Further reading: 10 Signs That Becoming a Teacher Is the Right Move for You
4. We Love Shopping for Deals
Every teacher I've ever met has a method for thrifty spending. Whether it's shopping in Target's dollar spot or on Amazon, we just can't pass up a good deal (even if we don't need it). Considering we spend a lot of our own money on supplies for our classrooms, when there's a deal, we often stock up for the upcoming school year. So don't be alarmed if you see a large number of boxes at the front door! It was worth it.
5. We Lapse into "Teacher Voice"
Every teacher is gifted with a professional voice that they use in the classroom. It's often different from our day-to-day voice and may change in tone, volume, or speed based on what's being taught. It's something that we've grown accustomed to and often have no control over, so don't be surprised if we start using it on you. We don't mean any harm!
6. Occasionally Take the Reins
Teachers have to make decisions at lightning speed all day. When we get home, we don't always want to answer "Where do you want to go for dinner?" or "Do you want to pay the electric bill or the cable bill?" Please spare us from making one more decision! After a long day of teaching, we prefer that you make the decisions—as long as it has our best interests in mind, of course!
7. We Might Discipline Strangers' Children
We often have to bite our tongue when we're in public and see a child misbehaving—our natural instincts are to correct the behavior! We don't always resist the temptation. So at some point, we'll slip and embarrass you. Will it help to know we had the child's best interest in mind?
Further reading: 9 Stress Management Strategies Every Teacher Needs to Know
8. There's No Such Thing as Too Many Pens
Teachers love pens! In fact, no one can ever have enough pens. We may already have three of the same set of pens, but what about when they run out? It's just smart to have backups. And in new limited edition colors? Yes, please! We're all about pens, and we will never have enough.
9. Coffee Keeps Us Alive
One thing you'll learn quickly is that we need coffee to function. It's the fuel that keeps us going throughout the day. If we ever run out of coffee, just beware. You might even want to look away because it's not going to be pretty.
10. We Love Our Job
No matter what crazy or out-of-the-ordinary ideas, stories, or lessons we may have, know that we absolutely love our job. Our students, staff, district, parents, and community mean the world to us. We teach to make a positive difference and impact in the lives of today's youth.
I hope these tips help you determine whether you can survive living with a teacher. Look on the bright side: We can eat our lunch in less 20 minutes while grading papers, and we can wait until lunch before we use the restroom. That has to be a plus, right?