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Teachers are parents too

For teenagers, parental supervision is often the equivalent of a jail sentence. But for some the verdict is already made with no chance of parole: their parents are the teachers.

Parents teaching their own children is a situation that presents a variety of interpretations. Some feel their parents would be constantly picking on them in class for the answers, while others would love the help their parents could provide.

“I love having my mom (Molly Sargent) around school; she is always there to help me with whatever I need,” Mary Sargent, ’09, said. “But there is always the threat of being discovered when I slip up. I might forget a homework assignment or talk too much in class and I know that my omnipotent mom will find out.”

Mary joined the yearbook class because she is interested in design and often helps her mom finish spreads and meet deadlines. Molly has been the campus yearbook adviser and English teacher for 13 years.

Others view parent-teachers as a dream situation in which all the answers are readily available along with free homework help. Just like any other situation, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

?I have loved having my dad as my teacher,? Brianna Stobbe, ?06, said. ?I have had the privilege of being in his classroom every year for either English or journalism. He does not always call on me in class or pick on me if I do not know the answer, but he does expect a lot from me, maybe more so than from any of his other students.?

Reactions from children are mixed concerning being taught by their parents, but at least the reactions of parents are unanimously positive.

?For me, teaching my girls is a dream come true,? Greg Stobbe, English teacher, said. ?I really enjoy working with them. The hard part is making sure no one thinks that I am unfair in my treatment of the other students. I have students complain that the reason my girls do well is that I help them. Whenever that happens, I offer to have the students switch places with my daughters. No one has accepted the change in expectations yet.?

For an assignment as abstract as an essay, fair grades are difficult to hand out for any student. When the student is the child of the teacher, a conflict of interest is added to the mix, one that teachers avoid at all costs.

?I have given my kid?s essays to another teacher to make sure that there is fair grading,? Molly Sargent said. ?It is hard on my kids because I can?t really be precise on essay help. I can only say something like, ?the third sentence is weak.? I can?t be specific–it wouldn’t be fair.?

For most teachers, having their children on campus is not a nuisance. Seeing their kids often are the bright point in a teacher?s day.

?Having Suzie [Falk, ?06] in school is the best thing about it,? Scott Falk, Bible teacher, said. ?It?s the ultimate; I know many of the seniors in a capacity other than teacher [because of Suzie’s friendships with them]. I love having her at school.?

If being at school with parents is a jail sentence, at least the wardens are friendly.

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