The Pros and Cons of Teaching at Your Child’s School

For some people, there is no choice–they teach at the school in their district and that’s the school to which their child is assigned. Others choose to teach at their child’s school, or choose to enroll their child where they teach. In any case, there are pros and cons to the arrangement and thinking about them ahead of time can help mitigate the cons or help you decide where to enroll your child, if there is a choice.

Pro: You are likely to know your child’s teacher.

Con: You are likely to know your child’s teacher.

This is one of those things that can cut both ways. If you and your child’s teacher know, respect and like each other, having easy informal access can benefit both you and the teacher. On the other hand, if you were not able to manipulate the system so as to avoid the teacher you didn’t want your child to have, your antipathy may show to your child who otherwise may not have had trouble with that teacher.

Pro: Your child’s friends will know you are a teacher at the school.

Con: Your child’s friends will know you are a teacher at the school.

Another two-edged sword. If your child is young or you are a popular teacher, your child may gain social clout because of who you are; on the other hand, when teens go through the “embarrassed at everything my parents do” stage, having you at the same school could be just another embarrassment. The better your relationship with your child, the less likely this is to be a problem.

Pro: A shared commute; no need to go somewhere else with your child in the morning.

Pro: If your school fosters a strong sense of community, both you and your child belong to that community.

No explanation needed!

Con: Your child may feel pressured to be perfect.

Children who are prone to anxiety and/or perfectionism may feel more pressured to be perfect if they think their mistakes will reflect on you, even if you don’t put such pressure on them. Other children (generally during the early teen years) will go out of their way to prove they are members of their peer group, not spies for the faculty.

Pro: Having a good working relationship with the administration and other teachers may make it easier for you to get your child into programs that would benefit him.

Con: If your child’s needs are not being met by the school, advocating for her may put you in direct conflict with your employer.

These factors can apply with any child, but are especially relevant for the parents of special needs children. Familiarity with the school, the offered programs and the teachers can be a great help in the IEP process. While you may generally prefer inclusion, you know that Ms. X is a terrific teacher who prefers to keep her kids close to her, rather than in the regular classroom. Because you know Ms. X, you can agree to less inclusion that year. On the other hand, if you don’t think the IEP is meeting your child’s needs and you want more services, particularly expensive services, you may not feel as free to challenge the school system because they sign your paycheck. Having strong union representation may make this easier, but anytime you have to threaten to take your boss to court, your work environment is going to suffer.

Being at the same school as your child can be an opportunity to use the relationships you have forged at work to benefit your child, or it can turn into an uncomfortable situation for both you and your child. Keep the pitfalls in mind, communicate with your child and make the best possible decision for your family.

Ruth Curcuru
Classloom Blog Writer