How to Survive High School if Your Mom is a Teacher


Emily Butler


Everyone’s four year experience is different than the person they sit next to at graduation. If you think about it, we all go to the same school with the same teachers in the same town, yet we have distinctly different outlooks. For me, my experience has been different because unlike other students whose parents only drop them off outside the school, I carpool to school with my mother, and my homeroom is in the same hallway where my mother teaches algebra and statistics. Although my experience at Walpole High School has been unique from other students who grow more independent, it has brought me and my mom closer.

For the past three years I have seen my mom more than I did during middle and elementary school combined. Every day, I see her in the hall, I see her at lunch, and then I see her after school. I have to say it is convenient to have her here to sign the permission slips I forget about, write me checks for the National Spanish Exam, give me cough drops and snacks plus the occasional Dunksbut it can also be a little weird.

Like most kids, I honestly had no idea what to expect going into high school, let alone what it would be like having my mom teach at my school.

I wondered if other kids would make the connectionand if my teachers would too. I remember the summer before
freshman year when I found out that my locker would be located in the math hallway (where my mom’s classroom is). I also found out that I would have a math teacher for homeroom, and my mom would have 25 kids in my grade for homeroom, and she would be teaching 3 classes full of my freshman peers. That was not a lot of separation.

The first day of freshman year, I was so embarrassed because my mom came into my homeroom just to say hi to me (she never did this again.). I remember thinking to myself then and there that this was going to be a long four years.

It really hasn’t been at all though. My mom has come in clutch for me countless times. If I’m not feeling well, she will dismiss me; if I need a ride home, she’s always around; if one of my friends or I don’t have a calculator, she’s always available to loan them out.

Would I recommend this to everybody? Definitely not; however, I have acquired some helpful tips for anyone who has to. I have had my fair share of awkward situations over the years. Being out for two days may seem rather inconspicuous for some kids but for me, my freshman year, multiple teachers knew I had a Urinary Tract Infection.

Here is a throwback picture of the two of us in our Boston apartment in 2002 before my mother started teaching in 2008 (Photo courtesy of Butler family).

There have been many times when both of us have felt things getting a bit out of hand. I’ve realized these things are inevitable, and It’s best not to stress about situations you can’t control. Yeah, these oversteps are going to feel kind of weird and awkward but  take them in stride. These uncomfortable situations prove to be hilarious stories when the awkwardness subsides.  Honestly my advice for anyone in this situation is to just go with the flow.

Teachers feel entitled to got more personal if they know your parents. In my experience they point me out during class and talk about personal aspects of my life. I know they are just trying to be friendly, but sometimes the whole class does not need to know about my family vacation or how my mom got stitches tripping over our dog. A teacher once told my mom out of concern that I was sneezing a lot in one class.

I feel like some people make assumptions that if your parent is a teacher you must be really smart and good at their subject. This is the opposite case for me as math has consistently been my lowest   grade.

Another misconception that I think people have is that we gossip together, and I snitch everything to her. Snitches get stitches, and I am no snitch. I live a normal teenage life: I make mistakes, I get in trouble with my parents, I forget to do my homework sometimes. People will all of a sudden become silent if I walk into a room while they are complaining about their teachers, and I’m like I FEEL YOU. It’s all good: not everyone likes all of their teachers.

Having my mom teach at the school has been a really interesting experience. It has made me lose my immature insecurity about having my mom around my friends and peers. There is never a dull moment when you’re trying to navigate the high school that your parent also happens to teach at. Be prepared for many awkward, funny, and crazy moments.                   .