by Theodora Papapanagiotou
I recently interviewed my teenage son to find out what he thought about me being a teacher. I was really curious what his answers would be. At first he was really hesitant. Being a teenager, he doesn’t like being seen with his mum a lot. And he does not want to be exposed to the public….especially in a teacher’s site. If it were a site about breakdance prodigies, he would gladly do it, I am sure. Like most teenagers, he is afraid that his friends will characterize him as strange if he does something outside of their ordinary world. If I were a public school teacher he would never have agreed to this interview! Cool kids are NEVER to be seen with teachers. But after a lot of ‘please’s, he finally gave in. I used the interview questions provided by iTDi and here i what was said:
Theodora: What are three good things about having a mother who is a teacher?
The fact that I never needed somebody to teach me foreign languages and that I had contact with English and German from a very young age. I could understand English even in kindergarten, when my friends couldn’t even write their own name!! It’s also nice that you help me with ancient Greek as well and that you can understand grammar! It’s also kind of cool that your students like you, although I cannot understand why, since you can be really annoying as a mother!
(Note: Yes I can be VERY annoying, I know, believe me!)
Theodora: Were there ever moments in your life when you wished I wasn’t a teacher?
Yes, especially when you insist on me doing my homework and have good grades!!!
(Note: Don’t ALL parents do that?)
Theodora: Was there ever a moment when you were very proud of something I did as a teacher? Please tell me about it.
The fact that you communicate with people around the world and people come to see you when you talk in webinars and conferences is kinda nice, although I don’t understand why they find it so interesting.
(Note: I have to say that I am so proud when he offers to hold my script when I am rehearsing for a presentation and he also gives me feedback if it is good or not☺)
Theodora: Do you think me being a teacher has made life more complicated for you?
Yes, because you are not like other mums. You spend a lot of time teaching and preparing and sometimes you don’t have so much time for me. Also you do not spend a lot of time cooking. In fact, your cooking is terrible because you prefer to spend your time working or studying or doing something else.
(Note: I know and I am sorry, but I do not have a talent for cooking. I don’t think that it has to do with my job though. I always try to make sure you are fed. And I do wake up at six every morning to prepare a meal, even if it tastes awful…. starting to feel guilty now.)
Theodora: Do you think I am well suited to be a teacher?
Yes, because it’s in your personality. You were born to teach.
(Note: (feeling proud) Thank you dear <3)
Theodora: What other jobs do you think I could have done or should have done?
You could work at an office, because you are very organised.
(Note: You think? Because I feel like I’m live in my own chaotic environment!)
Theodora: Why do you think I became a teacher?
You became a teacher because you love English!
(Note: That’s true…)
Theodora: Why do you think I am a teacher now?
What kind of a question is that? You are a teacher because you like what you do.
Theodora: How would our lives change if I stopped being a teacher tomorrow?
Well, you would definitely do something else… on no condition would you stay at home, it’s not in your nature! I don’t think anything would change, you would still work hundreds of hours!
(Note: true again…)
Theodora: Do you have a message you would like to give to teachers around the world?
I hope the rest of you can cook!!!
(Note: I hope so too!!!)
Theodora: Do you have a message you would like to give to family members of teachers around the world?
You guys have to be patient, teachers are strange…
What it is like to be a teacher in Greece largely depends on where you work. If you are in the public sector, you have a steady job with steady pay and holidays every summer. I’m not trying to say that teachers in the public sector do less work that those of us working in the private sector, but they don’t need to do more than us. In my case, I work three jobs to get salary on par with theirs. This of course means that I have to make certain sacrifices and most of them are around my use of time. Most mothers over here in Greece give up on their careers to spend more time with their family. This is what is expected. In this area I am very different from many mothers around me and I usually don’t fit in. It’s really natural for my son to see his friends’ mums and “compare” me to them. I’m not saying that what I have chosen is right and that they are wrong. I just am who I am. I am a private sector English language teacher with a teenage son. And now you know a little bit more of what my teenage son thinks… and I also hope that you found out more about me as a mum (and not just as a teacher).