Teacher Talk: Interviewing Parent Teachers

Ryan Easton:
Question: Do you feel like teaching young people prepared you more for fatherhood?
Answer: Definitely. It made me more patient, like I understand if I give a bunch of directions to you guys as students it doesn’t help, so absolutely it has a lot to do with understanding the attention span of young people. That’s not an insult, it’s more of an I understand and am much more patient teaching my own kids because of it.
Question: What’s your favorite part about parenthood?
Answer: Rediscovering the world. I know that sounds very Hallmark-y but I remember holding my son and he was just like astonished with a bush and he was looking at the bush and he’s wanting to touch it and I’m like oh yeah that’s right you’ve never seen a bush in your life. It’s really kind of rediscovering the world because I see everything from a new perspective, from the perspective of my children who are experiencing everything for the first time.
Question: What are you looking forward to most with your leave?
Answer: I’m looking forward most to just spending time with my family because I’m always thinking that’s the type of time I’m never going to get back and so watching my daughter grow from this very small baby to a more independent baby to now a toddler is going to be amazing.

Brynn Sanderlin:
Question: Do you feel like teaching prepared you more for motherhood?
Answer: I do, teaching requires a lot of patience and making sure you have reasonable expectations and understanding that things need to be taught over and over again before they’re understood and I think that definitely prepared me for having a toddler. I have a four year old and it’s a lot of the same thing, understanding what he is capable of at his age and understanding that he’s going to need the same instructions everyday and I can’t get mad about it, that’s just how it works.
Question: What did you miss most about being in the classroom?
Answer: I just missed interacting with the kids—like the little jokes, the things you don’t get when you’re online or maternity leave. I missed just working with the kids and seeing their growth.
Question: What’s your favorite part about parenthood?
Answer: They just make you smile and laugh so much. Obviously there’s tough moments but the amount of times I’m just cracking up or my heart just feels like it’s going to burst with love like that happens all throughout the day and you can’t get that with anything else.
Question: What was the best part of your leave?
Answer: The best part of my leave was being able to focus 100% on my kids and not have to worry about anything else. I had awesome colleagues who supported me and took care of any problems on campus that came up. That way I didn’t have to worry about it and could focus all my energy on my kids.

Brynn Sanderlin

Nathan Casas:
Question: Do you think teaching prepared you more for fatherhood?
Answer: I think it did. This job is unique in that you get to meet so many different types of people with different personalities and perspectives. It helps you, you know, understand a diverse group of people and so I would think that when my kids grow up I feel prepared for a lot of different kinds of situations, people, personalities, and things like that. So, in that way, I definitely think teaching prepared me more.
Question: When you were on leave what did you miss most about being in the classroom?
Answer: The best part about being in the classroom is the personality aspect. The classroom is really lively and that’s the part I missed the most when I was gone. Just, you know, the liveliness of everybody and just being there for everybody. Not being able to help students out while on leave was an emotional struggle for me because I’m so used to being able to do that. Just knowing me being gone was causing stress for some of my students was hard. I don’t know if that applies to missing something about missing something while on leave but that’s what weighed on me the most about not being in the classroom.
Question: What was your favorite part about leave?
Answer: Being with my kids. Just having that moment and knowing it’s fleeting and it’s going to be gone very quickly and just soaking it all in. Being there for not only my kids but my wife, who also works, and also has to take care of the kids in a way I’m not able to. So just being there for her also was very important to me and a huge part of why I took parental leave. It’s a lot for one person to do, and so, it was just my way of helping as much as I could.
Question: Do you wish leave was longer?
Answer: If I could have take longer, I would have, but you know that also causes other things down the road to be issues so the amount of time I took I felt was just right for getting through that first month where it’s the most challenging and still being back in time so that it wasn’t a big burden on the students.
Question: What is your favorite part about parenthood?
Answer: My favorite part, I think, is being able to watch them grow and change as a person and growing with them. Being able to see their interests, as well and being able to enjoy those interests with them and share my own. They’re growing up just as much as I’m growing up, and doing that together is pretty special.

Nathan Casas