My kids went back to school on Friday. I miss them and I’m not rapt with all the extra tension going back to school brings. It’s not just getting bags packed and luck boxes sorted. In fact, that’s fine by me. It’s more the emotional stuff.

I hate it when we’re half way to school and B1 suddenly says he feel sick.

And I hate it when we get to school and B2 starts to tear up because he’s scared.

I guess I hate these moments, not just because my children who I adore are unhappy, but because I’m forced to make a decision. Is B1 really sick? Does he need to stay home today (the second day back?). Does B2 need gentle love, or tough love to get him through this moment of fear (he has a pattern of school refusal). As a somewhat anxious person, making these calls is hard. I want to make the right choice, I want to teach my children to value their education, but I also know that kids aren’t machines and their emotions and needs are real and important.

When I was a teacher without children of my own I didn’t fully understand the decisions and quandries that parents faced, even before the bell rings. It can be easy to judge parents based on your own assumptions, the things their children tell you, and that ten minute window you get with them once a term (if you’re lucky). But, if you’re a teacher without children, or even a teacher with a partner who manages the day to day with the kids so that you can focus on teaching, try to be gentle in your judgment – particularly as we all start a new year.

So much can happen in a family in that three hours before the bell rings (my kids get up at 6am – even on weekends!).

We all need some gentle love sometimes.

Have your kids gone back to school or are you still enjoying the summer holidays? Are you a teacher without children, and do you think that effects how you judge parents? Join the conversation in the comments.

Wendy Allott

I'm an educator, mum and wife living in beautiful Victoria, Australia. I make learning resources for passionate, but time-poor, teachers in need of a better work-life balance. I'm a voracious reader, love a good curry, and believe life is always better with chocolate.

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