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The Camasonian

Op-Ed: The Reality of Having Teacher Parents

Joseph Farland teaching class

Everyone likes to have their alone time. Those with siblings know and love the feeling of being able to shut their bedroom doors for a few hours away from their brothers and sisters. Often, people grow up going to school with family, feeling there is no escape route from their annoyingly rowdy siblings. 

What happens if parents are thrown into the mix? Monday through Friday, a kid and their parents go to the same school and talk to the same people, often bumping into each other. How would one escape, then?

This has been my reality since I was seven years old. 

Lucy and Joseph Farland work together in his classroom

I started attending Helen Baller Elementary on a boundary exception in my second-grade year. My mom was hired as Helen Baller’s K-5 music teacher that year. So I went to music class, only to be taught by my mom. I remember being on the playground, kids coming up to me, riveted by the fact that I had my mom in class. Others did not even know my mom worked at the school until months later. Nevertheless, the comments kept coming. Now, as a Camas High School (CHS) senior with my dad in the building, with whom I had my freshman and junior years, I can say that those comments never stop coming.

I suppose it is fun. Sometimes, my family jokes that we are miniature celebrities of Camas. Everyone around here knows the Farlands, and it seems everyone and their mother has had my mom and dad as teachers. However, there are downsides.

Being the kid of two teachers, I am constantly under pressure academically, socially, mentally, etc. It is like trying to swim through a sea of endless supervision. I cannot sit here and say that it is easy.

Beyond the pressures of being a teacher’s kid, I have to find a balance between being a student and still being their child. It is a constant battle, trying to find ways to talk to my parents about things that do not involve school. Of course, it tends to be inevitable. 

Those I have known and met who have been kids of teachers unanimously agree that it is an oddly unique yet eye-opening lifestyle to carry out. Kids of teachers, including myself, are taught the importance of education, pushing ourselves to work hard and stay consistent. Morgan Williams, a senior at CHS and son of history teacher Bronk Williams, appreciates all his dad has had to offer in teaching.

“Everybody is equal, I’ve grown up knowing that,” Morgan Williams said, “Nobody should ever just sit in a corner alone.”

Kealey Sitler with her child, CHS sophomore Kathryn Sitler, courtesy of Kealey Sitler

That push teachers give can feel overwhelming, especially being the kid of one who is expected to live up to the teacher’s abilities. Matthew Sitler, a senior and son of math teacher Kealey Sitler, shares a similar sentiment.

“Sometimes people think I should be smarter at math. Certain stuff like that can be kind of awkward,” Matthew Sitler said.

Frankly, it is exhausting to constantly be associated with my parents, always being asked, ‘Oh my gosh, are you Mr. Farland’s daughter?’ or being told, ‘No way, I had your mom when I was a kid!’ My parents, especially my dad, understand how tiring it gets because they get the same comments, too. However, my parents and others still cherish the remarkable bond between the kid and the teacher.

“It’s great that they can come drop by my room if needed, I’m not sure that they love it all the time, but I definitely do,” Kealey Sitler said.

So, what is it really like having teachers as parents? It is confusing and often frustrating, but it is memorable and somewhat comforting. Not many kids like Morgan Williams, Matthew Sitler and myself understand what we experience growing up with teachers as parents, but that unknown makes it all the more of an adventure. For that, I have to thank my parents for raising me to be a leader, stand out in my community and invite others to live out their lives the same.

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Lucy Farland
Lucy Farland, Staff Writer

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