Teaching and Parenting…a Delicate Dance

Confessions of a Teaching Parent

I remember when I first began teaching at the age of 22, my mentor teacher told me, “Teaching will make you a better parent and being a parent will make you a better teacher.” The wisdom of these words has stayed with me.

When I had my first child, I realized my time in the classroom had armed me with many of the tools I would need as a mother. I was calm in moments of crisis, I did not hover but rather encouraged my children to be independent and explore, and I was used to dealing with the demands of kids. These tools were even more valuable when my second child was born and I became a busy mother of two.  

As much as teaching helped me to smoothly transition to motherhood, it is my work as a parent that has made me a more compassionate, flexible and patient teacher. Having small children at home–a 6 and 8-year old–is a constant reminder that kids are kids. And kids today are juggling a lot. My own children are already playing soccer, practicing the piano, attempting to balance their activities with the daily homework and reading requirements for school. I love that my kids are beginning to find their way in the world and gravitating to activities they enjoy, but I’ve struggled to find a balance between my work as a parent, my work as a teacher, and my own individual passions.

In the day to day mania of my life, there is very little time for me. My days fly by in a blur of driving the kids to school, working, making dinner, cleaning up, packing lunches, lesson planning, and grading. There are moments when I wonder when life will slow down enough for me to have time for me.

I daydream about mornings when I can wake up slowly, enjoy an uninterrupted cup of coffee, and allow my mind to wander. I image that in those moments the thoughts that are unconsciously shelved because I’m “too busy” will bubble to the surface and take shape. Yet, those slow mornings feel far away as I write this.

I am writing this blog because the lack of balance in my own life has left me feeling exhausted. I want to remind my readers, many of whom are also working parents, to strive to carve out time for you. This is advice I freely give but struggle to make a reality in my own life. It is something I continue to work on and it deserves my time and attention.

Our work as parents raising kind, curious, and confident children capable of navigating the world around them and teaching the next generation of engaged, thoughtful, and innovative students is work that demands we also nurture ourselves. Without nurturing ourselves as creative individuals, we will not have the energy or inspiration to do our best work at home or in the classroom.

Being a mother is the most wonderfully exhausting work I will ever do.

Being a mother is the most wonderfully exhausting work I will ever do.

If you are a parent who teaches and has strategies you employ to nurture yourself despite the chaos of life, please post a comment and share them! I’d love to learn from the wisdom of other educators. If you are, like me, struggling to find your balance and want to share your story, I welcome those comments too. Sometimes it’s nice to just share our experiences as human beings attempting to make our way in the world.

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Voice Typing in Google Documents

Last month, I was working on a Google Document and clicked “Tools.” I discovered a new option called “Voice typing.” Just as the name suggests, it allows the user to dictate instead of type.

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Simply, click on “Voice typing” and a microphone will appear on the left side of your Google Document. Click on the microphone icon and allow Google to access the microphone on your device. Voila! Voice typing will turn your spoken words to text on the document.

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When the microphone is red, anything you say will be written as text. Just like your SmartPhone talk to text feature, it will recognize words like “comma” and “period” and insert the punctuation if you say these words as you dictate.

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I have students every year who injure themselves playing sports and are unable to type for weeks on end. I have students who have never taken a keyboarding class and still hunt and peck when typing an essay, which is an incredibly time-consuming endeavor. I have also found this feature very helpful for students with 504 plans or IEPs who benefit from the myriad ways that technology can help them to complete their work.

I’m quick to remind students that anything dictated will require careful editing since our speech patterns do not always translate into strong writing. When we speak, our tone tends to be more casual yet academic writing demands a more formal tone. Our spoken sentences are often long and benefit from revision. When we speak, we use our tone of voice to emphasize particular words or phrases. However, when we write we rely on dynamic word choice and proper punctuation to highlight important points. I’d argue these are important lessons for a generation that is more likely to record their thoughts than write them down.

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5 Strategies to Help You Rethink Research

The word research appears 80 times in the English language arts section of the Common Core Standards. It’s clear the ability to find, evaluate and apply information is a crucial life skill. However, in many classes research is relegated to the research paper–a formidable piece of writing that most students do not enjoy.

When I work with teachers, I encourage them to think beyond the research paper. Students need to engage with information on a regular basis if they are to gain the skills needed to find and use information effectively.

Here are 4 ways I incorporate research into my classroom:



A Google a Day – Gamify research and engage students.

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Got Credibility – Teach students how to evaluate online resources.

Got Credibility


Infographics – Mix research and media to create compelling visuals.



Crowdsourcing – Shift students from passive receivers to active generators of information.



Instagram Scavenger Hunts with Fun Facts – Create an instagram scavenger hunt and challenge students to pair facts with their images.


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Post a comment and share your favorite strategies for teaching research in your classroom!

Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards with Technology 

Available NOW! 

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