A look into Liberty teachers’ life with their kids

Mary Russell, Spotlight Editor

Grading papers, staying after school, planning lessons: these tasks are common components of a teacher’s job. However, being a teacher, undoubtedly a highly stimulating profession already, becomes a whole new challenge once the teacher makes a personal addition to the family. Making time for the students, for personal time, and of course, for the baby seems to be a difficult task. Anne Cooper has been a new parent for fourteen months and knows this struggle well.

“Trying to get the school work load done between the hours of 7:30 and 3:30 is very difficult; you end up working a lot of lunches. Once you get home there is a tiny human who does not understand that you have to work, so there is no work at home,” Cooper said.

With all of the responsibilities taking up the majority of the day, science teacher Michael Brown agrees that life can become emotionally draining.

“I still love teaching but right now, I can’t put as much into it as I have in the past. Going to all of the after school activities and doing all of the side stuff that goes along with teaching is something that you are not able to do as well as make strong connections with the students as you normally would. Sometimes you feel like you are on the outside,” Brown said.

Brown is a new teacher at Liberty as well as a very new father with a daughter who is only about five months old. Although life is tough for the new parent, at the end of the day the goal is to be able to spend time with the child–especially one at such a young age.

“Making time to see her has been hard. I have to get home as soon as I can see to her for a couple of hours each day or else I never see her. On Wednesdays I may only get to see her for an hour, so I spend as much time as I can with her on the weekends,” Brown said.

To many teachers like Ross Matheny, the memories that come along with having a young child are unforgettable, and taking an optimistic outlook on the struggles is a valuable step towards enjoying life for what it is.

“Well, I was tired, for sure. It was really cool, though, because babies are good for the mood of groups: the classes were very supportive. Consequently, I actually enjoyed the job more. I took more meaning from it, and I found myself less worried about the little things,” Matheny said.

Matheny has been a parent for eight years, and he admits that having an older child makes all of the responsibilities a little more manageable.

“The problem is that, because the job is so challenging and because you’re always trying to improve, it’s difficult to remember that, yes, you are in fact doing better. But having her grow up helps tremendously: it’s a constant reminder to slow down, appreciate each moment, and then celebrate all victories or improvements,” Matheny said.

Even with the short months of experience as a parent, Cooper is also able to appreciate how life continually gets easier.

“I am less tired now than I was a year ago when I was waking up every two hours. Now, he sleeps most of the night,” Cooper said.

With a life blended full of younger kids at home and the teenagers in the classroom, it seems evident that from working with older kids, teachers may envision the future of their child and how it could compare to some of their students’.

“Now,” Brown said, “I also kind of jokingly look at the teenagers and think: ‘well, I hope my kid is like that; I hope my kid is not like that; would I let my kid wear that?’”