by Camryn Orosco
Parent-teacher conferences are a symbol of dread for many teenagers, but for some, these meetings last beyond the classroom and all the way to the dinner table: when your teacher is also your parent.
The truth is that having your parent as your teacher can be ordinary and even beneficial. Many traits necessary for successful parenting, such as patience, compassion, and communication also aid in effective teaching. Because of Immanuel’s small, close-knit community, a considerable number of students who attend have their parents as teachers. Making this combination work is about balance, time management, and a lot of patience.
Karin Deaver has worked as a Geometry and Algebra Two teacher at Immanuel since August of 2015, but she is hardly a newcomer to the education field. She homeschooled all five of her children for eight years, and before that, she taught in public school for 13 years. In addition, she has coached swimming and water polo at Immanuel. Her children range in grade levels from elementary to high school, so she has insight into the triumphs and trials of being a teacher-parent. She is a living testament to the fact that it is possible to excel in motherhood and the workplace simultaneously.
As an authority figure both in her household and her work, Deaver offers unique insight into Immanuel’s restorative discipline policy. Restorative discipline is a practice that focuses more on mending relationships between students and authority figures than on predetermined punishments. As an experienced teacher and mom, she knows that no child is perfect, and behavioral problems can arise in any environment. However, she compliments Immanuel’s policy saying, “How it’s dealt with is different. It’s very restorative to the kid.”
As a mother of two of her students, one might think that Deaver would have difficulties balancing her personal relationships and her role as an authority figure. However, she says that this has not been an issue. “Actually, that’s been easier than I thought it would be. My daughters are both good in class, so that’s made it easier.”
Despite the benefits, Deaver admits that being in close proximity to her children’s lives all day can have its down side. When asked whether or not any problems have arisen from having her daughters in class, she jokingly replied, “Yeah, when they get in a fight with their friends and those friends are in my class.”
Besides minor social issues, however, she believes that the pros of teaching at her children’s school outweigh the cons. “They can just come in at any time to get money or ask for extra help when they need it.”
Overall, Deaver says that working at Immanuel has been an “interesting adventure,” and she looks forward to witnessing the continual growth of her students and children. “I can’t wait to see what some of these kids are going to be like as seniors,” she says of the underclassmen she teaches. “It’s nice watching them grow and change throughout the year.”