This week we get to celebrate teachers (Teacher Appreciation Week) and Mothers (Mother’s Day).  For many of us the female teachers in our lives were like mothers to us. And so I think it only fitting that we mention them both in the same celebratory way.

    According to an article in a USA Today from August of last year, about 82% of elementary and middle school teachers are female.  In the same article it said that about 98% of Kinder and Pre-K teachers are female.

Consider this argument from a school committee in Littleton Massachusetts in 1849:   

“God seems to have made woman peculiarly suited to guide
and develop the infant mind, and it seems…very poor policy to pay a man 20 or
22 dollars a month, for teaching children the ABCs, when a female could do the
work more successfully at one third of the price.” – Littleton School
Committee, Littleton, Massachusetts, 1849
   Now the reasoning for paying women different rates may be a bit outdated, but the notion about women being better suited to teaching young students has obviously been around for a long time.  I am NOT going to argue whether women make better elementary teachers, though. That argument would take away from the fact that, in 2014 most of us have been taught, or are being taught, by women – during our developmental stages.  
  Very few of us men get to be “stay at home dad’s”. I was fortunate enough to stay at home with my daughter, and with my son, for the first two years of their lives. I played games with them, I read with them, I did art with them, I taught them how to play sports, I taught them to count and to know their colors, I taught them right from wrong, I taught them about bugs and birds.  I was their teacher and their Dad. That is what many moms get to experience all of the time. 
   For a huge percentage of kids, though, they spend the majority of their “pre” Pre-K years with another woman (or women) in their day care facility. With my daughter it was with one of my best friends from high school. She was (and still is) and incredible mom and she is also, now, an elementary teacher. With my son, he got to spend time at the Kinderopvang in Schinfeld, The Netherlands. He got to play with and learn from/with the Dutch kids in our town and he had a wonderful group of ladies taking care of him.
   When it came time for pre-school, my daughter went to a Lutheran pre-school in Hampton, VA,and to a yo-chien in Sasebo, Japan. Both had all women teachers (senseis). My son, on the other hand, went to a Montessori pre-school with, again, all women.  
    As with many military women who are mothers, my wife struggled with the fear that she might not be a “good mom,” for sending her kids to a daycare or learning facility. There were never any doubts from my side. But moms in all professions worry about that. It shouldn’t be an issue. Look at all of the women who are caregivers and teachers for the children of these professional women.  And some (most?) of these caregivers carry the qualities that truly make them “mom” to the kids they oversee. 
    Take time today to thank your Mom. Take time today to thank a teacher. And take time today to thank one of those “teacher-moms” that have influenced either your life or your children’s lives. 

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