I often get asked by teachers with young children how I decided whether to send my children to the same school I teach at.

When my eldest reached school age, the pros for me outweighed the cons, and so both my kids (currently PrePrimary/Foundation and Year 2) attend the same school as me.

It has pretty much been exactly what I thought it would be like, and I am happy with the decision I came to 4 years ago. But my situation may not be exactly the same as yours, so let me tell you about how I came to my decision.

I should also add, I was back to full time teaching when my eldest first attended school.

Pro 1: Pick up and Drop Off

I live 30 minutes away from the school I teach at. My family live closer to the school than my house. My husband works a standard, 8 hour day, so he starts at 7:30 and finishes at 4:30. His work is 7 minutes in the opposite direction from our house.

There were few ways we would have been able to make drop-offs and pick-ups work if the kids were to go to a different school. If we really had to, we could have made something work. However, it would have been incredibly difficult. There was no way I was going to try and wake my kids up even earlier to get them ready to be dropped off at out of school care, nor was I willing to stick a 3-year-old on a bus.

Pro 2: Awards

A big reason I love having my kids at my school is that I never have to worry about missing any of their awards or sports days. I have been there for every merit certificate, and this term, I will get to see my youngest daughter cross the finish line of her first running race.

I'm not one to like taking time off, so if they were at a different school I probably would have missed everything.

Pro 3: Better the Devil You Know

I know all the staff at my school. I know the school's strengths and weaknesses. If my kids had gone to another school, I wouldn't have known any of that.

If I had a problem with a particular teacher, I have the ability to ensure my child doesn't get that teacher. Though I have been lucky that our staff are amazing and I haven't been concerned once about who my child may get.

Pro 4: Time

This is sometimes a con, but by having my kids right up until it's time for them to go to their classroom and picking them straight up after school, I get to spend more time with them than if they were in out of school care or being picked up by family.

Pro 5: Informed

I know all the events that are happening in the school, so I never have to worry about trying to figure out which day is photo day, or when a note is due back to the school. For one of my kids, I pretty much get daily updates on how she is doing because I see the teacher every day.

Con 1: Parents

As teachers, we know how parents can be. It can be hard for teachers who are in that teacher/parent overlap. Parents can come to you for insider information, or you may hear gossip that you can't correct or would have preferred not to have got caught up in.

My solution to this has been to avoid the parent circles as much as possible. My husband does all the birthday parties and playdates. So far, I haven't had any issues.

Con 2: Too Informed

Another problem can arise when you know all about the students and their home lives. It can make you more worried about who your child might be playing with and what things they might be exposed to.

I have made it clear to my principal that I want to avoid teaching the year groups my kids are currently in. This also links in with Con 1 - I can better avoid the parents.

Con 3: Time

I said in Pro 4 that spending extra time with my kids can be nice, but when I really need to get something done before school, it can be very problematic. My girls aren't always independent and can sometimes be insistently annoying. While they are young, I also can't run errands before school, or at least easily.

When other teachers or parents need to speak to me before or after the bell, it can also be difficult to have private conversations.

These can be worked around, but it can get frustrating.

Con 4: Reputation

If I am being completely honest, one of the other problems that arise is how my girls' behaviour and actions can reflect back on me. My girls are both pretty well behaved, but there have been times when I have cringed or been slightly embarrassed by something they have done.

Final thoughts:

There are quite a few other parents of school-aged children at my school. A few also decided to send them to the same school with no problems. A few other teachers have sent them to other schools. Some to private schools, some to schools closer to where they live so, they make friends who live in their area, and some to avoid the parent problem.

I hope my personal experience has helped you make your decision.

By Amy O'Grady 0 comment

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