Being a teaching mother is a balancing act

Dyllan Jones, Staff Writer


Most people have to deal with a professional life alongside their personal life. Some have it harder than others, but everyone has to go from one side to the other, and sometimes maintaining a perfect balance seems impossible.

Inspiration to succeed can be found in even the most hectic of environments, and students may turn to their teachers when stabilizing the see-saw of personality and professionalism stable is a task too difficult to handle alone. There are few individuals with a better grasp on this struggle than mothers who teach at school.

Teaching mothers are role models to everyone. They are the cornerstone of education, the backbone of society, and one of the greatest sources of influence to their children.

IHS teachers Renae Gifford and Amanda Thompson are two sides of the same coin. They are both hardworking staff members who put their families first, but they know all about the importance of competent instruction and passionate involvement in one’s work.

Nobody understands minors better than someone who spends nearly every waking moment with them. They must answer the same old question on a daily basis: How do you strike the perfect balance between school or work, and your personal life?

Mrs. Gifford drives for the better part of an hour when she commutes to school from the northwestern town of Burlington. Driving this distance every school day means that she has to sleep, and wake up, at a much earlier time. This means that staying up later for the sake of using her free time, dealing with her children, or grading papers would automatically put her below the threshold for the recommended amount of time spent sleeping.

When Gifford is home with her family, which consists of her husband and five children, she likes to focus on them first and foremost by playing games or doing things outside. On weekends, she tends to stay away from grading unless absolutely necessary.

Things are a little different for Ms. Thompson. She lives closer to the Iola High School, she’s unmarried, but she has to deal with many of the same problems in a different way. Thompson, too, believes that family is the most important aspect of her life, but school is a close second.

Despite teaching a very hands-on class and spending a lot of her time grading or assisting the students with their comprehension, she has to find time to connect with her students just the same.

“Soon they’re going to end up being my best friends, and that’s awesome,” said Thompson, expressing her delight at their developing maturity, showing that they could be taken care of just as well as her work at the school.

Mrs. Gifford and Ms. Thompson may teach subjects that utilize different skills, but they exercise very similar skills on a day-to-day basis. They are both models of the community who have to deal with young people every single day. If you can handle a task like that, you can handle just about anything.

“Family is more important than anything,” said Gifford in closing. “I always think about my family first, and how my decisions affect them.”