July, 31 2018
Motherhood must be so easy for teacher, right? This teacher makes you see why motherhood had its challenges no matter what profession you’re in. Meet Valerie Lewis. A 5th Grade Brooklyn teacher with the NYC Department of Education. And a mom of two. Find out what it’s like to work with kids all day - at work and at home. What she loves most...and what she dislikes most (hint: if you have grade school children, you can relate!). Time to listen to Teacher...
Where are you from and where do you live?
I’m from Queens, NY and I currently live in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
How many kids do you have and how old are they?
I have two kids, ages 7 and 3.
Tell us a little about each one.
Zoe is seven and she is a talented artist and very athletic. Miles is three and he loves music, dinosaurs, and following his big sister around. They’re both sweet, helpful and active.
What work do you do (other than raising awesome kids of course!)?
I am an elementary school teacher. I work with all students and I have a license in special education.
We often hear it said that teaching is a calling, do you feel this was the case for you?
I definitely felt a calling to serve the community, which is why I became a teacher. It’s a wonderful career that can lead to other diverse opportunities!
For us non-teacher moms, we have this idea that parenting must come so much more easily for moms who are also teachers; what do you think about that? Do you think it gives you an advantage? Does it make anything more challenging?
There are so many pros and cons to parenting as a teacher! We have the “look” that can usually stop our kids in their tracks lol! We have likely taken some child development courses that could help in understanding our kids. We have time off from work in the summer.
On the flip side - I can’t tell you how many trips and conferences I’ve had to miss [because of a fixed schedule] and that’s difficult to explain to your young kids. Also, I hate doing homework after I’ve come home from teaching all day!
Has motherhood changed the way you teach?
I’d like to think I was always patient and understanding to all of my students, but I think being a mom has made me more compassionate toward them. It’s also made me feel more solidarity with the parents.
Tell us the truth: what do teachers really think about the parents? Do you want us to be involved or give you more space? What’s the one tip you can give us about fostering a healthy parent/teacher relationship?
Parents who are involved are great. We understand when work keeps you away; like I said earlier, I’m hardly at daytime school functions. I think the best balance is: be the parent who can give the teacher the most pertinent information about your child but don’t expect to alway have a say in how that child is taught. Teachers have to manage each individual child while keeping in mind the needs of the class community. I think having an expectation of regular communication with your child’s teacher is [also] reasonable. Not just when there is bad news to report!
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
I love spending time with my kids. I love weekend days when we just get to hang out and have fun.
Did you breastfeed either of your children? Why or why not?
I breastfed both, because I wanted to give them the best healthy start. I didn’t have a great experience pumping at work, so I started to supplement after the first year.
You’re a stylish Mama, tell us a little about your style? How important is fashion to you and how would you describe your style?
I am very casual. I think I’m on the preppy side - my job doesn’t require me to dress up. Fashion is important but not as much as when I was younger.
What are your wardrobe staples?
I love jeans, casual tops and dresses and boots.
Let’s talk NYC: what is your favorite thing about living in NYC with kids?
My favorite thing is being so close to parks, beaches, museums and restaurants!!
Thanks Valerie! We’ll sit up straight now.