Homeschooling Life

How is it that your children bring out your islander parents in you?

Even as a qualified, experienced and highly effective teacher – according to increased student achievement data over the years, student thank you notes (& presents) and the parent feedback I still continue to receive – there are two students in my teaching career who will always stand out.

My two sons.

Youngest son likes to do his work to get it over with to get to his fun or free time (like his mother) and oldest son likes to take his time and process everything to make sure he and everyone else understands everything (like his father).

From my mother-teacher observations, youngest son is a mix of fun, stubbornness, cheekiness and independence (like his mother). So within the first half hour of a task we were arguing over a set of instructions, which I could clearly read and he, the 6 year old, could not #fiapots. Then in the middle of reading out the instructions youngest yells, ‘I don’t need any help!’

Automatically, the islander #I’mNotDaOne stare followed by the pulsing vein in my forehead and puffed out chest signaling #RunItStraight comes out of nowhere – youngest son instantly simmers down saying, ‘mum your funny … can you help me please?’#165thGreyHair.

Second mother-teacher experience saw oldest son who is patient, sensitive, logical and a dreamer (like his father) working on a learning task where he had to complete a conversation between characters. So after oldest son’s side convos and wonderings for the first 20 minutes, I bribe him to finish his task with the promise of his favourite ice cream. But then his father gets caught up in a full on recount of oldest son’s favourite movie.

Without knowing it, 40 minutes later, a sound escapes from my mouth – the one old Sāmoan ladies make loud enough for you to jump on the spot, when something is taking too long or what you are saying or doing is just straight up wrong. The cherry on top was my right hand automatically started scratching the side of my head – a real Sāmoan woman’s sign of annoyance. Instantly, oldest son automatically starts writing and then randomly stops to ask, ‘mum why are you itching your head, have you got nits?’

Then yesterday out of the blue my sons asked if I could be their teacher at school. When asked why (especially since you’re meant to listen to your teacher) they said, ‘because you help us learn mum … you are a really good teacher and your funny’.

I think I’ve always been a bit fearful of teaching my own children in real life, mostly since I wasn’t too sure whether or not I could separate the mother/teacher boundaries. But the truth is, it’s my sons that can’t separate the boundaries and the scariest part is that they like it and want more. #LordHelpMe🙏🏽

Author: Dahlia Malaeulu

dah·li·a (dah-lee-ya) / noun: a flower that is widely cultivated for its impact and coloured personality / adj: abundant, bright, bold, fresh, ready-to-bloom / human form: daughter, mother, wife, educator, problem solver, creative, teine Sāmoa / working on: creating more brown spaces in the world / currently: moving in the write direction.

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