Teacher, Parent — Why Not Both?

Alexa Barnes '18, Writer

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Marin Catholic is home to over 700 students, and for 9 of these students, it’s also their parents’ home away from home. I had the opportunity to interview 4 of these student-faculty families.

Mr. Thompson and his son, Andrew Thompson, ‘19.

As a sophomore this year, Andrew has reached the point where his friends and classmates are also his dad’s students. Like their fellow faculty-student pairs, Andrew arrived at Marin Catholic already familiar with many of his teachers: “All the administrators, teachers, and staff members know who I am because of my dad.” said Andrew.  “It’s annoying.“ Mr. Thompson doesn’t teach his son. “We do not see too much of each other on campus,” but added “We do ride together in the morning and again in the afternoon when he likes to tell me about his cross country runs with his coaches and teammates.” On campus, Mr. Thompson is dad to Andrew, but “If he is far away and I want to get his attention, I will yell ‘Mr. Thompson.” The Thompsons’ don’t see too much of each other, and, as Andrew explained, “It’s not that big of a deal, but sometimes it is annoying that he knows all my friends. I sometimes get a kick out of the stories I hear from my friends who have him in class.” Mr. Thompson mentioned that he was  looking forward to seeing Andrew in an upcoming rally.

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Sra. McInnes, and her son Matt McInnes, ‘17.

For the McInnes, life at MC is different from other families. Having a parent on campus can have its benefits. “Matt has a habit of not printing things at home, or bringing checks. He knows he can send me a Google Doc and I’ll print it. It makes me angry, but I do it anyways.” They both mentioned that it’s important to separate between school and home. “It is stressful, because I’m always thinking “Oh my god, my son, will he ever get organized?” Matt had the unique experience of being his mother’s student. “I didn’t really mind having my mom as my teacher, it’s pretty normal. It was hard though to listen to her as a teacher, and not just tune her out.” They both agreed that the adjustment Freshman year was the hardest. Sra. made sure to mention how proud she is. “He’s the tech guy, and teachers appreciate that. When people tell me how helpful he is, I just know he’s such a good person. I’m so proud of him.”

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Mr. Schmitz, and his daughter Erika Schmitz, ‘19.

For the Schmitz family, “the biggest thing is it’s easy to get rides, ” said Erika. Mr. Schmitz considered this, then added. “That’s interesting because that’s not the same answer Erika’s older brother would have given. I think there is a potential impinging of freedom, but for me there is an honor and great pride of having all three of my kids be part of something so important.” Erika nodded in agreement, yet they mentioned that there’s always a challenge between balancing being a parent, a teacher and a coach all at once. While it’s not an inconvenience, Erika added, much like Annie Navone, “The thing that I get all the time is whenever I have a sub, they always point out that we’re related. I’m always just like “yeah, that’s me,” but every single other kid turns around and stares at me.” Though Erika is not Mr. Schmitz’s student, Erika’s sister, Heidi ‘14, was. The two laughed, “We get along very well, and we’re concert buddies, but she (Erika) had no interest in being my student.”

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Mr. Navone, and his daughter Annie Navone, ‘18.

For the Navones, one main difference was that Mr. Navone gets “a look at her high school experience unlike other parents get to.” With a laugh, Annie added “He’s ahead of the game!” Reminiscing about Annie’s childhood, they both pointed out that Annie had grown up at MC. “We had a baby reception for her here at school.” They both emphasized that being the daughter of a faculty member meant that Annie wasn’t scared to continue her education at Marin Catholic. As Mr. Navone pointed out, “A perfect example is that kids can be scared of Ms. Hanley, and Annie knows that Ms. Hanley’s the nicest person in the world.” Annie agreed, “Yeah, she’s amazing!” What else is different? “It’s funny when I’m at an assembly, and he’ll come up to talk, and everyone’s like ‘it’s your dad!’ I’m like ‘yeah, I know.’” Mr. Navone mentioned that he often gets asked if it’s uncomfortable for them. “I love her being here, it’s never been weird.”

 

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