Living with a teacher wife is an education in itself

Jul 7, 2011


Because I live with a teacher, I know where Oklahoma and Wyoming are. I don’t know why I need to know this, because I will probably never visit Oklahoma or Wyoming. In fact, I think Wyoming is closed for renovations right now and the 6,000 residents who live there all had to move to Montana doubling that state’s population.

Amy is a geography geek. She taught me that there are seven continents and not eight, as I had originally answered when she asked ( I just threw a number out there). I can’t name the continents, but I know there are seven. I don’t know exactly what a continent is, but I know how many there are.

I also know there are five oceans, even though the oceans are all hooked together. I know that Annapolis is the capital of Maryland, Spain is in Europe and not in South America, and you can see Michigan from space.

Speaking of Michigan, I know all about it since Michigan is part of the third-grade curriculum. There were a lot of Native Americans in Michigan before the French fur traders came. Then there was copper and iron mining, lumbering, farming and the auto industry. 

Michigan has an Upper Peninsula because of the great Toledo War in 1835. Both Michigan and Ohio wanted Toledo, so they went to war over it. Nobody was injured because the two armies could not find each other. Therefore, Congress awarded Toledo to Ohio and gave Michigan the U.P. 

Because of Amy, I know what a docent is.

One day, Amy’s class had a field trip on the Grand River with canoes and paddles. She came home that day all sunburned and said, “Wow, we couldn’t have pulled off this field trip without the docents.”

“Docents?” I said. “What’s that, a family?”

“No,” she said. “Docents are people who work at museums.”

“That’s their names? Like Alice Docent?”

“No, that’s their title. You’re a butcher, I’m a teacher, they’re docents.”

If it wasn’t for my teacher wife, I’d still think they were called museum workers.

Since my teacher wife is a strong woman, I know a lot about female influences in United States history. I know that Lewis and Clark would have certainly died without Sacagawea; Amelia Earhart was a great pilot until she crashed; and Eleanor Roosevelt was married to Franklin, not Teddy.

Third-grade teachers have to know a little bit about everything; so, as the husband of a third-grade teacher, I know a little bit about the life cycle, cloud formations, prepositions and multiplication. I know that whatever you multiply by 9, the sum of the answer almost always adds up to 9: 9x9=45, so 4+5=9.

I will never need this information — but I have a teacher wife, so I know it.

Aside from geography, history, mathematics and science, I’ve learned a lot of personal things about my teacher wife and about teachers in general. First, and the saddest for me, is that teachers do not get paid year-round, but only for the nine months they are actually teaching.

In addition, teachers don’t necessarily have to be good spellers. My teacher wife will often say things like, “Hey, Honey, how do you spell delinquent?”

I’ll say, “The teacher is asking the butcher how to spell?”

“Never mind,” she’ll say. “I’ll just use the word ‘late’ instead.”

Teachers are resourceful.  

Also, teachers put in a lot of extra time outside the classroom. My teacher wife stays up late at night correcting papers, writing report cards and watching “The Bachelorette.” Amy stays late after school preparing for the next day and she often goes in to work on the weekends to get ready for the upcoming week.

I’ve learned that teachers can use almost anything for the classroom. At my house, no egg cartons, milk jugs, paper clips, buttons or shoelaces ever get thrown away because my teacher wife will find some use for them in her classroom.

Teachers make an emotional investment in their students. Amy rejoices when her kids succeed and she is disappointed when they fail. She wants her students to do well; not because of how it will look on her final report, but because she cares.

The final thing that I’ve learned about teachers is that they have to continue their education way beyond college. In fact, my teacher wife will have to take higher education classes throughout her career. Butchers don’t have to do that. Docents don’t have to do that. But teachers do.

Since my teacher wife has to continue her education, she’ll always be learning new stuff. And if she’s always learning new stuff, she’ll be bringing that stuff home with her. And if she brings that stuff home with her, she’ll be teaching it to me — I’m moving Oklahoma.

— By Grant Berry


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