Lower School Assistant Nanette Pakula’s colleague walks into her Lower School classroom. Immediately she knows her son, Jed Alberts (‘16), a Lower School student at the time, is in trouble. This scenario has played out countless times over Albert’s time in the Lower School.
“When I was younger, I was a bit of a troublemaker and [my mom] would know if something happened if a teacher just walked into her room basically,” Alberts said. He found that he interacted with his mother at school more when he was in Lower School, and that as a current High School student, Alberts doesn’t frequently see her during the school day.
Alberts is one of 17 students in the High School whose parent is employed by ASL at the school.
These days, Alberts sees only positives in having his mother at the school. His friends have a great relationship with her, calling her “mum” from time to time as a nickname.
When Alberts was in Lower School, his mom was always active in the school as a grade mom. However, she officially joined the teaching staff after Alberts had been attending ASL for three years. “The contrast between having a Lower School parent versus having a High School parent could be interesting, because I hardly see my mom,” Alberts said.
In contrast to Alberts, Carly Craig (’15) sees her mom, Grade 11 Dean Jennifer Craig, on a regular basis throughout the day.
Craig finds that having parents work in the High School has been convenient more times than not. When she needs something, her parents are almost always only a short walk away. With her mom working in the academic advising office, Craig has developed a closer relationship with class deans and college counselors. In addition to this, if it wasn’t for her dad, Associate Dean of Admissions Ken Craig, she wouldn’t have gotten to know the staff in the Department of Admissions.
Craig has attended the same school that her parents have worked at for all four years of high school. A positive development for her, “I’m so used to it at this point but I think because they really know what’s going on with high schoolers, it naturally encourages honesty about what is going on in your life and school,” Craig said.
Similar to Alberts, Thea Littlewood (’16) doesn’t see her mom, Middle School Spanish Teacher Sita Littlewood, on a regular basis during the day. Littlewood has always gone to school at the same place her moms works, as she began teaching at ASL before Littlewood was born. “She’s always worked here so I’ve expected it and it was never a surprise. It’s something I’ve grown up with,” Littlewood said.
While it is easy to reach their parents during the school day, Craig, Alberts, and Littlewood have experienced slight drawbacks with their parents being in school.
With her mom working in the High School, “It can be a little awkward sometimes, because if you have any kind of issues going on [my parents] know about it. Although normally teachers are pretty good about being confidential,” Craig said. Overall, she feels that her relationships with her teachers aren’t not disrupted by her parents being their colleagues.
Littlewood often found herself in an awkward situation when she was in a class taught by a teacher who would often come over for dinner as a friend of her mother’s. Also back when she was in Middle School it could be strange for Littlewood to have friends over who were her mom’s students.
Alberts found himself in a similar situation last year when one of his mom’s friends was his teacher. Seeing he was in her class, Alberts thought “My mom’s friends with one of my teachers. What if that teacher came over for dinner or something. Would it be weird?” Alberts said. “Luckily, it wasn’t.”
Despite drawbacks, having parents work in the school has proven to be a positive for Craig, Alberts and Littlewood. “[My mom’s] quite laid back and easygoing about stuff,” Alberts said. “If she had a different personality it could be different, but all my friends really respect her and like her a lot.”