Faculty parent-student relationship generally beneficial for both parties


Emily Fischer / Contributer

Senior Emily Fischer poses with brother Zach Fischer, a freshman, and father Elon Fischer, a teacher at the high school. According to Fischer, many of her classmates know that Mr. Fischer is her father.

Haley Bayne, Co-editor-in-chief

“Bye, Mom and Dad. See you later,” you may say as you exit your parents’ vehicles as they drop you off at school in the morning. But what if your parents came to school with you? This is the case for faculty members who have children who attend the high school.

While both staff members and their children said there are pros and cons to this situation, all agree that in the end it is advantageous for both parties.

For chemistry teacher Julia Speyer, who has been through this process with her three children who have since graduated, the experience was different with each one due to their varying personalities.

“My oldest, Jeffrey, would tend to avert his eyes when he saw me in the hallways, at least when he was a freshman,” Speyer said. “Elizabeth, my middle daughter, would say, ‘Hi,’ and generally acknowledge me. My youngest daughter, Rachel, really loved having me in the school.”

Regardless, according to Speyer, her classroom furnished all of her children with a space to spend time during and after school. She was also thankful that her children attended school in Brookline, even though the morning commute proved difficult for her family.

“It was very nice that they were able to go to school here because of the great academics, extracurriculars and activities,” Speyer said. “The downside was that they were commuting a lot more than other students. They had to get up really early and it was stressful.”

In addition, senior Emily Fischer, whose father is public speaking and entrepreneurship teacher Elon Fischer, said that having a faculty parent provided easy access to a true confidant.

“Having a parent at the school is really helpful because if you ever need to talk to someone at school, you always have the ability to go to someone who really knows you, not just someone you feel comfortable with,” Fischer said.

Math teacher Bruce Mallory, who has also had multiple children attend the high school, relishes being both a father and a educator, which, he said, are two completely different roles.

“I try very hard to play the role of ‘parent who happens to be in the school,’” Mallory said.

According to Mallory, he and his children felt it best to maintain a degree of separation in school regarding course selection.

“When my oldest daughter became a senior, I stopped teaching AB Calculus because that was when she was going to be taking AB Calculus,” Mallory said. “I didn’t want to be teaching the same course that she was taking because I didn’t want her to feel uneasy.”

Mallory said that he refrained from teaching the courses his daughters would be taking because of the connections and connotations that are made between his children and himself being a math teacher.

“Even if I didn’t teach her section, her grade in some manner may feel like it’s tied to me,” Mallory said. “For example people may say, ‘Of course you got a 97; your dad wrote the test,’ or ‘What do you mean you got a 50? Your dad is teaching the other section.’ My daughters didn’t want to be compared that way, so I didn’t teach any class that they were taking.”

Senior Evan Paris, whose father is Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator Joshua Paris, has also felt the pressures of being related to a math educator.

“It does get annoying sometimes when people ask me if I’m good at math or how interested I am in math,” Evan Paris said. “I never really say anything. When I do know the person, I’ll laugh, but sometimes it does bother me.”

Nevertheless, Evan Paris thinks that his and his father’s relationship is more helpful than anything. According to Joshua Paris, he and Evan interact more because of their shared experience at the high school.

“Sometimes teenagers aren’t as communicative with their parents as we would like, but being here at Brookline High School gives me an open line of communication with my kids,” Joshua Paris said.

According to Evan Paris, he would tell other students who share the same experience to be open about the experience.

“My advice to another student in my situation would be for them to accept it,” Evan Paris said. “Don’t worry about it too much. My dad and I are two different people.”