Students strengthen bonds with their parents who teach on campus

For certain students at Westview, having a parent be a teacher on campus can be an positive experience. Luke (10) and Jack Xitco (12) believe their relationship with their mother, special education teacher Kelly Xitco was stronger because she was a teacher at Westview.

“When you go home and your parent asks ‘How was school today?’ you can talk to her as if they were there because she was there,” Luke said. “She understands how kids are at Westview, how teachers and classes are at Westview. She understands pretty much everything you tell her.”

Aidan Steel (11) and his dad, social science teacher Bruce Steel have a strong father-son bond.

Seeing as Mr. Steel is not only Aidan’s father but also his teacher and swim coach, they spend a lot of time with each other.

“I’m pretty close with my dad,” Aidan said. “I would talk to him about stuff. We share the same mental competitiveness, in sports especially.”

Mr. Steel agrees, but understands that because of all the students he teaches, he develops higher expectations for his son.

“When you’re a teacher, you have 100 students plus 36 swim kids and then you have your own kids at home,” he said. “With all the things that go on emotionally for students, you want your own kids to try to be as self-sufficient as possible, as self-motivated as possible.”

The Xitco brothers have a similar experience with their mother, Mrs. Xitco, at school.

“There’s a lot of sarcasm in our family,” Mrs. Xitco said. “I do absolutely love going to their athletic events and I like being involved with the school. I am the senior advisor for Jack’s class and I’m also team mom for his volleyball team and involved with his lacrosse so that’s fun. That’s the special part about having them on campus with me.”

Luke said that he especially enjoys the perks of having his mom at school.

“I get [to] enjoy the snack drawer,” he said.

Yet, even with all the time Mr. Steel and Mrs. Xitco spend with their kids, balancing between their own children and their other students has allowed Aidan, Luke, and Jack to learn a sense of independence.

“You want your own kids to try to be as self-sufficient as possible, as self-motivated as possible,” Mr. Steel said. “I’m a little less understanding with him at home than my average student because I just want the best for him academically and [to give] him the best opportunities for college.”

Mrs. Xitco expressed the same attitude.

“I think I can be a lot more forthright,” she said. “I expect more out of them because I know they can do more.”

A unique aspect of having a parent as a teacher is these students’ relationships with other teachers.

“Ninety percent of the teachers have known [me] since I was three years old,” Aidan said. “When [I] do something dumb [my teachers] go to [my dad]. I know if I do bad on a test or an essay and [that teacher is] friends with my dad, the first thing they do is shoot him an email or shoot him a text.”

But even with the ups and downs of having a parent that works on campus, it’s been a positive experience for everyone.

“I think it’s enjoyable,” Jack said. “ [My mom] is pretty hands-off with us so it’s not overbearing in any way.”

His mom, Mrs. Xitco, finds it equally enjoyable. To her, her sons really brighten her day at school.

“I love having them here,” she said. “I love being able to interact with them, and I think my job can be stressful, [so] it’s nice to have that connectedness with them.”