Are Teachers Babysitters?

Are Teachers Babysitters

Although teachers are expected to help train the next generation of adults, some parents confuse this with babysitting. Teachers have a lot on their plate on a daily basis which includes planning, developing, and organizing instructions; implementing assessment; lecture material research, classroom management, and more.

Teachers are expected to juggle these tasks and more to successfully administer their duties and produce the desired results. Inability to accomplish the expected results can lead to negative consequences.

With classrooms filled with students from various backgrounds and personalities, teachers are still expected to get to know each student to identify issues that affect their academic progress to meet their individual learning needs.

Unfortunately, some parents mistake intentionally or unintentionally mistake the job of a teacher for a babysitter leading to teachers sometimes having to utter the phrase “I’m a teacher, not a babysitter”.

It can be easy sometimes for parents to confuse teachers for babysitters especially for children at the kindergarten levels. However, the responsibilities of the teacher and a babysitter differ and should be treated as such. To answer the question, of whether teachers are babysitters, let’s first take a look at the duties of each.

Teacher Job Description

A teacher develops curriculum and lesson plans, presents them to students, and tracks individual student progress to be presented in the form of reports to guardians. Teachers also help students acquire or nurture a passion for learning, understand the relevance and impact of lifelong learning, and optimize student capabilities.

In the case of teaching at the early childhood levels, the teacher’s responsibilities could include the following: planning curriculum, serving meals, encouraging personal hygiene, arranging seating plans and implementing school procedures, organizing fun activities, storytelling, and more.

As you can see, the job of a teacher is extensive and while some of the responsibilities above may not be relevant to teachers at the higher education levels, they still fall within the responsibilities of teachers at the lower levels.

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Babysitter Job Description

Unlike teaching, babysitting requires no form of certification and can be accomplished by a parent, family friend or relative, or even a neighbor. Babysitting entails taking full responsibility for the health and welfare of children when their parents are away.

Babysitters may be entrusted with every aspect of childcare including meals to hygiene. It may also include educational activities depending on the needs and specifications of the parent and the educational level of the babysitter.

The babysitter’s responsibilities include: monitoring children consistently, keeping the play area safe and free from hazards, changing diapers and dressing children, performing light housekeep, preparing meals, helping with homework, encouraging healthy habits and hygiene, and more.

Are Teachers Babysitters

While a babysitter’s job could entail some level of education in some cases, this is not a requirement for babysitting. A babysitter essentially needs to watch over the child to steer them clear of anything dangerous, play and feed, change and put them to sleep, when necessary, in the absence of their parents.

To put it simply, a babysitter’s job is to serve as the adult, present for children in the absence of parents.

A teacher’s job on the other hand is a professionally certified position designed to provide children with the necessary training based on the prescribed or agreed-upon curriculum.

Unfortunately, the debate around this topic has been long-standing as modern daycare centers continue to integrate some level of education into their services making them comparable with traditional kindergartens in our institutions.

While schools may include some level of childcare, they serve a different purpose, and teachers responsible for these children should be treated as such. Even at the kindergarten level, a teacher’s responsibility goes beyond simply serving as the adult in the room but to appropriately follow outlined curriculum to train the child.

Parents are always happy when their children bring home a book and can spell out the name of the animal, fruit, or fish in the color book. Teachers need to go through the challenging tasks of ensuring students can concentrate in class instead of playing or fighting with their peers.

Most parents experienced some of the challenges teachers go through with their children on a daily basis in the midst of the pandemic. Imagine trying to meet the needs of a class full of students from varying backgrounds every day. So, to answer the question of whether teachers are babysitters, we’ll say

No, teachers are responsible for training children using a curriculum while babysitters serve as supervisors in the absence of parents.

The stigma surrounding early childhood education still remains as most people simply attribute it to babysitting which is compounded by the fact that 89% of early childhood teachers are females.

Why Teachers Aren’t Babysitters

Use Of Curriculum

Unlike babysitters, teachers are required to follow an outlined curriculum in their activities. While the primary responsibility of a babysitter would be to provide care to children both inside and outside the home, a teacher’s responsibilities and activities require the use district-issued curriculum.

Academic Qualifications

Teaching is a profession that requires years of studies and academic work to acquire a teaching license. Babysitters do not require any real qualifications as even teenagers can serve as babysitters without training.

Presence Or Absence Of Parents

The teaching job can be done irrespective of the location of the parent or guardian. Whether the parent is around or not, a teacher can still administer their duties without hindrance. On the other hand, a babysitter is mostly needed when the parents would be unavailable to take care of their children.


To assess student understanding of learned concepts, summative or formative assessments are leveraged in teaching. Babysitting does not include any form of assessment although some babysitters sometimes provide children with some lessons.

Babysitting Contained In Teaching

Teaching may contain some aspects of babysitting especially at the early childhood education levels. That said, this only makes up a part of the responsibilities of teachers which go beyond the basic responsibilities of a babysitter.

Difference Between Teachers and Babysitter

Train children using a curriculumSupervise children in the absence of an adult
Requires academic qualificationsNo qualifications required
Absence of parents is not a requirementRequires absence of parents
Includes student assessmentAssessment not required
Only includes certain aspects of childcareIncludes every aspect of childcare

Why People Think Teachers Are Babysitters

Female Dominated Profession

The teaching profession in the past decades has been dominated by females. This is especially true at the basic education levels of education. Unfortunately, society’s outlook on women as nurturers makes it easy to sideline any female-dominated area as a nurturing position.

Teaching young children is simply seen as babysitting especially at the kindergarten level. This outlook is also one of the reasons why most male teachers refrain from teaching at the basic levels.

Clean And Change Children

Children at the early childhood learning levels need to be taken care of. And while trained teachers do more than change students at that level, it’s easy for society to mistake these activities as nothing more than babysitting.

Students are thought rhymes and they perform other activities to entertain them while learning in the process. Unfortunately, onlookers simply see it playing with students which can lead to many confusing these activities with babysitting roles.

These students spill, fight, throw things, and generally need someone to control these actions to avoid hurting themselves or others. These responsibilities are simply mistaken as those of a babysitter by many.

And while the responsibilities may be similar, teachers have other responsibilities that go beyond the basic responsibilities of a babysitter.

Connect With Children

Children spend a majority of their weekdays with their teachers which leads to these students bonding with their teachers. While adult learners in most cases may not develop any form of attachment to their teachers, this isn’t the case for younger learners.

They develop an attachment to their teachers and these teachers sometimes know them more than their parents do. This relationship sometimes leads parents to mistake these teachers for babysitters.

Busy Parents

Most busy parents simply need someone to take care of their children while they go to work or even work from home. While they may believe that their children may not be mature enough for school, sending them anyway provides them the opportunity to work uninterrupted.

The parents simply need someone to take care of their children while they work. Their primary concern may not be the knowledge or training their children may acquire but simply how to get rid of their children so they can work.

This leads to the misconception as the school and teachers are in a sense being treated like babysitters.

Teachers Go Above And Beyond

While a teacher may know their responsibilities, some teachers go above and beyond to help children in any way they can. Sometimes even at the risk of their jobs, a teacher would accept a hug from a crying student to comfort them. This love for their students and job sometimes pushes them more toward babysitting in some situations even when it inconveniences them.

When Do Teachers Say “I’m A Teacher, Not A Babysitter”

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard a teacher tell you “I’m a teacher, not a babysitter” or you may have said it yourself a number of times if you’re a teacher. While no teacher wants to say this, some situations sometimes call for teachers to make parents aware there’s a difference between a teacher and a babysitter.

Sending Sick Children to School

Busy parents sometimes send their clearly sick children to school to avoid missing work. While we all need to work, simply dumping your job on the teacher who is responsible for tens of other children can disrupt lessons and the teacher’s attention.

Even with the presence of the school nurse, sick children should still be sent home by their parents to receive the necessary treatment, where necessary from a physician.

Parents Complain About Coming to Take Their Sick Children

Some parents engaged at work or who only just got to work argue with teachers over coming back to the school to get their children. While this is understandably inconvenient, the teacher only makes this suggestion as to the best course of action for the child.

Extended Hours Care

Some schools provide extended hours of care for their students at affordable rates. Parents who would want some time away from their children for various reasons sometimes resort to enrolling their children in the after school.

As advantageous as this option may be to parents who might find a babysitter to be comparatively more expensive, this can sometimes serve as an annoyance for some teachers especially when the parent simply wanted some time from a child with behavior issues.

Monitor Food Consumption

Parents sometimes recommend that teachers watch their children so they do not eat too much, too little, trade food with others, or eat a specific food during lunch break. This becomes a problem as teachers are unable to observe an individual student through the duration of their lunchtime while neglecting their other duties.

Not adding the fact that teachers may not have their lunch breaks at the same time or location as the students. Parents should know that while babysitters, in charge of only a few kids for a specified time frame, may be able to control what these children eat, this may not be the same for teachers.

Separate Students

We all want the best for our children and would do everything possible to keep them away from bad influences. Unfortunately, the bad influence could sometimes be another student in class with your child.

Parents sometimes ask teachers to keep their children away from another student whom they believe to be a negative influence on their children. While this is understandable, the teacher may only be able to keep these students seated away from each other during their lessons but may not be able to control other affairs during other lessons, as well as before and after school.

Expect Teachers to Monitor Internet Activity at Home

While schools restrict access to some platforms on the school’s internet, this isn’t the case at home. Unfortunately, some parents still expect the teacher to monitor student internet activities at home.

Although some schools provide students with computers for their education, monitoring these devices at home is not included in the teacher’s responsibilities. Parents should endeavor to ensure their wards positively utilize these devices, especially at home.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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