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Former Teachers Return—As Moms

A change of perspective and a new appreciation for all that parents do

Kimberley (left) and Holly at Linnea’s third birthday party earlier this month. The two have been best friends since they taught together.

A former first grade teaching team is back at The Meher Schools—but now as mothers, a role that gives them newfound appreciation for the job of parenting.

Kimberley Warkentin and Holly Burns (then Harlow) co-taught in Room 9 during the 2012–13 school year.

Holly left the following year when her husband got a job in Colorado. She had been here seven years, four as a teaching assistant while pursuing her undergraduate degree, one as a kindergarten teacher and her last two as a first grade teacher. Her family returned to the Bay Area in 2019, and her daughter, Linnea, began preschool here this summer.

Kimberley was here from 2010 to 2017, first as an aide for a special-needs student and the rest of the time as a first grade teacher. After Holly left, she co-taught with Kim Polasek in Room 9 (who is still there). Kimberley’s daughter, Eva, started here three years ago as a preschooler and is now in kindergarten.

Neither woman is sure if she’ll return to full-time teaching, but both have their foot in the door—Kimberley began substituting in kindergarten through second grade this year, and Holly taught a dance class in our Summer Fun program this year and will be teaching another one during Thanksgiving week.

Being a mother “has completely changed my perspective,” Kimberley says. “I have so much more understanding of how hard it is being a parent and how different children can act at home versus at school. I can empathize with the ones who are late and how hard it is to get to school on time!”

Holly’s experience has been similar. “Becoming a parent creates a seismic shift in perspective for me as it relates to teaching. I have an even greater respect for the job of parenting. Just the day-to-day of supporting a child’s educational needs requires nearly boundless energy: keeping a separate calendar, making lunches, transportation, and following up on lessons learned in the classroom.

Holly (left) and Kimberley with three of their students in 2013—fellow first grade teacher Kim Polasek’s triplets, Scott (in the blue shirt), Zach (green shirt), and Daniel (red shirt).

“I've always appreciated parents, but now that I've been the mom keeping everything afloat behind the scenes, I'm in awe of how many parents I've known who make it look effortless.”


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