Not so, for Beth Ann (Smith) Johnson, a second-year Tipton kindergarten teacher.
"I knew when I graduated," said Johnson, "that I was coming back home to teach kindergarten." She laughed. "When I finished college, Tipton didn't have an opening, but I was so sure this was where I was supposed to be that I didn't apply anywhere else. My mom is my best friend. Because this is where she is, this is where I want to be."
Johnson's mom Beverly Smith, now a second-grade teacher and once Tipton's kindergarten teacher, said, "Neither of us has ever known anything but school. My own mother was the greatest influence on my life. A public school secretary for 25 years, she never talked about anything but school. She loved it."
Smith, a 34-year veteran of the classroom, says that her joy is helping her daughter and encouraging her in her efforts.
"Mom's always been there, but especially since I've started teaching," says Johnson. "Anything I need, I call on mama. I don't know how others manage without moms." She waved at the furniture and materials around her classroom. "She's my 'material mama.'"
Smith cut in. "What she means is that we share ideas for our classrooms, and we are shopping buddies, or as some call us, the 'bargain babes.' We spend our summers touring garage sales, picking up books and whatever else we can use with our kids."
Both mother and daughter tell of spending much of their own money for supplies.
Smith says that this year, because of a reading program grant, she hasn't had to spend as much as in years past. Most years she spends as much as $1,000 a year for materials for her classroom, such as magazines, craft supplies and books.
"We do have an elementary fund," she says, "but sometimes it isn't enough, and if you have to fill out a request for the funding, sometimes you'll miss the bargain."
Johnson laughed. "My husband has adjusted. When I first started teaching, we'd be at the checkout counter, and he'd say, 'You mean all this is for the school,' and I'd say, 'No, those two little things in the bottom of the cart are ours.' Now he does my shopping for me, and when he's checking out, the checker will say, 'I didn't know you had kids,' and he says, 'I don't, but my wife has 18.'"
Smith says the only thing about her job that she dreads is evaluating her second graders. "I hate for them to be disappointed when they get back a paper, and the grade isn't what they expected. I hate to hurt or embarrass any of them. I let them correct their mistakes, and then I paste 'smiley faces' on their papers. That helps."
Mother and daughter give the same advice to beginning teachers: Make sure you love children.
"Before you get into teaching," advises Johnson, "ask yourself, 'Do I really like kids?' I'm here to tell you you'd better more than 'like'; you'd better love those kids, for nothing you've been through will prepare you for the first day of class."
Smith supports her daughter. "Before a new teacher goes into her first classroom, she should have spent plenty of time in observation. She needs to know what the real classroom is like."
Both agreed that new teachers will benefit from a "teaching buddy."
"I don't know what I'd do," says Johnson, "if I didn't have my mom down the hall. I can't believe that when I was growing up, I thought her job was easy. Dad and I used to laugh at her when she came in tired and plopped in a chair. I've learned, to forget about having the summer off. Most teachers I know spend the summer getting ready for the fall."
No matter the time, the stress or the money spent out of their own pockets, both mother and daughter agree that they wouldn't consider any other vocation.
"Each day is a new achievement," Johnson says. "I love to see my little ones grow every day."
Smith adds, "I want my kids to remember that learning can be fun. And a blessing over the years has been to see so many taking their places in society and achieving so many goals."
Not only are Johnson and Smith a teaching team, but also they work together in their church, First United Methodist.
"We're the decorators," says Smith. "We take care of the bulletin boards, the altar and the sanctuary. We love our church and want to do what we can to make the sanctuary inviting."
Though not a parent yet, Johnson says that's a future goal. Right now, she's "mom" to a cat, a dog and some fish.
"When I do become a mother," she says, "I hope I will be as good a mom to them as mine has been and is to me. I know my children will have a good grandmother because I don't plan on leaving my hometown -- ever."