Dear Teachers at the End of the School Year Thursday, May 19th, 2016
My daughter didn’t talk to her pre-k teachers until nearly the end of the first semester of school. She was intensely shy when it came to new adults, but she communicated easily with her friends. If she needed to use the restroom, she would ask her friend to ask the teacher for her. No matter how much I pushed, or encouraged, or tried to get her to expand her boundaries, she just couldn’t overcome her fear. I talked to her doctor about it. I read articles about how to help her. I prayed a lot.
But as she worked toward becoming more comfortable with her teachers, they were beyond patient with her. They let her grow without pressure. They worked with her individual needs. They created new ways to assess what she was learning without requiring her to speak to them. It was tricky, but we figured it out together.
And the day that she woke up and decide she would finally speak to them, they grabbed their phones and sent me a video of her talking… and I cried.
So when I went to the store to find a nice card that said how thankful I am for each of my children’s teachers, I just couldn’t find one that said everything I had in my heart to tell them. Let’s be honest, it would take a small book to cover it all.
So I’m starting here. This isn’t everything I want to say, but it is a good place to begin on the last day of school.
Thank you. What you have done for my children this year is more than I could have asked. They were taught. They learned. They grew as students and as people, but more than all of that…
They were loved. They were cared for. And I’m so grateful. To be honest, I feel a little weepy. Okay. I’m crying as I type.
Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe here at the end of the school year when we are all making our way toward the finish line doing the very best that we can, I’m just emotionally spent. (Aren’t we all?!) After all, raising children is no easy task. But maybe I’m more emotional than usual because I recognize that is exactly what we are doing together.
We are raising these children. There is all that talk about how it takes a village to raise a child. But when I made the choice to send my children to school, I realized that I was trusting you with being a part of our village. I was trusting you to help me raise them.
So before I say one more word, I want to say thank you for being someone that I can trust with my kids. Thank you for your compassionate heart. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for correcting them with kindness.
Thank you for loving them. Thank you for showing up every day with more of yourself to give and caring for my kids like I would.
I imagine some days you show up to work and it feels just like that… work. I imagine some days you feel underappreciated. I am sure some days you wonder if your students’ parents know just how much you pour into their children.
But today… if I haven’t said it enough… or ever… I just want to say that I do. I see it all (even if I might not see it all.)
Hours… days… Weeks… Months… of your life you given to grow my children, and there aren’t enough thank yous to cover the gratitude that I feel.
There is a book by Dr. Seuss called, Oh, The Places You’ll Go. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. I’ve heard of parents buying a copy for each of their children and having every teacher sign it – eventually gifting to their children at graduation.
But it isn’t just our kids who are setting out on new adventures. It isn’t just the students that go out into the world, and face new things, and come up with new ideas, and change everything for the better. Because the truth is, everywhere my children will go, the lessons you have taught will go with them.
Oh, the places YOU will go, teachers… in our hearts, and minds, and discoveries, and inventions, and in all that we will ever live to become.
So, while it doesn’t seem like enough, I’ll finish the year with a thank you from someone who was able to see just how much one child can grow in such a short amount of time when given the gift of a teacher who loves.
(Also, I’m going to be needing back one of those boxes of Kleenex I bought at the beginning of the year now.)
With Sincerest Thanks and Love,