Tomorrow morning the alarm will sound at 5:00 am. I’ll push snooze until 5:30 because I know myself. A flurry of feelings and activity- quick showers, clean teeth, new clothes, half-eaten breakfasts, nervous tummies, mixed emotions, bagged lunches, new notebooks – all before 7:00 a.m.
I’ll drop my tenderhearted son off at middle school – and pray for him ALL DAY – then my sweet daughter and I will spend the day at the high school, learning and leading – and loving.
Your day may look similar. [Deep breaths!]
When you drop your kiddo off in the morning, I know it’s a mix of the happy dance of fall and wistful longings for summer. And whether you’re happy dancing for days free of children or wistfully longing for the days gone by, it’s ok.
It’ll be OK.
It’ll be OK because the teachers receiving your children really do love them – or will grow to know and love them – and those teachers really do want them to engage and learn. Are there a few who can be cranky? Yep. Are there days when he or she won’t show his/her love and desire as you wish the teacher might? Yep. That’s the nature of being human and having unique personalities or having lived a hard life.
These teachers? They are human. They are moms, dads, daughters, and sons. Aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters. They struggle with busy schedules and fluctuating emotions just as you do.
The resources they desire to serve your child well aren’t always available (rarely are available). They do the best they can with what they have – and they often spend money of their own to make their classrooms inviting and functional.
Being a teacher isn’t a job that ends when the bell rings at day’s end. Papers come home. Regret comes home. Sadness comes home. Joy comes home. Most of my teacher friends are always thinking…how can I do this better? Grade this faster? Help the child whose parents are divorcing? Find money for this or that? Improve this class and my strategies?
We want to serve your children well. Our deepest desire is for them to learn and to feel wanted and loved in our rooms. Whether your child is 5 or 15, they matter to us.
Our hearts break with each child who struggles physically and academically. Each student who finds herself pregnant. Each child how can’t read or engage in higher order thinking. Each foster child who is being moved – again. Each ninth grader who is watching his mom battle cancer. Each third grader who does not understand why his family has moved. Each nail-biting sixth and ninth grader moving up. Each boy being bullied on Twitter. Each teen couple who just broke up in the hallway (If you think this one is stupid, work in a high school for one day. This is real and hurts their hearts more than you’d expect.)
School isn’t just about educating; it’s about navigating. Navigating through and around the stormy waters or peaceful seas (known as personal lives) on the way to learning. (As you might guess, if my mom and dad are fighting or my grandma has breast cancer, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue or who wrote Of Mice and Men will matter little to me.)
We know. We see. And we do our very best to be an example and to love. To meet your child where he or she is.
We really do.
We have “off” days – say things we don’t mean and mean things we forget to say. We come to school tired from a late night with a sick child and crabby from a fight with our spouse. We give assignments that we think will matter or “work” – and sometimes they don’t. We waste your time and your child’s time while honestly trying something new that we thought would lead to greater engagement. Sorry.
Eventually, 3:30 comes. The bell rings. And we send your precious son or daughter back to you. (Because you know that’s how we see them, right? We see each child occupying a seat in our classrooms as a precious child – as someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, grandchild.)
And, when they come back to you and sing our praises or lament our assignments, I ask you to consider us – teachers – as humans. As individuals.
Extend unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor.
I will do the same for your child and for you. When your child launches into “you will never believe how my mom treats me” speech, my heart will extend grace to you.
Because what we will really all want is to raise good-hearted kids who treat others as he/she wants to be treated. Who serve and love others well. Who find careers and others to love.
We want these students to find their places and purposes in this world.
Together – parents, teachers – we CAN do this. We can work together for good of all, educating and loving your 4th grader or 11th grader to be the best he or she can be.
The person the Creator made her to be. Him to be.
Know I am praying, parents, for you and your children as a new year begins.
It’ll be OK – better than OK.
Happy School Year!