Every year I go through the same thing, excitement, worry, and hopefulness about the new school year. As the year goes on I grow more and more attached as I learn more about those in the classroom. Then, as the school year comes to a close, I have mixed emotions – I’m happy for the break and look forward to easier mornings and leisurely afternoons but, at the same time, I am sad to move on to the next school year with new faces to learn.
I am not talking about the separation from the children in the classroom, but instead the teachers. I am not a teacher. I could not be a teacher. I do not know how to teach, I do not have the patience to teach, and I am a teensy bit a germophobe. Instead I am a mom to two little girls who have had the privilege of having had some fantastic teachers. And at the end of every school year I am sad that these amazing people will not be in my kid’s lives anymore.
To all the teachers out there – Thank you. Thank you for teaching our children how to read and write, how to add and subtract. Thank you for teaching about the world around us, for telling them about how our bodies work, how plants grow, how the weather works.
But you do not stop with math, reading, and facts. You also teach compassion for each other, how to share, how to give without expecting to gain anything in return. You teach kindness, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness
Thank you for loving them. For brushing off their boo-boos and wiping away their tears. For listening to their stories and for telling them yours. Thank you for giving so much to your job that it blurs into your personal life and you think about them at home, pray for them, you see something that reminds you of them and it makes you smile.
Before my child was given to you for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 180 days a year, she was a different person. You were able to mold her mind, teach her so much without squashing her spirit or breaking her independence. You inspired and encouraged her to go outside her comfort zone, to try something new. When she succeeded you celebrated with her, building up her confidence to try even more difficult things. And when she did not succeed you were still cheering her on, helping her to realize it is ok to fail sometimes, that everyone will at some point. You helped her to understand the importance of giving your all and trying your best, even when your best is not all that great.
This break is well deserved. For 180 days my children have woken up early, eaten lunch on a hard bench, had to sit still much longer than is enjoyable. And their teachers have had to do the same, along with so much more.
My mornings will be easier as I will not have to rush around packing lunches, getting them fed, dressed, and out the door before 7:30 am. Homework will be replaced with swimming, bike riding, and play dates at the park. Bedtimes will be pushed back for one more show, and another, and another. Lightning bugs will be caught late into the night and sleepovers with Grandma will happen during the week.
I will dread the fall, the return to the routine we fumbled through for 9 months before our break. And once again, with the ringing of the school-bell; I will grow attached to the teachers who are helping me raise my children and prepare them for life.
To my children’s teachers, past, present, and future; you will be thought about as I am sure you will continue to think about your students when the school year ends. They will continue to tell stories about you and of the lessons you taught them. But they are not the only ones who will think of you.
I will also remember you. You taught me how to be a better parent by showing how to be compassionate, patient, kind, and tolerant. You taught me it is ok to fail, as long as I do my best. You taught me to forgive those who wrong me and to treat everyone with respect.
On behalf of students and parents everywhere: Thank you.