Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Monday, August 6, 2012

An Open Letter to My Child's Teacher


Dear Teacher,

It’s that time of year again. In just a few days you will open up your classroom to a crowd of new shoes, new backpacks, and the new faces wearing them. One of those little faces will have been fed and washed and kissed by me that morning and every morning thereafter. That’s part of my heart and soul you have sitting there.

That’s why it matters so much to me what goes on in your classroom, on the playground, in the gym and the music room and the cafeteria.

Is there anything cuter than preschool graduation?
There are a lot of coffee mugs and posters around that tout your calling as a teacher and how your simplest actions are investing in the future. I’m cynical about platitudes and slogans, but there is no way to overstate how important you are. There is a reason so many of us remember not only the names of our favorite teachers, but the details about what made them so wonderful.

I know you have lot to get done this year. And, believe me, I want my child to read more, spell better, love math, and learn something new every day. But I also want my child to listen more, share better, love problem-solving and learn something about being a better person every day.

That’s a lot to ask. And I don’t expect you to do it alone. I am grateful for all those other people in the building who are there to help on a daily basis. I am grateful for the support and supplies from the school district. I am grateful for field trips, and special programs, and a principal who stands outside every morning to greet my kid by name.

I believe with all my heart that you all have a calling. I believe it because just thinking about what you do every day has me reaching for some ibuprofen. Your job is hard. And underpaid. And often underappreciated.

I just want you to know that I appreciate you. If I could pay you more, I would. And if I can ever make your job easier, I will. Don’t be afraid to ask. I don’t have a degree in education, but I have a lot to offer. I have plenty to get done myself between the hours of 8 and 3, but I’m happy to schedule in time to volunteer. I am just one parent, but I think I speak for all of us when I say this should be the best year yet.