Before becoming mom, I was a teacher. I married a teacher who’s now a principal. I live and breathe teachery type of conversations with all my teacher friends. I loved every part of my job, well almost every part. What brought me the greatest joy was to watch that little frown turn into a smile, when it all clicked . Some days the hardest part was the parents. But now as a parent I see so many things differently that I wish I would have been able to get.
Here are some of my personal thoughts which were inspired by my own experiences and other mom bloggers who shared their two cents with me as I did research.
Today I will send my son off to school, so you may see me kind-of-sort-of skipping down the hall with excitement (all of you moms know what I am talking about), but know that I am torn–it’s bittersweet. When he walks through your door and I let go of his hand you may see my eyes fill with tears. I’m not just being an overprotective mom, my heart is filled with memories of the first time our eyes met, the tears of joy that rolled down my cheeks onto his fragile, ever so soft body, as I held him for the first time. Oh it was too precious for words, immediately, he found his way into my heart as he snuggled his little head in the crook of my neck. Okay, I’m doing that mama thing that we can’t help but do when we catch a glimpse of our children growing up.
But don’t worry I won’t linger too long at your door, I will kiss him goodbye as I say a prayer of blessing for him.
You may overlook him as he doesn’t particularly stand out and your hands are full with 20 other students. But if you happen to peruse his way when he’s smiling, you’ll catch a glimpse of that twinkle in his eye that will remind you why you do what you do. He looks like every other kid with his gel-combed-hair, matted down. I must warn you though this brushing hair thing, will probably only last for a week. He’s sporting his new clothes and school supplies (all of it because he needs all 20 pencils on the first day) that we spent hours shopping for and though he’ll deny it, he was up all night nervous about his new teacher and his first day of school.
He may come across as shy, on this first day. He’ll try his hardest to blend in with every one else as the year goes by and he’ll try his hardest to please you even if it doesn’t seem like it. Sometimes his hardest doesn’t appear to be like much but believe me he’s trying really hard. Regardless, I pray that you will see the awesome in him! He’s a pretty great kid!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the parent who thinks their child does no wrong, I know he’s not perfect. He will make mistakes, but remember mistakes are proof that he’s trying. He’s bound to daydream while you’re teaching and when you call on him he may not know the answer. Rest assured that he will get rambunctious and test your limits. The kid who needs the most love will seek after that attention in the most unloving ways. Please love him unconditionally even when his behavior or actions don’t merit it. Obviously, you will only be able to do this by the grace of God.
I know you’ve spent countless hours making his learning environment perfect and fun. You’ve thought through where each child will sit, you’ve used your best handwriting as you wrote each child’s name and even whispered a prayer for them. I know that you got into this profession because you want to change lives and spark magic. Instilling magic into the lives of little ones is a beautiful thing and believe me they’ll remember you for it. I was a teacher once and I want you to know that I support and respect you. I hope to never come in your room accusing you for something my child may have said you did, instead I will humbly come and ask and inquire about it.
I know you want the best for my child and for all the kids God has put in your care. We also want the best for our son and I realize that sometimes both of our bests–won’t coincide. My greatest desire this year is for us to work alongside of each other as God uses us both to pour wisdom and character into his little life. Know that when I go before you, I have taken into account not just what’s best for him now, but how this will impact him in his future–academically, spiritually and emotionally. I’m not perfect so I will miss things and will need others to lovingly come alongside of me to see my blind spots. The best way to do this is by asking me questions about my son instead of telling me what I should do with my child. Please feel free to talk to me about any issues you see with my son, but parent conferences isn’t the place to first hear about my son’s issues. I know you’re busy but I do want to hear throughout the school year about how we can help his weak areas and encourage his strengths.
I once had a teacher tell me that something was wrong with my son’s brain. I cried. Please, think about what you say and if you would want someone to talk about your child or future child in that way. No parent wants to hear, “Your child can be a monster. or Have you had your child’s brain checked?” I promise to try to see things through your perspective and I only ask the same of you. Please be careful what you tell parents about their kids even those well meaning comments need to be filtered.
I’ve been the recipient of teachers who poured love, values, grace, encouragement and magic into my life so I can attest to the power you have to shape their little world. Believe in them, believe in him–mold and watch little by little his ability and his potential unravel. Most of the time what we as humans long for is a cheerleader who sees the good, the abilities and skills that God has given us. You have such a valuable role in my son’s life, thank you for using it to spur him on.
You have the capability to touch a life forever–for the good. Believe in them, because with your encouragement and His guidance they are going to be someone amazing–he IS somebody now. So, please don’t yell at them, guide them and talk to them but don’t yell at them. Oh I know it’s tempting, but no kid should be bullied by another child much less an adult. I know there will be tough kids in your class and there will be kids you don’t like and kids whom you’re immediately drawn to, it happens. The hard part is to love them as is, so I pray whether it’s a kid who acts up, won’t stop asking questions, who never seems to understand, or just drives you nuts, that in the midst of it all, they will only see you as the person who believed in them–in spite of them.
Something I have learned is that kids are watching every move we make, what we say and don’t say.What we don’t say is powerful never underestimate the power of your silence and lack of encouragement. Oh, do I know the reality of not being perfect. I know, we will make mistakes as parents and just as you will as a teacher. That’s when grace comes in.
I know how easy it can be to share with other teachers about a certain student, especially if it’s a particularly frustrating student. Just remember what you say can follow them for the rest of the school year so make sure you’re not inadvertently labeling a child and holding them to that label. What you believe about them has the ability to impact how you treat and see them.
Oh before I forget, I know you have a life outside the school so I won’t feel bad or hold it against you if you don’t send my son with hours of busy work to squeeze in-between dinner and bedtime. Also, I’m sure I’m speaking for all moms in the world, please give us more than a day notice to come up with a costume for the play or for baked goods.
We believe in you. We thank you for choosing to spark their imaginations, fill them with knowledge and believe in our precious children. We will be praying for you. Go forth and lead fearlessly, teach practically and love hard. I know you teach over 20 kids and I don’t expect you to treat my son like he’s the only child in your class, but I do hope you remember he’s the world to me.