To the woman who teaches my child,
Thea got off the bus today and asked if we could go back to school now. She had not even taken off her backpack, nor had she told me about her day. Not hello mom, not how are you, but can we go now? Please? When I told her we would have to wait until 5:30, when open house started, she got mad. “But I want to go now mom, I have to go see my teacher.”
And my eyes got watery and I had to swallow for a second so she couldn’t see how I felt.
Then she showed me around tonight, so meticulously crossing off our scavenger hunt, asking me what next, what next. Proudly showing me the work she had done, her special places. All the walls where her art hung, where she had made her mark, where she belonged. But when she sat down and read me her stories, those same stories that you had so perfectly transcribed, I had to hold back the tears. I didn’t want to be that parent sitting and crying in their kindergartner’s classroom. I didn’t want to be a sentimental fool. And still…
So to Jesse, who teaches my daughter every day. I may tell you thanks but you just don’t know what it means to hear our little girl tell me she loves you. This is the same girl who 4 weeks ago told me that she would never go back to school, that she had no friends, and that she would never learn anything. The same girl who was scared to ride the bus. The same girl who told me that no one cared. That same girl who made us move heaven and earth it seems to try to get her a new chance. And that new chance was you. That same girl told me tonight that I had to keep all of her stories because her teacher told her so, “And what the teacher says means something, mom.”
We may think that a great school is what makes our child love school, but the truth is it is the teachers more than anything. Those teachers we sometimes just expect to love our children, flaws and all. Those teachers we just expect to make it work, to make everyone learn, and to do it with a smile on their face. They make the difference, they change the world, but most importantly they change our world.
So to Mrs. H, I tell you you matter, I tell you that you are making a difference, but I will never be able to tell you how much. You have made my daughter believe that she can, that she has a home. You have not told her she needs to be perfect, nor that she will do everything right the first time, but you have made her feel that she can try, that she can think, that she can dream.
From one teacher to another; you are someone who makes me proud to be a teacher.
From a parent to a teacher; no words.
Thank you for loving our child, with all her craziness, all her ideas, and all her rainbow-colored stories. We could never have made her love school like this. You did that.
I am a passionate teacher in Wisconsin, USA, who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade. Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.
7 thoughts on “A Letter to My Daughter’s Kindergarten Teacher”
This is exactly how I felt last year! Thank you just never seemed like enough! And still doesn’t.
I wear a few hats:retired teacher who taught kindergarten for 4 years, a grandmother of a young child and parent of two sons. Each part of me had goose bumps as I read this. You touched me deeply with your words.
Always interesting reading your blog and following you and your family(I don’t like the use of the word ‘journey’) This post is what every teacher should be aiming to be, for every child! And every family!
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Beautiful.Vulnerable. So human. And true. Courageous of you to share so openly. Thank you.