Yesterday, I asked a question on social media, a question I have asked before. A question that has been rolling around in my head here in Costa Rica as I dream of the year to come.
While responses continue to come in from around the world, I am struck by the urgency so many of the questions are wrapped in. An urgency that speaks to the hopes and dreams, and yes, sometimes fears, that I also share as my own children inch closer to a new year with new teachers.
See my child as the gift they are.
See my child for how hard they try.
See my child for all they are and not just the decisions they may make in their low moments.
Give my child a way to let you know who they are, what they believe in, what they dream, and what they fear.
Get to know my child beyond the data, beyond the rumors, beyond the assumptions that they may be wrapped in due to society, due to the past, due to things outside of their control.
Take the time to be someone in their corner, someone that they know will have their back, someone they know will fight for them and believe in them.
Partner with us, those who send you the child, so that we can be a part of their journey, because it is hard to believe our child is welcome in your class, in your school, if we don’t feel welcome as well.
Get to know our child beyond the basics and have them get to know you as well.
But also, take you time. Don’t expect our child to trust you right away. Earn their trust, earn our trust, through your actions and not just your words. Be a champion and admit when you are wrong, help us connect with you as you connect with our child. Because it hopefully goes without saying, I send you our hearts every day, please take care of them.
To honor the time it takes, I will use questions throughout the year not just the first day or first week. I will continue to ask students many of the ones shared spaced out over time in order to recognize that relationships, real ones, take time and that the answer a child gives me the first week will, hopefully, deepen as we get to know each other.
Finally, for me, I want to honor their history and their home. As an immigrant myself, my biggest identifier is being Danish, and yet for my children they are assumed fully Americans in their schools, even though they are designated ESL, there is little with care or even curiosity to the identity they share with me, the threads that we weave throughout our home and family. So I want to continue to work on creating a space where all of students’ identifiers and heritage is understood, honored, and developed.
So what would parents like us to ask their child, here are a few of the many tweets, to see them all, please go to the thread, it is absolutely worth your time.
And so now, I ask; what do you wish your child’s teacher would ask them as a new school year begins?