To my sons’ teachers:
I know you don’t have much time to stop and read this, but I want to say it anyway. Your job is underappreciated, overlooked, and underestimated so many times and in so many ways. You barely have time to eat and go to the restroom during the day, and yet so much is expected of you. You all are human, and sometimes your human-ness threatens to get in the way of your teaching, but you are a truly special breed of teachers.
You’re the kind who leave your personal troubles at the door when you walk into the classroom. You’re the kind who make my children feel like they are the most special students in the class. And what’s even better–you make every one of “your kids” feel like they are the most special student in the class.
You are the kind of teachers who don’t spend your day complaining about lack of resources, lack of respect, and lack of acknowledgement for teachers. You are too busy teaching your students, my sons, to complain about other things. Because you don’t ever complain, I think sometimes parents do forget to tell you a word of thanks now and then for the mammoth job that you seem to carry on your shoulders with the grace of a dancer.
Sometimes I forget to tell you.
But not today. I want to tell you thank you.
Thank you for waiting for my boy at the door so that you can tell him “Good Morning!”
Thank you for asking him how his ballgame went last night.
Thank you for making him hang up his backpack when he lets it fall on the ground…because you want him to learn responsibility.
Thank you for not allowing him to turn in half-effort work…because you want him to always do his best. I see his improvement, and I thank you for that.
Thank you for listening to him talk about the little things when you have attendance, grades, meetings, plans, and 30 other kids who want you to hear their little things, too (and if you’ve taught both my sons, you know which son I’m talking about, and which one I’m not talking about :))
Thank you for encouraging him when he is discouraged.
Thank you for correcting him when he needs it.
Thank you for holding the garbage can for him and patting his back when he threw up in kindergarten.
Thank you for that time you stood at the bathroom door and walked him through how to change his own clothes (because he’d spilled milk all over himself and was having a breakdown) in preschool.
Thank you for teaching him to love reading…to love books, and to love learning.
Thank you for that time in first grade you made sure he had someone to be his friend at recess after weeks of him doing recess alone. You helped him learn how to find others to work with and play with. He hasn’t forgotten, and neither have I. Thank you.
Thank you for that time you set aside your own comfort to tell me about a problem you could foresee. Because you told me, we worked on it and avoided a big disaster. I haven’t forgotten about that, and I thank you.
Thank you for holding him in your lap when he fell and hurt his knee.
Thank you for worrying over him–over all of them–when you were “signed out” for the day. You sent me videos of how to help him with his math homework, even though you were out to eat with your family. You did NOT have to do that, but you did and I remember.
Thank you for trying something new when the old familiar way didn’t seem to be working for long addition problems in second grade.
Thank you for emailing me to let me know that he was okay after a rough morning. You had so many things to do, and you thought of me. Thank you.
Thank you for telling him that you loved him, and he was so smart. He believed you, and he still does.
Thank you for pumping him full of creativity, for giving him an avenue to express his ideas in new ways that I would never even begin to think about.
Thank you for drawing him out when he needed it.
Thank you for calming him down when he needed it.
Thank you for calming me down when I needed it. 🙂 So many times.
Thank you for keeping me informed.
Thank you for convincing my boy that he could stand in front of his class and give a speech when he thought he couldn’t do it. You knew he could do it.
Thank you for coming in and teaching your heart out when it was really breaking because your family members were ill. Or gone.
Thank you for pushing the fundraisers when maybe you didn’t even want to, so that you could get him a new playground to play on, or new books in the library, and a new STEM lab.
Thank you for rolling out the red carpet–literally–on the first day of middle school and cheering my boys’ names as they walked in the doors.
Thank you for those times you left your own little one sick at home in another’s care so that you could come and care for my boys.
Thank you for celebrating the “little” things that aren’t even little, and bringing community and fun and wonder to my boys in elementary school.
Thank you for putting his safety before yours in tornadoes, fire scares, and worse.
Thank you for the hugs, the high-fives, the fist-bumps, the nods, the smiles, the kind words, and the love that you have shown to my boys in more ways than I will ever know.
A simple thank you is nowhere near enough for all that you’ve done. You have all changed my sons’ lives, changing my life and their dad’s life in the process. I pray that you will see the fruits of the seeds you have planted for the rest of your days, and that you will see thanks in the lives of your students and their families over and over again.
You’re the kind of teachers who didn’t go into teaching for the thank you’s. But I’m telling you anyway.
Thank a teacher today.