Thank you, dear teacher.
After months of cold days, suddenly, it’s warm out and when I picked up my son from school yesterday, his blonde temples glistened under the sweat that was forming on his brow. It’s always startling to me, really—those temples that are still so very white blonde, only revealed from a short summer cut—since the rest of his head is darkening now that he’s getting older. Where did all that blonde hair go?
You were at the door like you always are, morning and afternoon, with the line of students behind you, waiting for parents to fetch them. It’s always a picture I look forward to seeing—the happy kids, children I’ve come to know, at the end of the day—and my son often stops to hug you before running to hug me. That’s the way it is now, sometimes. You’re the first to get the hug before he skips down the walk to throw his ever-growing arms around my waist. How did his arms get so long?
A year has ended; hair has gotten darker; arms have gotten longer, as they’ve reached for the sky. We parents have watched it all happen right before our very eyes, marveling at how fast time passes. As a chapter closes for them and for you, I want to thank you on behalf of all parents.
Thank you for treating our children like they are gifts from above. They know you treasure them and tell us all how much you love them. You see teaching as a vocation. You teach them, of course, but you mother them in our absence. You do it without fail, every day, taking our children and making them your own. We’ve given you our greatest earthly blessings and you’ve treasured them, helping us to grow our seedlings into the beautiful flowers they’ve become.
Thank you for being authentic and for making time to mentor us with your experience and advice. You’ve spent time chatting with us, encouraging us, and sharing stories. You have let us know that parenting isn’t always easy, but the rewards are so very worth it. Thank you for making us feel special and valued when that isn’t even your job.
Thank you for realizing our children are more than students. You’ve taught them how to work when you they need to and how to sing even if they don’t feel like it. You’ve taught them how to read, write, add, and subtract, but more importantly, you see them as complete children. You’ve cheered them on the basketball court, helped them make crafts for holidays, talked to them about things they are worried about, and rejoiced in other successes outside of the classroom. You have taught them how to be a good friend, and how to take a break if they need to. You’ve encouraged each child to reach his or her potential, but you’ve also shown that success isn’t always measured by the score on a test.
Our children might not remember what you taught them, but they will always remember how you made them feel. They will remember that you made a small child feel safe and loved, encouraging them each to be their authentic selves. This is what good teachers do. This is what you’ve done
You’ve loved them. They have been safe. Happy. Learning. Becoming children who are thoughtful and thankful. You’ve helped us form them, and loving our children has been the utmost gift to us.
Their hair will continue to darken; their arms and legs will sprout like tree branches, reaching for the sky. Eventually, they will graduate from middle school and then high school and then college. But they will remember you and they will miss you.
With all of our love and gratitude,
Thanks for Mothering the Divide here with me as the school year ends and children rush out of the door for the start of summer as teachers begin to prepare for another group of students in the fall.