I am writing this at a time where you’re likely welcoming the end of the school year with open arms…and I am doing the opposite. You see, I’m going to miss you. I’m going to miss you because my child is going to miss you. My kid may be one of 25 messy little faces staring at you (and maybe even occasionally driving you a bit nuts) during the day, but you’re the one face staring back at him. And for that I am thankful.
So here is my note of thanks. Not just the obvious “thanks for keeping my kid busy and teaching them states and capitals.” This is more of a deep down, heart-wrenching kind of thank you. Because you see, for me, time is going to quickly. I’ve been so caught up in the day-to-day that I haven’t noticed that in the past 9 months you have shaped my child into an inquisitive, confident, empathetic little human whom I can hardly believe is the same person that walked into the school doors in the fall. And although I know the thank yous have been few and far between this year, please hear me now.
Thank you for welcoming my child into your world. You created an environment that felt safe and fun and comfortable. You showed my child your true self when she is in the midst of defining her own. You weren’t afraid to laugh at yourself, to take life less seriously, and to be open and honest with a class full of kids. You taught them that teachers are real people too – people that care about them. Which made my child want to work even harder to see you share in their success.
Thank you for identifying my child to be in “reading club.” Which to me was the really scary way of telling me my son needed help. He was not advanced. He was not even on-level. But to him, you made it fun. It was cool to go to reading club. It was fun to read. You gave my child the gift of the love of reading, and for that there is no amount of thank yous that does justice. My son will spend the rest of the summer stacking up chapter books and telling me all about why Mr. Nick is a Lunatic and fun facts about the Titanic. All because of you.
Thank you for for letting my daughter be her crazy, wild self. At 10 years old, self-consciousness and self-doubt are starting to creep into her. I’ve been anticipating this and hoping it wouldn’t come. But your funny banter to her is just the encouragement that she needed to realize that she is confident in who she is. It may have been just another day at the office for you, but to her you were a game-changer.
Thank you for being open and honest with me and my child. I know that parent-teacher conference night isn’t easy with meeting after meeting of explaining to parents how they can best help their kids. But you made it unique, you told me and my child what you appreciated most about them and you told them how they can step up their game. By opening the line of communication, being responsive, and letting me know when things weren’t quite right, I knew that you had my child’s back. And that means the world.
Thank you for allowing my child to fail. Not all-out F’s on the report card fail, but fail at things. Fail at spelling tests, at math homework, and sometimes in friendships. By showing her that she can’t always be perfect, you instilled a system of hard work, double-checking, and a drive to do things right – but not to implode if it didn’t work out the first time. You’ve shown her that it’s okay to not be the best at everything all the time and that she can learn from her mistakes. For some reason she understands it so much more coming from you.
So as you pack up your classroom and walk (or maybe run…or skip…) out the door, please know that you have made an impact. You are a person my child will remember for the rest of their life. But even more so, they’ll remember the lessons you have taught them. And for that I am grateful.