8/19/13

From the teacher, TO the teacher.....once again....

This was a speech I wrote almost 10 years ago.  I had an amazing intern that year, and when the head of the education program at Oregon State asked if anyone wanted to do the speech at the closing/graduation ceremony for the intens, I volunteered.

My close friends thought I was crazy (AHEM, thanks for your support!!) and tried to talk me out of it, NUMEROUS times.   I hadn't been writing "in public" then, but my heart told me to do it. 

I had a moment of inspiration, and started composing.  I shared my speech with one person- an intern I  had the previous year- and no one else. Not even my BEST FRIEND.  

The night of the ceremony I stood in front of a room of several hundred people, and looked at the crowd.  I cleared my throat, and began.....


As another school year quickly approaches, I wanted to send a heartfelt message to this community’s teachers.  Okay, I am a teacher and yes, I get excited about the new school year, but I am first and foremost a mom.  My message to you is not from the teacher, the friend or the co-worker, but from the mother of the child that will be in your class next year.  I am sending you my most precious, precious gift. My child.  Let me tell you about her….

My child is the little girl who sleeps with the bathroom light on because she is a little afraid of the dark.  My child is the girl who makes sure that the windows are locked at night, just in case.  My child is the girl who worries if her clothes match, because the other children will make fun of her if they don’t.  My child is the girl whose smile and laughter brighten our lives, but who just can’t keep her mouth shut at school!  My child is the girl that no one wants to be friends with because she’s a tattle tale. (Mom, I am just following the rules!)  

My child is the girl who might be a little sad at school because she lost her only grandpa last year.  My daughter is the girl who is afraid to come to school because the other girls tease her and tell her she is too fat.  My child is the girl who tripped over the recycling bin, and fell face first on the floor in front of the boy she had a crush on.  My child is the girl who collects insects in the summer, identifies their tracks, does science experiments in her room, but hates to read. 

My child is the boy who loves to do mental math, but refuses to read a book.  My child is the boy no one wants to be friends with because he plays house.  My child is the boy who will climb on the roof, fly down the hill on his bike, climb WAY too far up the tree, but is afraid to participate in class.  My child is the boy who forgets where he is sometimes, and picks his nose in class.   My child is the boy who puts the little orange cones on his chest and pretends they are boobs for all his six-year old friends.  My child is the boy who is mad because another boy told him he loved him.  My child is the boy who didn’t want to come in from gym, figured it was an emergency, and peed in the woods.  Yeah, the gym teacher caught him.  My child is the boy who is a little bigger than the other children, a little younger than the other children, and thinks he’s stupid.  My child is the boy who still likes being tucked in at night, and wants a good night kiss.

What do I need from you?  I need you to make her feel she is special, and an important part of the classroom community.   I need you to understand that it is okay for her to make mistakes, be wrong, and that a B is okay!  I need you to help her along when she stumbles, fumbles, and makes a fool of herself in front of her friends.  I want her to wake up in the morning and be glad that she has something to look forward to, school! 

What do I need you to do for me?  I need you to tell me what my child is doing at school. Newsletters are great!  Believe me, they do not remember anything they did during the day!  It might be nice if you give me a call sometime, even if my child is not in trouble.  I need you to tell me no, my child is NOT gifted, but she’s a hard worker, and I shouldn’t be contacting the learning enrichment teacher at home.  

Basically, I want you to be all that you are - enthusiastic, motivating, risk-taking, kind, empathetic, understanding, loving, humorous and compassionate.  Most importantly, I want you to please, please remember that each child in your class is someone’s precious, precious gift.  It’s their child, your child, it's my child.  


Please handle with care.   


I wiped my eyes and made my way through a standing ovation to my seat.  I will never, ever forget that moment, or the words that came from my heart.    



And so, I share them with you all again, at this beginning of the year, and pray that each of our  children land in a classroom filled with wonder, excitement, challenge and love;  lots and lots of love......


15 comments:

Sarah said...

I'm thinking that you wrote this piece at the end of the year when my son was in your classroom (2003-2004), which thought puts a big smile on my face.

Vodka Mom said...

and he was a love......and my heart smiles every time i see a pic, or read a story from you.....

xoxoxo

SkylersDad said...

And now I am sitting here once again crying, and wishing you could have been my son's teacher. I am also wishing I could hug you, but afraid that I might never let go.

xxoo

Ellie Mae said...

Awesome, just awesome!! From a former teacher and (still) a mother :)

Brian Miller said...

ah i can def hear your heart in it VM....smiles..i love my kids...and have to fight for them often from other teachers that def dont get this....

CLR said...

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Steph said...

Oh, wow, I'm in tears. As always, your writing is so wonderful and true. I'm not a school teacher but have admired so many teachers over the years. I love when a couple of teachers at our girls' school ask at the beginning of the year for us to write a letter about our child. I, too, truly wish you could have taught my children but we have been blessed with many wonderful teachers. Good luck with your publishing!

Kara said...

Thank you! I wish that you would have had my child for kindergarten-the complete bitch that he had could have ruined him. Thankfully she went on maternity leave and he was blessed to have an angel like you for the rest of the year and it saved him. Amen for teachers like you and for Mrs. M!

Japolina said...

Hope you have the best school year ever VM!

Lorraine said...

This should be part of every staff welcome back. You nailed it. Have a wonderful year!!!

Gigi said...

Oh, you made me cry! We were blessed to have a few teachers like that along the way - and I hope that he continues to be blessed with a few professors like that along the way now.

Mocadeaux said...

I guarantee your words touched the hearts of those interns and echoed in their minds, influencing their behavior in the classroom. You reminded them to think about those kids who might otherwise fade into the background. I'm sure the interns were grateful for your advice knowing that heeding it will make them better teachers. Simply beautiful!

Anonymous said...

My father died the day before I started first grade. My first grade teacher made my life hell. Obviously, I would cry when my mother would leave me in the mornings. My teacher told me that if I continued crying that they were going to come back my mama like they did my daddy. I'm 42 years old now. The pain and hatred is still there.

Jessica@Team Rasler said...

When I was getting my teaching certification around the time when you wrote this, the director of the program told us, "Every parent is sending his or her best child to you. They're not keeping the good ones at home."

I've always remembered that. With each child I've taught since then, I've kept in mind that this was that parent's best (insert child's name). It helped me treat the entire family more gently.

Now, as a parent, I feel even more keenly that we are doing the best we can, and we love our children for every bit of who they are. We just want the teachers to know that.

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