Tomorrow night my intern and I will attend a ceremony to celebrate the end of the school year, and the beginning of her journey as a teacher. I'm so very proud, and can't wait to watch her as she spreads her wings and takes flight.
While I won’t be giving a speech during the ceremony.... I do have a heartfelt message I would like to share with her, and with all the young teachers entering this profession. Listen carefully.
Tonight I’m not the teacher you worked beside all year. I’m not the teacher who listened to you, talked to you, guided you, laughed with you and cried with you. I’m not the teacher who watched you grow from a quiet novice into a strong, confident and talented teacher. I’m the person who could be the hardest part of your school year, or your greatest admirer.
I’m the mother of the student who will be in your class next year. I’m here to tell you a little about my child.
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 tattletale. (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 help her 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, and an email or text message every now and then works wonders! 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.
I want you to be all that you are - enthusiastic, motivating, risk-taking, kind, empathetic, understanding, loving, humorous and compassionate. I want you to remember that everyone is human, and that each child and you will make mistakes every single day; and that’s ok. Most importantly, I want you to please, please remember that each child in your class is someone’s precious, precious gift.
Please handle with care.