An Open Letter to Teachers

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During this last week of school, I’ve been thinking of my children and how very much they have changed from the beginning of First grade until they completed their final day today. The more I think about it, the more I realize I owe the people who have cared for my kids a debt that can never be repaid.

How do you repay someone who has been a parent when you aren’t there? How do you repay someone for countless nights of worry? I have no way to tell someone thank you for holding my child’s hand when he was upset, or encouraging my daughter to run that last lap when she didn’t think she could hold out for one more step. There aren’t words to repay the time spent thinking of ways to teach my child so they develop a love of learning, instead of teaching to one curriculum. I have so many thanks to give, but no way to express what it means to have kids who feel safe because they know that nothing bad will happen as long as their teachers are there.

Thank you is insufficient for the guidance that led to love of reading, from the time that they could make out the simplest of words. I have gratitude for so many people, so many moments, when I had to let them go out into the world and trust that they would be okay. It’s only because of the people who stood in for me, that they were.

Learning isn’t just about Mathematics and English, it’s about finding your way, and learning who you’re going to be in the world and many of those things that define children happen at school. I’m so lucky to have a place that my children were loved, not just taught. I hope that one day, I can give back enough to others to repay the kindness and caring that were shown my children, but I doubt it can be done. I see how confident and wonderful they are both now, and I see so many people who helped make them that way. The office staff that know everyones names, the drop-off attendants that compliment new shoes and make those first steps in the door happy ones.

The teachers who wipe away tears when someone doesn’t want to let them join in a playground game, coaches who cheer for every new skill obtained no matter if it’s one that makes a difference on the field. Funny phrases pepper their speech that belong to someone else, and mannerisms that they’ll carry forever.

I can’t repay teachers and staff that have helped make my children better people, but I’ll try to put just as much good into the world, and simply say THANK YOU.

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