A Letter to My Daughter's Teacher
Dear Teacher, Tomorrow, I will put my daughter on a bus and send her off to an exciting new school year. 2nd grade is a year I honestly never really envisioned when I held that beautiful baby in my arms and dreamt of her future. It’s tucked between the major milestones of starting Kindergarten and becoming one of the “big kids” in 3rd grade. After giving it more thought, my memories of 2nd grade are far more vivid than that of Kindergarten and 1st grade. 2nd grade was the year when I first remember kids being mean. It’s when I learned to jump rope and ride my bike without training wheels. Even considering those memories, when I look at my daughter, I still see that tiny little baby who made me cry when she first said, “Momma” and I see the little girl that I just dropped off at school on her first day of Kindergarten.
So here it is. Today, I am entrusting you with this precious little gift that was loaned to me for as long as I live on this earth. I was there when she cried her first cry. I was there when she tinkled on the potty for the first time. I was there when the words, “wuv woo” first left her lips and when she fell head over heels in love with Spiderman.
I worry. I worry a lot. In fact, I’ve been told that I’m somewhat of a freak when it comes to safety and the need to protect her and her little heart. I’m paranoid. I’m also a control freak. I was a teacher for a long, long time and my training was top notch. I hold an administrative license and was very close to taking on an administrative role in my district just before taking a leave to be a mom, which turned into a multi-year leave to continue being a now penny pinching, deal hunting mom, which was the best decision I’ve ever made. I know what great instruction looks like. And hear me when I say that I don’t care about any of that.
What I want to know is that while I am entrusting my girl to you, she will be LOVED. You see, I’m entrusting you with this precious little soul. I don’t care two flips about the standardized test prep that was crammed into my psyche as a teacher because my job depended on my students passing THE TEST. I know that test is garbage. You know that test is garbage…and I know you can’t say that out loud.
I’m not giving you a test taking machine. I’m giving you my baby…my baby who loves Spiderman more than any other man next to her Daddy. I’m giving you my baby who would throw herself in front of a train to save a dog. Her love for animals runs so deep. I’m giving you my baby who came home brokenhearted and who sporadically sobbed for an entire weekend when her friend called her a liar last year at school. I’m giving you my baby who loves her baby brother and who welled up with tears this past weekend grieving for his little baby curls when he got his first haircut.
I’m giving you my baby whom I want so badly to hold tight to her values and convictions. I want her to preserve her soft heart even when people try to make her feel silly for wanting to save a bug. I’m giving you my baby who crawls into bed with me at night to be comforted after a nightmare, but faces her fears and offers to go back to her room because she is worried her baby brother will wake up lonely and scared. I’m giving you my baby who just wants everyone to be nice and to be friends and who just wants boys to play superheroes with her at recess, but won’t because, “girls shouldn’t like superheroes.”
I’m entrusting you with a little girl that willingly shares her Momma and Daddy with other children who need a Mommy and a Daddy for a season. Though her foster sisters sometimes annoy the mess out of her; though she has grieved the loss of many children who have come and gone in our home; though she still occasionally cries for one in particular, she is still ALL IN with us fostering.
Her heart is unmatched.
That’s who I am entrusting you with.
I already know that you are a great teacher or you wouldn’t be in your position. I know your job is hard. It’s so much harder than anyone outside this profession can comprehend. I know that sometimes you think about quitting because it isn’t quite what you thought it would be. I know that you spend an insane amount of your time collecting data, remediating, retesting and then regurgitating that data for which you will be judged against. I know your days are long, your nights are sometimes longer and your time with your own babies is cut short because you sacrifice for mine. One day, hopefully soon, our state will start to see that this testing mess isn’t working, our teachers are losing their passion and hearts and our students have lost their drive and creativity. In the meantime, please try hard to hold onto your love, passion and the reason why you chose this profession…because you love children.
Teacher, I want you to know that my biggest fear in sending her to a public school is that I will send her into a classroom where she isn’t loved because a teacher is too stressed and frazzled with worry and fear. I pray that you know the Father. I pray that He gives you comfort and peace in knowing that you’ve got this. I believe in you. And I'm here to support you.
All I want is for my girl to be loved. I want her to come home and tell me how much she loves her teacher. I want you to bond with her and take her on amazing adventures in magical stories. I want her to proudly hug you in front of her peers because she just thinks you are the best. And decades from now, I want her to think back and say, “I loved my 2nd grade teacher and I know she loved me too.”
That’s all I want.
Thank you to Mrs. Igel at IPS #83 in 1985-1986. I loved my 2nd grade teacher and I know she loved me too.
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