SOMWaD: An Open Letter to My Son's Teachers

Thank You.

I'm saying it now, first and foremost, because you probably won't hear it enough this year.  And for what you do (or will do) throughout this year is deserving of a thank you up front.  I have heard it said that teaching is a thankless profession.  As for me, I feel that teaching is a profession to be thankful FOR.  I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without the amazing teachers I had and I know my son's life is richer because of you.

Yes, I may have bitched about all the supplies I had to buy this year, but that's not important.  What is important is that you are educating my child. Notice how I said educating, not testing.  Despite what the state department of education might think, the measure of a teacher is NOT standardized test scores, but the knowledge that each individual child walks away with.  There is nothing "common" at the core of a child, or any human for that matter.  Because you are a teacher, you KNOW that test scores are just part of the whole picture and are not the measure of an individual.  Education and schooling is not just about sitting in a classroom and throwing back facts.  It is also about learning to interact with peers.  It is about learning how to work with children and adults.  It is learning acceptance of those who are "different" or "not like you."  Education is so many different things. Perhaps someday the rest of the world will figure that out.

It is important to note that during the school year you are caring for the most important person in my life. You are shaping his world.  You will ignite new passions. You are carrying out the work that starts and continues at home.  You are my teammate in assuring that my child is the best that he can be.  Yes, I said teammate because we SHOULD be partners in this educational process.  Education begins at home; it continues in the school system but one is not exclusive of the other. If there is a problem, we should work through it together.  Every parent wants to believe that their child is perfect, but reality disproves that illusion.  If my son misbehaves, I want to know about it and trust you to take the appropriate disciplinary action in the classroom while my husband and I do the same at home.  If he is struggling with something, academic or otherwise, I want to know and work in tandem to find a solution.  His success, ANY child's success, depends on the two of us respecting each other and working together.

Having said that, I will try my best to keep you informed of anything out of the "normal" that could impact the school day and/or his behavior.  I'll try NOT to be too much of a hovering mom.  In my mind there are such things as mini-helicopter moms who want to be involved in their child's education, but not be overly so to the point of being a real PitA.  I'd like to think I'm a minicopter (would that make me a drone?) and not a gigantic army copter that you hear coming from a million miles away.  (But if I am, I am trusting you to let me know.)

So as this school year starts, let me say thank you again.  I don't know if this is going to be a “good" year or a "bad" one.  I don't know what challenges will be faced.  I don't know what dramas will unfold.  But I do know that with your care and dedication to this unheralded profession, my child will have the ability to be a better person.


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