Saturday, May 2, 2015

Why I Need My Children's Teachers

It was the day after Grace started kindergarten that the call came. “Grace took a pretty bad fall at recess.” The mama bear in me wanted to rush over to get her but I tried to play it cool. “Okay. Does she want me to come?” No, the receptionist kindly replied. They’d bandaged her up and she wanted to go back to class.

And that is the day I bought into the whole “it takes a village” concept.

Until that point, I was the one who cared for her. Now 40 hours of her week were going to be spent with someone else. Someone who’d already made school so fun Grace preferred stay with her on a day when physical sting burned fresh.

I knew this woman, these teachers, had to be special and vowed to get into the classroom volunteering support to the person tending to more hearts at once than Michelle Duggar.  What I found out shocked me.

I need my children’s teachers.

Eager and ready, I stepped into the kindergarten room with spirits high to do whatever the teacher most needed – writing or other academic help with children, crafting, cutting, copying, you name it. This would extend into multiple grades with multiple teachers for my multiple children. My goal was simple: do whatever lightens the load for the teacher so that she or he can better meet the necessary requirements.

I strung noodles on necklaces, helped write sentences, and got frustrated with a copy machine that wasn’t playing nice. :) I’ve played math games and have seen imaginations run wild in Imagination Station.

But it is what I witnessed in you teachers that took my breath.

You told my daughter she was beautiful at just the right time and it prompted bigger discussion at home.

When it was the day of her speech rehearsal I told her to have fun and not worry if she messes up. She nodded more out of respect than belief. Then, when she actually did stumble on her words, you told my perfectionist it was okay and she “felt better” about herself because you’re an “expert.” Because of you, she went into the real thing with maximized confidence.

At the reading tables you identify levels I don’t. In watching you, I see you work on connections through age appropriate texts, providing me the skill to carry through at home. You follow it up with title suggestions that will interest them while still protecting their heart and innocence.  My mama heart dances.

You utilize creative communication strategies that I would never have thought of on my own, giving me new tools to ensure my little loves always have an outlet to share.

You show up at out of school events, telling my girls that they are more than just a body in your classroom. Your presence reinforces value and purpose.

When I don’t know the answer to a sensitive question, you reply with honesty, practicality, humor, and compassion that breathes confidence into my growing girl’s spirit and empowers me as a mother.

And that basket you carry? We have one in our house complete with the color coated behavior charts, lesson plans, and writing prompts because you told her she had teacher talents and, through your example, molded new dreams.

I see you doing this for every kid, aiding every parent.

I stand in awe because I know many stories sit in your classrooms. Some students come in excited to learn and others require creative motivation. Some bellies are full and others you quietly gift with snacks to get the brain waves moving. Some face home barriers others don’t. Some children have a lot to share and some are shy. Some walk in confident and other tiny people wonder why they are here at all.

And you possess the ability to love each child exactly where they are at, blending their struggles, strengths, and questions into a personalized approach for student AND family profit. It’s incredible.

Teachers, I walked into your classroom to be your cheerleader. To lighten your load. And you’ve lightened mine.

I want you in my village. If I’m going to be the best parent I can be, I need you in my village.

I watch, listen, and learn.

Next week is teacher appreciation week. I know we are in a time when changing educational standards have placed emphasis on teaching to tests and scored results supposedly reflect your teaching success, at least to their creators, but to your students and parents you are so much more.

You are nurturers. You give potential wings. You stand in the gaps and make us all stronger.

I hope you will hear gratitude from many.

Going in, hear this:


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