We all think it and possibly say it from time to time, but until you’re a parent yourself, it’s difficult to truly realize or appreciate the value of a great teacher. These special creatures are too rare not to acknowledge. Their constant efforts and insurmountable patience and love for the craft makes them the most valuable gift for our children, and for parents.
My son just entered his first year in preschool, and I still question how I became so lucky to have my son placed in one such teacher’s classroom. I’m sure there are some ignorant jerks out there thinking, “How difficult can it be to be a preschool teacher? It’s basically daycare.” I am giving you the middle finger and inviting you to GTFO.
Putting aside parental preference, and the choice of whether or not to place your little one in preschool, my son’s enrollment was necessary and crucial for him. This decision is unique to each family just as their situation is.
Of course, there are the known benefits of preparing our children for kindergarten, exposing them to an academically rich environment and encouraging important social, emotional, and behavioral development. The vital knowledge and skills acquired within these years help to build a foundation for continued learning. I’m not an expert, but I’m sure any teacher could “school” you and elaborate further on the various ways preschool greatly benefits and is advantageous for our children.
Taking all of these benefits into consideration, I found preschool to be critically important for my son. Suffering from a language and cognitive delay, preschool is necessary for him. Speech therapy is necessary. An environment with structure and specialized attention is necessary. Additional help and exposure to a learning atmosphere is necessary. Beyond anything else, an exceptional teacher is necessary.
In the short amount of time my son has been enrolled in preschool, he has shown tremendous growth and already made such a transformation. Without a doubt, I owe much of this success to his teacher. Here are a few reasons why our teacher is our hero:
1. Coordinator of Chaos
I would call this woman the definition of patience, but I think she exceeds any words used to describe this unique trait.
She manages 16 children all day, every day. I feel bad when thinking it’s a struggle to juggle the two toddlers I have, let alone 16. Always with a smile. Always happy. Always engaged. Always excited. She is their everything: teacher, mentor, role model, cheerleader, counselor, protector. The list goes on and on.
Did I mention this is a special education classroom? Each child has a delay of some kind, each with different needs requiring an extremely unique specialized approach — five days a week, six hours a day, she does it all.
Because she spends so much time with my child, I almost feel as though she knows him more than I do. She knows his personality and temperament, but most of all, she knows his limits and areas in which he needs improvement. I turn to her to clue me in and give me insight into my child’s progress and performance. I can’t see everything, and I value her input and feedback immensely.
It was unbelievably difficult for me to hand my child over to a stranger in a completely new environment. I needed to trust this person to care for my child and treat him as her own. I needed this person to help him progress, taking his delay into consideration. I needed this person to be cognizant of my son in a room full of other highly dependent children and observe him through a specialized lens. I rely on her background and training to best advise me on his progress and continued success. She has exceeded all of these expectations.
Do you know how reassuring this is for a mom? It is priceless.
3. Always on Call
A teacher’s schedule doesn’t have structured hours. Sure, time is built in outside of class time to attend to necessary tasks, but these extraordinary teachers don’t leave work at school. Many times they can be found grading, planning and prepping, and coaching parents outside of their normal hours.
Often, I’ll hear our teacher mention staying up until midnight researching or working on a project that the children are going to love. That’s all she cares about — the children. Not how tired she is or will be. Not spending this precious free time doing something unrelated to work or her job. No, she cares about her students, their happiness and continued success.
For us parents, she’s always available. Need to meet early or late to discuss your child’s progress or any issues or concerns? Never a hesitation. Never a conflict. She’s always kind, caring, and responsive.
This is not the case with every teacher, I know. Understanding they have a life outside of their job and school, I can’t expect a teacher to be available whenever I want them to be — yet she is, always keeping me informed throughout the day, sending along any important updates and information. With every worry running through my head, she puts my anxiety at ease.
4. A Gift From God
I do like to think we have the best teacher in the world, and for my son and our family, we do. I know there are other gems out there like her with the same passion and love to help guide our children, fresh and eager just as they were the day they began their teaching journey. They haven’t let the high demands, and red tape, and politics bring them down. They show up for their kids, despite the stress and grueling hours. They are heroes — the real MVPs.
Just as my family and I are truly blessed to have this exceptional woman in our lives, so are the countless other families who have similar experiences. If you are as lucky as we are, please tell your teacher how much they mean to your family. Tell them how instrumental they are to your child’s education. Most of all, tell them “thank you” and share your gratitude. If nothing else, they at least deserve this.