My son started kindergarten this year. In the first two months, he caught pinkeye, a cold, diarrhea, learned to swear, took up kung fu, declared that he wanted to have 17 girlfriends, and discovered video games. In the midst of all of this growing up and phenomenal change was his teacher—or as I like to call her, my kid’s Saint. I mean, let’s get real here, a teacher is so much like a saint that any parent would be crazy not to show some teacher appreciation and give a big, fat, amazing thank-you any chance they get.
Anyone brave enough to become a teacher in this era of budget cuts, school shootings, the politics of charter versus private versus public, and all of the other heavy issues that get in the way of teaching deserves to be thanked. Every single day, I send up a prayer of gratitude to the teaching staff at my child’s school. Here are 50 reasons why:
1. You don’t judge my many emails.
2. You’ve got more patience than a monk. I know because I have met my kid.
3. You keep extra clean, warm clothes for kids who have accidents.
4. You keep “emergency snacks” in your closet for the kids who can’t bring food.
5. You must listen to 700 fart jokes a day.
6. Or stories about monsters, boogers and zombies and facts about sharks.
7. I’m fairly certain my kid went through a phase of writing on furniture.
8. And possibly eating paste.
9. You keep my child safe from harm in a time when we shouldn’t have to worry about that, but we do, and we trust you implicitly.
10. You reassured me when I was nervous about my kid not making friends.
11. You also reassured me that one bad day at school does not mean a life of delinquency.
12. I dropped a four-letter word, and of course, my kid picked it up.
13. Fingers crossed mine wasn’t the only one!
14. My horrible snack contributions to the class (hello, plain popcorn).
15. You don’t make a big deal over my kid’s refusal to admit he has to pee.
16. And the ridiculous pee dance he does while yelling, “No! I do not!”
17. I forget to put his library book back into his backpack nearly every Monday.
18. My incessant need to be involved in everything. I swear it’s out of love!
19. That my boy has discovered girls. And is equal parts delighted and distracted and terrified by them.
20. All the shark facts. OMG, I am so sorry.
21. Putting up with all the sick days.
22. Seriously, your immune system must be bulletproof by now, and I am jealous!
23. Putting up with the asshole parents who give you grief (that’s not me, right?)
24. All the macaroni and construction paper art projects.
25. For putting up with my million questions.
26. Despite lack of funding, your classroom is brimming with color and magic.
27. For protecting and guiding all the kids in your room every single day.
28. For encouraging the kids to be friends even outside of school.
29. Making my kid feel special on his birthday.
30. Helping me to find all his missing shit like mittens and permission slips.
31. For not discouraging boys to play house or girls to play superheroes.
32. For teaching my son the power of listening. (Thank you!)
33. Seriously, he really tells like 700 fart jokes a day.
34. Not scaring the shit out of us during our first parent-teacher conference.
35. Encouraging the kids to share their talents and curiosities during circle time.
36. You are fearless when it comes to being silly with the kids in class.
37. You navigate tough questions about the scary parts of the world without hurting the kids’ innocence.
38. You handle the drama of parents versus Common Core with dignity and respect.
39. And, good Lord, the drama of kindergarten friendships.
40. For dealing with all the food allergies, the health problems, and the learning delays in your classroom with grace and dignity.
41. For not letting my kid get away with half-assed work.
42. For Silly Putty. It works wonders at keeping my kid focused and creative.
43. For helping me to reinforce the importance of work ethic in my kid.
44. For that time my toddler ran amok in your classroom during open house.
45. Not ignoring the 10,000 ideas and questions you get from a classroom of 5-year-olds all day.
46. For being on a first-name basis with me.
47. For teaching my kid to read. I cried the first time I heard him read a sentence.
48. The little notes of encouragement to me when my kid makes strides in problem areas.
49. I never remember to fill out the book order completely. (Triple thank you!)
50. But most importantly, for letting my kid believe every day that he matters.
Thank you for being so tenacious in your vision to help us parents raise great people. I cannot imagine the stress, the hours, the workload that you must have, but I am so very grateful to you for stepping up and making a difference in my child’s life. You and your work are so important, and all funny quips aside, you are profoundly appreciated!