As summer winds down and a new school year is approaching, you are getting ready for my kid—for all of our kids. You will take our kids and treat them like your own. You accept them for where they are in life. They’re just kids. For the next nine months, they’re also your kids.
Thank you for setting up your classroom. Thank you for writing my kid’s name a million different times on all the labels throughout your room. Thank you for taking the time to know his birthday, his likes and dislikes, the things that make him tick and the ways he will learn best.
Thank you for all the times you will think of my kid this year as you grade papers or plan activities. Thank you for teaching my kids much more than academics.
Thank you for listening to my kid’s stories. Thank you for being excited for the big events in my son’s life, even if it is something as mundane as a lost tooth. I bet you could build a skyscraper with all the teeth you have seen, and yet you still congratulate my kid when he can’t wait to show you his.
Thank you for consoling my kid in rough times. Thank you for everything you do, which I can’t even say, because I know there is probably so much more that you do that I don’t even realize.
Thank you for doing it all despite not getting paid what you should be. Despite a parent who degrades you or ridicules you or demands more from you. Despite having to constantly buy shit with your own money or work off the clock because of budget constraints.
Please know that your dedication has not gone unnoticed.
That dedication is visible on my son’s face as he eagerly tears through the next Harry Potter book. It’s clear in the barely recognizable letters of a preschooler’s name that she wrote all on her own for the first time.
Thank you for being a teacher. Thank you for caring about your students. Your students aren’t just students, they’re somebody’s babies.
On the first day of school, I’m not a parent sending a student into your care; I’m handing you my baby.
I may be letting go of a giant 7-year-old’s hand as he heads to the bus, but in my heart, it feels just like I am cradling my newborn and gently placing him in your arms.
Thank you for your outstretched arms.