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Challenge: Back to School

A letter from your child's new teacher: 'You and I are a team'

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Dear Parents,

I wanted to take a few minutes to welcome you and your child into my classroom family. I am so excited to have your child in my class this year.

I’ve been anxiously preparing the classroom for weeks. It has to be just right for all my students. Your child’s file has been passed to me and I have carefully reviewed their test scores and notes from past teachers. I’ve prepared an interest inventory for you to fill out so you can tell me all about your child. I will carefully memorize their strengths and weaknesses over the next few weeks. Over the next few months I will learn everything about them from their favorite color to the way they prefer to solve a math problem.

However, as I prepare for the school year, I realize that you don’t know anything about me. Right now I’m just a name that appears at the top of the paper that says “Class List for Room 209.”

You don’t know my background, my educational history, or what kind of person I am. You are turning over your precious child to me for 8 hours a day, and I’m nothing but a stranger. I know there are a few things you are wondering about me, and there are some things I just think you should understand before we start the year.

Here is what I want you to know.

I want you to know that working with children isn’t just how I earn a paycheck. It is my life’s work. Teaching children is something I will look back on as one of the biggest privileges of my life. I cherish all the little moments that your child will experience in my classroom.

I want you to know that you and I are a team. My promise is to care for your child to the best of my ability, but ultimately I am not perfect. I will make mistakes. As hard as I try, I will inevitably miss an argument on the playground or forget to remind your child to turn in their lunch money. Please don’t hesitate to let me know when there is a problem. I genuinely want this year to be great for your child and for you. In order for your child to be successful at school, we will have to work together.

When your child is frustrated and overwhelmed with an assignment, I will be there to help them through it. If they just can’t seem to get it, I will remain patient and try a new approach. I will spend countless hours trying to understand how they learn and what their specific educational needs are. If they fail, I will feel like I have failed. When they succeed, I will celebrate with them. I promise to push them to their full potential while they are in my classroom. When they are tired and feel like they have given their all, I will push them to be just a little bit better.

If your child has a disability or delay, I won’t stop advocating for them until they get the best placement, support, or therapy that is available to them. In my classroom, they will never be treated differently because of their ability. Each of my students are wonderfully and beautifully made to be unique individuals. My students will be encouraged to embrace their differences. I hope to teach them to value the opportunity to be surrounded by others that are different than they are.

Above all else, I want you to know how much I will care for your child. During the school year, my students become a part of my family. If your child loses a grandparent, or a family pet, I will hold them as they cry. If your family is going through a difficult time financially, I will help connect you with the resources your family needs to make ends meet. When your child has a terrible day at school, breaks their arm on the playground, or has a problem I just can’t figure out how to solve, I will cry softly on my husband’s shoulder. I don’t stop worrying about my students just because I’ve left school for the day. In short, I will love them like they are my own.

At the end of the year, I will silently wish for just a few more days. There will be a few more things I will wish I had accomplished with your child. As they leave my classroom on the last day of school, I will pray that in a few short months I had even the tiniest positive impact on their life. And next fall when I see them in the hallway, I will hope for a quick hug or a little smile that will tell me maybe, just maybe, I did.


Your Child’s New Teacher

This post originally appeared on the NW Arkansas Moms Blog.

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