Monday, June 6, 2011

An Open Letter to Teachers.

Dear Teachers,

Tomorrow is the last day of school 'round these parts.

It has been another great school year for my children.

Of course, this is due in large part to you and your awesomeness.

Because teachers just like you? Rock. Hardcore.

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I used to be an elementary school teacher before I was a mom. I know the joys you experience in a classroom. I know the frustrations. I know the challenges. I know the long days that don't end at 3:00 when the bell rings. I know the moments of triumph. I know the rewards you reap that have nothing to do with money.

I know what it's like to be you, and I am in awe of you who do it well and do it right.

You know who I'm talking about.

I'd like to think and hope that I am a better school parent that can support you because of my behind-the-scenes knowledge.

I hope that I always have your back in the best way possible. I hope that you appreciate that I have never once just bought any of you a tacky ceramic apple or a mug that says, "World's Greatest Teacher" on the side, and instead gave you gift certificate or a class gift with the other parents that we knew you would truly enjoy. It's not that I don't think you are the World's Greatest Teacher. You most definitely are. But you deserve so much more than a cheap mug, and I know that a gift, even if it is only a small one, is greatly appreciated for a person who imparts valuable knowledge to my child for the majority of the days out of a given year.

More than the gifts, however, I know that the thing a teacher appreciates the most from a parent or a student is a simple, handwritten thank you note. I know that you love to hear that we, as parents, think you are talented and creative and caring. I know that it warms your heart when we notice how you just seem to "get" our child. Because so many of you do.

You "get" our kids and you reach them where they are.

You are patient.

You know that every student learns differently.

You help our children reach their full potential academically.

You don't give up on a child or label him, "bad" just because he has a behavioral misstep. You forgive and encourage and expect better the next time.

You let a student know that whatever happened the day before doesn't matter. She knows that every day is a new day to start fresh.

You sing songs or dress up or find new and innovative ways to make the most boring of topics fun.

You wipe noses and mend friendships.

You protect your students and encourage a culture of acceptance in your classroom.

You are awesome, and as a parent, I am blessed that you have been a snapshot in time in my child's life.

You have helped to shape my child, and he has a special place in his heart for you. When he looks back on his childhood, I hope that one of the things he remembers is you.

Thank you, and I wish you nothing but the most relaxing of summers.


A Grateful Mom


  1. Well done, Clare! Really touching and I couldn't agree more.

  2. This is so sweet! I'm a former teacher, too, and I try my hardest to remember what it was like to be on that side of the desk.

  3. What truths you write here. I too was once a teacher. I still have my collection of notes & cards from students and parents.... Sometimes I reread them and remember how much I learned from them! :)

  4. All so true. Teaching is a tough gig. You will enjoy my "Too School For Cool" post on Thursday. It's written by a teacher friend of mine & is basically an apology letter to all the parents of her former students that she taught BEFORE she had kids of her own. Sort of funny how the perspective changes!


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