Letter to my son’s first teachers:
His first day of school
A few short months ago, I handed my first born to you for five hours a week. Prior to this, he’d only been with me, his father, a treasured baby sitter, his family, and the church nursery. Then last September, I walked him into a classroom full of strangers, and I left him. He didn’t know anyone in that room, he was vulnerable, maybe scared and because of that, he probably wasn’t his best self for several classes. He didn’t listen , he cried , one day- he even hit ( a throat punch to be exact ) . I wasn’t there to intervene, to understand, to soften this first transition to independence.
And while you’ve done this for decades ( I know because I checked ), while you and your school are licensed ( again, I checked), while you passed my very stringent mother’s intuition test ( I can’t explain it, but I know it when I feel it) — this was terrifying for me and daunting to him.
Because this is more than preschool…
You are his gateway, the way you approach learning, the way you treat him will forever impact his concept of education. I’m a teacher, I know. I have seen the kids who were damaged by a well meaning teacher who forgot they had charge of a precious son or daughter, and instead saw a parent’s child as a roster number.
And I was worried.
Worried that my precious son wouldn’t be so precious to you. Worried that his quirks would be annoyances, that his sensitive temperament would require too many modifications or pauses to the flow of your lesson plans. Worried that you wouldn’t see him and so you’d resent him.
So I prayed, each day.
I prayed that the Lord would watch between us when we were apart ( Genesis 31:49) for my boy, and I prayed for a compassionate, kind heart for his teachers, for wisdom in the lessons, for clarity in expectations, and forgiveness with failure. I prayed that you’d have unending patience in ways that I couldn’t even imagine when teaching 20 three and four year olds.
And I prayed the same thing for you that I prayed for myself before the start of every school day; that you would be Jesus’ hands and feet to each child you saw that day, that kids would see Jesus’ love thru you.
But still, I worried.
I focused so much on my concerns,
that I forgot that God had a plan for our boy, and that plan included this preschool and these teachers.
I knew I’d picked the right school when he came home on the second day of class singing the school prayer .
I knew I’d picked the right school when my boy missed the second week of class because he was terribly sick, and he was afraid to return on week three- you helped me make a plan to ease him into the classroom with minimal tears and lots of reassurance.
I knew I’d picked the right school, when my boy was terrified of the “Going on a Bear Hunt” song, and you stopped doing it. Even better, once he’d found his footing in school, you started doing it again but you gave him tools and options to feel calm during a previously scary situation.
I knew I’d picked the right school, when he started talking about his best friends at school ( even if he didn’t know their names). When he told me he loved his teachers so much. I knew he as comfortable, when he started acting up at school. I knew he was happy, when he ran into the school on his own instead of holding my hand as I escorted him into his class.
I knew because you treated him like a person, and so few people actually treat children like PEOPLE.
My son is better for attending preschool. He’s smarter, but more important to me- he’s more confident, more patient, and more secure in himself and his voice.
I know teaching is hard. I know you spend hours prepping the classroom, the lesson plan, the newsletter. I know you pour all of yourself into our children and then you go home to take care of your own.
And I know it feels thankless sometimes. I know it seems like no one notices that you went the extra step to comfort the little boy who was afraid of a silly song while simultaneously keeping all 20 children engaged in class. I know that somedays it feels like the extra effort, should go somewhere else because let’s be honest- how much gratitude do preschoolers show for all the ways you nurture and love them?
But I saw it.
I see it.
So do other parents.
Thank you for honoring my trust each day. Thank you for taking care of a piece of my heart. Thank you for showing my son that school is wonderful, that learning is exciting- that he is okay without me because teachers are good.
Thank you for loving my boy.
Blessings over you,