You are gearing up for another school year.
You must be feeling so many different emotions as you say goodbye to summer and go back to what seems like the impossible job of educating, molding, shaping the youth of our country. That is a great deal of pressure. Going back to school means less hours with your family than you spend at work…work that more often than not gets low pay, no thank you’s, and little understanding from parents and others in the community. You know you will get through this transition, but, wow, is it hard.
I have some things I really want to tell you as you go back. I know your time is precious at this point so I will do my best to be brief.
As a mother…
This going back to work is not just about you returning to a job to me.
I need you…and I don’t mean as a babysitter.
I need your voice in my child’s life.
I need you identifying my daughter’s strengths and weaknesses.
As strong as a voice and presence as I am in my child’s life I know it is not all about me. She needs you to tell her that she has a knack for writing or a gift in math because the next thing I know she is identifying herself as an author or a scientist or a mathematician and the next thing we all know she is an adult and that teacher voice is still inside her head and she IS an author, a scientist, or a mathematician.
Your voice is POWERFUL.
My voice is, too, but let’s be honest. She can discount what I say when she wants based on my own personal bias. I am her mother.
YOU are her teacher.
I know this and you know this. I still remember the teacher in fourth grade who zeroed in on my writing. And, now, look at me…still writing, still drawing on confidence that a teacher voice said to me over 25 years ago. You have those stories, too.
You are making those stories for my children.
You sent her writing off for a contest last year.
You gave her an award for math.
Now, they see themselves differently. They walk a little taller.
Now, their dreams are a great deal larger than they were just 12 months ago.
And, let’s be real. I am a middle class, semi-stay-at-home, very available mom. If MY KIDS needs you, your voice, and your presence how much more do children who come from other types of situations.
Yes, there are bad teachers just like there are bad parents. I know not all of you are perfect, but I know a lot of you and the ones I know are pretty spectacular. I LOVE knowing that these incredible people are speaking into the lives of my children.
I pray for you. Every. Single. Day.
I love knowing that you are becoming part of the fabric of their lives, part of their community memories. A few days ago I saw my old, retired principal and felt such pride that I could call out a hello to him and remember being a little girl looking up to him every single day in school. I LOVE knowing that my children will have those same experiences with YOU later in life, too.
I hear about people trying to get out of their jobs to do something easier for more money. I sure hope and pray that not all teachers (or firefighters or police officers or nurses or…) try to get out of their work. Where would we be then?
I need you. Our community needs you. We trust you. I trust you. YOU CAN DO THIS.
As your daughter…
I know that you are worried about sending your kids to day care and arranging pick-ups and babysitting during inservice days. I know you feel torn when you have to leave your babies early in the morning.
I know this because I am one of your daughters. My mother is a teacher, too.
And, so, I am going to talk to you as a daughter, too.
I want you to know this, mother. I have always been so proud that you are a teacher. I think it is the coolest thing ever. I always have such pride telling someone what my mom does for her job, where she teaches, what grade, etc.
So, when you get worried about leaving me at day care or driving me to school early or having someone else pick me up, know that I am super proud of you. I think you rock. I think I have the coolest mom (dad) on the planet. I even kind of like having other people pick me up when you have to be at school. It is just more people I get to know. It makes my world feel bigger and I absolutely love that.
You being a teacher secures my place in the community. I feel like I belong…all because you are a teacher…and we all know that teachers are the backbone of every town…big and small.
Other kids are jealous of me for having such a cool parent who teaches down the hall, too. I love going to your classroom. I love watching you work on your projects and grade papers at home.
I am so proud of you. You being a teacher is a gift to ME. Thank you.
As a friend…
I am secretly a little jealous. My daughter told me that she wishes I taught at her school. I understand where she is coming from. Being a teacher is very cool.
You are going to get through these first few rough weeks and then you are going to have a GREAT year.
In the mean time I will keep praying for higher compensation, better supplies, longer planning periods, and the sweetest parents you have ever had to work with.
I love you, friend! I pray for you. Every. Single. Day. I hear what others say about you…what I say about you. You ROCK. You do this teaching thing so very, very well.
You are capable. You are light in dark places. You are a voice speaking life into the lives of children. You know how a star’s light is seen years and years after it actually shines? It is like the light we see is from the past. You are like those stars. The light you speak into a child’s life right now will be seen years from now as that child becomes a man or woman.
I trust you. I believe in what you do.
I am sending my kids to you in a couple of days. Let’s do this!
Your parent, your daughter, and your friend
Nice post! I too have memories of teachers from the past who spoke into my life. And yes, the parent’s voice is and should be the primary influencer in a child’s life, but there is something to be said about the power of another voice. Thankful for positive and affirming voices. Thanks teachers!
Beautiful. Thank you so much for this as I head back to the trenches!
Thanks for this timely post. I have shared it with my daughter, who is a new mom and a high school English teacher. I also shared it with other teachers in my life. They need to hear it!
Thank you Emily for posting this. I am crying now as I type. My grandfather Swan was a teacher, I am now the reitred teacher stressing wanting to be back in the classroom being thankful that God has given me the opportunity to work with Student Teachers at Lee University. My son, Gen Payne, is a teacher where I taught your husband and family taught..and now our Tiffany is beginning by doing her student teaching at Bradley High. Ironic that her daddy, Doug, graduated from there…I did my student teaching there, Ben graduated from there and my twin, Rudy Felton, taught there forever. We all feel that teaching is our ministry and we are all so thankful that God has placed us where he has using our lives to help mold the lives of many precious students. I feel blessed to call you and your precious family parft of my extended family. Thank you again for this post. I am going to try to forward it to my friends in Whitfield Co. You are so AWESOME!!! MS JUDY
Emily, I also have to apologize as I think I may have many words spelled or typed wrong as I can’t see because of my tears…Again..thank you!
I followed a link from a friend to your blog today and I must say I received a blessing from this post. Thank you so much for the words of encouragement, the insight from someone who appreciates what teachers do every day, and the love you have shared through this post. As a teacher this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and thank you for giving a gift of caring to teachers everywhere!
Thank you, Emily! These words are “apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Love and blessings,
Thank you for this Emily! As a faculty person at a school (not a cool teacher) I too feel the pressure of what returning to school means and making sure that e teachers have all they need to do a great job! I feel guilt dragging my daughter to work with me in the summer to work even though I’m not getting paid but honestly she loves it and thinks its cool. Teachers are so important and I’m secretly a little jealous of their coolness too!
Thanks for the encouragement. Educating the children is a great pleasure and responsibility each day. Your words are validating and motivating. I shared this with many colleagues! Thank you!!!
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! It even made me cry! I appreciate you! Very inspiring!
thank you. just. THANK YOU.
Wow! Thanks Emily. You have made my week – and possibly my year! I have been struggling to “get back in the groove.” I always feel torn between teaching and parenting, you’ve helped me rethink, reflect and refocus on what’s important and how I can effectively juggle my responsibilities. Kindergarten ROCKS!
What a thoughtful post! Teachers need all the encouragement they can get! Thank you!
Sandi at Literacy Minute
Thanks so much for this. I go back to work Friday. Honestly, I have been very emotional about it. I have been very good with family responsibilities and time this summer, but despite my best intentions teaching consumes me and everything else takes a back seat. I needed the positive encouragement!
I’m reposting in Facebook. It’s too good not to share again!