A Love Letter to the Teachers of the World…
And all the administrators, paraprofessionals, childcare support, nurses, cooks, bus drivers, custodians and everyone in between who makes school life go on. You are the magic makers.
We see you. We see you sweating and crying and not always being treated with the respect you all deserve, but we see you and we love you. I am one of you and I am in awe of you. You love our babies and you keep on loving them when you are tired and frustrated and unsure of how to keep on keeping on.
You made packets labeled with days and stapled them together EVERY SINGLE DAY you weren’t with our tiny humans. Then, in some magical way, you drew smiley faces on them to let those babies know that you were still there and still loved them even when you couldn’t be with them in person. You held Zoom calls and not only taught your students, but all of their little siblings who were always more than welcome to join in on the fun. You ate lunch with our kids in person and over Zoom. Principals delivered desks, yes desks, to kids with no place to work at home. And kitchen staff… you packed lunches for us. You delivered food to those who needed it and to those who just wanted a small reminder of what school was like. You kept this world going.
It was not easy and you stepped up and did a job that was never in any of your college classes or professional development workshops. You kept our kids safe and happy and loved and you did it sometimes at the expense of your sanity, your family and your health. We see you and we are beyond thankful for you.
I have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader and a little free spirited 4-year-old who will be heading into preschool next year with her only social interaction being with her parents and her siblings for the past year so, sorry in advance. Despite all of the uncertainty and stress this past year has thrown us, my kids still absolutely love school. My 3rd grader regularly tells us that “I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but I just like being at school more than home.” She is a kid who has a pretty awesome home and family and has everything she needs right here and she STILL likes school more. And the sole reason for this is because of all of the magic makers who work there.
As a teacher myself, I will never forget the day I squeezed my little 2nd graders goodbye on a cold Friday in March last year having absolutely no idea what was in store for us for the next year. Through all of that sadness of not getting a proper goodbye, teachers and schools planned drive through parades and met kids at playgrounds and wrote letters and did everything in their power to close the door on a crazy end of the year. Kids did it and teachers did too.
Then came a summer full of questions with no possible answers and a school year starting with no answers and no clear plan. And to no one’s fault but this pandemic. Over the years, if I have learned anything about traumatic situations and hard hands being dealt it is this: people want to have something or someone to blame. Always. Humans crave an answer or a reason for sadness and hard stuff and sometimes it just isn’t there. And a pandemic has no reasons for being. It just is hard and scary and uncertain and holds no answers because we have never been here before.
So, on teachers went into this uncertainty. Some in school, some teaching at home, some doing all the things and doing it all with smiles and happiness to be around our children. Our precious little people. They did what they do the best, they made connections with our children and kept them feeling a deep sense that they belonged in whatever learning model they were in. And they belonged when they switched models, and they will belong and be loved when they switch again.
My love for teachers and schools runs deep and it has nothing to do with the fact that I am one. It has everything to do with the fact that I am privileged enough to see the inner workings of a school and I am humbled at the effort and energy and love individuals pour into other people’s children each and every day. So, with all of that I want to end this with a giant love letter to all of you teachers and wonderful adults in the schools because without you… we couldn’t keep on keeping on.
Dear magic makers,
I am writing to you, as one of you… but in complete awe of you.
Thank you for loving and air hugging and teaching and enabling brightness and giving it everything you have and then getting up and doing it again.
Parents are so thankful for you. We have jobs to do and we send our most valuable life’s work to you all school year. And somehow you manage to send them back even more sparkly than when we gave them to you. You are magic.
You feed them, and smile at them, and hold their hands, and clean up after them. (And we all know how much work it is to clean up after them.) You go above and beyond, working to keep them safe and healthy during a pandemic.
You have carefully thought out class lists and when changes have needed to be made, you do it in the most delicate way and all while thinking of each individual child’s needs. You have called parents outside of your work hours to see how they are feeling and check in on them and make sure they feel comfortable with changes.
You make lessons in school and online and switch things up in a moment’s notice. You call homes and send letters and drop off packets of fun in mailboxes. You make each and every one of our children feel like they are the only ones in your room – be it virtual or in-person.
You give so much to our families and we will never be able to show how much we appreciate you. But I hope this letter lets you know that you are loved, you are so special and we absolutely could never do this without you.
A Forever Grateful Parent
P.S We owe you big time. I’m not sure the traditional end-of-year Target gift card will cut it this year.