Thank A Teacher

My kid’s report card made me cry.

In the good way!

Teachers are so undervalued in today’s world, a phenomenon I’ll never understand, and I’m all soft and squishy these days, so not up for a political battle on the war against public educators here.  My children have had the good fortune to have been taught by some talented and thoughtful humans.  They’ve been challenged to think globally and with an eye toward the future.  I’m grateful my children have achieved what they have academically, and look forward myself to their continued growth.

Yesterday was my younger son’s last day of school, and my little one handed me his report card this morning.  The standards-based grading report has about a hundred elements on which kids are evaluated, and they don’t receive grades, but ratings of minimal, basic, proficient, and advanced.  It’s a lot to read, and I get why teachers wouldn’t have to write too much in the way of summary narratives anymore, given how they’re graded on these many different strands.  But, and I’m sure this is no surprise to you, I enjoy the narrative.

One of his teachers always includes a personal message, and I’ve much appreciated those few extra words.  They’ve always been positive, so yeah, obviously I am happier to read them than I would be from another educator less swayed by his quiet, mostly compliant charm, but I take comfort in knowing she really does know my child, strengths and weaknesses alike.

Her final message to my son and I hope to all of his classmates is a message all children need to hear.  I’ve included an excerpt:

I truly appreciated your curiosity.  Always remember you are powerful and you have the ability to change society. Also remember kindness matters and I hope you are always supported and that you support others too.

My end-of-the-year message to her and to all my children’s teachers is this:  Thank you.  I know you’re grading papers and entering grades at midnight or at 4:00 AM, because my phone pings when their grades come in.  I KNOW you’re doing so much more with so much less, and you’re doing much of that on your own time.  Thank you.  Thank you for being good stewards and citizens of the world, promoting that world-view and deviating from the script as discussions and important lessons present themselves.  Thank you for caring about my children, and letting them know they’re cared for.  This year especially, I thank you for caring for me too.  Your support and watchful eyes over my children during my husband’s hospitalization and my absence at home meant the world to me.  Your generous support of our family deserves every accolade (and a raise!).  Thank you.

I joked that I know exactly how my “What I Did This Summer” essay is going to go.  2019 is not gonna be a real barn burner of joyful travel escapades for us, but I sincerely hope my children’s teachers’ summers are filled with joy at every turn.  That they find time to rest and rejuvenate.  To borrow the phrase, I hope they too are always supported to the same degree our family has been.

Kids still write this in their yearbooks, and it tickles me no end.  So here’s my yearbook wish for you:  Stay cool!  I hope you have a good summer!  Friends always!  xoxo

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