Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Teachers: Thank You

This week, instead of packing a Christmas gift to send to my children's teachers, I sat down and wrote a letter of gratitude. I wanted all the teachers in our life to be aware of how much they are valued, especially in light of the traumatic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Each teacher received a copy of this today. Here, for a broader thank you to all who serve children, is the letter. I removed the full names of my children and their pictures here, but those were included in the original text.

Dear Teacher,

Thank you for teaching my child. Thank you for showing up every day ready for class and for whatever insanity my child and his or her classmates throw at you. Having been in your shoes, I can say with certainty that there are likely many days where you have said, after dealing with some miscreant’s antics, that you could not teach another day. But yet you rose the next morning, returned to school, and re-committed yourself to educating young people. Thank you for that.

I place my trust in you and the school system where my children learn. I trust when you tell me that my son was a hothead and my daughter was an airhead that, in those moments, they were. We deal at home accordingly, backing up your every word. I know that when my child enters the school halls, that you are taking over for me for the next several hours. You will see my children in their best and weakest moments. You will strive to raise them up, to give them long term goals, to help them mature into people with vision. Your work extends far beyond ABCs and scientific theories, tests and art projects; you are creating a thinking person who will make the world better than it is now.

Thank you for coming back to school this week to send the message to my children that their schools are safe, while the rest of the world fights to make that a more believable truth. I trembled Monday morning as I put my little son on the bus and cast reminders to my daughter as she departed. I said to myself that it would all be okay. With you at our side, fighting to protect our children, working to restore our faith in humanity, how could it not be? This weekend, I told my son and daughter that teachers are heroes, that not one of you would ever hesitate to protect them. I believe that. I was a teacher once too. We are the guardians of souls and so much more.

It is okay to grieve now, to be afraid. To deny that part of yourself would be to deny your own humanity. To continue to commit to my children and others in your work despite your grief and fear is an act of bravery. You will always be a hero to us.

Merry Christmas, dearest Teacher! You are in my prayers.

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