In 12 hours my alarm will go off for my 37th first day of school. I will attempt to start the school year off right by working out and eating a good breakfast. My clothes are laid out. I have all the logistics finalized for my own kids – lunches packed, babysitters, school supplies, clothes laid out, first-day photo chalkboard ready. I can GUARANTEE, no matter how hard I will prepare, the morning will be a shit show. You see, my own kids will not want to go to school, or the babysitter, or really do anything I wish. I will swipe in exactly on time with a car full of more things for my classroom and likely forget my own lunch. I will be flustered and stressed. But, here is what else I can guarantee:
1. Your child’s teachers did not sleep through the night.
We really don’t know why we set an alarm. It is hope that for once in our careers maybe the first day butterflies won’t get the best of us…but they will. We are thinking not only of our own kids’ first days but our first days and even more about the new faces we will greet tomorrow morning.
2. No matter how flustered we are before that first bell, we will greet your children with a calm smile (and a hug if they need it).
Teachers compartmentalize better than any other professional. The minute we see a student, we switch into master educator mode. This means that we will be committed to putting your child at ease from the minute they come to us and throughout the day, no matter how our own morning started.
3. Last week, we spent countless hours (paid and unpaid) getting ready to make this the best year yet.
Teachers are proud perfectionists…and maybe a little competitive. Every one of us is determined to outdo the year before. This means that we are ready to start our best year, whether it’s year 1, 10, 20, or 40.
4. We will make sure that your child knows where to go and what to do.
From finding classrooms to opening up lockers, we will be there to make sure the first day and week go as smoothly as possible.
5. There is no bigger heart than that of a teacher. We will love your kids like our own.
The minute that they walk into that building, they become “our kids,” too. We want them to succeed, we want them to feel welcome, we want them to be safe. We will defend them, keep an eye on them, comfort them, discipline them when needed, likely shed tears over them, and also be a constant in their lives this year. We will be a shoulder and ear to lean on. If they have a bad day, we will be there. When they grow and succeed, we will celebrate!
My ask is you give teachers and staff in your child’s building both your trust and the benefit of the doubt. They are working in an education system with an unprecedented number of pressures and challenges, and they are still there. If a mistake is made, give it a chance for it to be fixed. I promise we will do the same. To my fellow teachers- may this be your best year yet. I pray this year rejuvenates your love for teaching. Parents- when your child enters our doors, we’ve got them (and you if you need it). Let us all work together to make education about the child again and filled with FUN and individual growth that creates a love of learning. Here we go!